Turf Writer Art Wilson Passes Away

Art Wilson | Benoit

Southern California News Group's veteran turf writer Art Wilson died early Sunday morning near his home in Victorville, California. He was 71. Wilson, who gallantly fought a form of blood cancer for more than 10 years, was scheduled to attend Sunday Winter Corgi Nationals at Santa Anita, but had to be transported to St. Mary's Hospital in Apple Valley late Saturday afternoon and subsequently passed away due to heart failure.

First introduced to racing by his late father, Wilson fell in love with the game as a railbird and relished the opportunity to cover the sport dating back to the mid-1980s and as recently as this past weekend, when he was at Santa Anita to cover the GIII Palos Verdes S. for the Southern California News Group, a consortium of newspapers that includes the LA Daily News, Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Long Beach Independent, and many others.

In addition to covering stakes action and writing feature stories, Wilson wrote a weekly column for the So Cal News Group, with his final contribution, “Toby Keith's love for horse racing went beyond 'Beer for My Horses'” on the passing of the country music star running Feb. 16.

“Art was alert and coherent and then he went quickly this morning from heart failure,” said his brother and frequent racetrack confidant, Eddie Wilson. “He had stabilized and when I left to come back home last night at 10:30, he was watching the race replays on his cell phone.”

From the Santa Anita press box Sunday, FanDuel's Kurt Hoover said, “Art was a great guy and he loved this place. He paid attention and his last column on Toby Keith was, without a doubt, one of his best. He'll be sorely missed.”

Art Wilson was predeceased by his parents and is survived by his brother Eddie, sister Deborah Wills (Charles), nephew Cody Wills and his wife Kimberley, as well as cousins James Costa, Mark Costa and Heather McAvoy.

A memorial service will be held next month at Oakdale Mortuary in Glendora, with specific information to come in the next few days.

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