06/25/2014 3:54PM

James Tafel, owner and breeder of Street Sense, dies at 90

Michael J. Marten
The late James B. Tafel owned and bred Street Sense, the only horse to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Kentucky Derby.

James B. Tafel, owner and breeder of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, died Wednesday in his home at the Village of Golf, Fla. He was 90.

Tafel became active in the Thoroughbred industry in the 1980s, shortly after retiring from a lengthy career in the publishing business, with the help of Cot Campbell of Dogwood Stable.

His biggest success was Street Sense, a homebred who became the first horse to win both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Kentucky Derby. The son of Street Cry earned an Eclipse Award in 2006 as champion 2-year-old male on the strength of his Breeders’ Cup win. He now stands at Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky.

Tafel also co-owned Banshee Breeze, the champion 3-year-old filly of 1998, with Jayeff B Stable. Other notable stakes winners owned and/or bred by Tafel include Vicar, Unshaded, Til Forbid, Coolawin, Metfield, and Binalong.
Since 2000, Tafel-owned horses have won 238 races for earnings of over $14.6 million. Tafel’s primary trainer throughout his career in racing was Carl Nafzger.

Tafel based the bulk of his breeding operation at Mill Ridge Farm in Lexington, Ky., whose staff helped him select the mating between then-first-crop sire Street Cry and the winning Dixieland Band mare Bedazzle that produced Street Sense.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Tafel graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1950 after serving in the Air Force in World War II. He spent 30 years with Technical Publishing Company, a trade and professional magazine company near his home in Barrington, Ill., starting in sales in 1953 and retiring as president and CEO in 1983.

Tafel is survived by his wife Ida May, as well as daughter Julie Tafel Klaus, son James Jr., and granddaughters Victoria Tafel, Haley Klaus, and Cameron Klaus.