Fred W. Hooper Dies at Age 102
Photo: Anne W. Eberhardt
Fred Hooper, raised champions at his Ocala farm before his death at age 102.
Fred W. Hooper, the 102-year-old Florida horse owner-breeder, died early Friday morning in Miami. According to a spokeswoman for Hooper Farms in Ocala, the horseman and his wife, Wanda, had gone to Miami to watch their 2-year-old colt Condensed Version run in Saturday's Florida Stallion Stakes-Dr. Fager division, at Calder Racecourse. Hooper died in his sleep around 4:30 a.m. Friday.

Born Oct. 6, 1897, Hooper struck gold with his first Thoroughbred, winning the 1945 Kentucky Derby with that horse, named Hoop Jr. Since that time, Hooper raced champions Susan's Girl and Precisionist, as well as turf stars Crozier, Copelan, Tri Jet, and Diplomatic Jet, amon others. In addition, Hooper bred more than 100 stakes winners and stallions at Hooper Farms were among the leading sires in the Sunshine State.

Hooper was honored with an Eclipse Award of Merit in 1991 and he was outstanding breeder in 1975 and 1982. His death comes one day after the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company announced it would hold a dispersal of Hooper's bloodstock in October.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete as of noon Friday.

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