Posted: Oct. 21, 2018
THA statement on the passing of Rick Violette Jr.
We are profoundly saddened by the passing of our friend, colleague and leader, Rick Violette.
There aren’t enough words to adequately describe Rick’s contributions to the racing industry. Simply put, he was a giant of our industry and a consequential force, both in New York racing and the industry as a whole. Horsemen’s leaders are often criticized. Rick was beloved.
There is not a segment of our industry that has not been impacted by Rick’s work. He was consumed with the best interests of New York racing and the racing industry. He was a force behind the creation of the THA. He was, perhaps, the most consequential figure in New York racing over the past 20 years.
Rick fought for the best interests of horsemen, backstretch workers, the health and viability of NYRA, the health and welfare of the horse, the integrity of racing and the care of our horses after their racing careers ended. He was instrumental in getting workers’ compensation coverage for jockeys. He protected winter racing at Aqueduct.
Rick led reforms in racehorse safety and medication management of horses. He did not have a peer. He was tough, opinionated and determined. He was also a man of class and a gentleman. He was always a good interview for the media. He was beloved by everyone. Besides being a great leader off the track, he was also a damned good and respected horseman, who thankfully was enjoying the greatest success of his career before illness took him down.
We are grateful that this past August, Rick’s friends and colleagues honored him at Saratoga and announced the establishment of the Violette Award, a suitable honor to perpetuate his example. The Violette Award will identify and honor an individual in racing who, like Rick, has demonstrated a commitment to ensuring the integrity and best interests of racing; the preservation of live racing; the fairness of competition; the health, safety and welfare of the horse and rider; and the best interests of horsemen and backstretch workers. We will comb the industry to find an appropriate and deserving honoree.
Our sincere condolences to Rick’s family, many owners, staff, colleagues and friends. We share in your grief.