Letters to the Editor: Bob Fierro On Sam Huff

You should understand that from the time I could figure out pro football as a kid in the 1950s, I was probably the only one in New York City who detested the football Giants and loved the Baltimore Colts. Don't ask why, it just happened (and continues to this day--go Jets!). Thus, you would not be surprised to learn that through some machinations by the policeman father of a friend I wound up in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium with a dozen other young teens in December, 1958 for what...

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The Week in Review: Remembering Bob Neumeier and Sam Spear

The sport not only lost two great people on Saturday, but also two thoroughly professional and highly entertaining media personalities whose genuine zeal for racetrack life shone through in ways that neither could have scripted. Almost within minutes over the weekend, news began filtering out that both Bob Neumeier and Sam Spear had died Oct. 22. Over the course of a broadcasting career that spanned parts of five decades, the Boston-based Neumeier, 70, parlayed stints as a hockey announcer and popular TV sports anchor into a mainstay role as an...

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Sportscaster Bob Neumeier Passes Away

Bob Neumeier, whose career as a sportscaster included a long stint with NBC's horse racing team, died Saturday. He was 70. In 2014, Neumeier, known as "Neumy," suffered a stroke and had battled health ailments ever since. Boston radio host Tony Massarotti reported that Neumeier died from heart disease/congestive heart failure. A graduate of Syracuse University, Neumeier broke into broadcasting 1975 as the radio play-by-play man for the Hartford Whalers. In 1981, he was hired by WBZ-TV in Boston, where his duties included working as the weekend sports anchor. He...

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Horse Owner Tom Conway Passes Away at 83

Tom Conway, a prominent Kentucky attorney who owned 2010 GI Blue Grass S. winner Stately Victor (Ghostzapper) in partnership with his son, Jack, passed away Saturday at the age of 83. Conway was attending the races at Kentucky Downs Sept. 11 when he fell and suffered multiple fractures. That led to complications that caused his death. After graduating from Western Kentucky University, Conway served as U.S. Army police officer stationed in West Germany. With funding from the G.I. Bill, he went to law school at the University of Louisville and...

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Washington Trainer Junior Coffey Dies

Junior Coffey, a star running back at the University of Washington and one of the state's most successful Thoroughbred trainers, died of congestive heart failure Monday at age 79. A three-time All-Coast selection and three-time Honorable Mention All-American at Washington, Coffey led the Huskies in rushing in 1962 and 1964 and played professionally with the NFL's Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants. His pro career included a rookie stint on the Packers' 1965 championship squad coached by the famed Vince Lombardi. After a knee injury curtailed his...

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Talented But Troubled Jockey Chapa Dies, Reportedly After Bush-Track Accident

Roman Eric Chapa, a jockey whose promising early career got derailed by repeated rulings-off for using illegal devices to shock horses into running faster, died July 27. Reportedly, the 50-year-old Texan succumbed to devastating injuries he sustained in a March accident while riding in an unsanctioned horse race in Georgia. During his hospitalization, a family member said he spent 45 days in a medically-induced coma. Because of his recent inability to gain licensure at many of the Southwest tracks where he had once been a leading Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse...

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Hall of Fame Jockey John Rotz Passes Away at 86

Hall of Fame jockey John Rotz, a GI Preakness S. and GI Belmont S. winner, passed away peacefully Monday at his farm in Warrensburg, Illinois after battling a number of brain diseases, including dementia. He was 86. Classy, polite and down-to-earth, Rotz was known as "Gentleman John," a nickname he earned shortly after his riding career began in the fifties. After retiring in 1973, he worked as a steward at the NYRA tracks as well as at tracks in Louisiana, Ohio and Delaware. After ending his stint as a steward,...

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Iconic New York Racing Broadcaster Harvey Pack Dies at 94

Harvey Pack, the engagingly witty curmudgeon who entertained and informed decades of racetrack fans in New York and beyond as a popular radio, television and handicapping seminar host, has died at 94. Pack's death was confirmed by the New York Racing Association (NYRA), which employed him from 1974 to 1998. Daily Racing Form reported the cause was complications from cancer. Pack made a lasting impression as a self-deprecating "wiseguy's wiseguy" who passionately advocated for the underdog while never running out of strange-but-true racetrack tales and anecdotes, many of which involved...

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Happy Valley Farm's Gary Wolfson Passes Away

Gary Wolfson, the part-owner of Happy Valley Farm, has passed away after a brief illness. He was 73 and died from a rare form of stomach cancer. The son of Louis Wolfson, who owned 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed along with his wife, Patrice, Gary Wolfson teamed up with brother Steve and launched Happy Valley Farm in the early seventies. Happy Valley had its best run in the 1980s when, despite having a limited number of horses, it could often be found on the list of leading owners. The Wolfsons'...

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Speed Figure Pioneer Len Ragozin Dies

Len Ragozin, who started a handicapping revolution when inventing the Ragozin Sheets, passed away Thursday. He was 92. Ragozin grew up in Manhattan, where he learned the game from his father, Harry, a textile production manager and a part-time horseplayer who developed his own speed figures. In the late 1960s, Ragozin went out on his own, refining his father's system. He began to publish The Sheets, which boiled a horse's performance down to a single number or speed figure. Ragozin found that he could combine final times, track condition, weight...

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Longtime NYRA Assistant Starter Jimmy Tsitsiragos Dies

James (Jimmy) Tsitsiragos, a longtime assistant starter at the New York Racing Association, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 16 at the age of 71. Born Aug. 6, 1949 in Leonia, New Jersey, Tsitsiragos graduated from Leonia High School in 1967 where he was a beloved football legend nicknamed by his classmates as "Zorba the Greek." He then attended Texas A&M University as a walk-on for the football team and quickly earned a full scholarship under Head Coach Gene Stallings. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1972, he...

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Kelly McDaniel, Former Airdrie Stud Stallion Manager, Passes Away

Kelly McDaniel, a long-time and beloved stallion manager at Airdrie Stud, passed away Sunday at the age of 56. Known for his affable character and great love of the history of the land on which Airdrie was built, Kelly dutifully looked after the Airdrie stallions for more than 32 years before his retirement in 2017. "Kelly was one of the all-time originals," said Airdrie's Bret Jones. "He, of course, took wonderful care of his horses, but I think Kelly's incredible storytelling is how he impacted so many people. He loved...

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