Lothlorien's Susan Grange dies at 63
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Standardbred Canada is reporting that Standardbred owner and Canadian equestrian icon Susan "Sue" Grange of Cheltenham, Ont., died on Thursday, Oct. 19, at the age of 63.
Raised in a subdivision by the lake in Mississauga, Ont. Grange wasn’t born a country girl. But at 12, she tagged along with a friend to her riding lessons and was immediately hooked on horses. Showing on a major scale by 16, Grange traveled the continent as a competitive jumper for nearly two decades and in the mid-1970s purchased a 100-acre lot in Cheltenham on which to build her training farm -- a farm that would be known as Lothlorien. She injured her back in her 30s and was forced to quit the sport she loved so dearly.
For a time Grange was hardly involved in the industry, swearing that she would never be content as an owner. But unable to resist, she soon found herself back in the game, travelling the world to select the best and most promising show-jumpers to represent her farm.
With her stamp of approval, the horses come back overseas to Cheltenham, where the goal is to develop them into champion show horses or influential stock for her developing breeding program.
Lothlorien’s original 100 acres has now more than quadrupled on account of Grange buying up the land around her, giving her plenty of room to roam with her husband John, their four children and a handful of dogs.
Around the same time Grange was travelling the continent riding show-jumpers and establishing her farm, her parents Audrey and Elwood Campbell were discovering their love for horse racing -- an enduring passion that began with part ownership in a single horse.
When her father passed away, Grange’s mother carried it on because she enjoyed it. Campbell had made friends and they would go out for dinner at the races and have a good time, so under the name Lothlorien Equestrian Center (a separate entity from Grange’s farm, Lothlorien), she stayed involved.
Shortly after the death of her husband, Campbell found herself engaged in a bidding war at Harrisburg with Jeffrey Snyder over a yearling – Red River Hanover -- that would soon make an impressive name for himself in the racing world, pocketing $1.4 million and taking a lifetime mark of 1.48.4s. The two formed a partnership after each refused to give up the colt, and the pair went on to purchase a host of other horses that also burned up the track – most impressive of which may have been his brother, the 2005 O’Brien Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year, Rocknroll Hanover.
Retaining a 10 percent interest in Rocknroll Hanover when he retired to stud at the end of his successful sophomore campaign, Campbell knew she wanted to breed to him. So her daughter agreed to go halves with her on a few broodmares so long as they purchased the best of the best.
The pair consulted Dr. Moira Gunn, formerly the president of Armstrong Brothers, for advice on choosing the right mares for their program. Their acquisitions included Kikikatie, Please Me Please and Belovedangel.
After Grange's mother passed away in 2007, Grange took over her mother’s business, Lothlorien Equestrian Center, as part of the estate, and all the horses that go along with that. That fall she purchased three yearlings with Snyder at Harrisburg. While Venice Menace didn't turn out to be a superstar, the other two yearlings certainly did. The one, a trotter, was eventual millionaire and award winner Windsong Soprano. The other was double millionaire and 2009 U.S. Pacer of the Year, Well Said.
Grange is survived by her husband John and their four children. She is of seven grandchildren of Canadian media magnate Roy Thomson. According to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, Grange's net worth of $3.83 billion ranked her within the top 530 wealthiest people in the world.
Arrangements will posted when available.