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Paul Mellon

Paul Mellon
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One of the most esteemed sportsmen of the 20th century, Paul Mellon (1907-1999) was the only son of financier, industrialist and Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon. After graduating from Yale in 1929, Mellon studied in England at the University of Cambridge, where he developed a passion for horses.


After working briefly for his father’s bank as a clerk, Mellon decided to join the U.S. Army. He served in the Office of Strategic Services in Europe with a cavalry division, earning four bronze stars and rising to the rank of major.


In 1948, Mellon began racing under the banner of Rokeby Stables. His horses won more than 1,000 stakes races and had total earnings in excess of $30 million. Mellon achieved lasting success as both an owner and a breeder. He was honored with the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder in 1971 and 1986 and campaigned Hall of Fame members Arts and Letters and Fort Marcy. Other Rokeby standouts included Kentucky Derby and Travers winner Sea Hero and Belmont winner Quadrangle, as well as champions Key to the Mint and Run the Gantlet.


Along with his success in America, Mellon had a prominent European division of horses, including champions Mill Reef, Glint of Gold and Gold and Ivory. Virginia-bred Mill Reef won the Epsom Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, among other Group 1 events. Mellon is the only individual to win the Kentucky Derby, Epsom Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.


Mellon was a trustee of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and one of only six individuals to be named an Exemplar of Racing by the Museum. He was inducted into the English Jockey Club Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. Mellon also served as vice chairman of The Jockey Club, director of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and maintained key leadership and support roles with the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and the National Steeplechase Association.


A noted philanthropist, Mellon donated many priceless works of his art collection to various museums, one of which, the Yale Center for Sporting Art, he also paid to have built. He donated and bequeathed millions of dollars to support equine research and thoroughbred aftercare programs. He also received the Eclipse Award of Merit.

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