Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson

Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson
wines and a prominent horse owner, died Thursday at his home in Geyserville,
Calif., Kendall-Jackson . He was 81.

A Jackson
Family Wines spokeswoman said the cause of death was complications from

described himself as a life-long racing fan who watched Seabiscuit race. In his
later years, he became a prominent horse owner and breeder, best known for
racing two-time Horse of the Year Curlin (2007-’08) and 2009 Horse of the Year
Rachel Alexandra with partners.

Curlin was
bought after he won his racing debut by more than 12 lengths. He finished third
in the Kentucky Derby and then won the Preakness, Jockey Club Gold Cup and
Breeders’ Cup Classic to receive racing’s top honors in 2007.

The next year
Curlin captured the $6 million Dubai World Cup, Churchill Downs’ Stephen Foster
and the Gold Cup for a second year as he became American racing’s first $10
million earner. He was again Horse of the Year even though he was beaten in the
Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Jackson and a
partner purchased Rachel Alexandra after she won the Kentucky Oaks by 20-1/2
lengths. In her first start for Jackson, she captured the Preakness and also
beat boys in the Grade I Haskell and Saratoga’s Whitney to earn Horse of the
Year, even though she sat out the Breeders’ Cup.

Jackson not
only bought horses privately but was a big spender at the yearling and
2-year-old sales. He had become more active in breeding in recent years.

He is survived by
his wife, Barbara Banke, five children: Jennifer Hartford, Laura Giron, Katie
Jackson, Julia Jackson and Christopher Jackson and two grandchildren Hailey
Hartford and MacLean Hartford.

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