Racing Commission Member Alex Lieblong Takes In Annual NY Horse Sale

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Aug. 19, 2013 12:00 am  

Alex Lieblong

Alex Lieblong is known as a savvy investor, the owner of Lieblong & Associates of Little Rock as well as founder of Key Colony investments fund.

Lieblong also is among the six largest shareholders of Home BancShares Inc. of Conway, according to the bank holding company’s 2013 proxy statement.

Lieblong, a board member at Home BancShares, holds 1.98 percent of the company’s stock, worth more than $19.3 million as of the statement’s release in March.

But did you know that Lieblong spent a day or two earlier this month among — excuse us for lapsing into 1920s-era slang — the toniest of swells: those attending the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale of Selected Yearlings in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

This gathering hosts the sale of some of the finest — and most expensive — Thoroughbred racehorses in the world.

Lieblong’s presence at the sale, held Aug. 5-6, was noted by The New York Times, which documented the event in an article published Aug. 9 and headlined “The Hamptons on the Hoof.”

From The Times:

“Fortunes tied to shipping, steel, oil, trucking, construction and Campbell’s Soup infused the auction with people liquid enough to buy million-dollar horses and to pay in full within 15 days, as rules require.

“There, for example, was B. Wayne Hughes, the self-made self-storage billionaire. There was Alex Lieblong, an Arkansas investor whose wife, JoAnn, was once the victim of a $1 million kidnapping plot. There was Robert Low, a trucking and gaming magnate, and D. Wayne Lukas, the horse trainer as controversial as he is successful, attired in one of his customary $3,000 suits. There was Barbara R. Banke, proprietor of Kendall-Jackson, one of the nation’s largest wineries.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the sale seemed to indicate greater enthusiasm about the economy, at least among the awfully rich: “From the house perspective, the current spending could signal a new confidence. ‘The fear of purchasing has subsided,’ said Bayne Welker, vice president of sales for Fasig-Tipton.”

The two-day event saw the sale of 108 horses for $31.9 million, with an average price of $295,093.

Lieblong, a member of the Arkansas Racing Commission, was out of the office last week and a voice-mail message wasn’t returned as of press time. The Oaklawn website says that Alex and JoAnn Lieblong own a number of racehorses.

As for the kidnapping plot? That’s old news but still interesting. Summing up:

James Avery Slack was convicted of the 1993 kidnapping of JoAnn Lieblong. In 1997, Slack, serving an 88-year sentence for the Lieblong crime, escaped from prison and abducted Johnny Allison, the chairman and co-founder of Home BancShares, who escaped from Slack after a couple of hours. In 1998, Slack was sentenced to 60 years for the Allison kidnapping.

Both Allison and the Lieblongs appear to have rebounded nicely.

 

 

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