October 1, 2019

Owner Samantha Siegel, left, talks to Vision in Gold in the winner’s circle after their victory in the Grade II, $150,000 Santa Maria Stakes, Saturday, February 12, 2011 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA.
© BENOIT PHOTO

Del Mar, CA …Thoroughbred horseracing owners, breeders, trainers and aficionados will want to enjoy an afternoon celebrating this “sport of kings” by honoring two esteemed “queens” of the sport.

SoCal owners/breeders Marsha Naify and Samantha Siegel will be feted at Don Diego Scholarship Foundation’s “A DAY AT THE RACES … CELEBRATING WOMEN IN HORSERACING” on November 23, 2019 at the Del Mar Racetrack.

Tickets for what promises to be the signature event of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (DMTC) Fall Racemeet are $200 if purchased before or on November 15; $250 thereafter. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available at www.dondiegoscholarship.org.

The event takes place in the famed, penthouse-level Il Palio restaurant. Guests will enjoy preferred parking, gourmet buffet and convenient sixth-floor wagering. They also will have an opportunity to meet and mingle with horseracing celebrities; foremost among them, the two honorees, who will be celebrated in the Winner’s Circle after they crown the winner of the race named in their honor.

“A DAY AT THE RACES … CELEBRATING WOMEN IN HORSERACING” is the brainchild of Don Diego Board Chairman Roxana Foxx; herself a racehorse owner and an accomplished equestrian. Foxx notes, “Over the years, numerous men, including owners, breeders, trainers and jockeys, have justly been honored for their achievements. We thought the time was right to pay tribute to two of the many stellar women who have propelled this sport forward. Both Marsha and Samantha are Southern California residents who come from legendary thoroughbred families, have forged successful careers, served on industry boards and display a genuine passion for horses.”

Marsha Naify’s father, Marshall, was an iconic figure in horseracing. His daughter has paved her own path focusing on breeding. An active owner/breeder since 2000, Naify has notched many victories; her 2018 record features 62 starts and five wins. Over the years, her winning horses have included Dublino, Amorama and Blackdoun, which was named 2004 Horse of the Meet at Del Mar. In 2007, Naify became the first woman to head the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) board. She also is committed to helping retired racehorses live a good life. In addition to being CEO/Founder of Liberty Road Stables, LLC, she is CEO/Founder of Surf and Sand Properties, LLC. Naify lives in Del Mar and Long Beach.

Samantha Siegel also comes from a family steeped in horseracing. In fact, her parents, Jan and Mace, met at a blind date at Aqueduct Racetrack, married in 1962 and purchased their first horse in 1964. She has been affiliated with JAY EM ESS Stable all her life. A pedigree and conformation expert, Siegel continues the family penchant for blue and lime green silks and for horses (such as Include Me Out and Masochistic) with intriguing names and winning ways. Declan’s Moon captured the 2004 Eclipse Award as the nation’s top two-year-old male, and undefeated Del Mar and Hollywood Futurity winner. Siegel, who lives in Beverly Hills, is on the TOC board and is treasurer of the CARMA horse retirement organization. During 2018, she amassed a racing record of 213 starts and 29 wins.

“A DAY AT THE RACES” proceeds will kickstart the creation of Don Diego’s Joe Harper Scholarship. This college scholarship will be given annually to students who are associated with the Del Mar Racetrack. Harper is the Director/President/CEO of the DMTC, which he has led since 1978, as well as a founding/continuing member of Don Diego’s Board of Directors. Actively involved in a lifetime of community service along with his wife Barbara, Harper has been named 2019 Nice Guy of the Year by www.sdniceguys.com, an organization that helps local people who have fallen on tough times get back on their feet.

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation was named for Don Diego, AKA Tom Hernandez, who served as the Fair’s welcoming goodwill ambassador from 1947-1984.

To date since its inception in 1986, the Foundation has awarded approximately $1,040,000 in scholarships to 257 students and in agriculture education grants, and is eagerly looking forward to raising its second million. More information is at www.dondiegoscholarship.org.