09/06/2008 12:00AM

Horse advocate Hettinger dies at 74


John Hettinger, a horse advocate, horse owner, and former chairman of the Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation, died Saturday morning at his Akindale Farm in Pawling, N.Y., following a lengthy illness. He was 74.

Hettinger spent the latter half of his life heavily involved in horse racing, taking over his family's Akindale Farm in 1973 and expanding the property to 800 acres from 55 acres. As an owner, Hettinger campaigned such stakes winners as Chase the Dream, Genuine Regret, Jazzing Around, Lady D'Accord, Move It Now, Prospector's Flag, Stacked Pack, and Sir Wimborne. Hettinger's biggest victory came in the 1989 Long Island Handicap with Warfie.

In 1991, Hettinger helped revive Fasig-Tipton, North America's oldest Thoroughbred auction company, personally supplying 40 percent of the firm's $6 million capitalization plan. He supplied another $1.2 million from trusts benefiting his sons, James and William.

Hettinger, a member of the board of trustees of the New York Racing Association, became an outspoken opponent of horse slaughter and founded Blue Horse Charities, which was designed to help abolish the mistreatment of horses and raise money for adoption and retirement programs.

Hettinger is survived by his wife Betty, sons James and William, and grandchildren Caroline, Charles, and Lilly.

Funeral arrangements are private.