ARCADIA, Calif. — Sherwood C. Chillingworth, a longtime executive with the Oak Tree Racing Association who had partnerships in several stakes-winning thoroughbreds, has died. He was 93.
Chillingworth had been in declining health and died Tuesday of undisclosed causes, Frank DeMarco, vice president and general counsel at Santa Anita, said Wednesday. They were friends for over 70 years.
Chillingworth was named an Oak Tree director in 1989 and assumed the title of executive vice president for the not-for-profit organization four years later.
Oak Tree began in 1969 and conducted its last fall meet at Santa Anita in 2009. It operated for one year at Hollywood Park and held fall meets at Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton through last year. The organization remains active in funding charitable causes.
A former real estate developer, Chillingworth served as vice chairman and CEO of Santa Anita Realty Enterprises from 1994-96.
He owned and raced thoroughbreds dating to the early 1970s under his operation named Paniolo Ranch.
It was through partnerships, however, that Chillingworth experienced considerable success. He owned parts of Grade 1 stakes winners Swing Till Dawn, Yashgan, Forzando, and Valley Victory.
“He was a first-class guy,” Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally said. “Chilly was good for the horses and he was good for the business.”
Chillingworth, who lived in a house on the grounds at Santa Anita, was also a past steward of The Jockey Club, secretary of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, director of the Thoroughbred Racing and Protective Bureau, and member of the Equibase management committee.
“Chilly was one of the kindest and most gracious executives in racing,” said George Haines, former Santa Anita general manager. “He treated the employees with great respect and was universally loved by all. His wit and humor will be missed but not forgotten.”