William Shehan, a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, was born October 1, 1929. He was a graduate of the University of Michigan and for almost twenty years, maintained a New York corporate law practice, specializing in international finance.
While in college, Bill Shehan rubbed horses for Immortal Sanders Russell. A quick learner, Shehan developed his own ideas on the kind of gait it took to go fast and he tried to develop that gait within his own band of broodmares. He was first listed as a breeder by the USTA in 1955 on Fleeting Star. Adora, Golden Miss, K. Nora and Lover's Walk were very important foundation mares in Shehan's band. Initially breeding and selling yearlings under his own name, in 1977 Shehan developed Clermont Farm, a 560-acre Standardbred nursery in the Bluegrass State.
Bill Shehan bred expressly for the traits of good gait and physical type. His object was to breed away from any faults. He was also successful in bringing to life several branches of maternal families who have produced top performers, generation after generation. Adora was the dam of Adora's Dream and K. Nora. K. Nora is the grandam of Three Diamonds, the dam of Life Sign. K. Nora is also the dam of Angel Hair, who is the dam of Naughty But Nice and the grandam of Leah Almahurst the dam of Western Ideal. The family of Golden Miss lists Real Desire, Grinfromeartoear and Royalflush Hanover, all winners of over $1 million, and Rustler Hanover, a winner of $971,638.
Lovester was the result of breeding Lover's Walk to Speedster. This Grand Circuit stakes filly is the dam of Rosemary, voted Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter of 1978, and the grandam of Royal Prestige. Shehan's skills also link him to Self Possessed, Continentalvictory and Act of Grace. In total, Sheehan was the breeder of 300 Standardbreds, including Little Brown Jug winner Strike Out, Yonkers Trot victor Tamerlane, world champion Lightning Strikes, multiple stakes winner Cavalcade, Shifting Scene, Diamond Exchange, Hilarion, Justin Passing, and Short Stop.
The formation of the Kentucky Standardbred Sales Company in 1980 was the brainchild of Bill Shehan, Tom Crouch of Kentuckiana Farm and several other yearling consignors. This Standardbred sales company is one of the highest averaging sale companies in North America and boasts of having sold the highest priced yearling ever at public auction: 1999, Experience Victory ($650,000). Experience Victory's grandam, Katie Almahurst was owned, as a yearling, by Shehan.
Many of the fillies bred and sold by Shehan went on to exceptional broodmare careers at major farms and their offspring each year continue to produce superior yearlings for the major sale companies. Bill Shehan passed away in 1991, leaving his mark on the Standardbred industry as one of the great modern-day breeders.