Longtime racing official Allen Fairbanks died Jan. 17 in Florida after a long illness. He was 79.
Fairbanks served as a state steward at Thistledown for 21 years, retiring in December 2004. Before his long tenure at the Cleveland-area track, he served in the stewards’ stand at Detroit Race Course, Balmoral Park in Illinois, and in Pennsylvania. A jockey in the 1950s and 1960s, he rode primarily in Boston, Vermont, and at other East Coast venues, with an occasional foray to Hialeah Park.
“Allen, by far, was one of most knowledgeable officials pertaining to the rules in the stewards' stand,” said Thistledown director of racing Bill Couch. “While he was tough and firm, he had a personality you had to like, for he was very fair to all horsemen who approached his desk.”
Fairbanks is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Beverly, their daughter, Bonnie, and two grandchildren.