01/21/2013 12:36AM

Prominent Kentucky horseman Henry White dies


Central Kentucky horseman Henry White, who served as a farm manager, breeding adviser, and member of various Thoroughbred organizations during his long and accomplished career, died on Jan. 20 at age 85 of heart failure.

White, a third generation horseman, served as a breeding adviser for various prominent owners during the second half of the 20th century, including Ogden Phipps, Thomas P. Whitney, Preston and Elliott Burch, Nelson Baker Hunt, and the Aga Khan, among others. His longest and most productive relationship was as adviser to Paul Mellon’s Rokeby Stable during the years in which the operation produced such notable horses as 1969 Horse of the Year Arts and Letters and 1971 European Horse of the Year Mill Reef.

White also managed Elsmeade and Plum Lane Farm until his retirement in 2002. White’s father Cyrus White began managing Elsmeade, near Lexington, Ky., during the 1920s, and Henry White, a native of Hopkinsville, Ky., grew up on the farm. He was a graduate of the University of Kentucky and a veteran of the United States Air Force.

Among the many notable horses White raised were Grade 1 winners Cryptoclearance and Temperate Sil, along with Singletary, winner of the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Mile.

White was named Kentucky Farm Manager of the Year in 1979 and was a lifetime member of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers’ Club. He also served as director emeritus of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and as president of the Thoroughbred Breeders of Kentucky. Among the other organizations White served with or contributed to were the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, the Kentucky Equine Education Project, and the Grayson-Jockey Club Foundation.


White's survivors include his wife of 56 years, Kathryn White; his daughters Kathryn “Kitty” White and Jean (Robert) Williams; and son Henry D. (Andrea) White III.

Visitation will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 22, from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Eastern at Milward Funeral Home in Lexington, with services held Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 2:30 p.m. at the funeral home.