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Cot Campbell

Cot Campbell
Induction Year: 
Sept. 27, 1927, New Orleans, La.

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There wasn’t any sort of multi-generational family love affair with thoroughbred racing that tugged on Cot Campbell’s heart strings and convinced him to enter the sport. As Campbell tells the tale, if he had gone by his father’s experience in the game he never would have gotten involved.


“My father sold a Coca-Cola bottling franchise in 1940 to go into the racehorse business and within two years he was broke,” Campbell said. “I didn’t inherit any racehorse head start from him. In fact, it was quite the opposite.”


Nonetheless, Campbell became passionate about the sport and wanted in. Born in New Orleans in 1927, Campbell entered racing following a successful career in the advertising business. Looking for a way to minimize the financial risk of purchasing racehorses, Campbell came up with the idea of syndicating partnerships in horses. The idea was to maximize purchasing power, bring new owners into the game and reduce the monetary gamble involved.


Dogwood Stable was born — and Campbell has never looked back.


“I went into racing because I loved horses,” Campbell said. “At first, it was a way to have some fun, but then it evolved into a way of life and a business. I never started out to cut a wide swath. It just gradually happened.”


Founded in 1967, Dogwood Stable, which is based in Aiken, S.C., had its first stakes winner two years later when Mrs. Cornwallis won the Alcibiades at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky. Dogwood has gone on to campaign more than 80 stakes winners since, including Summer Squall, winner of the 1990 Preakness, and Palace Malice, winner of the Belmont in 2013.


Summer Squall also won the Hopeful, Saratoga Special and Blue Grass, among others, and sired Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic and the Dogwood-owned Breeders’ Cup winner Storm Song. Both Storm Song and steeplechase standout Inlander, winner of the prestigious Colonial Cup, were Eclipse Award winners for Dogwood. Palace Malice, meanwhile, won the Metropolitan Handicap, Jim Dandy and Gulfstream Park Handicap in addition to the Belmont and earned more than $2.6 million.


Overall, Seven Dogwood partnership horses have earned $1 million or more. Other standouts for the partnership have included Dominion, Domynsky, Nassipour, Southjet, Wallenda, Trippi, Smok’n Frolic, Limehouse, Cotton Blossom and Aikenite.


More than 1,200 people have participated in Dogwood ownership throughout the years and the partnership paved the way for hundreds of other groups that have followed. Campbell is both modest and proud that Dogwood set the standard.


“Well, if I didn’t do it someone else certainly would have sooner or later,” Campbell said of the partnership concept. “One of the things I’m happiest about is the fact that partnerships have brought people into the sport who would not have been able to do it on their own. It has energized racing and convinced a lot of talented and dedicated people to get into the game.”


A member of The Jockey Club, Campbell has also served as a trustee of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. He was the Thoroughbred Club of America’s Honored Guest in 2004 and received the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2012. He has also found the time to author three books, “Lightning in a Jar,” “Rascals and Racehorses” and “Memoirs of a Longshot.”


By nature, Campbell has always been a dreamer, but he never imagined he would enjoy the level of success he has in racing or wind up in the Hall of Fame.


“It’s a thrill to be grouped with the kind of personalities that are the Pillars of the Turf,” Campbell said. “It is certainly something that I never expected, so it’s a gigantic kick for me. If I have brought anything to racing, and I hope I have, I would tell you that I have been amply rewarded. Racing has been good to me. I have been recognized in many wonderful ways and this may be the most exciting.


“I’ve had an absolutely wonderful life. A hell of a lot of it is due to the lady I married (Anne Campbell) and a hell of a lot of it is due to the horses. My career in racing has taken me to Japan and Dubai and all over Europe. I’ve done business with the Aga Khan and Queen Elizabeth and Sheikh Mohammed. My life has been adventurous, glamorous, exciting and tumultuous … and no one could be more aware of it and more appreciative of it.”


Easing into semi-retirement, Campbell sold his Dogwood Stable client list to Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners in 2013 and agreed not to compete with that group by forming new racing partnerships.


On his own, however, Campbell has continued to campaign a few horses. In April of 2018, Campbell and Eclipse purchased a colt together for $115,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s spring sale of 2-year-olds in training in Florida. Sired by Exchange Rate and named Pipes, the horse is in New York with trainer Gary Contessa.


“Hope springs eternal in this game,” Campbell said. “I’m going to have fun as long as I can.”


Pillar of the Turf