Elizabeth (Binnie) Houghton, 79 of Chestertown, Md., died Aug. 7 of COPD, a respiratory ailment, at home at her Buckingham Farm.
She bred and raised thoroughbred racehorses horses annually, a number of which were stakes winners.
She foaled her mares at Buckingham until her husband of 48 years, Edward, died in 2008, and after that she foaled her mares at the nearby Thornmar Farm owned by her close friend, Cynthia McGinnes and her husband Charles.
Her latest stakes winner was her homebred Crabcakes, by Great Notion out of Aunt Elaine, by Charismatic, who won the Maryland Juvenile Filly Stakes at Laurel Park on Dec. 10, 2016 and then placed second in three stakes, in the Wide Country Stakes on Feb. 18 at Laurel, in the Austintown Filly Sprint Stakes at Mahoning Vally Race Course on April 15, and in the Alma North Stakes at Laurel on June 17.
Among her other best known winners were Castelets, Gallorette, He Loves Me, Laplander, Timely Warning, Master Speaker, Forry Cow How, Top of the News, Kalli and Roaring Lion.
Ross Pedicord, director of the Maryland Horse Industry Board and a longtime friend, was quoted in Houghton's obituary in the Baltimore Sun.
“One of the horses raised on their farm, Green Alligator, finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby and the Derby winner, Barbaro, descended from generations of horses bred and raised by the Houghtons and Binnie’s father, Anderson Fowler,” he said.
MRS. HOUGHTON had yellow and green racing silks.
"Binnie was very witty, and she really did love all living things, all plants and animals," said McGinnes. "She put up feeding stations for birds. She made their pond into a safe haven for water birds. It was always filled with all kinds of ducks."
"She always had a canary singing in her house," said McGinnes. "Whenever I called her on the phone, the most wonderful thing was I always heard the canary singing."
"She loved all animals," said McGinnes. "Over the years, she had two buffaloes, donkeys, llamas, miniature zebras and miniature pigs. She and Eddie had their own pack of Basset hounds. But most of all, she loved Eddie. She made it eight years after he died."
Houghton fox hunted with Flint Hill Hounds.
"She loved foxhunting," said McGinnes. " After she stopped riding, she followed the hunt in a white Mercedes sport utility vehicle that she call the white stallion.
"Even when she was struggling with COPD and had to go everywhere with an oxygen tank, she still went out to feed the birds and water the flowers," said McGinnes.
Houghton's daughter, Genevieve Pierce of Ennis, Mont., was also quoted in the obituary in the Baltimore Sun.
“My mother was extraordinarily in love with every living creature,” said Pierce. “She was an animal lover from the bottom of her heart. She wouldn’t turn a rescue donkey down.”
Her daughter recalled that Mrs. Houghton drove around her farm with buckets of horse treats in the back of her car.
“The horses knew her and saw her coming,” said her daughter.
“She also had a can of corn for the geese along the dock at Chestertown. They could spot her car when she arrived.”
“BINNIE HAD a razor wit and absolute love and devotion to animals and the land,” said Peddicord. “I think for something like 30 straight years she and Eddie either bred, raised or raced a stakes winner each year. They developed Buckingham Farm that fronts on the Chester River into one of the most beautiful horse farms in Maryland and placed it into farmland preservation programs.”
“The Hougtons were world travelers, owned land out west and raced mules out there as well as maintaining their East Coast thoroughbreds,” said Peddicord.
She also enjoyed visits to a Montana ranch in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
“They had an animal sanctuary on their farm with all kinds of animals and had a bronze likeness cast of one of their favorite pigs.”
A 2011 article in The Maryland Horse described the animals she kept, in addition to her thoroughbreds: “Also in residence… are five ponies, two mules, three donkeys and five llamas — along with the farm’s typically generous array of thoroughbred pensioners.”
“We take care of them so well they tend to live forever,” she said in that story.
“She and her husband were inseparable as a couple, but Binnie managed to soldier on after her beloved husband died,” Peddicord said.
Family members were prominent New York City bankers.
Her uncle, James Cox Brady, was chairman of the New York Racing Association.
She was raised in Gladstone, N.J., in the house that eventually became the centerpiece of the U.S. Equestrian Team's training and competition facility, and she was a graduate of the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Va.
She married Edward Houghton, a well-known horseman, in 1960, and they moved to Buckingham Farm overlooking the Chester River in Kent County.
She belonged to the Jockey Club, the sport’s governing body based in New York and Kentucky.
She was also a member of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.Mrs. Houghton was active with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and the Maryland Environmental Trust.
She was a past board member of the Kent County Humane Society and Kent School. She was a member of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church.
Plans for a private memorial are incomplete.
In addition to her daughter, survivors include another daughter, Kim Houghton Johnson of Landing, N.J., four granddaughters and a great-grandson.