Nelson Bunker Hunt, the Texas oilman who once tried to corner the silver market and a prominent international Thoroughbred owner-breeder, died October 21 at age 88.
The Associated Press reports that according to brother W. Herbert Hunt, Nelson died at a Dallas assisted-living center after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
As the son of legendary Texas oilman H.L. Hunt, who left behind a multibillion-dollar fortune in Placid Oil Co., once one of the US's biggest independent oil companies, Nelson Bunker Hunt was one of the world's richest individuals.
Hunt had an indelible effect on international racing and breeding in the 1970s and 1980s, after purchasing his first Thoroughbred in 1955. Hunt was honored with Eclipse Awards as outstanding breeder in 1976, 1985, and 1987.
During that period, the prominent horses bred and/or raced by Hunt were led by European Horse of the Year and influential sire Vaguely Noble, as well as champions Dahlia, Empery, Youth, Exceller, Trillion, Glorious Song, Dahar, and Estrapade.
Hunt at one time owned more than 600 horses and his Bluegrass Farms in Central Kentucky once totaled more than 8,000 acres, according to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Nelson Bunker Hunt built on his father's oil and gas holdings, finding a rich Libyan oil field only to have it nationalized later by Moammar Gadhafi. The effort by Hunt and brother Herbert to corner the silver market led to legal problems and bankruptcy. The holdings grew to nearly $4.5 billion by January 1980, and he and Herbert Hunt lost more than $1 billion in March 1980 when the price of silver collapsed.
The brothers agreed to lifetime bans from trading in commodities futures and a $10 million penalty with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which alleged that they manipulated the price of silver.
Sliding prices for oil, land, and commodities further dented their fortunes.
Following settlement of his bankruptcy and legal problems, Hunt re-entered the Thoroughbred business in 1999 when he bought 13 2-year-olds in training at the Fasig-Tipton Texas March sale at Lone Star Park. He followed with the purchase of 38 yearlings for a total $1,716,000 at Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton sales.
Hunt's dispersal at Keeneland in January 2008 resulted in 580 horses being sold for a then-record $46,912,000.
Among the top horses he campaigned during his second foray into horse racing were grade II winner Seinne, grade III winners Hattiesburg and Piensa Sonando, as well as nine-time stakes winner Souris.
A funeral is scheduled for 11am Friday 24 October at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, to be followed by a private graveside service, Hunt's brother said.
Extract from Blood-Horse