Prominent horseman Clarence Scharbauer, Jr., 88, who owned 1987 Kentucky Derby winner Alysheba, died Friday, February 22, following emergency surgery.

Scharbauer’s family founded Scharbauer Cattle Company near Midland, Tex., in 1901, and established one of the largest herds in the west. Later their cattle country yielded a rich bonus of oil from the Permian Basin. Clarence Jr. assumed the reins of the family businesses in 1946, several years after the death of his father, when the giant ranching enterprise covered nearly 500,000 acres in west Texas and southeast New Mexico.

Scharbauer’s reputation as a renowned horseman was well-earned. He served as president of the American Quarter Horse Association when the one-millionth horse was registered; saw Marion’s Girl, a mare that he bred, become a world champion cutting horse; campaigned the champion race stallion Double Bid; and was influential in the development of Lone Star Park and the drive to return pari-mutuel racing to Texas.

“I was raised on the ranch and on horses,” said Scharbauer. “It doesn’t make any difference if it’s a Quarter Horse, a Shetland, a Percheron, a Thoroughbred, I know what I’m looking at.”

In 1991, Scharbauer and his wife, Dorothy, who passed away in 2005, built Valor Farm near Pilot Point, Texas. The state-of-the-art Thoroughbred breeding facility, with 18 miles of fence and four showcase barns, is home to some of the top stallions in the Southwest.

The couple’s interest in Thoroughbreds began with the 1959 Kentucky Derby, which Dorothy’s father, Fred Turner Jr., won with Tomy Lee. With the goal of winning another Derby, the Scharbauers began buying Thoroughbred yearlings in 1984 and never lost their passion for the sport. According to longtime Valor Farm manager Ken Carson, the Scharbauer-bred filly Fiftyshadesofgold won the Texas Stallion Stakes at Sam Houston Park last weekend, which Scharbauer was able to watch via the internet.

In addition to many other honors, Scharbauer was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame (1992), as well as the the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame (2001); was a recipient of the National Golden Spur Award (1991); and received the Texas Thoroughbred Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2007).

Scharbauer is survived by son Clarence Scharbauer III and wife, Kerry, of Midland; son Douglas Scharbauer and wife, Karen, of Midland; son Chris Scharbauer and wife, LaVonne, of Amarillo; daughter Pamela Scharbauer of Palm Springs, Calif., and numerous grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending with Nalley-Pickle and Welch Funeral Home in Midland.