"In many ways, Barbara is typical of out TRF supporters," Koehler continued. "She was not a racing 'insider,' not from Kentucky or Virginia or one of the states most people associate with Thoroughbred racing. Except for her final bequest she was a small donor who simply loved horses and was concerned about their welfare. Clearly, she saw that we were making a difference and wanted to do her part.
"It's exactly that need and recognition that has helped the TRF succeed. It's why our support is nationwide...and growing all the time. Saving horses, saving lives...Barbara was a tremendous part of making that dream a reality. I hope others will follow her shining example."Dege, an only child who inherited money from her parents, was not married and had no children. Even her closest friends are not sure how or why she became interested in horse racing. She would go to the track alone. "She lived a very spartan life, although she didn't need to, as you can guess from the size of the bequest," said Susan Schink, a friend and Episcopal priest. "There was about a 10-year period where I didn't see much of Barbara and during that time she got interested in horse racing. What triggered that, I can't tell you. When we reconnected, she was an absolutely avid fan and loved to go to the track. She even set up a system where she handicapped not the horses, but the riders. Still, she didn't get fancy seats and wasn't a gambler. Her bets were in the $2 range. But she just loved the horses and the mathematics of how you could make an educated bet. I guess she also fell in love with the horses."Dege became so enthusiastic about the sport that she began to write articles for American Turf Monthly."I didn't know much about her," said editor Jim Corbett. "But if you read anything she wrote for us, you could tell how enthusiastic she was. Everything she wrote for us was very good. We'd send her packages of result charts so she could do her research and you could see how much she enjoyed that sort of thing."
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