Retired rider R.L. "Bobby" Baird, whose career spanned six decades, died Dec.16. He was 85 and a resident of the Chicago community of Mount Prospect.
Baird rode in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) five times, the last time in 1978 aboard Raymond Earl. His participation in that year's Run for the Roses was especially significant because it included the oldest and the youngest jockeys ever to compete in race-- Steve Cauthen at age 16 on winner Affirmed and 58-year-old Baird.
During his career, Baird won the Louisiana Derby twice and the Arkansas and Ohio Derbys once. He captured 3,749 races, including 213 at Arlington Park. He is a member of the Louisiana Hall of Fame.
Baird, who retired in 1982 at age 62, trained for a time and became an agent for his son, jockey E.T. Baird. Another son, Billy, works as a valet in Chicago.
Baird was a member of the Jockeys' Guild for over 50 years. He also served in World War II under Gen. George Patton.
In addition to his two sons, Baird's survivors include his wife of 43 years, Marie. The funeral service will be at 11:00 a.m. Dec. 20 at Glueckert Funeral Home, 1520 North Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights, Ill., followed by a private family interment. Visitation will be from 3:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Dec. 19 at the funeral home.