Day At The Track

Horseman Don Ratchford, 75, dies

12:04 AM 14 Aug 2019 NZST
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Pompano Beach, FL…August 12, 2019…Longtime Standardbred trainer-driver Donald G. Ratchford, 75, passed away on August 8 in Sacramento, CA.

Born in Nova Scotia, October 27, 1943, Ratchford, affectionately known as Jerry, came to the United States in 1962 with Hall of Famer Joe O’Brien and quickly established himself as a valuable asset to the success of the O’Brien Stable.

In his “post-O’Brien years,” he worked with top horsemen Jim Dennis, Jack Williams, Bob Williams and Herold Merriam which, he said, “contributed to whatever success I achieved because I learned from all of them.

“While O’Brien didn’t have any lame horses,” he remembered, “Farrington worked with a lot of claimers and was a ‘leg’ man. Like I said, I learned from all of them.”

His involvement in racing included success as a trainer-driver and farm manager. Indeed, he was a partner and operator of the Highland Farm, a breeding and training facility under his care from 1980 to 1994.

Among Jerry’s success stories were J B Lucas, Armbro Guest, Hilarious Brew and Timeron Hanover, Karen’s Rowdy One, A Little Bit Rowdy and Karen’s Magic One.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Anita, son Jeff (Sandee), daughter Jaime, five grandchildren, Sienna, Marisa, Logan, Never and Benjamin, brothers Russell, Roy and Joe, and sisters Donna and Yvonne Perry.

He was preceded in death by his son, Mike, his parents, Donald and Adeline, two brothers Gus and Harold, and two sisters Catherine Ratchford and Judy Hanson.

A memorial service will be held August 29 at the Sierra View Mortuary, 6201 Fair Oaks, Carmichael, CA 95864 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

by John Berry, for the FSBOA

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