Ogden Mills Phipps
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About Ogden Mills Phipps
Ogden Phipps (November 26, 1908 - April 21, 2002) was an American stockbroker, court tennis champion and Hall of Fame member, thoroughbred horse racing executive and owner/breeder, and an art collector and philanthropist. In 2001, he was inducted into the International Court Tennis Hall of Fame.
Born in New York City, Phipps was the son of Henry Carnegie Phipps and Gladys Livingston Mills. His grandfather Henry Phipps was a major philanthropist who had amassed a fortune as the second largest shareholder in the Carnegie Steel Company. Educated at Harvard University, Ogden Phipps became a champion court tennis player, capturing the U.S. championship seven times and the British championship once.
During World War II, Ogden Phipps served with the United States Navy. After the war he became a partner in the prominent brokerage firm, Smith Barney & Co. then used his training to head up Bessemer Securities Corporation, a private holding company that managed the fortune left to Phipps family members by their grandfather.
In 1962 his son, Henry Ogden Phipps took his own life.
He died on April 21, 2002.
Ogden Phipps was named for his mother's brother, Ogden L. Mills. His mother and uncle loved Thoroughbred horses and formed Wheatley Stable in 1926 as a partnership that successfully raced and bred Thoroughbreds. Influenced by his mother, Ogden Phipps first registered his own black with cherry cap racing silks in 1932. In November 1937, he married wealthy New York socialite Lillian Bostwick, the sister of Hall of Fame steeplechase jockey, George Herbert Bostwick. Lillian Bostwick Phipps would become a major figure in American steeplechase racing who owned two U.S. Racing Hall of Fame horses and won the American Grand National eight times.
After World War II, Ogden Phipps bought a group of horses from the estate of Colonel Edward R. Bradley that formed the basis for what would become his major horse racing operation. Like his family's Wheatley Stable, Phipps too would use Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky for breeding and developing of his horses. In 1959 he became a founding member of the New York Racing Association and a member of its board of trustees. Approaching his 80th birthday, he resigned in 1988 and was named a director emeritus. He also served as a Chairman of the The Jockey Club for twenty years and at the time of his death was the Club's longest reigning member.
Ogden Phipps owned and bred Reviewer who sired Ruffian for his sister, Barbara Phipps Janney. He inherited the stallion Bold Ruler from his mother's estate who was mated with the mare Somethingroyal in 1969. Through the toss of a coin, Christopher Chenery got Somethingroyal's 1970 colt, Secretariat.
Ogden Phipps bred nine Champions of his own, winning Eclipse Awards for both leading owner and leading breeder in 1988. His most famous horses include Buckpasser, Personal Ensign, and Easy Goer, all of whom are in the United States Racing Hall of Fame. He never won the Kentucky Derby but came close twice, finishing 2nd with Dapper Dan in 1965 and 2nd again with Easy Goer in 1989 who went on to win the Belmont Stakes. In 1980, his horse Quick as Lightning won the prestigious 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket Racecourse in England. He won four Breeders' Cup races. First with the undefeated Personal Ensign in 1988, then Dancing Spree in 1989, Inside Information and My Flag in 1995.
Four Hall of Fame trainers conditioned Phipps' horses, beginning with the renowned Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons, who also trained for his mother's Wheatley Stable. After Fitzsimmons' retirement, Bill Winfrey came out of retirement to train for him in 1963 then Eddie Neloy took over in 1966, followed by Angel Penna, Sr. in 1977 and Shug McGaughey in 1985.
In 2003, Ogden Phipps was voted the Eclipse Award of Merit, the American Thoroughbred horse racing industry's highest honor.
On June 14, 1930, Ogden Phipps married Ruth Pruyn (1907–1994) of Glen Cove, New York. They had two children, Henry Ogden and Robert Lansing, before divorcing in 1935. She remarried in 1936 to Marshall Field III. Ogden Phipps remarried on November 4, 1937 to divorcee Lillian Stokes Bostwick McKim. A mother of three daughters from her first marriage to Robert McKim, Lillian had two more children with Ogden.
In 1969, Phipps Plaza opened as the first multi-level mall in Atlanta, aiming to become the South's leading luxury shopping destination. The mall originally opened with two levels. Purchased by financier Ogden Phipps in 1966 for less than $600,000, the development was sold in 1992 to Simon Properties Group for $488 million.
Ogden and Lillian acquired 18th century French and English furniture and were early clients of Denning & Fourcade, who decorated fifteen homes for them, and they made many acquisitions through them. Ogden Phipps had an art collection that included works by Claude Monet and John Singer Sargent. He also maintained a greenhouse collection of orchid varieties from around the world.
An honorary governor of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Phipps continued the family's philanthropic work.
Ogden Phipps was 93 when he died in 2002 at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Friend and fellow Thoroughbred owner Marylou Whitney called Phipps's death "the end of an era in racing". The Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park is named in his honor. His daughter Cynthia and sons Ogden (known as "Dinny") and Robert have been involved in Thoroughbred racing.
In the film Secretariat, released in 2010, Ogden Phipps was portrayed by actor James Cromwell.