Stage Door Johnny in the 1968 Belmont Stakes.

Stage Door Johnny in the 1968 Belmont Stakes.

The Blood-Horse Library

Retired KY Farm Manager Robert Green Dies

Green managed Greentree Farm and Elmendorf Farm in Central Kentucky.

Robert Green, who managed Elmendorf Farm and Greentree Farm and who guided the careers of numerous top stallions, died Nov. 20 in Mount Sterling, Ky. He was 86.

Green’s career began at Hal Price Headley's Beaumont Farm near Lexington. After several years at Beaumont, Green was hired by Maxwell Gluck to manage Elmendorf Farm, where he supervised the early training of prominent 2-year-old Prince John.

In 1958 Green was hired by John Hay Whitney and Joan Shipman Payson to manage their Greentree Farm, where he worked until his retirement.

At Greentree, Green raised a number of champions including Stage Door Johnny, Late Bloomer, Bowl Game, and Sea Pigeon, and managed the careers of successful stallions including Stage Door Johnny, Tom Fool, The Axe II, Arts and Letters, Stop the Music, Key to the Mint, and Foolish Pleasure.

Green was born near Madison, Ind., and spent his childhood in Shelbyville, Ky. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he played on the varsity basketball team and the 1945-46 National Championship football team of which his brother, Jack, was the captain.

After West Point he attended and graduated from the University of Kentucky, where he played football under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. At UK, Green met and married his wife of 35 years, Patricia Anne Headley.

Green served as president of the Thoroughbred Club of America and president of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club, which named him Farm Manager of the Year. He was a member of the Kentucky State Racing Commission during the administration of Gov. John Y. Brown Jr.

While serving in that capacity, Green chaired a committee that recommended a controversial and short-lived 1980 rule banning the use of medication in racehorses in Kentucky. At the time that rule was passed, Green said: “Either we allow or we don’t allow Bute in racing. I’m against medication. A man has to speak for himself and get off the fence.”

Green’s survivors include a daughter, Adele; sons Bob, Tim, Chris, and Finn; and friend Barbara Chambers.