But the Royal Ring of Meet and Greet is no cause for pride AB ’91 He has spent the last 23 years in the horse racing business.
“It’s a huge cross section of people who are drawn to the sport—their backgrounds, socioeconomic status,” says Pride, COO of Godolphin USA, the North American branch of the world’s largest Thoroughbred racing and breeding operation.
“I was drawn to the horse first and the sport second,” he continues. “The horse is what keeps you in it.”
And there is no shortage of horses at Godolphin, with Pride’s headquarters at Jonabell Farms. The farm group is located on 6,000 acres outside of Lexington, Kentucky; It houses about 600 horses and employs over 150 people. Godolphin USA is part of the wider Godolphin world, which spans four continents, and was founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai. Godolphin is actually two different divisions – one for breeding and one for racing. Pride divides his time between them. The reproduction side alone is $50 million a year.
Pride manages personnel, client relations and talent identification. Talented horses, specifically.
“You can look physically at the horse. Sometimes it looks different from everyone else, and moves differently,” says Pride. “Horses are pack animals, and they have that competitive spirit. There will be a hierarchy, but you never really know until they run a race.”
Pride grew up around horses in Nashville, where he received his first pony when he was four years old.
He came to UGA to play soccer. A Pride defensive back appeared his senior year. He was a starter on the JV team, and while he wore the varsity silverware on two occasions, he never took to the field.
Pride’s college football career ended his sophomore year, and he devoted his time to his studies. He also acquired a horse, which he rode on the ranch of sociology professor Harold Nix.
After graduating with a history degree, both Pride and his wife, Beth AB ’90, MEd ’92, worked as teachers and coaches in South Carolina. However, the pride’s interest in horses and racing did not subside. One summer, he even worked out at Delaware Park outside of Wilmington.
In 1999, they decided to take up the horse business and moved to Lexington. Pride started from below as a groom. The tools of his trade included a brush (for horses) and a trowel.
Godolphin’s predecessor, Darley, appointed Pride in 2002 to manage their stallions. By 2006, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of American Operations. “I have this theory that if you’re trustworthy, hard working, and have basic people skills, you can go a long way,” Pride says.
Godolphin had her biggest success in 2021, when her horse Essential Quality won the Belmont Stakes, the third jewel of the Triple Crown. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work, and while Godolphin will not have a horse in any Triple Crown races in 2022, Essential Quality has now retired and returned to Lexington in hopes of siring the next generation of champions.
This story will appear in the Fall 2022 issue of Georgia Journal.