06/12/2007 11:00PM

Chicago-based owner Sidney Port dead at 96

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Sidney Port, highly successful Chicago businessman, philanthropist, and Thoroughbred owner, died on Monday at age 96.

Port founded Lawson Products, an industrial repair and maintenance parts company, in 1952, and took the company public in 1970, reaping financial rewards that allowed him to become active in philanthropic work, as well as horse racing. Port also contributed substantial sums to local politicians such as Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Port began buying racehorses in the 1970s, partnering with legendary trainer Charlie Whittingham. The two owned Claire Marine, who won the second running of the Beverly D. Handicap in 1989 at Arlington. More recently, Port won Arlington stakes races with Toasted and Ballingarry, both of whom were trained by Laura de Seroux.

Mickey Goldfine, who has trained Port-owned horses based in Chicago, said he was unsure what would become of Port's Thoroughbred holdings.

"He was really a good guy, and he's going to be missed in the racing world," Goldfine said.

Funeral services were scheduled for 1 p.m. on Thursday at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Ill.