Prominent Louisville surgeon and owner/breeder Dr. J. David Richardson was to be honored with the 2017 Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners’ Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year Award Saturday night at the KTO’s 30th annual awards gala. Jones founded Hermitage Farm in Oldham County and served on the Churchill Downs board for 50 years, including eight as chairman. He was the inaugural winner of the award in 1988, which “recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions to Kentucky racing and sharing the passion exemplified by Jones.”
Richardson, a fixture on the Kentucky racing scene for almost half a century, is a member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, The Jockey Club, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and Churchill Downs racing committee. He was a longtime Breeders’ Cup board member and past president of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders.
On the bloodstock side, Richardson was involved in the selection of some of the best horses his Hall of Fame cousin Woody Stephens trained, including important sire Danzig, Horse of the Year Conquistador Cielo and GISW and prominent stallion Gone West. He also bred and raced the likes of multiple stakes winner and Churchill Downs stakes namesake Mrs. Revere and Grade I winner Northern Emerald with Dr. Hiram Polk.
“Just totally shocked, and really honored,” said Richardson, a close personal friend of the late Jones. “The last several years of his life, Warner couldn’t travel. So if I was in town, I spent virtually every weekend with him. We’d let Harriet (Jones’s wife) get out to do things, and we’d bet horse races. He had two big televisions set up and we’d bet horse races all afternoon. He was a lot of fun and I learned a lot from him.”