Loyd Gentry (right), who trained such stars as Graustark, Kauai King, and Proud Clarion, died July 1 in Lexington of heart failure. He was 87 and had lived in Lexington and in Florida, reports US Bloodhorse.
Born in Kentucky, Gentry earned the nickname ‘Boo’ in early childhood while hanging onto the trousers of his father and uncle Olin Gentry. He grew up in Versailles, on his grandmother’s farm, attending school during the winter months and joining his parents on the racetrack during the summer. He came into horse racing naturally. His father twice rode in the Kentucky Derby before turning to training and was North America's leading trainer in 1929. His uncle Olin managed Col. E.R. Bradley's farm and was instrumental in breeding 188 stakes winners, 20 champions, and nine classic winners, including six Kentucky Derby winners.
Loyd Gentry’s training career spanned six decades and linked the man to some of racing's most prestigious names and stables. In the 1950s, he was head trainer for Capt. Harry F. Guggenheim's Cain Hoy Stable. The Guggenheim years were filled with fanfare. 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 finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby with Racing Fool.
Gentry won the 1960 Matron Stakes in New York and the Princess Pat Stakes in Chicago with Rose Bower. He ran three fillies in the Kentucky Oaks, winning with Lalun in 1955 and with Hail to Patsy in 1969, and finishing second in 1971 with Himalaya. His trainee Umbrella Fella won four stakes at 2 in 1964. Gentry also trained Dinner Partner, who became an important broodmare.
Gentry also trained for such stalwarts as John A. Bell III, Leslie Combs II, John Haynes, John W. Galbreath, Louis L. Haggin II, John D. Hertz, Mike Ford, Ralph Wilson, and George S. Humphrey. He trained Kauai King as a 2-year-old before giving up his public stable to train privately for Galbreath and turning Kauai King over to his friend, Henry Forrest. Kauai King went on to win the 1966 Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
The following year Gentry sent out Galbreath’s longshot Proud Clarion to win the Kentucky Derby over favorite Damascus, who finished third.
Perhaps the fastest and best known horse Gentry trained was Graustark (below), who was undefeated until his last race. Graustark, who was owned by Galbreath, became a successful sire.
Until his death, Gentry continued to breed and train horses in 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.