Thoroughbred owner and communications company founder Joe Allbritton died Dec. 12, just 17 days prior to his 88th birthday.
Allbritton, the founder of Allbritton Communications, the parent company of ABC7, NewsChannel 8, and Politico, is best known in the Thoroughbred industry for campaigning Hansel, winner of the 1991 Preakness and Belmont Stakes (both gr. I). For his accomplishments, the son of Woodman earned an Eclipse Award as that year's champion 3-year-old male.
Earlier in his sophomore year, Hansel won the Lexington Stakes (gr. II) and Jim Beam Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park in track record time. He also finished third in the Florida Derby (gr. I). Following his Triple Crown feats, Hansel placed third in the Haskell Invitational and second in the Travers Stakes (both gr. I).
Hansel also had success racing at 2, winning the Tremont Stakes (gr. II) and Arlington-Washington Futurity Stakes (gr. II) and finishing second in the Hopeful (gr. I) and Sapling (gr. II). He retired with earnings of $2,936,586 for Allbritton, who raced him under the name of his Lazy Lane Farm.
Allbritton reacquired Hansel following a 12-year stud career during which the stallion stood in New York and Japan. Allbritton pensioned him at Lazy Lane near Upperville, Va.
Outside the horse industry, Allbritton also chaired the Houston International Bank, Houston Citizens Bank, and University Bankshares. He owned the Riggs bank from 1981 to 2004.
Allbritton and his wife Barbara were major contributors to several philanthropic, educational, and artistic institutions. The couple also supported numerous charitable causes through the Allbritton Foundation, including Baylor Medical School, the Allbritton Art Institute, the Oxford Scholars, and the establishment of the International School of Law, now called the George Mason Law School in Virginia.
Allbritton is survived by his wife, Barbara, and son, Robert, along with grandchildren, Alex and Katherine.