Levy, owner of Bet Twice, Housebuster, dies at 87
Robert P. “Bob” Levy, who owned the standout racehorses Housebuster and Bet Twice and whose family owned Atlantic City Race Course, died Wednesday of natural causes. He was 87.
Levy was prominent in racing for much of his life but especially so in the 1980s and early 1990s, during the heydays of Bet Twice, winner of the 1987 Belmont Stakes, and Housebuster, a two-time champion sprinter inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2013. His best horses were trained by Warren “Jimmy” Croll, himself a Hall of Famer who died in 2008.
Levy was an iconic figure in his hometown of Philadelphia, where he was deeply immersed in the city’s culture and sports activities when serving for more than 50 years as chairman of a diversified business, DRT Industries, prior to his retirement in 2011. He inherited ownership of Atlantic City as the son of Leon Levy, who co-founded the New Jersey track in 1946.
“He was a great man to a lot of people,” said his son Michael Levy, a longtime Lexingtonarea breeder and owner. “We were all very lucky to be around to see how much he was loved.”
The peak of Levy’s many years in racing and breeding came on June 6, 1987, when Bet Twice won the Belmont by 14 lengths, foiling the Triple Crown bid of Alysheba after having finished second to his nemesis in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Bet Twice also defeated Alysheba, a two-time champion, in the 1987 Haskell and 1988 Pimlico Special.
Besides Bet Twice and Housebuster, other top horses Levy owned outright or in partnership included Smoke Glacken, the 1997 sprint champion, and Grade 1 winner Trumpet’s Blare and Grade 2 winner Greek Costume.
Levy helped to pioneer simulcasting in the early 1980s when importing the Meadowlands signal to Atlantic City, thus becoming the first American outlet for such an intertrack arrangement.
Among his many titles and honors, Levy, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, was a former chairman of the Philadelphia Sports Congress; founded the Little Quakers, a fabulously successful youthfootball franchise; served as president of the Thoroughbred Racing Association; was a former director of the FasigTipton Co.; and was inducted into numerous halls of fame.
Levy is survived by his wife, Cissy, and five adult children: Robert Jr., Mike, Katherine, Angela, and Wendy.
A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday in Trevose, Pa., with details to be announced. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to Thoroughbred Charities of America (www.tca .org).