Charles Town loses friend, advocate in Grant


November 11, 2007|By LARRY YANOS

Long-time Charles Town-based jockey, trainer and state steward Patsy Grant died last Thursday at the Winchester, Va., Medical Center.

He was 86.

"Patsy was a good guy," said Joe Servis. "For many years, I played cards and golf with him. And I knew him for years around the racetrack. He loved the races."

Servis said Grant began his race-riding career in 1935 in New York and competed up and down the East Coast as well as in Cuba before coming to West Virginia in the early 1940s.

He retired from race-riding in the early 1950s, then trained horses for 17 years before becoming a state steward.

After retirement, he continued to gallop horses at Charles Town and was a fixture on the backside of the track until he was in his mid-70s.


"He loved being around the racetrack," Servis said. "Even after retiring as a jockey, trainer and steward, he would frequent the Charles Town often. He would usually stay for a couple of races and go home."

Servis said Grant "was very strong for a little guy and was a generous person. He helped a lot of people. He was special."

Servis started race-riding at Charles Town in 1949 and rode against Grant before the years of cards and golf.

"He was the world's worst putter," Servis laughed. "He was dangerous from 20 feet out, you weren't quite sure where the ball waas going."

Friends will be received today from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at the Melvin T. Strider Colonial Funeral Home in Charles Town.

Memorial contributiuons can be made to the Charles Town Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 89 in Charles Town, W. Va., 25414 or the Charles Town Racetrack Chaplaincy Fund, c/o Chaplain Rick Mann, P.O. Box 1377, Charles Town, 25414.


Mario Pino joined an short elite list on Wednesday at Laurel Park by becoming the 15th North American jockey to win 6,000 races when Pass Play won the seventh race.

The jockey began the afternoon two wins short of the mark. He won the first race atop Golden Shades ($4.20).

After failing to score in races five and six, Pino broke alertly with Pass Play, tracked a pair of longshots into the backstretch and then pulled away from the field to win by nearly three lengths.

Pass Play paid $8.80. One race later, he triumphed again aboard Disappearing Ink ($8.80) for career win 6,001.

Pino's horses have earned more than $105 million, 28th in the all-time standings.

Pony tales

· Multiple stakes winner Silmaril failed to become the 17th Maryland-bred and fifth mare in history to reach the $1 million mark when the six-year-old was upset by For Kisses ($14) in last Wednesday's sixth race at Laurel Park - a $42,000 allowance.

The Chris Grove trainee, who has won 15 career races including 11 stakes, earned $8,820 for the runner-up performance to push her earnings to $984,973.

Cigar tops the Maryland-bred list with earnings of $9,999,815.

· Jockey Luis Garcia will miss six weeks after fracturing a bone in his right wrist last Wednesday. The 23-year-old was injured when Yarroway clipped heels with another runner and tossed the rider in the eighth race.

Garcia led the Laurel Park fall meeting with 39 first place finishes and topped all riders in the Maryland colony with 139 trips to the winner's circle at Laurel and Pimlico this year - including a career-best five at Laurel on Oct. 8. He ranks 39th nationally with 172 victories, while earning a career-high $4.3 million.

· Trainer Eddie Plesa, the son-in-law of veteran Charles Town racing official Joe Servis, saddled Gottcha Gold in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Monmouth Park.

He finished second behind Corinthian, with Kent Desormeaux aboard, pulled away to win by 6 1/2 lengths. Gottcha Gold finished 8 1/4 lengths in front of Discreet Cat, the 3-2 favorite in a field of eight.

Larry Yanos is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His horse racing column appears every Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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