Dogwood Stable President Cot Campbell always enjoys his annual summer visit to Saratoga Springs, but this year, he’s more excited than usual about spending time in Upstate New York.
On Friday, the 90-year-old Aiken resident will be inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall Fame in the Pillars of the Turf category.
“It’s going to be the thrill of a lifetime,” said Campbell earlier this week. “I can’t imagine a nicer honor, so I’m very pumped. I’m anxious for it to get here.”
The ceremony is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at Fasig-Tipton’s Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion. It will be live-streamed at racingmuseum.org.
Campbell has 60 seats in the Sales Pavilion reserved for his family, friends and business associates.
“I’m going to speak for about five minutes,” he said. “I’m going to talk about what a wonderful life I’ve had and how it’s due to multiple factors, one being the woman I married and another being my involvement with racehorses. My life also been adventurous, tumultuous, exciting and, at times, bizarre.”
Pillars of the Turf are “individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to thoroughbred racing in a leadership or pioneering capacity at the highest national level,” according to the National Museum of Racing’s website.
In addition to Campbell, 2018’s Pillars of the Turf inductees include three members of the Whitney family that has strong ties to Aiken – William Collins, Harry Payne and Cornelius Vanderbilt.
The others are Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin, August Belmont I, Penny Chenery, John W. Galbreath, Arthur B. Hancock Sr., Hal Price Headley, John Morrissey and Dr. Charles H. Strub.
In addition, trainer William Lakeland and racehorses Heavenly Prize and Preakness will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday.
“It’s very heady stuff,” said Campbell of his inclusion in the group.
Considered a trailblazer in the Sport of Kings, Campbell popularized the concept of racing partnerships.
Groups put together by him campaigned many talented horses, including Palace Malice, Summer Squall and Storm Song.
An earner of more than $2.6 million, Palace Malice won the Belmont Stakes in 2013. Summer Squall captured the Preakness Stakes in 1990, and his daughter, Storm Song, received an Eclipse Award as the champion filly of 1996 after triumphing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Another Dogwood thoroughbred, Inlander, won an Eclipse Award as 1987’s champion steeplechaser.
“For anything that I’ve donated to the good of thoroughbred industry, I have been repaid and recognized,” Campbell said.
A member of The Jockey Club, Campbell was the Thoroughbred Club of America’s honor guest in 2004, and he received an Eclipse Award of Merit in 2012.
The National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, the University of Louisville’s Equine Industry Program, the University of Arizona’s Racetrack Industry Program and others also have recognized Campbell for his contributions to racing.
Campbell was the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce’s Man of the Year in 2006 and the Aiken Standard’s Person of the Year in 2013.
In 2007, Campbell was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.
Two years ago, he was a Walk of Fame honoree at Saratoga Race Course.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony isn’t the only reason why Campbell is looking forward to Friday.
In the afternoon at Saratoga Race Course, the 3-year-old filly Anne Dupree is scheduled to run in a 1⅛-mile event. She is named for Campbell’s wife, Anne.
The race is seventh one on Saratoga’s 10-race card. It is named in honor of Campbell and Chenery to congratulate them for being Hall of Fame inductees.
Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Anne Dupree has competed four times in her career so far. She finished third in a 1-mile race in February at Tampa Bay Downs in Florida and second in a 1 1/16-mile event in May at Pimlico Race Course in Maryland.
The races at Tampa Bay and Pimlico were on grass. The race at Saratoga on Friday will be on dirt.
In a deal finalized in 2013, Campbell sold his Dogwood Stable client list to Eclipse and agreed not to form new racing partnerships that would compete with that group.
He and Eclipse now own a 2-year-old colt named Pipes together.
In his career debut, Pipes finished third in a 5½-furlong race on July 23 at Saratoga.
“With the Hall of Fame ceremony in the morning, a cocktail party that night and Anne Dupree’s race in between, it’s going to be a terrific Friday,” Campbell said.