Paul Mellon was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended the Universities of Yale, Oxford, and Cambridge, where he received many honorary degrees. He joined the Army six months before the incident at Pearl Harbor and was discharged as a major, with four bronze stars. After the war, Mellon expanded his racing interests. He acquired Rokeby Stables located in Upperville, Virginia, which is one of the state of Virginia’s real treasures. This 4,000-acre farm is acknowledged to be one of the most magnificent farms and stables in the world. Prior to 1992, Rokeby Stables was home to 90 to 100 Thoroughbreds and was one of the major forces in horse racing for over 60 years. Mellon produced over 1,000 winners of stakes races with total combined earnings in excess of $30 million.
Mellon received many awards for his distinguished career in Horse Racing and accomplishments. Quadrangle, which was one of Mellon’s several winning horses, won five major races in 1964, including the Wood, Travers, and Belmont Stakes. Fort Marcy, was Grass Horse of the Year in 1967 and 1970, and won the D.C. International twice. Mellon’s horse by the name of Arts and Letters, won eight stakes races including the Blue Grass, Woodward, Travers, and the Belmont Stakes, in 1969. Mill Reef, another one of Mellon’s horses, won the European Horse of the Year, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Longchamp), Epsom Derby, King George IV, Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Ascot), and Eclipse Stakes (Sandown). His horse, Sea Hero, was a winner of the Kentucky Derby in 1993.
Paul Mellon was a Trustee of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Today, he still stands as only one of four persons to have received the designation Exemplar of Racing from the Horse Racing Hall of Fame in recognition of his accomplishments in and contributions to the sport of Horse Racing. He was also inducted into the English Jockey Club Hall of Fame in 1989.