dr Lee Cyphers, Oaklawn’s longtime veterinarian, died Sunday, September 5 of complications from a brain aneurysm. He was a fixture at the Oaklawn starting gate and paddock for over three decades. He was a local vet in Hot Springs with a highly successful small animal clinic. However, his training focused on large animals and his passion was horses.
From Oaklawn President Louis A. Cella:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cyphers family. dr Cyphers was a dedicated member of the Oaklawn team and served as our association vet for over 30 years. He has rarely missed a day of racing and has been at the gate more than 15,000 times during his tenure to ensure the safety of our equestrians rain or shine. Whether the horse was a claimer or a champion like Zenyatta or American Pharoah, Dr. Cyphers has given them the utmost care to ensure they are ready to give their best.”
From Arkansas HBPA President Bill Walmsley:
“Dr. Cyphers was a trusted friend to the riders and a very good veterinarian. His top priority has always been the safety and welfare of the horses. He will be missed by all.”
From Arkansas Racing Commission Chairman Alex Lieblong:
“DR. Cyphers was liked and respected by all. His long tenure with Oaklawn speaks volumes for his dedication and passion for racing and his desire to protect the welfare of every horse. He was always willing to work with the state vets to do whatever always appreciated by the Commission. He will be missed.”
Louis Lee Cyphers, 66, of Hot Springs died on September 5, 2021 with his wife and children at his bedside after a ruptured brain aneurysm on August 3. He was born on August 22, 1955 in El Dorado, AR to the late Peggy and CD-Cyphers.
His many accomplishments began when he graduated from El Dorado High School in 1973. He then attended Hendrix College, graduating in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Before deciding to attend vet school, he took a few years off to grow tomatoes and soybeans with his dear brother Andy. He graduated from Louisiana State University in 1985 with a doctorate in veterinary medicine. He and his first wife Viki (a classmate) married after graduation and moved to Hot Springs. They jointly opened Cyphers Veterinary Hospital at 111 Temperance Hill Road in 1987, which they owned and operated until selling the practice in 2011 (now known as Temperance Hill Animal Hospital). Shortly after moving to Hot Springs, Lee began his long tenure at Oaklawn, where he served as a track vet from 1990 until his death. He loved this job and all the friends he made there, the best of which was his wife Kristi. They shared a wonderful life together for over 20 years.
Lee enjoyed all things outdoors, especially camping and bass fishing on Lake DeGray with his family and friends. Lee and Kristi loved camping at Lake DeGray so much that they regularly stayed the maximum 2 weeks allowed per month. He loved roasting fish and venison steak for his audience and was always the life of any party.
He is preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Steve and Chuck Cyphers.
Survivors include his wife and best friend Kristi; children, Morgan Lee (Summer) Cyphers, Margaret “Meggy” Beatrice (Joseph) Boone, the mother of his children, Viki Cyphers, and Scotty (Grace) Casteel; grandchildren, Noah and Emmie Casteel; Siblings, Kay (Andy) Cyphers Garison, Andy Cyphers and Dan (Amy) Cyphers, DDS, and extended family and many friends.
Memorial services will be announced at a later date.