The 2016 Forbes 400 list of richest Americans demonstrates once again that the United States is a land of entrepreneurial opportunity, where anyone has the chance to succeed. Many of the individuals on the Forbes 400 built their fortunes from modest beginnings, such as the six wealthiest: Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg. Over ten percent of the Forbes 400 members are immigrants.
John Malone, doctorate in operations research from Johns Hopkins University, is the largest land owner in the United States, with 2 million acres, and the wealthiest racehorse owner to appear on the Forbes list, at number 61 overall and assets of $7.2 billion. The 75-year-old Malone’s source of wealth is cable television and related enterprises under the umbrella company Liberty Media. Malone and his wife Leslie own Bridlewood Farm in Ocala, Florida and Ballylinch Stud in County Kilkenny, Ireland. Leslie is an equestrian and supporter of the U. S. Olympic dressage team. Bridlewood this week purchased the broodmare Baffled, in foal to Tapit, at auction for $3.5 million.
Other wealthy individuals on the Forbes 400 list with active involvement in horse racing include Kevin Plank, B. Wayne Hughes, Brad Kelly, and Lee Bass (spouse of racehorse owner Ramona Bass).
Kevin Plank (age 44, $3 billion) graduated from the University of Maryland, where he was on the football team. He founded Under Armour in 1996 in the basement of his grandmother’s home. He owns Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, Maryland, which was once the property of Alfred G. Vanderbilt Jr. of Native Dancer fame.
B. Wayne Hughes (age 83, $2.7 billion) cofounded Public Storage in 1972, now the largest self-storage company. His main residence is in Lexington, Kentucky, where he owns Spendthrift Farm, which was the residence of the late Leslie Combs.
Brad Kelly (age 59, $2.2 billion) is a Kentucky native who attended Western Kentucky University and made his fortune in tobacco. He is one of the largest private landowners in the United States and owns the famous Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.
Ramona Bass, wife of Lee Bass (age 60, $1.8 billion) is a prominent racehorse owner from Fort Worth, Texas.
A number of the individuals on the Forbes 400 have equestrian involvement, though not in horse racing. For instance, daughters of Bill Gates ($81 billion) and Michael Bloomberg ($45 billion) are hunter-jumper competitors and Virginia resident Jacqueline Mars ($27 billion) is a trustee of the National Sporting Library and the U. S. Equestrian Team.
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