Harriet Jones, whose late husband, Warner L. Jones Jr., served as chairman of Churchill Downs, died the morning of Jan. 8 at her Louisville home. Her death came unexpectedly.
The Joneses operated Hermitage Farm near Goshen, Ky. Warner Jones had purchased the acreage in 1935.
Harriet Jones descended from one of Louisville's foremost families, the Seelbachs, whose legacy includes an elegant Louisville hotel. She studied art history at Sarah Lawrence College in New York State before marrying Jones in 1939.
Warner Jones bred such top horses as 1953 Kentucky Derby winner Dark Star, 1967 Kentucky Oaks winner Nancy Jr., and 1988 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Is It True. Dark Star's big win came over Native Dancer, and Is It True beat Easy Goer in his.
Jones sold the world's most expensive yearling, a Nijinsky II colt later named Seattle Dancer, for himself and fellow breeders William S. Farish and William Kilroy. A half-brother to Horse of the Year Seattle Slew, Seattle Dancer brought $13.1 million at the 1985 Keeneland July sale. He became an Irish group II winner and successful stallion.
Jones died in 1994, and Hermitage later was sold to his close friend Carl Pollard. Acting on her own, Harriet Jones bred and sold (through Three Chimneys Farm) a Mr. Prospector colt for $3.7 million at the 2000 Keeneland July sale. It was the third-highest price at the sale.
At the tmie of her death, Jones owned three broodmares, which she kept at Hermitage.
Her survivors include daughters Harriet and Mina. There will no visitation.