04/17/2013 3:18PM

Othniel Wienges, prominent South Carolina breeder, dies at 88


Othniel Henry Wienges Jr., a perennial leading Thoroughbred breeder in South Carolina who received numerous state and industry honors during his career, died on April 2 in Saint Matthews, S.C. He was 88.

Wienges owned Singleton Plantation in Saint Matthews. The farm, now encompassing about 2,600 acres, was originally acquired by his grandfather in the late 19th century and then operated by his father, who began breeding Standardbreds before transitioning to Thoroughbreds in the mid-20th century.

Operating as O.H. Wienges & Sons Stables, Wienges was deeply involved in the South Carolina horse industry for several decades and also had a presence in racing jurisdictions spanning the East Coast. His most successful stallion, the Mr. Prospector horse Kokand, sired progeny who have earned more than $14 million and 10 stakes winners, including half-million dollar earner Big Rut. Wienges also raced several homebreds, several of which were broken as yearlings by Franklin “Goree” Smith at Elloree Training Center and then trained as racehorses by Hamilton Smith.

Wienges was honored as South Carolina Breeder of the Year 13 times by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. The annual breeder award from the South Carolina Owners and Breeders Association is named after Wienges, who was the first recipient. He was also presented the Man of the Year Award in New England Racing by the Northeastern Sportswriters Association in 1974.

A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Wienges served in the South Carolina House of Representatives for 10 years during the 1960s and early 1970s. He was also active in numerous agricultural and other civic organizations in South Carolina, several of which involved the state university, his alma mater.

Wienges is survived by his wife Callie, his daughter Carol, his son John, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.