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Update: January 2, 2023 at 3:52 pm
Bob Meeking, a trainer for more than seven decades and one of Washington state’s most famous and respected horsemen, passed away last week at the age of 94.
Meeking, who owns the 60-acre Allaire Ranch in Poulsbo with his wife Barbara, has been ill for the past few years. After missing out on 2021 while undergoing treatment for colon cancer, Meeking returns to the Emerald Downs in 2022 with a nine-horse stable, winning with runners like the Wheel Rally and Emerald Sea, while also finishing home. 10th destination in the $150,000 Longacres Mile with Kingmeister for longtime customers Fred and Cindy Desimone.
“I have always enjoyed being on the track,” Meeking said ahead of the 2022 season. “I have been in the industry for many years and have seen many changes, but horse racing is a great sport and I have enjoyed it. Been with it for a long time.”
Robert A. Meeking was born on June 6, 1928 in Victoria, BC, and first began his career in 1946 at Lansdowne Park outside Vancouver. He’s trained notably for 75 years, earning a reputation as a patient, high-rate rider while coaching top flight runners such as the Longacres Derby Mincemeat winners (1970) and Salad Sam (1976) and Bucksaw multi-stakes winner.
“I think my biggest thrill was being the first winner at Santa Anita even though the second place was [Mincemeat] won two Derby,” Meeking told Daily Racing Form.
In 2018 he entered a unique contest at the Emerald Downs when he rode Trelawny to the finish line as runner-up in the Beginner’s Allowance ‘Don’t Sit on Any Rocking Chair’ ‘ for kids 3 years and older starting at $3,500 or less in 2017-18 and whose coaches were born on or before June 6, 1928. Coach of four athletes participating were 94-year-old Arturo Arboleda, 91-year-old HR Pat Mullens, 90-year-old Ira Rhodes and Meeking, who celebrated his 90th birthday a week before the race.
Meeking’s last win was on July 22 against Emerald Sea, a chubby 4-year-old who rallied for a two-round win in the $15,000 race; she will finish third on September 18 at the WA Cup Filly and Mare S. in his final match as a tie.