Humphrey Named Honor Guest for TCA Testimonial Dinner

Humphrey Named Honor Guest for TCA Testimonial Dinner
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
G. Watts Humphrey Jr. says he is humbled to be the Honor Guest

Thoroughbred owner and breeder and current chairman of Churchill Downs Inc. G. Watts Humphrey Jr. will be Honor Guest at the Thoroughbred Club of America's 2017 testimonial dinner Sept. 29 at Keeneland.

TCA president W. Gray Lyster IV said the group is excited about this year's selection of Humphrey for the honor, one of the sport's highest.

"The Thoroughbred Club of America is excited to name G. Watts Humphrey Jr. as our 2017 Honor Guest," Lyster said. "His lifetime accomplishments as an owner and breeder, as well as his support and love for the industry, are something to be honored and celebrated."

As a Thoroughbred owner and partner in the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, Humphrey achieved quite a sports double in October of 2011, when he earned the leading Thoroughbred owner title at the Keeneland fall meet one day after watching the Cardinals win the World Series. 

Humphrey raises Thoroughbreds on his 1,000-acre Shawnee Farm near Harrodsburg, Ky. He typically has more than 50 racehorses at the track, divided between his daughter and son-in-law, Vicki and Phil Oliver, and his longtime trainer George "Rusty" Arnold II. Humphrey's racing stable focuses on fillies that will be channeled back to his breeding operation. Top runners include grade 1 winners Clear Mandate, Centre Court, and Personal Diary, as well as multiple graded stakes winners Frivolous, Rey de Café, She's Not Here, and Communique.

Looking at the impressive list of Honor Guests over the years, Humphrey said he's humbled to be included.

"I'm humbled but at the same time proud," Humphrey said. "A lot of them are very good friends, some of them are mentors, and some I've known for years. It's a wonderful group of people. I'm just honored that some people considered me in the same club."

Besides his position with Churchill Downs Inc., Humphrey's Thoroughbred industry affiliations include being a member of the The Jockey Club, and serving the American Horse Council and National Thoroughbred Racing Association. He serves on the executive committee for Keeneland Association. He also served as vice chairman and chairman for the BloodHorse, along with serving as treasurer, vice president, chairman, and director for the board of members and trustees for Breeders' Cup. 

Humphrey was born in Cleveland in June of 1944. He is the grandson of George M. Humphrey, a prominent Thoroughbred owner who served as Secretary of the Treasury under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. While earning his Bachelor's Degree from Yale University, Humphrey spent his summers working at his aunt Pansy Poe's Shawnee Farm.

After graduation he served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 3 1/2 years, where he earned the rank of 1st Lieutenant-Infantry Company Commander. While enlisted in the Marines, Humphrey earned the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Navy Commendation Medal, and three Purple Hearts. From 1970-72 Humphrey returned to education, where he earned his Master's in Business Administration from Harvard University. After graduation Humphrey returned to Shawnee Farm, which he purchased after his aunt's death in 1979. 

Humphrey is president of GWH Holdings, chairman of the International Plastics Equipment Group and The Conair Group, and director of Smithfield Trust Company. He also served as the CEO for Centria and The Techs, along with executive positions in the National Steel Corporation, all based out of Pittsburgh.

Humphrey served as a trustee for Centre College in Danville, Ky., vice chairman and trustee for Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Ky., and director of Wausau Paper Corp, and trustee of the University of Pittsburgh. Additionally, Humphrey has served as director for the Pittsburgh Symphony Society, and held the positions of chairman, deputy chairman, and director for the Federal Reserve Bank-Fourth District in Cleveland.

Humphrey married Sally Hastings Schriber in July of 1966. They have three children: Susan H. Keller, Victoria H. Oliver, and G. Watts Humphrey III. The Humphreys have each bred a classic winner. Mrs. Humphrey is the breeder of 1980 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Genuine Risk, and Humphrey is the breeder of 1985 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Crème Fraiche in partnership with an aunt, Pamela Firman.

List of past TCA Honor Guests

1932 Col. E.R. Bradley

1933 Joseph E. Widener

1934 Desha Breckinridge

1935 William Woodward, Sr.

1936 Sen. J.N. Camden

1937 Samuel D. Riddle

1938 Mrs. Payne Whitney

1939 Carlton E. Burke

1940 Warren Wright, Sr.

1941 Hal Price Headley

1942 George D. Widener

1943 Col. Matt J. Winn

1944 Arthur B. Hancock, Sr.

1945 Maj. Louie A. Beard

1946 Robert J. Kleberg, Jr.

1947 Edward Small Moore

1948 William Du Pont, Jr.

1949 Thomas Piatt

1950 Walter M. Jeffords

1951 Mrs. Isabel Dodge Sloane

1952 John B. Campbell

1953 Alfred G. Vanderbilt

1954 F. Ambrose Clark

1955 James E. Fitzsimmons

1956 John D. Hertz

1957 Marshall Cassidy

1958 Henry H. Knight

1959 Edward P. Taylor

1960 Arthur B. Hancock, Jr.

1961 Maximillian J. Hirsch

1962 J.A. Estes

1963 John Jay Whitney

1964 John W. Galbreath

1965 Dr. Charles E. Hagyard

1966 C.V. Whitney

1967 Jack J. Dreyfus, Jr.

1968 Leslie Combs, II

1969 Humphrey S. Finney

1970 James Cox Brady

1971 John A. Bell, III

1972 Louis Lee Haggin, II

1973 Preston M. Burch

1974 Charles A. Kenney

1975 Paul Mellon

1976 Duval A. Headley

1977 Dr. Eslie Asbury

1978 Frank E. Kilroe

1979 John A. Morris

1980 Horatio A. Luro

1981 Fred W. Hooper

1982 Bill Shoemaker

1983 John W. Hanes

1984 James E. Bassett, III

1985 Woodford C. Stephens

1986 William T. Bishop

1987 Charles Nuckols, Jr.

1988 Charles Whittingham

1989 Alec Head

1990 Ogden Mills Phipps

1991 John Ryan Gaines

1992 Dr. Arthur H. Davidson, Dr. William R. McGee

1993 MacKenzie Miller

1994 Joe Hirsch

1995 DeWitt Owen, Jr.

1996 W.T. Young, Sr.

1997 Albert G. Clay

1998 D. Wayne Lukas

1999 Jim McKay

2000 Seth Hancock

2001 Howard L. Battle, William C. Greely

2002 Dr. Jack Robbins

2003 Robert E. Courtney, Sr.

2004 W. Cothran Campbell

2005 Alice Headley Chandler

2006 William S. Farish

2007 Dr. Robert W. Copelan

2008 Thomas Taylor Hammond

2009 Catesby Woodford Clay

2010 Richard L. Duchossois

2011 George Strawbridge, Jr.

2012 Penny Chenery

2013 Claude R. "Shug" McGaughey, III

2014 Dr. Larry Bramlage, Dr. Edward Haygard Fallon, Dr. Gary A.Lavin

2015 Tom Durkin

2016: Chris McCarron

Past Honored "Ladies" Guests

1968 Mrs. Cecelia de Mille Harper

1969 Mrs. Richard C. duPont

1970 Miss Frances Kane

1971 Miss Mary V. Fisher

1972 Mrs. Parker Poe

1973 Mrs. John B. Tweedy

1974 Mrs. Marion du Pont Scott

1975 Mrs. John W. Galbreath

1976 Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone

1977 Mrs. Mickey Taylor

1978 Mrs. Edward H. Gerry

1979 Mrs. John S. Knight

1980 Mrs. Harry W. Lunger

Most Popular Stories