Richard F. “Dick” Broadbent III, who founded Bloodstock Research Information Services and was an innovator in providing pedigree and racing information to horseracing fans, died March 29 at age 73.
The Shelbyville, Ky., native attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and the University of Kentucky before becoming a prominent bloodstock agent. After marrying Martha Haggin, the daughter of Keeneland president Louis Haggin II, Broadbent found he could sell mares at a profit. So, he began driving up to small racetracks in Indiana and Ohio in an oil tanker with a horse trailer attached to the back to buy fillies and mares, then drove them back to Kentucky to sell them.
In an effort to compile their pedigrees, Broadbent began keeping an index card file, and the hobby soon turned into a business, with Broadbent using a primitive computer to update his data. That became the beginnings of BRIS. Broadbent went on to compile complete broodmare records into one set of volumes, publishing the American Produce Records, selling thousands of sets at horse sales.
The hard-driving Broadbent also had a large breeding operation, Crestview Farm, where champion 2-year-old filly Family Style was raised. He bred Italian champion Northern Tempest. In 1985, he started Thoroughbred Times weekly, which was later merged with the Thoroughbred Record. Always innovative, Broadbent became a pioneer in developing information for horseplayers. He brought BRIS into the handicapping business, offering services such as jockey and trainer statistics, sires with first-time starters, sires for off-tracks, and a variety of speed and pace ratings. He offered customers an account wagering platform that launched in 2001.
In 2007, he sold his business to Churchill Downs Inc. and established a Christian ministry. BRIS continues to be run by Broadbent’s son Richard “Happy” Broadbent.
“God really grabbed me then,” Broadbent told The Blood-Horse in 2007. “I was smoking six packs of cigarettes a day, drinking, and cussing out of both sides of my mouth.”
Broadbent’s organization, Christian World Ministries, has given away bibles, books, and tapes all over the world.
He is survived by his wife, Sandy; brother George; sons Richard and John; daughters Martha and Allison; and six grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be made.