George L. Ohrstrom Jr.

George L. Ohrstrom Jr.

The Chronicle of the Horse

Virginia Breeder/Owner George L. Ohrstrom Jr. Dead

George L. Ohrstrom Jr., who owned The Chronicle of the Horse since 1955, died after a long illness at his home in The Plains, Va., Oct. 6. He was 78.

(This account is from the Chronicle and appears with permission.)

Ohrstrom was a prominent figure in the racing and foxhunting communities, and a supporter of land-conservation efforts, especially those of the Piedmont Environmental Council. He was a member of and a major landowner in the Orange County Hunt near The Plains, and in 1992 he founded the Bath County Hounds, a private pack headquartered on his landholding in Bath County, Va.

"He just loved going down to Bath County; he'd really come to life there," said Peter Winants, the fieldmaster at Bath County for 12 years.

Ohrstrom, who owned Whitewood Stables, campaigned French champion Comtesse de Loir as well as homebred grade I winner Mossflower.

Comtesse de Loir, who was France's champion 3-year-old filly in 1974, raced twice in North America, finishing second in the 1975 Washington, D.C., International (gr. IT) and Canadian International Championship Stakes (gr. IT).

Mossflower won her first six races, including the 1998 Hempstead Handicap (gr. I) by a dozen lengths at Belmont Park racing in the Whitewood silks. Trying turf the following year, she ran third in the Flower Bowl Invitational Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont and the Diana Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga.

Ohrstrom was represented in the stakes ranks as both a breeder and owner this year. In the Gold, a filly he bred, won the Gazelle Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont in September and captured the Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland in April.

Understood, whom Ohrstorm raced as a homebred in the Whitewood name, took the Marcellus Frost Hurdle Stakes (NSA-III) in this spring at Percy Warner. He also was a stakes winner two other years.

Ohrstrom particularly enjoyed seeing his horses run over timber, in both point-to-point and sanctioned races, and it was always a highlight for him when one of his horses ran in the Maryland Hunt Cup. His goal for 40 years was to win the Hunt Cup, and Appolinax finished third in 1982, as did Bowman's Crossing in 2003.

"The Hunt Cup was his real sporting goal," said Winants, who was the Chronicle's editor and then publisher from 1976 to 1991 and was the National Sporting Library's director until 1999. "He was a true sportsman, like few I've ever met."

Ohrstrom was chairman of G.L. Ohrstrom & Co., a private equity firm in New York City founded by his father, George L. Ohrstrom Sr. Ohrstrom became the firm's chairman in 1960.

The senior Ohrstrom bought the Chronicle in 1954 and died just a year later. With the late Alexander Mackay-Smith, the younger Ohrstrom founded the National Sporting Library, which was housed in the Chronicle's basement until 1999, when its specially built headquarters was completed next door to the Chronicle.

"It meant an awful lot to him to fulfill his father's dream" of creating a permanent home for the NSL, said Winants.

Ohrstrom is survived by his wife, Jacqueline; sister Magalen O. Bryant; children George F. Ohrstrom, Clarke Ohrstrom, Winifred O. Nichols, and Wright Ohrstrom; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service is planned for Oct. 21 at 11:00 A.M at The Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains. Contributions can be made to The National Sporting Library in Middleburg, Va., or to the Piedmont Environmental Council in Warrenton, Va.