08/20/2015 12:17PM

Breeder Kathryn West dies at age 91


Prominent Kentucky breeder Kathryn Martin West died Tuesday in her Midway, Ky. residence at age 91.

West and her late husband, Robert Smiser West, developed Waterford Farm in Midway, Ky., into a leading commercial breeding and consignment operation, breeding most of their horses in partnership with Hall of Fame trainer MacKenzie Miller and his wife Martha.

The Midway property that comprises Waterford Farm had been in Kathryn West’s family since the 1880s, purchased by her great-grandfather, a Civil War veteran and successful mule breeder. She was an active pony rider and driver in her youth, and helped organize the Central Kentucky Pony Club, which later became the Keeneland Pony Club.

West was already a broodmare owner by the time she married R. Smiser West, a dentist, in 1950.

As part of the West/Miller partnership, Kathryn West co-bred Chilukki, the champion 2-year-old filly of 1999; and De La Rose, the champion turf mare of 1981. The partnership also bred 1991 Kentucky Oaks winner Lite Light, 2001 Coaching Club American Oaks winner Tweedside, 1972 Mother Goose Stakes winner Wanda, and English Group 2 winner Doulab among others.

The business is now known as Waterford-Milford Farm, after their son, Robert Jr., founded Milford Farm on adjacent land and merged operations. The younger West co-owns and operates the current setup, which offers sales, boarding, and quarantine services.

In addition to her Thoroughbred breeding pursuits, West was active in the foxhunting community as a member of the Iroquois Hunt Cub, participating in hunts into her early 70s. She was also a member of the Woodford Hunt Club and contributed to the Junior League Horse Shows.

West is survived by sons Henry and Robert Jr., sister Mildred Martin Buster, and three granddaughters. She is preceded in death by her husband, who died in 2006.

Funeral services will be held Friday at noon Eastern at Kerr Bros. Funeral Home in Lexington, Ky. Burial will follow at Midway Cemetery. Visitation will take place on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. at the funeral home. Memorial contributions are suggested to Hospice of the Bluegrass/Frankfort.