Race of the Week 2017

Winning Derby Trainer Gentry Dies at 87

Loyd Gentry, who trained Graustark, Kauai King and Proud Clarion, the 1967 Kentucky Derby winner who held one of the race’s fastest times, died July 1, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky of heart failure.  He was 87 and lived in Stuart, Florida and Lexington, Kentucky. 

Gentry was born in Covington, Kentucky, on January 19, 1925 and earned the nickname Boo in early childhood while hanging onto the trousers of his father and uncle Olin.  He grew up in Versailles, Indiana on his grandmother’s farm, attending school during the winter months and joining his parents on the racetrack during the summer.  He came into thoroughbred horse racing naturally.  His father twice rode in the Kentucky Derby as a jockey before turning to training and was North America’s leading trainer in 1929.  His uncle, Olin Gentry, managed Col. E.R. Bradley’s farm and was instrumental in breeding 188 stakes winners, twenty champions, and nine classic winners, including six Kentucky Derby winners.

Loyd Gentry’s thoroughbred training career spanned six decades and linked him to racing’s most prestigious names and stables.  In the 1950s, he was head trainer for Captain Harry F. Guggenheim’s Cain Hoy Stable.  The Guggenheim years were filled with fanfare, owing to the captain’s great wealth and political power.  During a nine day period in 1955, Gentry won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland with Racing Fool, the Derby Trial Stakes with Flying Fury, the Kentucky Oaks with Lalun, and ran fourth in the Kentucky Derby with Racing Fool.  Despite these wins, Gentry missed being at the center of racing activity and eventually returned to central Kentucky.

His record speaks for itself.  He won the Princess Pat in 1960 with Rose Bower at Arlington Park and the important Matron Stakes at Belmont Park.  He ran in the Kentucky Oaks three times, winning twice with Lalun in 1955 and Hail to Patsy in 1969, and running second in 1971 with Himalaya.  His trainees, Umbrella Fella and Royal Gunner won a number of two year old races, finishing 2-3 in the Arlington –Washington Futurity in 1966 for Mike Ford.  He trained Dinner Partner for Ralph Wilson, owner of the Buffalo Bills, winning stakes with her.  She later became broodmare of the year in 1989 and produced a number of superb winners.

Gentry trained for the stables of John A. Bell III, Leslie Combs and John Haynes, John W. Galbreath, Louis L. Haggin II, John D. Hertz, Mike Ford, Ralph Wilson and George S. Humphrey, Secretary-Treasurer of the United States.  He trained Kauai King as a two year old, breaking his maiden with him before giving up his public stable to train privately for John Galbreath, turning over Kauai King to his good friend Henry Forest .  Kauai King later went on to win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 1966.  Perhaps the fastest and best known horse Gentry trained was Graustark, who was undefeated until his last race and whose popularity was legendary in the media and with fans wherever Graustark went.

Until his death, Gentry continued to breed and train thoroughbreds in the racing mecca that is a hallmark of central Kentucky.

Gentry served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II and obtained his training license when the war ended.  His first winner was a colt named Big Head at Tijuana, Mexico in 1946 and his first stakes horse was Tomas winning at Fort Erie, Ontario.

He was preceded in death by his first wife Katherine Clark Gentry, as well as his only son, Loyd III.  He is survived by his wife Diane M. Curry, cousins Tom Gentry, Olin Gentry, Kathleen Spears, Anne Eberhardt  Keogh and Daniel Eberhardt of Lexington, Kentucky.   


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Older Comments about Winning Derby Trainer Gentry Dies at 87...

Yes she did Vic. And she was one of the top breeders and owners and well deserved the Derby winner in Unbridled
One yelled and screamed for this woman for she SUPPORTED the game for years and PAID her dues over and over.
Frances Genter owned some very nice horses at her Florida farm. She owned My Dear Girl who was the dam of In Reality who appears in alot of top horses pedigrees. I also believe she first owned Rough and Tumble. I know people associate him more with Dr. fager and Tartan Farms. But I believe she did own him.
Yes I think she was Laz. And Carl called the race to her because she couldn't see above the other people's head. One of those wonderful unscripted moments in KD history.
If I remember correctly she was in her early nineties when Unbridled won his big races. Carl Nafzger her trainer absolutely adored her which is not how we can describe a lot of trainer/owner relationships.
Mrs Genter's husband was the inventor of the pop up toaster.
No relation. Unbridled was owwned by Francis Genter, not Gentry
No Ruffian I don't think so. I believe her name was Genter. Married name that is. Unbridled's owner was from Minnesota I believe. Also Gentry was a big name for years in KY
buckpasser: was Loyd Gentry, by chance, any relation to (I think) Francis Gentry, who was the owner of Unbridled?
Ruffian. To me when Gentry sent out a horse, he was one of those trainers that when they sent out a horse for a big race you paid attention. Allen Jerkens was another one. He well earned the sobriquet Giant Killer well before he beat Secretariat.
The 1966 was for Buckpasser and Kaui King and 1967 was for Damascus
Yes but Darby Dan always had such a great roster of top horses that you always had to pay attention to them and Gentry was a good trainer needless to say and Morning line on Proud Clarion was over 30 to 1.
buckpasser: I know you selected Proud Clarion, because he was a son of Hail To Reason. I noticed in that chart that the colt who ran fourth was Reason To Hail. Based on the name, I presume he was by Hail to Reason, also. Was he also considered, if that were the case?
I meant 1966 in the above post not 1967
Ruffian75. Had completely forgotten that Don rode Kaui and then lightening orphan the next year. Thanks for trivia lesson.
Cocoa. Kaui King was my Derby horse after Buckpassser's injury (quarter crack) took him out of the TC. Kaui was a son of Native Dancer and always thought Kaui was a nice horse. But Graustark, as any one who remembers him, was a very special horse. Better than Buckpasser, could well have been. Many thought so who saw both. Buckpasser was incredible from the allowance race he won on the Belmont card that June 1967 until the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Better than Buckpasser, it's saying a lot.
I always liked Kaui King. He sadly broke down in the Arlington Classic, which I believe his owner overruled the trainer on running. The 1967 KD was really Damascus's to lose. For whatever reason I really wasn't impressed with him at that point in his career. I remember looking around for a horse to upset and looked at Proud Clarion. I had always liked his sire Hail to reason. PC had an arc winner as brood are sire. So bet him. Came in at a big price. Damascus was badly spooked by crowds. Very hot that Derby day as well and Damascus didn't care for that either. And as to Graustark, what is there to say. He had the potential to be one of the all time greats. An injury prevented that.
Kauai King and Proud Clarion were back-to-back winners. A little trivia: Don Brumfield is the only jockey in Ky Derby history to win the Ky Derby(Kauai King), and then finish last the next year. For Mr. Gentry, it was a little before horse racing gained my attention, but I'm sure he was a great one, based on his Derby success, and the account from Buckpasser. Thanks, Mr. Gentry, for making the sport what it is today. You led the way.
One of the all time greats. Remember many of his horses, particularly Graustark.

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