01/13/2018 12:50PM

Mike Hargrave, longtime stall super at Churchill Downs, dies at 69


Mike Hargrave, who was known to thousands of horsemen in Kentucky and beyond for his role as the longtime stall superintendent at Churchill Downs, died Saturday morning at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky., following a three-week bout with acute pancreatitis. He was 69.

Hargrave, as the Churchill “stall man” from 1980 until his retirement in 2010, oversaw the allotment of stalls to local horsemen and to those visiting for such major events as the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup. His son, Steve, succeeded his father in the role.

“He was one of the legends in racing, someone that I had the privilege to follow and learn from,” Steve Hargrave said. “His illness came on suddenly, and he fought it as hard as he could.”

Besides his son, Mike Hargrave is survived by his wife, Phyllis; his daughter, Shelley Evans, and son-in-law, Mark Evans; five grandchildren and a step-grandson; and one great-grandson.

Arrangements are pending, although Steve Hargrave said a memorial likely will be held in early April, after many Kentucky horsemen return from their winter destinations.