Horseman David Greathouse, who with brothers John, Allen and Edward Greathouse ran the family's Glencrest Farm in Midway, Ky., died early Tuesday morning on what was his 63rd birthday. He was diagnosed in July with liver cancer.
“As a horseman, there were no better,” said Kerry Cauthen, managing partner of Four Star Sales, an auction agency Mr. Greathouse helped form in 2002. “As a businessman in the industry, they don't make them like David any more. He knew it all, from top to bottom, left to right.”
David Greathouse was born on Oct. 8, 1950, the same year his late father, John W. Greathouse established Glencrest Farm, a full-service Thoroughbred operation that stood top blue-collar stallions like Clever Trick and Wavering Monarch.
Over the years, the farm bred, raised or sold countless stakes winners, among them 1960 Kentucky Derby winner Venetian Way and 1996 Kentucky Oaks winner Pike Place Dancer. Grade 1 winners from the farm include Zoftig, Adieu, Flying Snowdrop and Roamin Rachel. More recent successes included Glencrest Farm-raised and sold Mizdirection, winner of the 2012 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. Glencrest maintained a small racing stable as well, campaigning such horses as G1 Frizette, Mother Goose and CCA Oaks winner Devil May Care, G1 Spinster winner Panty Raid and G1 Flower Bowl Invitational winner Honey Ryder.
David Greathouse, recognized and respected as a Kentucky “hardboot,” specialized in finding fillies on the racetrack that had underappreciated residual value as broodmare prospects or in pinhooking young horses that developed into top runners or producers.
“David was a wonderful horseman,” said Rusty Arnold, who said Mr. Greathouse was one of his first owners when he launched his training career in the 1970s. “He sent me a filly named Task and followed that up with my first Grade 1 winner, Wavering Monarch. We've been friends with him and his brothers ever since and have had horses with him all these years.
“What I liked about David the most was that he played all aspects of the game,” Arnold said. “He bred horses, sold horses, raced horses, and he loved to bet on horses. He did it all and was very much respected by everybody.”
Diagnosed in July with liver cancer, Mr. Greathouse sought treatment at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He was active at the recent Keeneland September Sale and described by friends as optimistic about his prospects to beat the disease. He was, in fact, about to go on a fishing trip when stricken suddenly and rushed to a Central Kentucky hospital early Tuesday morning.
“If he was your friend, he was always your friend,” Cauthen said. “If he said he was going to do something, he always did it.”
Mr. Greathouse is survived by his wife, Buffy; a son David Talbot “Deuce” Greathouse II; a daughter, Emma Gorham Greathouse; brothers John, Edward and Allen; sisters, Nancy Downing and Margaret Claus; granddaughter, Aubrey Tate Greathouse and his beloved dogs: Oscar, Max, Lola and Maddie.
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