Former trainer and Santa Anita Park stall manager Donn Luby died in his sleep April 26 from complications of cancer at the Life Care Center in Bridgeton, Mo. He was 71.
An avid golfer, Luby, who frequently had a tobacco pipe in-hand, was a well-respected horseman and friend to many in Southern California's large racing community.
"He was a good guy," trainer Jerry Fanning said. "He was a good stall man. He trained—did everything."
An assistant to Gary Jones in the late 1970s, Luby took over the training of Eleven Stitches in the spring of 1981 and sent him out to victory with Sandy Hawley aboard in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) that summer. Seven years later, he would go on to train Flying Julia, who won the Santa Margarita Handicap (gr. I) under Frank Olivares in 1988.
"He was one wonderful person and a fair stall man," said Santa Anita assistant starter Huey Barnes. "In that job, you have to be in the center of the road. You can't help one man more than another. If he could do something for you, he would do it. He was a good man.
"You can't play favorites and he didn't. He was straight down the pike."
Donna Luby, Donn's wife of 45 years, said a viewing for family and friends would take place this week, prior to his cremation. Donn Luby is survived by his wife, his son Jason, and two granddaughters.