Horseman Donald Divine Dies in Florida
by Claire Novak
Date Posted: 2/24/2013 2:21:25 PM
Last Updated: 2/25/2013 8:20:40 PM

Donald H. Divine, a longtime horseman, trainer, and bloodstock consultant, died Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m. EST at his home in Ocala, Fla. He was 86 and had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in November 2012.

The native of Harrodsburg, Ky., was born Aug. 31, 1926, and started his career near Lexington, galloping horses for Calumet Farm. In 1943 he joined the Army and served in World War II, where he reached the rank of sergeant.

Divine returned to Kentucky after the war and worked for Ben Jones at Calumet Farm. He eventually ran a training barn for Calumet and also went to work for Freeman Keys of Reverie Knoll Farm, breaking and training young horses. His 2-year-olds were known as very hard to beat first time out.

He also trained for W.L. Lyons Brown and Warner Jones, and went to California to work for Brian Mayberry. From 1972-74 he ran a farm in Plant City, Fla., with his second wife, the jockey Diane Crump.

Divine retired in 1996 but remained active in bloodstock consulting and in the sport. He selected many top runners for the late Mace Siegel's Jay Em Ess Stable, including Declan's Moon, winner of the 2004 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I), and grade II winner Arson Squad.

"He looked out for us, he took care of us," Siegel's daughter, Samantha, said. "He had been part of our team and would go to sales with us and keep track of our horses in Ocala. He would go and watch babies train."

Divine is survived by his former wives, Jean Divine and Diane Crump, and by four children, David, Diane, Dennis, and Della Divine-Payne, as well as nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A military funeral will be held for Divine Feb. 28 at Forest Lawn Funeral Home, 5740 S. Pine Ave, Ocala, Fla., 34480.
 



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