Robert W. "Bobby" Jeans, who was the groom for the great Buckpasser and other top runners for Hall of Fame trainer Eddie Neloy, died April 15 of natural causes. He was 82.
Jeans began working with horses in 1939 and trained in Detroit before moving to New York. Arthur B. Hancock III, owner of Stone Farm near Paris, Ky., worked with Jeans for a time in the mid-1960s.
"He was a great horseman and a top-notch person, and I learned a lot from him," said Hancock, who was 23 at the time.
Hancock also remembered a feisty side of Jeans.
"There was one time after a big $100,000 stakes that he got mad at Mr. Neloy. Mr. Neloy had given him $500 after the race (a percentage of the purse), and Bobby threw it down and said, 'You cheap, one-eyed son of a bitch.' Well, Mr. Neloy takes off his jacket, throws it on a hay bale, and asks Bobby if he's ready to settle it. But first, Mr. Neloy, a World War II veteran who lost an eye, told Bobby, 'You'd better punch out a ticket to place.' Well, I helped settle it and nothing happened."
Jeans, who also worked for Hall of Famer H. Allen Jerkens, is survived by his wife of 41 years, Mildred.