07/21/2005 12:00AM

Harthill remembered at service

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Dr. Alex Harthill was remembered as an icon and world-class equine veterinarian at a memorial service Wednesday night that drew hundreds of friends and admirers in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. Harthill, 80, died Saturday from complications of a stroke.

"I don't think there was ever anybody who ever did more for people on the racetrack than Dr. Harthill," said Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, who spoke at a 50-minute service at the Heady-Cralle Funeral Home.

Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day told the crowd that Harthill was "someone you could ride the river with. . . . That's cowboy terms for someone you could trust your life with."

Churchill Downs chaplain Ken Boehm said, "Some people, if they are lucky, will touch a few people as they go through life. Doc touched hundreds."

Harthill treated at least 26 Kentucky Derby winners and played a role in countless major racing events. His body was cremated, with some of the ashes scheduled to be flown to his family's ancestral home in Harthill, Scotland.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Shoemaker Foundation, the Kentucky chapter of the Racetrack Chaplaincy, or Hospice and Palliative Care of Louisville.