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Dennis Doyle dies

April 23, 2007

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Dennis Doyle, best known for his ownership of the 1999 Older Trotter of the Year Supergrit and free-for-all pacer Silver Almahurst, has died at the age of 68.

Mr. Doyle was owner and president of Club Car Inc., a buyer’s service for Pace Warehouses, which he later sold to Kmart Corp. for $10 million. With that money Mr. Doyle founded and owned Savor Inc., a company that oversaw a credit card program for pre-paid college tuitions.
Mr. Doyle was also instrumental in creating the “Tent Sale” concept for Chrysler Corp. He created the slogan “Be all that you can be!” as a Ford Motor Co. incentive for its salesmen, and he later filed a successful lawsuit against the U.S. Army for using that same slogan without his permission. As settlement of that suit, Mr. Doyle received a dividend each time it was used.
Mr. Doyle purchased millionaire pacer Silver Almahurst for $300,000 early in the world champion horse’s 6-year-old season in 1994. After earning approximately $100,000 back for Mr. Doyle, Silver Almahurst was retired at the end of the year, going on to a successful stallion career at Oldfield Farm in Michigan. In advance of his first crop, Mr. Doyle announced he would award a one-year lease of a 1998 Cadillac Sedan DeVille to the breeder of the horse sired by Silver Almahurst who earned the most money that year on the Michigan Sire Stakes circuit.
Another of Mr. Doyle’s most successful horses was Wall Alone, who won the 1995 Michigan Sire Stakes final in track-record time at Hazel Park and the 1996 Buckette at the Delaware, Ohio County Fair.
Although Mr. Doyle had success with Silver Almahurst and Wall Alone, his victories with Supergrit earned him his most fame in the sport. Trained and driven by Mark Jordan, Supergrit won 27 of 63 career starts and earned $1,487,118. Supergrit was a three-time Breeders Crown starter, finishing second in 1996 and third in 1997 before winning the 1999 championship event in his career-best time of 1:53.1. That year he also won the Trot Mondial at Hippodrome de Montreal, defeating Moni Maker in the process.
Mr. Doyle also “scammed” the sport in 1989 when he issued a press release that his horse Florio Almahurst, a son of 1983 Triple Crown champion pacer Ralph Hanover, established a world-record of sorts with a one-mile effort in 1:40.2 over the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. He later revealed the story was a hoax.
Mr. Doyle is survived by his wife, Sherry; a daughter, Suzanne Kiple; a son, Terry; and grandchildren Chloe and Grant. He was predeceased by a son, Michael, in 1988.
Funeral services were scheduled to be held Thursday, April 26, in Novi, Mich. Memorial contributions may be sent to the American Diabetes Association.
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