Horse Racing

Longtime Oaklawn Veterinarian Dr. Lee Cyphers Passes Away


Dr. Lee Cyphers



Dr. Lee Cyphers, Oaklawn’s longtime Association Veterinarian, passed away Sunday, Sept. 5 following complications from a brain aneurysm. He was a fixture at the Oaklawn starting gate and in the paddock spanning three decades. He was a local Hot Springs veterinarian with a highly successful small animal clinic. However, his training was 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 had been a dedicated member of the Oaklawn team, serving as our Association Veterinarian for over 30 years. He hardly missed a day of races and was at the gate ensuring the safety of our equine athletes more than 15,000 times during his tenure, rain or shine. No matter if the horse was a claimer or a champion like Zenyatta or American Pharoah, Dr. Cyphers gave them the utmost care to ensure they were ready to perform at their best.”

From Arkansas H.B.P.A. President Bill Walmsley:

“Dr. Cyphers was a trusted friend to the horsemen and a very good veterinarian. His top priority was always the safety and well-being of the horses. He will be missed by everyone.”

From Arkansas Racing Commission Chairman Alex Lieblong:

“Dr. Cyphers was liked and respected by everyone. His long tenure at Oaklawn speaks volumes to his dedication and passion for racing and his desire to protect the well-being of every horse. He was always willing to work cooperatively with the state veterinarians, which the Commission always appreciated. He’ll be missed.”

Official Obituary:

Louis Lee Cyphers, 66, of Hot Springs passed away on September 5, 2021 with his wife and children at his bedside following 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 with graduating from El Dorado High School in 1973. He then went on to attend Hendrix College finishing with a bachelor’s degree in Biology in 1977. Before deciding to attend veterinarian school, he took a few years off to farm tomatoes and soy beans with his dear brother Andy. He graduated from Louisiana State University with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1985. He and his first wife Viki (a fellow classmate) married after graduation and moved to Hot Springs. They opened Cyphers Veterinary Hospital together in 1987 at 111 Temperance Hill Road, 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 with Oaklawn serving as the track veterinarian from 1990 until he died. He loved this job and all of 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 would regularly stay the maximum allowed 2 weeks per month. He loved to fry fish and deer steak for his crowd 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.





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