Monthly Archives: November 2021

NFL Hall of Famer, Horse Breeder, Owner Sam Huff Passes Away at 87

The following appeared on the Thoroughbred Daily News website. Sam Huff’s star horse, Bursting Forth, won the Grade 3 All Along Stakes at Colonial Downs in 1998, one of five stakes she won during her career. Mr. Huff also was founder of the West Virginia Breeders Classic. His Sporting Life Farm was based in Middleburg, Virginia.

Sam Huff, who made his mark in both the NFL and in thoroughbred racing as an owner-breeder and the co-founder of the West Virginia Breeders Classics, died Saturday. Huff, who had been suffering from dementia since 2013, was 87.

Huff, a third-round draft choice of the New York Giants in 1956, discovered racing during his time in New York when he would frequent Aqueduct and Belmont. Huff was traded to the Washington Redskins before the 1964 season and retired in 1969.

After his playing days were done, he devoted more time to thoroughbreds. Along with his partner Carol Holden, he opened Sporting Life Farm in Middleburg, Virginia. Huff was the owner and breeder of Bursting Forth, a winner of five stakes races, including the GIII Bewitch S., the GIII Vinery Matchmaker S. and the GIII All Along S.

“When you have a stakes winner, it’s like hitting the lottery,” Huff told the Saratogian in 2001. “It’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. More than winning an NFL championship, more than reaching the Hall of Fame. There’s nothing like it. That’s why people are in this business.”

Huff attended the inaugural Maryland Million in 1986 and liked the concept so much he decided to copy it. In 1987, Holden and Huff launched the West Virginia Breeders Classics run at Charles Town. The 35th edition of the event, held Oct. 9 at Charles Town, featured nine stakes for West Virginia-breds with total purses of $1,075,000.

“When we first started, I never had any idea we could do it for 23 years,” Huff told The Northern Virginia Daily in 2009. “It seems like a long time, but when you’re working in it, time goes fast. It’s always been a goal to be bigger than the Maryland Million–that was our guide, that’s what we copied.”

Until his health started to deteriorate, Huff was the face of the Breeders Classics, always there to pose for pictures, shake hands and present trophies in the winner’s circle.

Huff maintained a small stable for years and, according to Equibase, won 15 races as an owner since 2000. He started his last horse in 2015.

“I’m not the kind of owner trainers like,” Huff told the Saratogian. “I am involved. I stay on top of things. There’s no way you can be in one part of this business. You have to do it all. I read about the industry all the time.”

“Most knew Sam Huff as an NFL Hall of Famer,” read a tweet from Charles Town. We knew him as an advocate of racing and co-founder of the @WVBClassics. Sam passed away today at the age of 87. He will forever be woven into the fabric of West Virginia racing. Our deepest condolences to all who loved him.”

Virginia Breeder Richard Poulson Passes Away At The Age Of 83

The following appeared in the Charlottesville Daily Progress

Richard J.M. Poulson

September 4, 1938 – November 4, 2021

Richard J. M. Poulson of Orange, Va. and Washington, D.C., was a lawyer, sportsman, and civic leader.

Mr. Poulson was a long-time partner in the law firm Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan & Lovell) and led the firm’s international expansion in opening its London Office in 1989. Prior to joining Hogan, he was a Vice President in the Investment Department at American Security and Trust Company, a predecessor to Bank of America. Following his retirement from Hogan, he joined Smithfield Foods as an Executive Vice President and General Counsel; there, he led the company’s mergers and acquisitions for over 12 years to include major acquisitions in France, Spain, Poland, Canada, and Romania. He later joined Oaktree Capital Management (London) as the Senior Advisor on mergers and acquisitions. During his career, he served as a director of the following public companies: Guam Oil and Refining (Agana, Guam); Stimsonite Corporation (Chicago); Campofrio Food Group (Madrid, Spain); Groupe Smithfield (Paris); Anemix S.A. (Warsaw).

Richard was an avid sportsman. He and his wife Anne have run for many years a thoroughbred-breeding farm in Orange, Virginia, which has produced the 1994 Kentucky Derby Winner Go For Gin and numerous stakes horses. He and his wife also raced steeplechase horses, and he served on the Board of Stewards of the National Steeplechase Association.

He played rugby for the Washington Rugby Football Club and was elected to the U.S. Rugby Football Hall of Fame in 2015. His love for mentorship led him to coach football and track at Randolph-Macon Academy and Christchurch School prior to attending law school. In later years, he mentored and coached youth baseball players in DC. He also cofounded and chaired the Foggy Bottom Youth Baseball Foundation, which provides quality coaching, equipment, and facilities to those who could not otherwise afford to play.

Richard was a civic and community leader. He created and chaired The Mary and Daniel Loughran Foundation, a charitable foundation that has contributed over $250 million dollars to the Washington community.

He was a graduate of The University of Virginia, American University, Washington College of Law, and Georgetown University Law School. Richard was devoted to the University of Virginia and served two terms on the UVA Board of Managers and was Chairman/President in 1995-96. He also served two terms as Chairman of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, UVA’s flagship scholarship program. He taught at Georgetown Law School from 1970-1976.

Charismatic and genuine, Richard was a true friend, confidant, and mentor to many. He will be sorely missed.

Survivors include his wife, Anne Wrenn Poulson; his son, Hundley Poulson; his daughter, Anna Blair Poulson; and his brother, Jon Poulson.

Funeral services will be private. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Published by Daily Progress on Nov. 14, 2021.