LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18/AP) — Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the deputy ruler of Dubai and an internationally renowned horseman, has died at the age of 75. Hamdan was also the owner of the more than 3,200-acre Shadwell Farm in Lexington.
"Sheikh Hamdan was a beloved figure around the world, cherished for his grace, humanity, loyalty, knowledge and sportsmanship," said Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin in a statement. "While he achieved great success as a Thoroughbred breeder and owner through his global Shadwell Farm operation, he made innumerable contributions to the sport – many of which were behind the scenes."
Emirati officials announced his death without specifying the cause. Sheikh Hamdan had been in poor health for several months. Last fall, he flew abroad for an unspecified surgery and in recent weeks his brother Sheikh Mohammed tweeted prayers for his recovery.
Sheikh Hamdan owned eight stud farms in Britain, Kentucky and Ireland with hundreds of regally bred horses and top stallions.
"It is a time to reflect on his achievements and his enormous contribution to the global Thoroughbred and Arabian industries," Shadwell Racing said in a statement. "His legacy will live on through his horses."
A tremendous sadness fell over Shadwell Farm early this morning when we awoke to learn the passing of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum! What a huge loss for so many! He has touched the lives of so many people in a positive way. pic.twitter.com/TcPkaGvZ5Z— Shadwell Farm (@ShadwellFarm) March 24, 2021
"Keeneland is grateful for his strong support of our sales and racing programs, including Shadwell’s involvement in our philanthropic activities," said Arvin. "Sheikh Hamdan's yearling purchases here include such standouts as Group 1 winner Dayjur and Belmont (G1) winner Jazil, and he also participated significantly in our November Breeding Stock Sale. On the race track at Keeneland, Shadwell won nine stakes led by the 2008 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) with Alwajeeha. Because of Shadwell's encouragement, Keeneland began the Best Turned Out Awards program to recognize hard-working grooms when Shadwell started to sponsor Keeneland's one-mile turf race during the 1999 Fall Meet. Keeneland is extremely proud of that race, the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), which became our first million-dollar event in 2014, anchors our Fall Stars Weekend and is a key stop on the road to the Breeders' Cup."
His funeral service will be restricted to family because of COVID-19, according to Dubai's government-run media office, which ordered government offices closed for three days of mourning.