By Robert D. Fierro
I saw Rick at Keeneland September where a mutual friend who did not know of our long-standing friendship asked me, “Do you know Rick Violette?” I looked at him and as I replied, “Oh, you mean do I know ‘Rick-Get-That-Filly-Out-of-My-Barn Violette’?” He roared and everyone else looked at us not knowing that in the 1990s I’d asked him to train what turned out to be a pretty obstinate filly, whom he finally persuaded our syndicate was wasting our training bills. Shortly after that he came to the fore with his dedicated leadership in settling the desperate workers compensation problems, then upending, reforming and solidifying the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. All through his various tenures I was continually impressed by his sharp mind, creative solutions, stiff backbone, and in the end gracious manner and true friendship. To say nothing about his vaunted abilities as a horse trainer. I was shocked to read of his passing, as are thousands of those who knew of, and benefitted from, his efforts. Bless you, Richard, for what you did and who you were.