Racehorse owner donates portion of earnings to MARS Foundation auction

By Kristin Cook

Thousands of items have been auctioned over the past 13 years at the MARS Foundation’s annual golf outing event held each August at Lake Panorama, but nothing has been as unique as what was auctioned off in 2014.  

Brooke Tanner bid and won the unusual prize  -  10% of one year's earnings from a race horse named BP Cartels Policy ("Bill" for short).  

Horse Bill's racing money was donated by his owner, John and Mary Lawless, who met MARS Foundation founders Wayne and Marlene Anderson through fellow horse racing friends.

“Our thought was that it would be something different that we hoped would generate some excitement both at the auction and throughout the year," said John.  

The auction winner seems "very pleased with his winnings," said John.  "He's gotten his money back with the Prairie Meadows meet and Oklahoma City and Shakopee yet to go." 

  Bill and his jockey, Stormy Smith.

Bill and his jockey, Stormy Smith.

John and Mary got involved in horse racing in 1998, primarily with quarter horses, which generally run races from 250 - 440 yards in a straight line (as opposed to thoroughbreds, which run longer distances).  They currently own six horses outright or in partnership with others.  Their horse trainer lives south of Oklahoma City, where they spend a few months each winter.  The horses  generally race beginning in March in Oklahoma City until May, then move to Shakopee, Minnesota. In mid-August they come to Prairie Meadows and stay until mid-October. 

 “Horse racing has been an activity that definitely has its disappointments, but also some very high and exciting times.  Overall, it’s something we both really enjoy, especially the part that has introduced us to so many wonderful people from across the country,” said John.  

John and Mary we pleased they could put their horse racing expertise towards a good cause.

 “Not every horse does as well as Bill, but it has sure been fun to share his success to the benefit of MS research,” John said.

 Bill and some of the MARS Foundation crew

Bill and some of the MARS Foundation crew