Tim Capps, director of the University of Louisville Equine Industry Program and a well-respected consultant in the racing industry, passed away Saturday at the age of 71. Capps had been hospitalized in Louisville since mid-February following a stroke.
A graduate of the University of Tennessee with a B.S. in Journalism, Capps held a number of high-ranking positions in the racing industry before ultimately landing in his role at Louisville. He served as Director of Stud Book Operations at The Jockey Club and later as the executive vice president of the Maryland Jockey Club from 1995 to 1999 and 2002 to 2004. While in Maryland, he also served as the executive vice president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and executive director of the Maryland Million. He played a crucial part in organizing major racing events such as the Pimlico Special, Molson Million and Laurel International Turf Festival as the vice president of Lexington-based Matchmaker Racing Services.
Capps, who served in the U.S. Army as a captain prior to stints as a stock broker and investment counselor, also maintained a steady presence in the field of equine journalism, serving as the editor and publisher of The Thoroughbred Record and authoring a number of books, including biographies of Secretariat and Spectacular Bid. In recent years, Capps had served on the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, in addition to devoting his time to the Equine Industry Program since 2011.
“Tim loved to teach and his name was synonymous with the horse industry,” said Todd Mooradian, dean of the Louisville College of Business. “We will miss his dedication to our equine program and our students, as well as his enthusiasm for an industry that is one of the foundations of the Kentucky economy.”
Many tributes to Capps poured in throughout the day Sunday via social media. Trainer Liam Benson, a 2016 graduate of the Equine Industry Program, took to Twitter to remember Capps.
“[Tim] Capps was one of the greatest men I've ever known,” Benson wrote. “I will be forever grateful for everything he has done for me as a mentor and a friend…He was [by] far the greatest professor I ever had and one of the funniest people I knew. He never failed to amuse even in the worst of times.”
Capps is survived by his wife, Nancy, and his daughter, Meredith, of Washington, D.C.