Mace Siegel, a prominent owner and breeder of Thoroughbreds for more than 47 years, died of heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills on Wednesday at the age of 86. A founding member of the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), Siegel, a New Jersey native, campaigned horses in California with his wife, Jan, and daughter Samantha for three decades. He was predeceased by his wife in 2002.
The Siegels met on a blind date at Aqueduct racetrack in New York in 1962 and were married two months and five days later. Jan Siegel, who became interested in horse racing while a student at the University of Kentucky, was a singer with big bands in her youth and her favorite song was “I Love You Samantha.” Their daughter was named for the tune.
“Mace Siegel was a giant in our industry and along with his wife Jan and daughter, Samantha, ran a first class operation,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “Their blue and lime-green silks were synonymous with success and their horses always came first. Mace’s compassion, leadership and enthusiasm for horse racing will be sorely missed. On behalf of all of us here at Santa Anita, I’d like to extend our deepest sympathy to Samantha and the entire Siegel family. He loved Santa Anita and we loved him.”
The Siegels bought their first horse in 1964 and won their first stakes race in 1976, with Wininreno, who took the Julian Cole Handicap at Calder Race Course in Florida. They brought their stable to California on a full-time basis in the mid 1980s.
The family had great success with modestly priced yearlings beginning in the late 1980s. The horses were selected at public auctions primarily by trainer Brian Mayberry and his wife, Jeanne.
Their Jay Em Ess Stable first gained national prominence in 1989, when three of their horses, all trained by Mayberry, won $100,000 stakes races on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Gulfstream Park.
The highlight of their ownership career came in 2004, when their Declan’s Moon finished the year by winning the Grade I Hollywood Futurity and was then named Eclipse Award Champion 2-year-old male.
A list of their other Grade I winners includes Boys At Toscanova, Hedonist, I Ain’t Bluffing, I Believe In You, Miss Iron Smoke, Rail Trip, Stormy But Valid and Urbane.
Mayberry trained for the Siegels from 1977 through 1995 and their other trainers included John Tammaro, John Russell, Ron Ellis, Bruce Headley, Anthony Dutrow, Richard Dutrow Jr., Paul McGee and Peter Miller.
A major developer of retail shopping malls, Mace Siegel formed Macerich Company of Santa Monica, which develops, owns and manages regional shopping malls. He acquired his first mall in 1972 and Macerich eventually became the nation’s third largest owner of regional malls.
Funeral services for Mace Siegel are pending.