Bill, 59, is a New York-Bred who now resides in Jupiter, FL. Born on Long Island’s south shore in Rockville Centre, Bill was raised just a few furlongs from Belmont Park Racetrack in Elmont, NY. He migrated to south Florida in 1978 after graduating from Columbia University in NYC with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1973.
Today, Bill is President and CEO of Hydropro, Inc., a water treatment corporation in Lake Park, FL, that specializes in removing salt from water using membrane processes. Clients include the city of Pompano Beach where Hydropro installed a 10-million gallon water treatment facility in 2001, and Gulfstream Park Racetrack, where Hydropro installed a 500,000 gallon-a-day reverse osmosis system. A 1,000 foot-deep well was drilled to supply brackish water that his system de-salts for the track to use for irrigation purposes, mostly for watering the infield turf course. Bill quips, “If any TGCers have a horse that likes soft turf, give me a call!” Hydropro offers reliable, high-quality custom and packaged membrane process water and wastewater treatment systems to meet the varied and specific requirements of municipal, industrial, commercial and agricultural applications all over the world. Reverse osmosis and other types of membrane treatment for potable water and industrial applications are the specialty of Hydropro, including brackish water desalting, membrane softening, seawater desalting, and ultrafiltration. They consult, design, manufacture, supply, install, maintain, and troubleshoot water systems from 1,200 Gallons per Day (4.55 M3/D) to over 12,000,000 Gallons per Day (45,480 M3/D). Bill is a member of the American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA) and the Southeastern Desalting Association (SEDA).
Living a stone’s throw from Belmont Park during his childhood, it was a no-brainer for Bill to become involved in horseracing. And it didn’t hurt that “My dear Mother was an avid fan”. It wasn’t until the 1969 Belmont Stakes, when Majestic Price was bidding for the elusive Triple Crown, that he “caught the bug”. Bill was working at the Mobil service station across the street from Belmont’s stable gate and was amazed at all the buzz and excitement that filled the air as fans began entering Belmont Park. He watched on TV as Majestic Prince lost his Triple Crown bid and has only missed one live Belmont Stakes since 1969. However it wasn’t until opening day at the 1969 Belmont Park Fall meet that Bill became an “Official Fan”. “That was my first full day at the track with money to put through the machines. I had a big afternoon at the windows, cashed a lot of winning tickets and was hooked”.During the early 1970’s Bill inherited the nickname “Willie the T”; the “T” stood for “tout” as Bill offered his selections to all his friends. One race solidified his nickname when he picked a horse running on the turf for the first time in a claiming race at Aqueduct Racetrack the Saturday before Thanksgiving. “These were the days before year-round racing and stables were looking to make shipping money before heading south for the winter. This particular horse was shipping up from old Liberty Bell racetrack, aka Philadelphia Park, in Pennsylvania where he competed in $5,000-$6,500 claiming races on the dirt”, recalls Bill. It just so happened that a 2-year-old half-sister to Bill’s pick just won a turf stake at Meadowlands Racetrack in NJ. This compounded Bill’s interest on his pick and he “tapped out on this horse with all the money I had left in my pocket - $6”. Bill’s friends thought he was crazy betting on this 38-1 shot but he won by 7 lengths and paid a whopping $78.40! Bill purchased his first and only horse in 1999 at the June Ocala Breeders’ Sale without prior approval from his trainer. “I bought the biggest, slowest horse in the sale for $7,000”. After being unplaced through his 5-year-old season, Bill considered a steeplechase career for his 5-year-old NY bred maiden, “now an esteemed deceased member of the family”.
Bill is a member at North Palm Beach Country Club where he “attempts” to hone his 36 golf handicap. In addition to racing and golf, Bill enjoys chess and bridge. One of the “strangest golf courses I ever played was Aramaco’s in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. The course had oiled sand greens with an attendant at each green to roll it after your ball hit the black sand. Even more surprising was when I was driving to meet a customer in Bahrain and came around a hill to see a Calder Racetrack-like grandstand in the middle of the desert with a one mile grass course. The track and its golf course with actual grass greens used 800,000 gallons of water per day of desalted groundwater. The golf there was easy because each hole had its own valley as fairways that had sheer sidewalls. Many errant shots ricocheted off those walls back onto the fairways. You would hit your shots from a piece of Astroturf you carried with you. There were no carts or caddies and it was 110 degrees outside.”
Bill’s favorite golfing story: “Most people who play with me know not to be in the front left of me since I can snap hook a line drive. I am playing at North Palm Beach Country Club with my regular Saturday morning group and I am on the second tee; behind my back is the sign for the hole. Standing next to the sign (but closer to the tee) are my three playing partners. I hit the ball off the heel of my driver between my legs and hit the hole sign. So the shot actually goes behind my partners”. At which point one says "There is no place safe on the course when you are on the tee". Bill adds, “I am known for hitting a least one bizarre shot per round. Typical are long irons where I actually drive the ball into the ground and it stays plugged. Two classic tee shots - 1st I take a divot with my driver and the ball falls into it. No big deal except the grass never fully detached and flops back on top on the ball. Lying one and have to hit the ball and grass divot now from the tee because I am not embedded. The other was playing in West Palm Beach; I hit the tee shot with so much spin that the ball jumped 3 yards ahead, hit the ground and spun back 10 yards behind the tee box. Lying one and minus 10 yards! Once I was playing on a very windy day alone in Bermuda at Castle Harbor. With the wind in my face, I teed off and hit a slice that went 150 yards ahead, curved right and came all the way back to me, ending 150 yards away to my right at the same distance still from the hole. A perfect semi-circle shot!”
Questions & Answers with Bill Hendershaw:
Favorite Food and Restaurant? “Skirt Steak at the Key Grill in Juno Beach, FL”
One Dinner Guest? “Bobby Fisher ”
Favorite Cocktail? “Bitter Lemon-Soda and Kettle One Vodka”
Favorite TV Show? “Sopranos and Carnival on HBO”
Favorite Vacation Spot? “Saratoga Springs and Bermuda”
Favorite Movie? “The Natural and the made-for-HBO, Blind Justice”
If a Movie was made about you, what would be the name of the movie and which actor would play you? “Would’ve, Could’ve……Stacy Keach”
Hobbies? “Horses, Golf and Chess”
Best Horse Race You Ever Saw? “The Belmont Triple Crown race between Affirmed and Alydar”
Best Horse? “Secretariat.”
What Aspect of Racing Appeals to you the Most? “That should be obvious. Just being there and being around racetrackers”
What Aspect of Golf Appeals to you the Most? “Beating the ball around the course”
Most Enjoyable Course Played? “Pine Tree Golf Club in Boynton Beach, FL”.
Best Golfing Attribute? “For me, three things: Patience, Perseverance and Endurance”
What Celebrity Golfers Have you Teed-It-Up with? “Former trainer Kenny McPeek in a TGC tournament at Pine Tree Golf Club. He had just won the Belmont Stakes the summer before”.
Words of Wisdom to Golfers? “Take two weeks off and quit!”
Words of Wisdom to Horse Owners? “Buy low, sell high”
Who is Your Favorite TGC Member and Why? “Outside of you (Bill Hirsch), probably Hammering Hank Winner; he’s a great gambler, is always friendly and has some audacious stories”