Flaxman Holdings Ltd
Karakontie, Breeders' Cup Mile, Santa Anita, November 1st 2014
Trained by Jonathan E. Pease, Sire: Bernstein. Dam: Sun Is Up
Main Sequence, United Nations S, Monmouth Park, July 6th 2014; Sword Dancer, Saratoga, August 17th 2014; Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, Belmont Park, September 27th 2014; Breeders' Cup Turf, Santa Anita, November 1st 2014
Trained by Graham Motion, Sire: Aldebaran. Dam: Ikat
The legacy of a truly amazing man, Stavros Spyros Niarchos, has carried on long after his death on April 15, 1996—40 years after his first top horse, Pipe of Peace, was Champion Juvenile in England. Many more followed, including champion stallion Nureyev and two-time Eclipse Champion Turf Female Miesque, whose 12 victories in 16 career starts included the 1987 and 1988 Breeders’ Cup Mile against males.
Born in Piraeus, Greece, on July 3, 1909, Niarchos graduated from law school at Athens University and worked in flour mills owned by his uncles. Convincing them to purchase their own ships to carry wheat to the mills, they built a fleet of seven ships, including two tankers. When Germany invaded Greece in 1941, he offered the fleet to the Allies, joined the Greek Navy and served four years on British destroyers escorting convoys in the North Atlantic.
After World War II ended, he established one of the world’s largest fleet of tankers and bulk carriers before the oil crisis; and subsequent recession in the 1980s forced him to halve his operation.
His two passions were Thoroughbreds and art, collecting more than 100 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist pieces, including over 15 van Gogh’s. In 1989, Niarchos bought Picasso’s self-portrait “Yo Picasso” for $47.85 million.
Initially racing his horses in England, Niarchos moved most of his horses to France, where he was the country’s leading breeder in 1989, 1993 and 1994, and leading owner in 1983 and 1984. From 1982 through 1994, trainer Francois Boutin produced at least one Group I winner for Niarchos every year, including seven in 1993.
Besides Nureyev and Miesque, Niarchos campaigned Ballamont, Chimes of Freedom, Common Grounds, Coup de Grace, East of the Moon, Exit to Nowhere, Hernando, Kingmambo, L’Emigrant, Machiavellian, Magic of Life, Melyno, Northern Trick, Procisa, Seattle Song and Shanghai.
The family’s first top horse after Niarchos’ passing was Spinning World, who won four Group I races, including the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Mile a year after finishing second in the race. His family’s horses continue to race under Flaxman Holdings.