- Aron Wellman, President
Aron Wellman was born on August 18th, 1977 in Los Angeles, California. The son of longtime thoroughbred breeders and owners, Michael and Cory Wellman, Wellman has been “born into” the thoroughbred horse racing industry. Having enjoyed the privilege of an upbringing surrounded by racing legends Bill Shoemaker and Eddie Delahoussaye, Wellman experienced an invaluable horse racing education that money simply cannot buy.
From the time he was born, Wellman considered the backsides of Southern California racetracks, Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar his second home. By the age of 8, he had convinced local trainer, Jude Feld, to allow him to tag along on an early morning venture to the backside of Del Mar, where Jude was training a string of 20 horses. From 4:30am the next morning until he graduated from Law School at the age of 24, Wellman worked every summer for Feld, starting by mucking stalls, to walking hots, to becoming the groom of Vielle Vigne, the winner of the Grade 2, Chula Vista Stakes in 1991 (age 14) to ultimately serving as an assistant trainer. Needless to say, Wellman had the hands-on, behind-the-scenes experience from a young age. With horsemanship always at the front of his mind, Wellman was able to combine his intimate understanding of the horses themselves with an education about the business of the horse racing industry.
As a frequent guest of Bill Shoemaker in Southern California Jockey’s Rooms and with Eddie Delahoussaye as another close family friend, Wellman was constantly surrounded by industry royalty and made his mentors Shoe and Delahoussaye, both of whom are individuals who not only achieved greatness at the pinnacle of the sport, but did so with grace, class and integrity, traits Wellman has always made paramount. Always absorbing as much information as possible, Wellman became intent on paving his own path of success in the industry. With horse racing as a passion, it was only a matter of time before Wellman would make headlines of his own.
Always a fierce competitor, Wellman graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara in 1999 after having played 4 years of Division I collegiate soccer. From there, Wellman attended Southwestern University Law School and graduated in 2002. He passed the California Bar Exam that summer and set out on a path in the legal profession where practiced as a trial attorney for a boutique litigation defense firm in Los Angeles.
Living by the famous mantra of legendary trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, which Wellman cited to in his Bar Mitzvah speech at the age of 13: “The chance of a lifetime, in a lifetime of chance,” Wellman ventured out into horse ownership in 2002 by claiming a 4 year-old gelding by the name of Rhetoric Express for $32,000 at Santa Anita. One month later, Rhetoric Express ran away with a first condition allowance race, winning by 5 lengths. It was clear that Wellman was well on his way…..
Within months, Wellman found himself being approached by numerous individuals who were interested in forming partnerships to acquire racehorses. With considerable success in claiming horses, Wellman made his first significant purchase in December of 2002, when he formed a partnership to acquire a 2 year-old filly from Europe named Three Degrees. After winning a Graded Stakes and establishing herself as one of the best turf fillies in the country within months of her acquisition, it was Three Degrees who put Wellman on the map, and the filly whom Wellman attributes to the formation of his initial foray into formal racehorse syndication: LGL RACING.
In just slightly more than 3 years, with Wellman at the helm, LGL Racing boasted a win percentage well over 25%. Perhaps even more impressive was Wellman’s proven ability to find the “big horse” year in and year out. Horses like Three Degrees and Valbenny, who won multiple Graded Stakes and was ultimately sold for $1.2 million as well as the Graded and Stakes winner, Miss Singhsix, gave LGL partners a taste of what winning at the highest level felt like and it was that unique ability to find those high quality horses for bottom dollar that brought Wellman and LGL to the forefront of the racing spectrum.
In December of 2007, Wellman’s success caught the eye of Barry Irwin, the President of Team Valor International and the man considered to be the smartest and most successful syndicator of racehorses in the world. Shortly thereafter, Irwin convinced Wellman to leave his law practice, fold up LGL and join him at Team Valor as the Vice President of the world renowned racing stable.
In just 3 ½ seasons of Wellman working by Irwin’s side, Team Valor won a total of 200 races, 58 Stakes races, 34 of which were Graded, including 9 Grade 1′s, the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf with Pluck and the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom. Wellman traveled the world, gained an incredible amount of knowledge while working with some of the most renowned horses, trainers, vets and jockeys and garnered the experience and foundation which has given him the confidence to strike out on his own with Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.
Wellman has made it his mission in life to continue to scale new heights within the industry all the while etching his partner’s names in the history books and to simultaneously provide Eclipse partners with an honest, fun, exciting, affordable and educational horse ownership experience. The vehicle by which he plans to accomplish this mission is Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. By combining horsemanship with business savvy and top shelf partner service, Wellman has created a recipe for success for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, which is certain to provide individuals with many, many years of countless thrills.
- Jack Sadler, Vice President of Operations
Jack Sadler has been involved with the thoroughbred industry since 1976 (the year he graduated from Washington and Lee), when he worked for trainer Frank Alexander and groomed a filly named Moona’s Dust – who was owned by Dogwood Stable at the time. In 1981 he left the race track and went to work as the assistant trainer at Dogwood Stable’s farm in Greenville, Georgia, and made the move to Aiken when the operation relocated in 1986. He moved into the Dogwood office in 1990, trading his lead shank for the telephone and keyboard, where he assumed the role of Vice President under the leadership of Cot Campbell.
In 2013, under the partnership agreement put in place between Dogwood Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Sadler joined Eclipse as Vice President of Operations where he handles partner and trainer communication, as well as provides overall operational assistance to the Eclipse team.
- Bill Victor, Chief Financial Officer
Originally hailing from Lexington, Kentucky, Bill Victor worked for Nelson Bunker Hunt’s Bluegrass Farm for three years before moving to Aiken and joining the Dogwood Stable staff in 1991. He’s a graduate of UK and a huge supporter of the Wildcats. At Dogwood, Victor was responsible for all aspects of the finances of Dogwood Stable and its various partnerships. In 2013, under the partnership agreement put in place between Dogwood Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Victor joined the Eclipse team as Controller.
Victor is currently responsible for financial oversight for both the Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ corporate entity, as well as all Eclipse partnerships campaigning horses on the track.
- Kelsey Marshall, Director of Partner Relations
Like many racing enthusiasts, Kelsey Marshall was hooked by the most exciting two minutes in sports – the Kentucky Derby. Kelsey’s family friends owned and bred racehorses and while watching her first Kentucky Derby, Kelsey was captivated.
After studying Political Science at Miami University, Kelsey began her professional career at CIN Legal Data Services; the largest provider of data and due diligence services to the consumer bankruptcy market. It was here that she was able to hone her customer service and account management skills to ensure every consumer and attorney’s needs were met. Kelsey thrived in her position at CIN but was always drawn to the horses in her spare time.
The 2010 Breeders’ Cup was a turning point for Kelsey both personally and professionally. The thrilling stretch duel between eventual Horse of the Year, Zenyatta, and Classic winner, Blame, was the moment that Kelsey knew horse racing had to be more than just a hobby – this was an industry she had to work in.
In continuing to travel to various racetracks across North America, Kelsey positioned herself for the role of Partner Relations with the newly formed Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. Working for Eclipse not only combines her love for racing but also integrates her executive level customer service skills. Eclipse partners have someone in Kelsey that they can count on – her love for people, horses and all things racing should make Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners a racing experience that is unparalleled.
- Christina Olivares, Director of Media Relations
Christina Olivares was born and bred for the world of horseracing. The daughter of jockey Frank Olivares, by the age of four, Christina was already in horse back riding lessons five days a week. “I got my first pony when I was six years old and was hooked from there.” She went on to compete successfully in the world of hunter/jumpers with other Southern California racing connections, spending most weekends at horseshows with Kristin McCarron, Ashley Stevens and Kristin Mulhall.
With her father based on the Southern California circuit, Christina spent her high school summers working for his training operation in Del Mar. “Summer doesn’t start for me until Del Mar….I can still remember waking up to go hotwalk and pony for my dad as a teenager, or building sandcastles on the beach with Bill Shoemaker as a kid, having barbeques on 18th Street and fishing at night.” Through her experiences, Christina not only became familiar with the racing community but was able to learn the business from the ground up.
Christina went on to graduate from The University of Southern California where she was involved in many campus activities. She entered the Annenberg School for Communications declared in Broadcast Journalism and Entertainment Communications. In addition to her curriculum, Christina worked for prominent entertainment programs such as MTV News and Extra.
As a senior in college, she began working for HRTV as a weekend reporter and features producer. Upon graduation Christina was hired full time at HRTV where she continued to serve as a reporter. She also co-conceptualized as well as produced the weekly countdown shows ‘Target Louisville’ and ‘Pursuit of the Cup.’
It was here that Christina was spotted by TVG and recruited as a full-time reporter and host. At TVG, Christina plays a key roll on the original programs Trackside Live, Racing Coast To Coast, Horse Racing All Access and was given her own show, Lady Luck. Christina has also become a regular spokeswoman for thoroughbred racing as a whole with segments on Jim Rome is Burning, Fox Sports Radio and various local news programs.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my career thus far; TVG enables me to do what I love in an industry that I am very passionate about. Over the years I’ve been able to experience premiere racing in North America and abroad. The connections I’ve made, people I’ve met and horses I’ve seen run have enriched my life in a way that I never thought possible. I couldn’t imagine working in any other profession.”
Christina continues to be an integral part of the TVG on air staff and looks forward to bringing her knowledge and passion for the game to ETP.
- Lee Midkiff, Chairman
Lee Midkiff first garnered his enthusiasm for horse racing as a child attending races with family members at small tracks on the East Coast and then as a college student in Southern Indiana. Having attended the Kentucky Derby for over 10 years straight, Lee quickly developed the desire to get involved with the sport in an ownership capacity.
After studying Business and Political Science at Indiana University, Lee found himself in Dayton, Ohio, where he co-founded ExpressClose.com, a mortgage services and title fulfillment company. Having grown that company from the original three founders to an organization with over 220 employees, Lee eventually sold the business to a leading Fortune 600 company.
After selling Expressclose.com, Lee founded CIN Legal Data Services, an information services company specializing in providing data used in streamlining the creation and filing of Federal Bankruptcy petitions by consumer bankruptcy attorneys. Lee grew CIN Legal Data Services into an entity providing products and services to over 11,000 law firms in all states and US territories. Lee remained CEO of CIN Legal Data Services though February of 2012 of the now private-equity owned business.
Lee heightened his affinity for horse racing and horse racing ownership through participation in other racing syndicates. Lee has been fortunate to have experienced the thrill of racing at the highest levels with wins in the Breeders Cup, Kentucky Derby and multiple Grade I, II and III races. Lee enjoys attending races throughout the country and is often spotted with both of his small children who have in short order developed a strong affection for racing and thoroughbred racehorses.
As the Chairman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Lee provides direction and assistance in the areas of operations, finance and technology as Eclipse strives to provide its partners with the best overall on-track and off-the-track experience.