Tampa Bay Downs to present Mill Reef documentary film on Feb. 18

In partnership with the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, Tampa Bay Downs will present a screening of the documentary film Mill Reef: A Legacy of Heart on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the racetrack in Tampa, Fla.

The event is free to attend and open to the public, but advance registration will be required. Beverages and light fare will be available. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tampa-bay-downs-to-present-mill-reef-documentary-film-tickets-516858215837 for the event.

Mill Reef: A Legacy of Heart chronicles the legendary racehorse Mill Reef, who was named English and European Horse of the Year in 1971 when he won the Epsom Derby Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Eclipse Stakes, and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, among others. Mill Reef was bred in Virginia by Hall of Fame Pillar of the Turf Paul Mellon and campaigned by Mellon’s Rokeby Stables in Europe from 1970 through 1972. Overall, Mill Reef won 12 of 14 starts. He was trained by Ian Balding.

“Tampa Bay Downs is honored to showcase this film featuring Mill Reef, a spectacular horse bred in the United States and a formidable classic winner in Europe, and to pay tribute to his breeder and owner, Paul Mellon, who was preeminent in thoroughbred racing in America and Europe,” said Stella Thayer, president of Tampa Bay Downs. “His generous support elevated the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in its formative years and continues to this day.”

In 2020, the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, which is located in Upperville, Va., and was founded by Mellon’s late wife, Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, set out to create a film to chronicle the remarkable achievements of Mill Reef and tell the bigger story of Mellon’s passion and dedication to thoroughbred racing and breeding. The 33-minute documentary, directed by Virginia native Cassidy Glascock, has previously been screened in Middleburg, Va., and at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where Mellon was inducted as one of the institution’s inaugural Pillars of the Turf in 2013.

“This film was a true labor of love and teamwork, combining years of footage and photographs with the help of Brough Scott, Emma Balding, Oak Spring Garden Foundation staff, and collaboration with many museums and galleries,” said filmmaker Cassidy Glascock. “While I never met Mill Reef or Mr. Mellon, I hope that we have captured their essence and retold this story in a way that would make them proud.”

Cate Masterson, director of the National Museum of Racing added: “Paul Mellon left behind a legacy that has been instrumental to the success of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and to thoroughbred racing. He was inducted as part of the first group of Pillars of the Turf into the Hall of Fame in 2013. Stella Thayer served as the Museum’s president from 2005 through 2014 and continues to be influential in the success of the Museum. We are pleased to see their love for the thoroughbred and dedication to the industry being shared with the community at Tampa Bay Downs. This film will warm the hearts of any trainer, owner, breeder, or racing enthusiast.”

For more information about the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, including upcoming events, please visit www.racingmuseum.org or call (518) 584-0400.


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