06/09/2017 10:03AM

Longtime jockey and trainer Harry Holcomb dies

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Harry Holcomb, who spent more than a half-century in racing as a jockey and trainer, died Monday at his home in nearby Shelbyville after a lengthy illness. He was 86.

Born in St. Louis, Holcomb began riding in the late 1940s at Fairmount Park, with his career lasting 22 years until he turned to training. He trained for another 32 years, working a circuit primarily of Ohio, Kentucky, and Arkansas, before retiring in 1999. His top horse as a trainer was Etony, a multiple stakes winner.

Holcomb and his late wife, Martha, had one son, Tim, who worked as a chart caller for Daily Racing Form prior to his death, and three daughters, including Kelly Danner, a longtime industry employee who now works as a horsemen’s liaison for Churchill Downs. His granddaughter Kelsey Danner has held numerous positions working with horses, including a lengthy stint as an assistant to Wayne Catalano.

Kelsey Danner said her grandfather was best known “for his kindness and willingness to help others."

"That included inviting people less fortunate than himself to the house for holiday dinners and celebrations,” she said.

The family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.