Willie Carson, Emily Asprey & Chris Wright
Chriselliam, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, 2st November 2013
Trained by Charlie Hills, Sire: Iffraaj. Dam: Danielli
A shared lunch at the Tattersalls yearling sales in Newmarket, England, united legendary jockey/BBC commentator Willie Carson and Chris Wright, the co-founder and chairman of Chrysalis Records, as Thoroughbred partners. “It was a couple of years ago,” Wright said after Chriselliam won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. “I was having a pretty nice lunch, and I think I drank a little too much wine, and I ended up buying a filly. And I persuaded Willie, who had been drinking a little bit with me, that he should take half.” He did. That filly won a race and was sold, but Chriselliam is a keeper.
Carson, born on November 16, 1942 in Stirling, Scotland, became just the fourth jockey to win 3,000 races in Great Britain, retiring with 3,828 victories as the fourth leading jockey in British history behind Sir Gordon Richards, Lestor Piggott, and Pat Eddery. Carson was awarded the British Order of the Empire for his service to racing in 1983, and he was a member of the inaugural class of 50 inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Besides working for the BBC, he has served as chairman of the Swindon Town Football Club and was the European racing manager for The Thoroughbred Corp.
Carson had a tough loss in the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, when the horse on the lead he was riding, Dayjur, jumped two shadows a few strides before the wire, allowing Safely Kept to beat him. “To own a Breeders’ Cup winner is much better than riding one, I can assure you,” he said after Chriselliam’s victory. “When you’re riding them, you’re in charge and there’s no pressure on you. But as an owner standing up in those box seats, it’s nuts. I understand now what owners go through.”
Wright can compare owning Thoroughbreds to owning records. He and Terry Ellis founded Chrysalis Records, a British record label, in 1969. They changed the company’s original name from the Ellis-Wright Agency to Chrysalis, a reference to the pupil stage of a butterfly as well as a combination of Wright’s first name and Ellis’s last. Chrysalis evolved into EMI, then was sold for a reported $765 million. Of hanging out with rock stars, Wright said in a 2010 interview, “I hung out with them all. I did everything. Drugs, sex, and rock ‘n’ roll.”
With Chriselliam, Carson and Wright took on 17-year-old Emily Asprey as a partner, allowing her to become the youngest owner of a Breeders’ Cup winner. She is an eighth generation descendant of William Asprey, founder of Asprey International Limited, a United Kingdom-based designer, manufacturer, and retailer of jewelry, silverware, home goods, leather goods, timepieces, books, accessories, and polo equipment. The company was founded in 1781 as Asprey & Co.