James Lewis Jr., who raced grade I winner Mecke, died May 10 of heart and kidney failure, eight days after the death of his wife, Alice, because of kidney failure. Married for 57 years, they rarely attended the races without each other. Their runners raced in his name.
When Alice Lewis passed away, her husband was virtually heartbroken, according to their longtime trainer, Manny Tortora. "They were inseparable," Tortora said.
After being longtime fans of racing, the Lewises got into the game as owners in 1983 and achieved an admirable level of success both locally and nationally. Their best horse was Mecke, who ran fifth in the 1995 Kentucky Derby (gr. I). A $2.4-million earner, Mecke scored grade I wins in the Arlington Million and Early Times Turf Classic Stakes on grass and the Isle of Capri Super Derby on dirt in track-record equaling time. He stands at Michael O'Farrell's Ocala Stud Farm near Ocala, Fla.
James Lewis owned Lewis Marine Supply in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He and wife also campaigned such other stakes winners as Sea Emperor, Sir Pinder, Sir Stephenmichael, Devilish Brunette, Blount Island, Ensign Ray, and Valid Trefaire.
James Lewis was the leading owner at Calder during the summer of 1994 and the leading owner of the 1998-99 Tropical at Calder meet. He was inducted into the Calder Hall of Fame in 2000.
The Lewises are survived by a son, Stephen, and a daughter, Betty Reyher. The Lewis' horses--13 at the track and another 16 on the farm--were left to Reyher.