Born in Cleveland in 1945, Jack Hodge has lived in Washington for nearly 40 years. Hodge had worked in the airline industry and was a successful commercial real estate developer before he became involved in the Thoroughbred industry through the claiming ranks in 1981 with the haltering of Mostly Malarkey at Longacres. That runner won his first outing for Hodge and partners and the die was set. Another claim, Spanish Lace, set in motion Jack and his wife Theresa’s fate as breeders. According to Jack, the mare “was kind and very nice. (She) whetted my appetite for the breeding business.”
After their initial success, the Hodges purchased breeder Hall of Fame nominee Maurice McGrath’s well-established Takhoma Farm in Enumclaw and renamed their new home Oak Crest Farm. Their daughter Stephanie is an accomplished equestrian.
The Hodges next stop on their equine trail was the Keeneland November sales where the couple made the serendipitous purchase of the young Bupers mare Momma Taj, who was carrying her first foal by Lt. Stevens. That foal, Colonel Stevens, became Washington’s 1983 champion two-year-old colt.
The first stakes winner to race in the Hodges’ silks was 1985 Miss Grillo Stakes winner Golden Screen.
Oak Crest has bred three other Washington champions, including two distaffers (Peterhof’s Patea and Guinevere) who would be named Washington horses of the year (1993 and 1998). 2007 Hall of Fame inductee Peterhof’s Patea was also state champion two-year-old filly in 1990 and twice champion older mare. Guinevere, who raced in the Hodges’ colors, was a champion distaffer at three and four. The Hodges also raced 1988 homebred champion older filly Finally Free.
Since ranking 26th among Washington breeders in 1983, Oak Crest Farm has consistently stood among the top 50 breeders statewide, reaching as high as fourth twice (1990 and 1993).
The Hodges were named TOBA Washington breeders/owners of the year in 1990 and Oak Crest Farm was a three-time “Washington Breeder of the Month” (1998, 1999 and 2000) and was also named “Owner of the Month” in 1988. Oak Crest Farm was also the leading owner by wins at Emerald Downs in 1999.
Among the other successful stakes horses the Hodges have raced was Washington sprint champion Crystal Run (in partnership), who in turn sired their homebred Crystal’s Double, winner of the 1994 Emerald Lads Stakes. The Hodges also bred and raced $257,318 stakes winner Inclinator and Angie C. Stakes winner Amocat, both offspring of Delineator; $290,014 stakes winner and graded stakes-placed Herculated; and 2006 Frizette Stakes (G1) winner Sutra, a daughter of Meadowlake who earned $356,873. Other stakes winners bred by the Hodges include Dollarwatchcrosing, Takin Dead Aim and Fort Tunney.
Most recently, Oak Crest bred Kit Cat Kitty, winner of the 2011 Diane Kem Stakes for Washington-bred two-year-old fillies, but the Hodges have also been in the national limelight as partners ofmultiple graded stakes winners Upperline, a $772,988 earning daughter of Maria’s Mon, and $668,543 earner Willcox Inn, a son of Harlan’s Holiday.
Jack was among the original investors in Emerald Racing Association in 1990 and was elected to its board of directors in 1992. He was the on-site coordinator for the permitting, design and construction of the Auburn track and currently manages the day-to-day facility operations. He has served as the vice president of Northwest Racing Associates Limited Partnership (operators of Emerald Downs) since the track’s inception. A longtime member of the WTBOA and former board member, Jack has also served on the advisory board of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce Board.