Leonard Lavin, the 96-year-old legendary Florida owner/breeder, will be bestowed with the Eclipse Award of Merit, according to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB), and the Daily Racing Form.
The award is for a lifetime of outstanding achievement and will be presented to Lavin at the 45th Annual Eclipse Awards, which will be held at the Gulfstream Park on January 16.
“I am both surprised and deeply honored to receive the Eclipse Award of Merit,” said Lavin.
“It is truly my proudest moment in the horse business, a business that has been one of the great pleasures of my life. From the normal Thursday cards to racing in the Breeders’ Cup and everything in between I have found every moment to be a thrill and a reward. With that has come the wonderful relationships made with people throughout the industry, the camaraderie with our team at Glen Hill Farm, and of course the horses we’ve had the pleasure of breeding, owning and racing. And now this award provides a capstone that leaves me both humbled and grateful.”
Glen Hill Farm, which saw the reigns handed to Lavin’s grandson (Craig Bernick) in 2008, has produced over 80 stakes winners such as One Dreamer, who won the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I). Other notable stakes winners includes: Marketing Mix, Repriced, Top Rung, Relaunch, Rich in Spirit, and Concept.
When asked what his career highlight was Lavin mentioned a 1972 race win by Convenience over Typecast that brought in over 50,000 spectators to Hollywood Park.
Since the Award of Merit was introduced in 1976 it has been handed out 39 times. Lavin’s award will be the 40th.