Bernie Daney with trainer Tim Ritchey (center) and wife Arlene at the 2003 Maryland Million Classic

Bernie Daney with trainer Tim Ritchey (center) and wife Arlene at the 2003 Maryland Million Classic

Lydia A. Williams

Obituary: Daney Achieved as Breeder, Owner, Regulator

Daney's homebred Docent won the Maryland Million Classic Stakes in 2002 and 2003.

Bernie Daney, who owned and bred stakes winners and also proved to be an influential industry regulator, died Dec. 9 surrounded by family. Daney, of Greenville, Del., was 92.

With that background in racing, Daney was well aware of how things worked on the backstretch. He would use that first-hand experience while serving as a regulator of the sport.

"I remember we were one of the first states to put rules in place on anabolic steroids and a horseman was complaining that there were no withdrawal times," said DTRC executive director John Wayne. "Bernie said to him, 'Stop today, then you'll be fine.' The meet was about two months away so he was spot-on."

With his wife Arlene, the Daneys bred more than 160 horses including stakes-placed homebred Parfaitement, who raced in the 1983 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1). Another homebred, Docent, won the Maryland Million Classic Stakes in 2002 and 2003 after taking the Maryland Million Sweepstakes in 2001. 

He served as chairman of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission (1993-2011) and chairman of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (2007). In 2009 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from ARCI.

Wayne said that while Delaware may be a small racing state, Daney wanted a first-class approach when it came to regulating the sport. He said Daney was one of the initial regulators to push for more uniformity from state to state and in Delaware he worked for riders.

"He was an advocate for jockey insurance," Wayne said. "That's why we have such a good plan in place in Delaware. It's because of his efforts. He went to the legislature and said, 'We want to be a model state.'"

In hearing various violation cases through the years, Wayne said Daney could be understanding of horsemen who may have a first-time violation because of an honest mistake.

"He was a compassionate person," Wayne said.

Daney also served on the board of directors of Fair Hill Races, and as a board member and treasurer of Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association (1983-2001), and secretary/treasurer of the National Racing Compact in Lexington. 

Daney, a World War II veteran, is survived by his wife, Arlene, his son B. Christopher and wife Stephanie of Avondale, Pa., Gregory and wife Liz of Roswell, Ga., Duane of Ocean Ridge, Fla. and Michael and wife Amy of Darlington, Md.

The viewing will be at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Dec. 15. A funeral mass will begin immediately at 10:30 a.m. and burial will be private.