By any measure, the owners of Ruler On Ice - who beat 24-1 odds to win the $1 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday - lead a charmed life.
George and Lori Hall live with their three children in Rumson, New Jersey, a wealthy suburb of New York City. Hall is the founder, president, and majority shareholder of Clinton Group, a successful hedgefund that manages over $6 billion in capital. George is originally from New York City, and Lori - a head-turning beauty nine years his junior - was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
The couple entered the racing arena in 2004, when they purchased a group of four yearlings for a total of $182,000. Two of those four became stakes winners in 2005.
The Halls also had early success as breeders: Their first two breedmares produced homebred stakes winners, including an upset victory in the $1 million Louisiana Derby by Pants on Fire.
Sala de Oro, a mare purchased for $100,000 at a breeding stock sale, produced Truth and Justice, who won three stakes races in 2009.
Out of our first seven foals, we've had five winners and two stakes winners, the Hall's farm manager, Dale Holly, told Thoroughbred Times. We had four foals in our first crop of homebreds and three in our second... It's been a great start.
The Halls own Annestes Farm, a 385-acre property in Versailles, Kentucky, which they had originally purchased for recreational purposes, but now is home to their broodmares.
The couple is active in philanthropy, and donated Annestes Farm as the location for a 2010 Woodford Humane Society fundraiser.
George is a board member of the New York University School of Medicine Foundation and helped to create its Head and Neck Cancer Research Laboratory. He was awarded the university's Sir Harold Acton Medal in recognition of his efforts.
We have had some great luck, George Hall told the Courier-Journal in 2009.
They have 24 horses in training (including Ruler on Ice) with Kelly Breen. Saturday's win marks Breen's first Triple Crown win, and was a particularly welcome surprise for the trainer, as Ruler on Ice had proven to be a temperamental, difficult horse.
The 143rd Belmont stakes was also the first win in a dozen entries for jockey John Velaquez.
As a child, George Hall spent many days at the Belmont Race Track with his grandfather. I was a degenerate gambler by the time I was in seventh grade, he said in a press statement after Saturday's win. There is no better place for us to win a big race.