Joe Kellman, who raced homebred champion Shecky Greene, died Jan. 7 at his Texas home. He was 90.
Shecky Greene, named by Kellman after noted comedian Shecky Greene, earned an Eclipse Award as top sprinter of 1973. That same year, he gave a good account of himself in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Shecky Greene set the pace for nearly seven furlongs but weakened and finished sixth to Secretariat.
Kellman, who claimed Shecky Greene’s dam, Lester Pride’s for $10,000, named the mare’s foals after his entertainment friends. Phil Foster, a colt, became a stakes winner. Another of the mare’s stakes-winning offspring, Ivy Hackett, was named for Buddy Hackett’s daughter.
A Chicago native and businessman, Kellman was deep into philanthropy. Kellman, with Buddy Hackett, started the Chicago-based Better Boys Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to help inner-city children in the west side community of North Lawndale, where he grew up. Kellman co-founded the Corporate Community School of America (now known as the Kellman Corporate Community School), also for the North Lawndale community.
Kellman’s survivors include his wife, LouAnne, and sons Jack and Richard.
A public visitation will be held Thursday, Jan. 14, at the Better Boys Foundation, 1512 South Pulaski Road in Chicago. A private burial service has also been planned. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Better Boys Foundation, 1512 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL 60623.