William G. “Blackie” Huffman, a trainer whose son Ben Huffman serves as racing secretary at Churchill Downs and Keeneland, died Dec. 24 following a short illness, according to Daily Racing Form. He was 67.
A Louisville native, Huffman stated training in 1987 and experienced his best year in 1994, when his runners won six stakes and earned nearly $1 million. Two of his charges, Alcovy and Danville, were graded winners that year, with Alcovy winning the Falls City Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill.
For his career, Huffman won 371 races from 2,224 starts. His runners captured 30 stakes and placed in 90 added-money races. His first graded stakes win came when Air Worthy captured the 1989 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill. Huffman also conditioned graded winners Roxelana and Undermine.
Huffman worked as broodmare manager during the mid-1970s for Dan Lasater at the latter’s Florida farm when Lasater was the leading North American owner by earnings. Huffman later bought and operated Skylight Training Center near Goshen outside Louisville.
In addition to Ben, he is also survived by his wife, Mary Ann (Melvin) Huffman; sons Mike and Pat; his brother, Neil, who also trains Thoroughbreds at Churchill Downs; and five granddaughters.