by RMHP Staff
Jess Jackson, the founder of the Kendall-Jackson winery and prominent thoroughbred owner, died at his California home today. He had been battling cancer; he was 81.
In recent years, Jackson was one of horse racing's leading owners. He campaigned two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, then purchased Rachel Alexandra, the sensational filly who was Horse of the Year in 2009. She was retired in the summer of 2010 and was bred to Curlin in February.
Jackson didn't just operate a successful racing stable, but he was also a man of integrity. He brought about suits against agents and exposed fraud and secret commissions within the horse industry in the mid-2000s. His actions led to the current transparency laws regarding horse sales in several states.
Rate My Horse PRO Media Director Debbie Hanson had the privledge of working with him to bring about this change, "I am saddened to hear the news of Jess Jackson's passing. The horse industry has lost a true visionary. I will best remember him not for his wine nor famous horses but for his unwavering courage and determination to take-on and change the industry to help protect the average horse owner. Jess was our voice and his voice will be sorely missed."
Keeneland Vice President of Sales Walt Robertson says, "He demanded excellence of himself and everyone around him and would not settle for anything less. He was a success-driven man whose accomplishments are staggeringly impressive. He often told us as an industry not what we wanted to hear, but what we needed to hear. It takes a strong man to do that. We will miss him."
Jackson is survived by his wife, Barbara, his five children and two grandchildren.