Allaire C. du Pont, whose Bohemia Stable raced five-time Horse of the Year Kelso, died Jan. 6 at her Woodstock Farm in Chesapeake City, Md., at the age of 92.
A sportswoman who not only loved Thoroughbred horses but flying, fox hunting, stray animals, and tennis and who fought for the preservation of open land in the Chesapeake region, she was with family members when she died at her home of more than 50 years reportedly of natural causes.
Kelso was voted racing's Horse of the Year five years in a row from 1960-64, a record that still stands. Kelso won 39 races, with career earnings of nearly $2 million.
Kelso raced seven years and is buried at Woodstock Farm. Carl Hanford, who trained for du Pont, told The News Journal
of Delaware that he loved working for du Pont.
"She was a great, wonderful lady," Hanford told the newspaper. "She was great to train for. She never interfered at all, but she knew racing. Nobody knew who I was until Kelso and Mrs. du Pont came along."
According to The News Journal
, Du Pont was among the first to commit her land to Maryland's Agricultural Land Preservation Program. She was also instrumental in putting 2,500 acres of nearby Windfield Farms property into permanent preservation. She worked on that campaign because she loathed the development she saw swallowing up Delaware's landscape.
"I'm shocked to see the little respect the state of Delaware has for their country," she told The News Journal
in 1991. "There's no place left for animals, for birds. It's very tragic."
Richard C. du Pont Sr., her late husband was a pioneer in aviation. Inspired by him, Allaire du Pont was an accomplished glider pilot, according to her daughter-in-law, Caroline Prickett, the wife of the late Richard C. "Kip" du Pont Jr.
"She has been a shining example in Chesapeake City, in the racing community, and in everything she touched," Prickett said. "She tried to preserve the land, animal rights, and she was never too busy for a friend."
Besides Kelso, who became her foxhunting partner, her Bohemia Stable produced 2001 and 2002 Ballerina Handicap (gr. I) winner Shine Again, prominent broodmare Pennant Fever and two Delaware Handicap winners at Delaware Park: Politely in 1968 and Crowned in 1991.
Allaire du Pont was co-founder and active in Thoroughbred Charities, which raises money to save retired horses, as well as many other animal protective programs.
"She did so much good for so many people and so many organizations," said longtime friend and horseman Robert Ring, of Wilmington. "She'll always be remembered for that. It's the end of the dynasty."
Du Pont is survived by daughter Lana Wright, daughter-in-law, Caroline Prickett, and by grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In accord with her wishes, no service is planned.