Former trainer Carpenter, 68, dies

Former trainer Carpenter, 68, dies

Published May. 19, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

Dianne Carpenter, the only woman to saddle two starters in the Kentucky Derby, has died. She was 68.

Carpenter died of cancer on May 4, according to trainer Garry Simms, who worked as an assistant under her before opening his own stable. Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes in Biloxi confirmed Carpenter's death.

Carpenter trained and owned Biloxi Indian, who finished 12th in the 1984 Derby. She also saddled Kingpost, 14th in the 1988 Derby. No female trainer has ever won the 137-year-old race.

''Dianne was really talented and was a real horseman,'' Simms said Thursday from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. ''She had a great eye for a horse.''


Carpenter operated Sundance Stable at Churchill Downs from the late 1970s through the late '80s, winning three stakes races there. She won the 1980 Clark Handicap with Sun Catcher, the 1983 Kentucky Jockey Club with Biloxi Indian, and the 1983 Perryville Stakes.

Kingpost was one of Carpenter's most accomplished horses, winning three races and earning nearly $600,000 in his career. He won the 1988 Jim Beam Stakes at Turfway Park, and finished second in the Derby Trial and the Belmont Stakes that year.

Carpenter was a teacher before she began her training career, and Simms said she returned to that profession after leaving racing.