01/17/2016 11:46AM

Popular jockey agent McGehee dies


Britt McGehee, a former trainer who was a successful jockey agent for the last 15 years, died Saturday night at his sister’s home in Lafayette, La., following a lengthy battle with urachal cancer, a rare form of bladder cancer. He was 58.

McGehee worked primarily for jockey James Graham and was extremely well liked by horsemen and his fellow agents when traveling a circuit that consisted mostly of tracks in Chicago, New Orleans, and Lexington, Ky.

McGehee was born in Tennessee before spending most of his youth in Florida. His family was involved in the oil business and moved frequently, and McGehee became interested in racing in Louisiana in his late 20s. He eventually migrated to the racetrack, working for trainers Jack Van Berg, D. Wayne Lukas, and Bill Cesare before opening a stable in 1994.

McGehee won 100 races from 630 starters, with his peak year coming in 1997, when he conditioned Silver Maiden to win the Grade 1 Frizette and Grade 2 Arlington-Washington Lassie. He disbanded the stable in 2000 to become an agent. Graham’s career soared with McGehee at his side as he became a perennial leading rider at Arlington Park and Fair Grounds.

“Britt was one of a kind, definitely,” said Graham, who has won more than 2,000 races and $65 million in purses in a 13-year career. “He was a mentor, a father figure, a professional, a dear friend. He made a star out of me. I’ve basically lost a family member.”

“I don’t think I ever had a more generous and loyal friend,” said Pat Devereux Jr., a veteran trainer who was close with McGehee. “He was highly competent and successful at everything he did. He was just a wonderful person who made friends with everybody. He was that kind of guy.”

McGehee is survived by both of his parents; three sisters; one brother; and his longtime girlfriend, Tracy Parker Pierce. A memorial service has been tentatively planned for 2 p.m. Central on  Feb. 2 at Bayou Baptist Church in Lafayette.