When Dogwood began the partnership concept many, many years ago, we were not greeted with a warm welcome from the old guard traditionalists in the sport, though there did come a thaw fairly early in our history. But given the chilly reception we got early on, it is ironic that today so many of the horses racing are owned by partnerships. No one obstructed our progress in the early days; still there were not many that were anxious to give us a friendly push. A few noteworthy people contributed to our success, and there were other influentials in the sport that recognized that a badly needed niche in racing was being offered and they bravely encouraged our existence. To these stalwarts I now look back fondly, remembering, of course, to salute some wonderful staff members to whom I am beholden.
While I have never been enchanted with every accountant I ever met - and my track record and modus operandi in life probably indicate a certain element of incompatibility - some of our success comes from my association with a certain accountant. In 1971, I went to Lexington to establish contact with what was at the time an outfit that was the Cadillac of accounting firms. I was ushered into the bowels of the building to an office the size of a broom closet, where sat a young accountant fresh from the coal mining area of western Kentucky. I was an unimportant prospective client and this young man was not exactly the star of the firm. Thus, our assignation. His name was Nelson Radwan and he turned out to be smart as hell. In his offhand, easy going manner, he has for a number of decades provided me with answers to many problems. Not one to simply identify problems, Nelson believed in solving them. His advice has been invaluable.
I have benefited in my career from having a wonderful equine insurance man in Bill Carl, who died a few months back. He was a good friend, a fine companion and a man who "knew the territory." A vital factor in Dogwood prosperity has been a very sharp attorney from Atlanta - one Kimbrough Taylor, another who came off the Junior Varsity in the late sixties to fashion the complicated evolution of the Dogwood partnership concept, a hazardous legal minefield indeed. Kim is a close friend and a wise counselor. Also pitching in on equine legal matters in Lexington has been Jim Philpott, quiet, quick, to the point, and effective.
Our advertising agency has been The Bell Group, with Ruthie Bowen as the point person. They have been great fun, always on target and probably underpaid. The husband of Ruthie is Ed Bowen. I met him first in 1966 when he was a cub reporter with The Blood Horse. Assigned to cover the inaugural Atlanta Steeplechase, of which I was a founder, Ed and I had good chemistry, have had ever since, and have been heavily involved in a variety of horse racing activities. He would certainly be racing's leading historian at this point.
I am grateful for the efforts of many trainers through the years, for the cooperation of sales companies, and for the guts and the understanding of some great sales consignors in the early days, who when asked to provide extended terms on my purchases at public auctions, were quick to understand the value of making it easy for me to bid and the beneficial effect of having another player in the game… and for their confidence that I would eventually pay off the purchases! Noteworthy among these were Brerry Jones, Leslie Combs, Lee Eaton and Warner Jones, to be followed by many others, until I did not need that credit concession any more.
No one helped me more than D. Wayne Lukas. He was on the ascendancy when I was trying to be, and he often went to great lengths to praise publicly the Dogwood group ownership concept, and even bought a share in one of our horses just for the hell of it. There was nothing in it for him, all the more reason for me to appreciate this kind recognition from an influential superstar.
It is dangerous to single out deserving people who have been in my corner over a period of four decades, but single out I must. I apologize to those I have not included.
This is Cot Campbell and this is my view.