John & Debbie Oxley
Year Inducted: 2011
The son of Oklahoma gas and oilman John T Oxley, the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree with second generation Oklahoma horseman, John C. “Jack” Oxley.
Both Oxleys have had a life in the petroleum industry and the sport of polo. From the Oxley Owasso horse ranch north of Tulsa, father and son each went on to be inducted into the National Museum of Polo Hall of Fame.
Jack’s interest in horses goes beyond the polo grounds and it has spilled into the winner’s circle of the most prestigious racetracks of North America. But Jack didn’t do it alone. His wife Debby trained racehorses and is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, the University of Louisville and holds a law degree from the University of Tulsa. Her horse sense and wisdom have been key ingredients to the couple’s success.
The Oxleys have enjoyed graded stakes victories with many thoroughbreds, utilizing trainer John Ward to gain their triumphs. Ward trained one of their earliest stars, 1995 Kentucky Oaks winner Gal In A Ruckus. Other top runners include: Sky Mesa, winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes, and Strong Contender, winner of the Grade 2 Dwyer and Super Derby.
The first Saturday in May of 2001 would be the day that the Oxleys reached the pinnacle of horse racing, when their gray colt Monarchos, burst to the lead in mid stretch at Churchill Downs to win the 127th ‘Run For The Roses.’ When Monarchos raced under the Twin Spires and across the finish line, he stopped the timer in 1:59.97, joining Secretariat as the only horse to win the Kentucky Derby with a final time of less than two minutes. Monarchos would go on to run a disappointing sixth in the Preakness Stakes, followed by a solid third in the Belmont Stakes to wrap up his attempts in the Triple Crown classics, behind Point Given in both.
The Oxleys were previously in the international horse racing limelight when their mare Beautiful Pleasure won the 1999 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (now called the Ladies’ Classic), en route to being voted the 1999 Eclipse Award for Champion Older Female.
The Oxleys currently reside in Midway, Kentucky and keep several brood-mares at their Fawn Leap Farm.
The seeds of horsemanship were sown early in the lives of Oklahomans John C. and Debby Oxley, and their roots helped them reap rewards in the Bluegrass of Kentucky and beyond.