06/20/2017 10:14AM

Kentucky breeder Hargus Sexton dies at 96

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Hargus Sexton, a prominent Kentucky Thoroughbred breeder, died June 15 at his home in Versailles, Ky. He was 96.

A native of Green Hall, Ky., Sexton held a variety of jobs in his earlier years, including RC Cola distributor, dairy farmer, bartender, and mutuel teller at Keeneland and Churchill Downs. In the 1950s, he began a 60-year run in the tobacco industry, much of it as a partner in United Tobacco. Sexton also founded United Beverage Inc. and Hargus Sexton GA insurance company.

In his tobacco endeavors, Sexton developed a working relationship with Julien Walden, grandfather of Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm, and Ben Walden Jr., formerly of Vinery and Pauls Mill.

That connection came back into play when Sexton entered the Thoroughbred industry in the early 1980s, working with Ben Walden Jr. at Vinery. Among their ventures together was the acquisition of 1991 Horse of the Year Black Tie Affair by the Midway, Ky., farm.

In 1987, Sexton married Sandra Ellsworth, the niece of California-based owner Rex Ellsworth, who campaigned 1956 Horse of the Year and 1955 Kentucky Derby winner Swaps.

Under the name Oakcrest Farm, the Sextons bought several properties in central Kentucky, totaling over 900 acres. The operation primarily breeds to sell, and consigns through Warrendale Sales.

Notable runners bred or co-bred by the Sextons include 2007 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Corinthian; Grade 1 winners Gayego and Capo Bastone; Grade 2/Group 2 winners Satan’s Quick Chick, Desert Hero, Crypto Star, and Sri Pekan; Grade 3 winners Xtreme Bid, Silent Valor, and Mo Tom; Grade 1-placed stakes winner I Love Silver and The Medic; and Grade 2-placed stakes winners Morris Code, Rock Opera, Package Store and Valhol.

A celebration of life will take place Wednesday at Moss Hill Golf Course in Versailles, Ky., from 6-8 p.m.