Lynn Whiting, Trainer Of Derby Winner Lil E. Tee, Dies At 77

by | 04.19.2017 | 2:49pm
Lynn Whiting

Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Lynn Whiting died Wednesday from complications due to illness and a stroke, according to the Daily Racing Form. Whiting was 77.

The DRF said Whiting was found unresponsive in his Louisville home Wednesday morning, after having been seen at his Churchill Downs barn earlier this week for the first time since suffering a stroke in February.

Whiting won the Kentucky Derby in 1992 with Lil E. Tee. He began training in 1968, and according to Equibase, won 1,279 races from 6,113 starts for earnings of close to $24 million. In addition to his success with Lil E. Tee, winner of three graded stakes in the early 90's, Whiting had more recent victories of note with Cyber Secret, winner of the Oaklawn (G2) and Razorback (G3) Handicaps in 2013.

“He was a top-shelf horseman and gentleman,” former jockey Pat Day told the DRF. “The racing industry has lost a dear friend.” Day rode Lil E. Tee to his upset Derby victory.

The son of former jockey and trainer Lyle Whiting, Lynn Whiting is survived by his wife, Nell, daughters Carrie and Lori, and three grandchildren.

Read more at Daily Racing Form

Churchill Downs issued the following statement regarding Lynn Whiting on Wednesday afternoon:

Veteran Thoroughbred trainer Lynn Whiting, best-known for his victory in the 1992 Kentucky Derby with W.C. Partee's Lil E. Tee, has died at the age of 77.

Whiting, a second-generation horseman who raced primarily at tracks in Kentucky and Arkansas, died Wednesday, April 19 in Louisville, only days after his return to his stable at Churchill Downs following weeks of hospital and rehabilitation care. He returned to the track just two days earlier to oversee his stable in Barn 18, which was the home of Lil E. Tee and other Whiting-trained stars during the past five decades at the home of the Kentucky Derby.

A native of Great Falls, Mon., the soft-spoken Whiting was highly-regarded by his peers as a patient, skilled and accomplished horseman who possessed a keen eye for potential in young horses. His Kentucky Derby winner was the best-known example of the latter, as he was purchased privately by Partee during the colt's 2-year-old season for $200,000.

The 1992 Kentucky Derby victory was the most notable day in Whiting's long partnership with Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day. The victory by the Churchill Downs' all-time leading rider aboard Whiting's colt was Day's only Kentucky Derby triumph. Lil E. Tee also won the Jim Beam Stakes (GII) – now known as the Spiral – at Kentucky's Turfway Park and took the Razorback Handicap (GII) at Oaklawn Park during his 4-year-old season. Whiting's star finished his career in 1993 with a record of 7-4-1 in 13 races and earnings of $1,437,506.

This year's Derby will mark the 25th anniversary of Whiting's greatest win.

The brightest star of Whiting's career was a son of At the Threshold, who had finished third for the owner-trainer team in the 1984 Kentucky Derby won by Swale. At the Threshold also won the Jim Beam and earned Grade I victories in the Arlington Classic and American Derby at Arlington Park and the Ohio Derby (GII) at Thistledown. At the Threshold completed his racing career with a record of 7-4-1 in 13 races and a bankroll of $1,437,506.

Another notable horse conditioned by Whiting was Phantom On Tour, who finished sixth to Silver Charm in the 1997 Kentucky Derby in a career that included triumphs in the 1997 Rebel (GIII) at Oaklawn Park and the 1998 New Orleans Handicap (GIII) at Fair Grounds. The Ohio-bred colt, another private purchase by Partee, earned $724,605 and completed his racing career with a record of 7-6-1 in 20 races.

Other accomplished horses trained by Whiting included Golden Eagle Farm's Cat's Career, winner of the 1997 Ack Ack (GIII) at Churchill Downs, and multiple stakes winners Clever Allemont, Classy Irene and Karen's Tom. Another notable runner trained by Whiting was Big Pistol, who established a track record time of 1:08.60 for six furlongs in a victory in June of 1986. Big Pistol's record stood for nine years.

Whiting learned his craft from his father, Lyle Whiting, a one-time jockey and longtime trainer. The younger Whiting saddled 319 career victories at Churchill Downs, a total that ranks 16th among all-time victories at the historic home of the Kentucky Derby.

Overall, he won 1,279 races and $23.9 million in prize money from 6,113 starts as trainer since he saddled his first winner in February of 1969 at the now-defunct Lincoln Downs in Rhode Island. His final victory came with Jury Wise on March 10 at Oaklawn Park.

Whiting is survived by his wife, Nell, and daughters Carrie and Lori.

Details on funeral arrangements for Whiting have not been completed.

  • longshot

    Love him, going to miss him

  • Cgriff

    Classic example of a good guy. RIP

  • L.L. Kauffman

    Very sorry to hear this sad news for his family. The racing community will miss this capable trainer. Glad that he could enjoy winning the Ky Derby as a trainer.

  • Tinky

    Very sad. I never knew Lynn very well, but he was a real gentleman. While soft-spoken, he was both an excellent and sensitive trainer.

    Condolences to friends and family.

  • venetian

    Great guy. He and Steve Morguelan were close friends. Sadly, both gone

  • Pug Hart

    Today I lost a good friend and the world lost a top notch horseman. RIP

  • Delrene

    Such a loss to the horse racing community and his family. My sincere sympathy to all who knew this fine trainer.

  • Maureen

    I worked for Mr. Whiting back in 1973 I will always remember how smat he was with horses and so kind to me.

  • Juluka Nicole

    My condolences to his family and friends.

  • Brent Fernung

    Lynn was a good man, he’ll be missed by many! I remember calling him the day after Lil E Tee ran second in the Arkansas Derby. Knowing I owned his dam, Lynn told me, “I think you may get really lucky with your mare.” I hung up the phone and told my wife,
    Crystal, “Lynn thinks he is going to win the Derby!” He knew what he was talking about!

  • Jay Stone

    Was always a good guy and consumate horseman. These qualities are not easy to find today. RIP.

  • Judy Fraizer

    A quiet legend in his own right. There are wonderful horses in heaven that are happy to see you get there; and you will love their owner.
    Peace.

  • Steve S

    I galloped horses for Lynn for over a year. As everyone has said, he was a good horseman and I learned a lot from him. He also had a great sense of humor and an infectious smile. And loved a practical joke. He got me pretty good one time. He will be missed by alot of people on the backside but I’ll always remember that smile.

  • Marilyn Shively

    I feel sad today: I did not know Mr. Whiting but I do know his reputation is one of being a consummate horseman and a wonderful person. I love how he trained LIL E Tee to win the Kentucky Derby. I love Lil E Tee Too. RIP Mr. Whiting.

  • hosshoss

    The news of passing of a childhood friend growing up in the backstretch of Rockingham Park, Lincoln and Suffolk Downs has still has not settled in..
    If we all had friends who thought and acted like Lynn, what a better world this would be. Lynn you will surely missed. RIP

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