Gregson Foundation Benefit by Steve Schuelein
Owner-breeders Jerry and Ann Moss were honored at the annual Edwin J. Gregson Foundation benefit hosted by California Thoroughbred Trainers. A gathering of 375 was on hand to celebrate the Los Angeles couple at Twin Palms in Pasadena on April 24.
More than $125,000 was raised for the foundation, which since its inception six years ago, has raised more than $1 million to improve the quality of life for backstretch workers and their families.
The Mosses’ head table blended their involvements in thoroughbred racing and the Hollywood entertainment industries. Table guests included trainers Richard Mandella, John Sadler, and John Shirreffs, and racing manager Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, as well as composer Burt Bacharach, screen stars Robert Wagner and Jill St. John, and producer-director-writer Tom Mankiewicz, also a California Horse Racing Board commissioner.
A video tribute included victories by Ruhlmann in the 1990 Santa
Anita Handicap, Sardula in the 1994 Kentucky Oaks, Kudos in the 2002
Oaklawn Handicap, and, of course, Giacomo in the 2005 Kentucky Derby.
It hardly seemed that a year had nearly passed since Giacomo’s heartstopping Churchill Downs upset at 50-to-1 for Shirreffs and jockey Mike Smith.
“We are truly blessed to have two people like you in this sport,” said Smith. “You truly care about people and each and every one of your horses. You have given so much more to the sport than you have taken back.”
Shirreffs echoed Smith’s comments. “What really stands out is your love and devotion to the horses,” he said.
Memories of the Kentucky Derby still raised goosebumps. “There was such a shock in the audience, sort of a loud silence,” said Jerry Moss of the finish. “Exultation doesn’t come close to explaining our feeling. We were just in this other-worldly experience.”
The CTT honored the Mosses for their outstanding achievements in racing, their dedicated efforts toward the advancement of the California horse racing industry, and their countless charitable contributions, including the Gregson Foundation
“Eddie Gregson was a good friend, and it’s a beautiful thing to have these kids go to school,” said Moss. One of the most fruitful programs in the foundation is a fund for scholarship grants that has enabled more than 50 individuals to attend college.
Several of the recipients attended the benefit, including Ariana Reynoso, a 2005 graduate of UC Berkeley, who expressed a few words of gratitude.
Moss offered the young scholars words of advice. “Follow your heart. Follow your dreams. Take chances. Don’t take no for an answer.”
That philosophy could apply not only to Giacomo’s longshot Kentucky Derby victory, but Moss’s determined rise to the top of the music industry.
Track hornblower Jay Cohen introduced the honorees with Tijuana Brass music, in deference to Jerry’s role as co-founder of A&M Records with Herb Alpert. It grew to become the world’s largest independent record company when it was sold to Polygram in 1990.
Moss and Alpert were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City on March 13.
Jerry, a native of New York, is chairman of Rondor Music Inc., a music publishing company, and chairman of Almo Sounds, Inc. Ann, a native of Salt Lake City, is an environmentalist who founded the Dolphin Connection.
Racing ties trace back more than 35 years and 40 stakes winners. In
addition to Giacomo, Ruhlmann, Sardula, and Kudos, the couple campaigned
major stakes winners from Aberuschka to Zoonaqua and in between
Fighting Fit, Delicate Vine, Altazarr, Lexicon, Rhapsodic, Solva, Lake
William, Brulay, Private Chef, Palmeiro, Van Rouge, Dixie Pearl, A La
Reine, Lindsay Jean, Belleski, Stanley Park, Tarlow, and Spellbinder.
ANN & JERRY MOSS by Jay Hovdey
In Thoroughbred racing, as in real life, individuals are largely known by the company they keep. Consider the recent company enjoyed by Ann and Jerry Moss.
On May 7, 2005, their galloping gray homebred Giacomo carried Ann and Jerry all the way to the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs by winning the 131st Kentucky Derby. With dramatic flair–not to mention 50-1 odds–Giacomo placed his owners alongside such transcendent racing names as Calumet Farm, Col. E.R. Bradley, Paul Mellon, William Woodward and Penny Chenery as winners of the world’s most famous horse race.
On the evening of March 13, 2006, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, Jerry Moss was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Non-Performer category, along with his partner and co-founder of A&M Records, Herb Alpert. The other members of the Hall of Fame’s class of 2006 included Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blondie, the Sex Pistols and Black Sabbath.
And now, on the evening of April 24, 2006, at the Twin Palms Restaurant in Pasadena, just down the road from Santa Anita Park, Ann and Jerry Moss are being honored by the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation for their dedicated efforts toward the advancement of the California horse racing industry, and their countless charitable contributions to assist those in need.
Once again, the Mosses find themselves in tall company, and they fit without missing a beat. The list of Gregson Foundation honorees includes Bob and Beverly Lewis, Mel Stute and his big brother Warren, Laffit Pincay, Eddie Delahoussaye, Dr. Jack Robbins and Noble Threewitt. And while none of them were particularly known for their red-hot guitar licks, their reputations make for a stand-alone Hall of Fame when it comes to California’s most respected names.
Jerry Moss was born in Brooklyn, made his record business fortune in L.A., and was a racing fan long before he met Ann, a former model and environmental activist. Rubbed together, they immediately began to light up the game from coast to coast.
Their first stakes winner was Lovely Robbery, coming 25 years ago in the 1981 Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Fighting Fit won the 1983 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park and became their first Breeders’ Cup starter a year later, when he finished third in the inaugural running of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Delicate Vine took the distinctive Moss colors on the road in 1986 to win the Arlington-Washington Lassie in Chicago and the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park. She went on to produce the Moss stakes winners Rayelle and Altazarr.
Rulhmann was a fierce Moss beast, tamed just long enough by Bobby Frankel and Charlie Whittingham to win races like the Santa Anita Handicap, the El Camino Real Derby, the Jamaica Handicap and the Mervyn LeRoy, while such turf mares as Galunpe, Aberuschka and Solva added spice to the brew.
The Mosses’ association with trainer Brian Mayberry resulted in memorable victories with Zoonaqua, Wild Harmony, Rhapsodic and Set Them Free, the dam of Giacomo. But the best of the Mayberry years was Sardula, who gave Ann and Jerry Moss a taste of the classics by winning the 1994 Kentucky Oaks.
A more recent association with Richard Mandella has clicked with such stakes winners as Kudos, Lexicon, Dixie Pearl, A La Reine and Brulay. Then John Shirreffs came into their racing lives, closely followed by major stakes winners Stanley Park and Tarlow, as well as the colt named Giacomo.
“First the Derby, then the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Jerry Moss said with a shake of his head. “Like I said to Ani, what’s left? How do you top the ultimate achievement in the things you love to do?”
For the Mosses, their answer always has been to give as good as they get. Ann Moss has been among the driving personalities behind the Dolphin Project, a campaign that raised a vital red flag of ecological awareness and helped motivate a degree of corporate responsibility. Both of them have been involved in support of the Special Olympics, not to mention their unprecedented gift of more than $500,000 to establish a scholarship fund for undergraduate and graduate students in UCLArts. Jerry is a founding member of the UCLArts Board of Visitors, while Ann is a member of the Board of Visitors of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Together they have supported a variety of Thoroughbred racing’s dearest causes as well. Lending their names to the fund-raising efforts of the Gregson Foundation is a good example. Named for the late trainer, owner, breeder and industry leader, the Foundation is committed to providing educational opportunities for the sons and daughters of the people who work so diligently behind the scenes, in the stables of California’s racetracks. Jerry Moss, for one, has been impressed with the foundation’s work.
“If only their government took as good a care of its people as racing does, this country would be in much better shape,” he said. “Between the backstretch medical clinics and programs like the Gregson Foundation scholarships, racing really tries hard to take care of its own.
“I think we still have to resolve backstretch living conditions,” Moss added. “We need to acknowledge the fact that people do live there. Something needs to be done to see that their living conditions meet certain standards. It’s the least we owe them.”
Two years ago, Jerry Moss stepped up to what could be considered the ultimate challenge for a member of the racing community when he accepted an appointment to the California Horse Racing Board.
“Every once in a while you’ve got to get off the sidelines, if you have the opportunity to help,” Moss said. “Especially when it’s a game you love so much.”
Following are a few highlights in this remarkable couple’s career in thoroughbred horseracing:
Triple Crown Win
Santa Anita Stakes Wins
Hollywood Park Stakes Wins
Other Major Stakes Wins