He was a charter member of the National Turf Writers Association who watched 48 Kentucky Derbys from the Churchill Downs Press Box. He was also a regular at Breeders' Cup and frequented every major racetrack in North America and several tracks in England, Ireland, Scotland and France.
Thornton is a former reporter and sports editor for The Naperville Sun, a prominent weekly newspaper in a Chicago suburb, and a frequent contributor to racing and general interest publications.
As per his wishes, Thornton was to be cremated. No service is scheduled at this time.