RIP David Greathouse, 63: ‘He Played All Aspects of the Game’

by | 10.08.2013 | 12:39pm
David Greathouse, 1950-2013

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.

Private funeral services will be held on Friday. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Thursday at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home, Harrodsburg Road, Lexington. In lieu of flowers contributions in honor of David Greathouse are suggested to Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dept. of Radiology, 1275 York Ave. Room C-278, New York, NY 10065.


  • RIP David, very sad, another one gone too soon

  • John O’Hara

    RIP David,
    You were an exceptional horseman – on every level.

  • West Point TBreds

    Wonderful guy. Great family man with a really cool sense of humor. I always enjoyed and welcomed his opinions. His was a life well lived.

  • Jerry McMahon

    One of the good guys, he’ll be greatly missed.

  • blackcatlover

    RIP, Mr Greathouse.

  • mike

    When you read these things – you wish you could have met him.

  • reta

    RIP Mr. Greathouse. The golden gates are open for you to take your next journey.

  • Mikel D. McKinley

    Condolences to the Greathouse Family

  • Bein

    I own a Clever Trick mare that Glencrest bred. She’s beautiful. Good work, Mr. Greathouse, and Godspeed. I wish I’d had the pleasure of knowing you.

    My sincerest sympathy to his wife, children, brothers and sisters, and friends. 63 is gone far too early.

  • Right then, Right now

    Terrible news. Will this mean that Johnny Jones will actually have to work now?

  • Tommy Gandolfo

    Absolutely a great guy loved by many I will miss his many smiles he put on faces at the Tbred club with his great Witt RIP David. Tommy Gandolfo

  • Sandra Salmen

    Is was great knowing David, he was always a pleasure to be around and was such a wonderful horsemen.

  • Larry Ensor

    I had the very good fortune of knowing David for many years. I have always felt it was an honor to be called a horseman an honor IMO that is handed out far to easily these days. David personified the moniker. IMO he was one of the last generations of Kentucky horsemen that can be referred to as a “hardboot”. But they were not pointy and had a soft toe.
    It is said if you work in the horse business in Lexington and want a friend get a dog, if you want friends get two. David is/was a friend along with his brother John and sister Margret. It is not just the horses nor money that makes a farm like Glencrest. It’s the people, family that started with a vision, hopes, aspirations and a respect for the history of what we do. A sense of honor and integrity that is not diluted with the passage of time and changing social morals or business model. Two generations have carried this flag at Glencrest and from what I understand a third is well on its way. Something I am sure was not lost on David and something he was very proud of and should be.

    • Margaret Claus

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I hope we see you soon.

  • Richard Sulzer

    David was a great friend I had known for many years. He will be greatly missed. “RIP”, David. My prayers go out to Deuce and the entire Greathouse Family.

  • Will

    I can’t help but picture Scott Ricker and David Greathouse meeting up somewhere above with a laugh and handshake.

  • venetian

    He was the best

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