Anne M. Eberhardt/Blood-Horse Publications

Trainer H.L. Womak Dies

Native Kentuckian trained until he was 75, led standings at River Downs and Latonia.

Veteran Thoroughbred trainer Hulon "H.L." Womack Sr., who led the standings at River Downs and Latonia in the late 1960s and early 1970s, passed away Jan. 17 at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood, Ky. He was 75.

Womack was born in Russell Springs, Ky. He continued to train actively until he was hospitalized last October. His last runner raced at Turfway Park on Sept. 30, 2007.

Former jockey Vince Clark, who currently serves as Clerk of Scales at Turfway Park and is the Association Steward at River Downs, rode extensively for Womack during his winningest years.

“He probably won the trainers title between River Downs and Latonia about 10 times or more," said Clark.  "He was hard working and down to earth, usually had about 20 head in training. He was a real successful good old boy back in the day."

Clark was aboard the Womack-trained Dina's Playmate in August of 1969 when the 11-year-old gelding set a world record at River Downs. Carrying 120 lbs., he ran 1 7/16ths of a mile on the turf course in 2:25. 

Womack specialized in the claiming game throughout his career and maintained his keen eye despite his age. He started 147 horses through mid-August of 2007 at River Downs and won with 44% of them in their first start off the claim. Equineline reports that he had 616 wins from 5,837 starters from 1976 through 2007, and it is likely that he trained many additional winners before '76.

Womack's survivors include daughter Pamela Delaguardia; son Hulon L. Womack Jr.; partner Jodie Lamb; one granddaughter, and one great-grandson. Visitation is expected to take place Jan. 20 and his memorial services are scheduled to take place at 2:00 p.m.  Jan. 21 at Bernard's Funeral Home, 367 N. Main Street in Russell Springs.