06/09/2013 1:08PM

Dr. William Lockridge, co-founder of Ashford Stud, dies at 81

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Dr. William Lockridge, influential breeder and co-founder of Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., died June 8 at the age of 81.
A veterinarian by trade, Lockridge graduated from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine at age 21 and practiced in the Southwest for 12 years.

He founded the venerable Ashford Stud with business partner Robert Hefner in the mid-1970s. There, Lockridge quickly developed a business relationship with W. T. Young of Overbrook Farm and was a catalyst in the mating that produced world-class sire Storm Cat at several points along the way.

In 1965, Lockridge flew to North Platte, Neb. to purchase the stakes-winning mare Bolero Rose, the eventual dam of Crimson Saint. In a 2008 column for BloodHorse, Lockridge called Grade 3 winner Crimson Saint “one of the four or five of the most perfectly conformed horses I have seen during almost 60 years of association with Thoroughbreds.” After her racing career, Crimson Saint was sold at auction to breeder Tommy Gentry, who crossed her with Triple Crown winner Secretariat to produce Terlingua, the eventual dam of Storm Cat.

In 1981, Lockridge and Hefner acquired a 75 percent interest in Irish champion Storm Bird for a reported $21 million and stood him at Ashford. Looking for mares to breed to his new sire, he purchased Terlingua and soon became partners on the mare with Young. Not long after the deal was made, Ashford fell into dire financial straits and Young bought out Lockridge’s share on a group of mares including Terlingua, who was carrying Storm Cat at the time.

Lockridge sold Ashford Stud to its current owners, the Coolmore partnership, in 1984. He also spent time working for Walmac Farm, Shadowlawn Farm, Stonegate Farm, and The Alchemy during his career in the Thoroughbred business.

Lockridge remained active in the bloodstock trade after selling Ashford, working as a real estate broker and acting on behalf of international clients at horse auctions. Among his recent successes as a breeder was American Lion, co-bred by WinStar Farm, who was a multiple Grade 3 winner and competed in the 2010 Kentucky Derby.

Lockridge is survived by his wife Georgia, daughter Anna, sons William and Sam, and nine grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held Thursday, June 13, at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Versailles, Ky. at 10 a.m. Eastern. Burial will immediately follow at Lexington Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Lockridge’s honor to The Race for Education or Life in Abundance.