Veteran Trainer WR Smith Dies

William Richard "WR" Smith, a veteran Thoroughbred trainer, breeder, and owner died May 27 in Ocala, Fla.

Smith, 75, was a lifelong horseman who rode as a jockey in the early 1940s. He switched to training after serving two years of military service in Korea.

In the early 1950s, Smith took his family to Ocala where he worked breaking yearlings for Carl Rose's Rosemere Farm. He eventually resumed his training career and traveled to every racetrack east of the Mississippi River, but wound up settling in South Florida when Calder Race Course opened in 1971.

One of Smith's most successful horses was Nose for Money, a bay son of Cornish Prince out of Diamond Ring. Nose for Money won Division I of the Royal Palm Handicap (gr. III) at Hialeah Park and Pelleteri Handicap at the Fair Grounds in 1973. The colt placed in three other stakes including the Royal Poinciana Handicap at Hialeah. Nose for Money retired with nearly $86,000 in earnings.

Smith served as president of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association for 10 years and was on the National HBPA board for eight years. He returned to Ocala in 1980 to develop Sunset Farm in the Brookfield Annex, but was back to the races by 1988.

In 1997, Smith and his wife, Karen, were back in the Ocala area where they established Cooper Place farm, which he named for his stallion Copper Man and the son of his favorite mare Copper Tears.

Smith is survived by his wife and two daughters, Carol Neff, Ocala, and JoAnne Thibeau, Tavernier, Fla.; two brothers and a sister in Upstate New York; five grand children and four great-grandchildren.

Neff said she would always remember her father for "his ready smile, positive attitude, and all that energy."