Richard Broadbent III, pioneer in Thoroughbred information, dies at 73

Richard F. "Dick" Broadbent III of Lexington, who founded Bloodstock Research Information Services and pioneered information outlets in the Thoroughbred industry, died Monday. He was 73.

Mr. Broadbent was born March 27, 1937, in Atlanta, the son of Richard Foxcroft Broadbent and Alice Pickett Broadbent of Shelbyville. Mr. Broadbent attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the University of Kentucky.

Mr. Broadbent got involved in the Thoroughbred industry after marrying Martha Haggin, daughter of Keeneland president Louis Haggin II. He started buying and selling horses and became a Thoroughbred bloodstock agent.

"At that particular time, for people to research pedigrees you had to have extensive libraries," said Mr. Broadbent's son Richard "Happy" Broadbent IV. "He wanted to produce something to make it easier to research horses."

Mr. Broadbent began working on this idea with John Y. Brown Jr. Brown, former Kentucky governor and co-owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken, let Mr. Broadbent use the computer system at KFC during off hours. Mr. Broadbent compiled broodmare records on the computer and organized the records into books called American Produce Records.

"Once the book came out, he went to horse sales all over the country, and everyone bought them," Happy Broadbent said. "Once he made enough money, he bought his first computer system."

The computer system led Mr. Broadbent to his next venture, making pedigree and racing information electronic. His business, Bloodstock Research Information Services, became increasingly valuable to those in the industry.

When the pedigree service began to attract competition from companies such as the Jockey Club, Happy Broadbent said, his father moved into developing products for bettors.

Mr. Broadbent formed the Thoroughbred Times, a weekly publication, in 1985, and created the Handicapper's Database in 1988. During the mid-1990s he launched and Both Web sites distributed handicapping, pedigree and past performance information. In 1999, Happy Broadbent said, the decision was made to start developing an advanced deposit wagering system.

"What my dad was thinking all along the way was it was all about the customer, and trying to stay ahead of what the customer wanted," Happy Broadbent said.

On the side, Mr. Broadbent had a breeding operation called Crestview Farm. He also enjoyed playing polo, but his other son, John Broadbent, said business was his father's passion.

It wasn't until 2007 that Mr. Broadbent's career started to wind down. That year, he and his family sold his online companies to Churchill Downs.

Happy Broadbent said his father wanted to spend more time with his family and working with Christian World Ministries, a non-profit organization Mr. Broadbent formed that distributes prayer books and Bibles all over the world.

Mr. Broadbent also is survived by his wife, Sandra Lynn Broadbent of Lexington; a brother George Pickett Broadbent; and two daughters Martha Broadbent Mayer and Allison Broadbent Vandenhouten.

A private family graveside service will be held at Pisgah Presbyterian Church's cemetery on Monday.

Memorial gifts are suggested to Baby Health Service, 1590 Harrodsburg Road, Lexington, Ky. 40504; the Hope Center, P.O. Box 6, Lexington Ky. 40588; and Camp Horsin' Around, P.O. Box 22276, Lexington Ky. 40522.

Kerr Brothers Funeral Home, Main Street, is handling arrangements.

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