James Braxton, a long-time employee of Eagle Point Farm in Ashland, VA, died on January 4, 2013.

For those who have known Donna and Steve Dennehy and their daughter Karen Godsey or those who have ever been to their Eagle Point Farm certainly must have meet or known James.

James worked for Eagle Piont for 19 years, rarely missing a day and only taking off for his yearly trip to Atlantic City with friends in December.  For the past 10 years, he also made the haul down to Colonial Downs. 

Every year at Colonial, James was always most excited about winning the best kept shedrow award.  The Eagle Point connections let James keep the money and he doled out the hats and some cash to the other grooms as he saw fit. 

“We definitely spent more money than we got back trying to make the shedrow good for him but he looked forward to it so much we had to keep it up.  When our horses won, this man who was of little words and mostly liked to work alone (because no one else worked good enough for him) was the first to start hugging everyone and would get so excited he could barely get the shank on the horse when it came back,” said Karen Godsey.

James made the decision on which horses he would run and which ones he didn’t and he always had a soft spot for Eagle Point homebreds.  He also had dibs on ‘his’ shank and ‘his’ pitchfork and would carve his name into these items and hide them from the other grooms, as well as sometimes hide them from himself! 

James was an avid Dallas Cowboys fan which made for some good barnyard sparring from the Redskin enthused family at the farm.  Donna Dennehy would always come in singing ‘Hail to the Redskins’ when she saw James after a win.  The song sent James, and all the barn cats, as far back in the barn as they could get so they didn’t have to hear it. 

“James said little but did a lot and Eagle Point meant a lot to him.  I walked into his cozy apartment the other day and win pictures of his favorite horses lined the walls.  He always had his favorites.  One horse, a homebred by Chenin Blanc, we named Get To Steppin because that was one of James’s few saying,” Godsey said.

“When word spread of James’s passing it was unbelievable and undeniable how many people he had touched in the horse community.  From vets, owners, trainers and his co-workers, he left a memorable and positive impression.  He was a true character, real gentlemen, an honest employee and a vital part of the Eagle Point Farm family.  He will truly be missed and will undoubtedly always be remembered.”