Lee Eaton, the co-breeder of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Bold Forbes and founder of the sales agency that bears his name, died Dec. 10 at his residence in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Eaton, 76, died of natural causes after a 5 1 /2-year battle with brain cancer.
Eaton and the late Marvin Waldman were partners with Sam Lyon in Red Bull Stables, in whose name they bred 1976 Derby winner Bold Forbes. The partners had purchased Comely Nell, the dam of Bold Forbes, privately from Calumet Farm as a yearling because she was partially blind and unable to race. They sold Bold Forbes for $15,200 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale for $15,200. Comely Nell also produced Priceless Fame, the dam of Saratoga Six and group I winner Dunbeath.
In addition to running one of the horse industry's most successful and respected agencies, Eaton was also a mentor to many other agents.
Eaton relocated to Florida after selling Eaton Sales agency to Tom Van Meter and Reiley McDonald in 1995.
"He was not the first to establish an agency, but he was the first to make it as professional and commercial that it is today," said Ric Waldman, a close personal friend of Eaton and son of Marvin Waldman.
Waldman said Eaton was known for his integrity, which was an integral part of his agency having a solid reputation within the industry.
"That Reiley McDonald still sees value in retaining the Eaton name is a real statement to how valued it was," Waldman said.
Eaton is survived by his wife, Helen, and sons Eddie and Loren.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m., EDT Dec. 19 at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, 5555 North Federal Highway, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Baird-Case Funeral Home, 4343 North Federal Highway, Ft. Lauderdale.