Longtime horseman W. Gary Baker died Monday in Middleburg Va. The veteran owner and race meet director was 71. Baker served as the chairman of the Virginia Fall Races, secretary/treasurer of the Virginia Steeplechase Association and was deeply involved in showing as well. Baker received the United States Equestrian Federation's Pegasus Medal of Honor in 2007 for his commitment to showing.
Baker was also a member of the Virginia Steeplechase Hall of Fame, the Maryland Horse Shows Hall of Fame and the Virginia Horse Shows Hall of Fame. Born in Port Deposit, Md., Baker bred and owned steeplechase and flat horses, including timber winners Glyn, Double Redouble and Quixotic, who finished third in the 1979 Colonial Cup. A mainstay at Virginia hunt meets and point-to-points, Baker supported the game with time, effort and money, always trumpeting the cause for young and local trainers and jockeys. Baker's lifetime report on the Virginia Steeplechase Association's Website runs 15 pages, including his final runner, a winner, Slaney Rock, at Orange County Point-to-Point in March, 2013.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, January 30, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Upperville, Va. There will be a reception following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Seven Loaves, a local food/services charity in Middlburg, Va. Please visit Seven Loaves website.