Dr. J. David Richardson Passes

Horse Racing Radar
Valerie Mellema
Valerie Mellema is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Wednesday, September 8, 2021

"Dr. Richardson positively impacted the lives of countless individuals and meant so much to so many people in this community as well as the horse racing industry. The Churchill downs family is absolutely devastated to learn of his passing. He was such a fantastic man of the highest integrity and a tremendous champion of Thoroughbred racing. Our deepest condolences are extended to his numerous friends and family and especially to his children Melissa, Amy, and Britton, his wife Maxine, and brother Dr. Ron Richardson. Churchill Downs won't be the same without ‘Doc' Richardson around," stated Churchill Downs Racetrack President Mike Anderson. 

Dr. Richardson was a surgeon in Louisville, Ky. who was involved in the horse racing business his entire adult life. A cousin of legendary late Hall of Fame trainer Woody Stephens, he bought his first horse in 1975 at age 30 and campaigned his first stakes winner in 1978. Either by himself or in partnerships with others, Dr. Richardson raised and sold more than 1,000 horses that ultimately won races. As an owner, he won more than 100 races in his career. Three-year-old homebred filly LADY EDITH provided Richardson and partner Sandra New with a thrill on May 8 when she won the $108,075 Mamzelle Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs by a neck at odds of 24-1. 

In partnership with his medical and racing colleague Dr. Hiram Polk, Richardson bred and race multiple stakes winner MRS. REVERE, who won four Churchill Downs stakes races during a two-year reign in 1984-85. MRS. REVERE collected three of those stakes during her 3-year-old season, thus providing Churchill Downs an opportunity to appropriately honor the filly with a grade II stakes event for 3-year-old fillies on turf each fall. They also campaigned the Grade 1 winner NORTHERN EMERALD and stakes winners MARIA BALASTIERE, LIZ CEE, and HARRODS CREEK. 

Dr. Richardson was a member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and The Jockey Club, also serving on the executive committee and board of trustees for the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, for which he'd been chairman, vice chairman, and secretary, and also chaired TOBA's graded stakes committee. 

Richardson was on Churchill Downs' racing committee comprised of racetrack representatives and horsemen. He also was a longtime Breeders' Cup board member and past president of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders. 

Born in Morehead, Ky., he graduated from Morehead State University and the University of Kentucky's School of Medicine. Dr. Richardson rose to become chief of surgery and vice chair of the University of Louisville's department of surgery. He was also the former chair of the American Board of Surgery and a Regent of the American College of Surgeons.


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