Author Peter Chew Dead at 82
by Evan Hammonds
Date Posted: 7/20/2006 9:42:39 AM

Peter Thomas Chew, an author, journalist and former correspondent for The Blood-Horse died July 16 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., of complications from a heart attack. He was 82.

As a general assignment reporter, Chew wrote for several national publications including Sports Illustrated, Town and Country, American Heritage, and Travel and Leisure.

For The Blood-Horse, Chew wrote features and covered racing, breeding, and steeplechasing in and around Maryland in the late 1970s and '80s.

An author's description from a 1978 article on the Preakness read: "A New York Times book review once referred to Peter Chew as 'a patrician horse freak.' Chew makes no claim on the 'patrician' part, but pleads guilty to the rest of the charge.

"Chew's pursuit of horse stories has led him far afield. For a piece on the great stallion Lexington, he crawled along a dimly lit fourth-floor attic catwalk of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History, where he found the blind hero of Woodburn listed simply as Catalog No. 16020. While covering the Vietnam war, Chew wrote about Phu Too race course in Saigon, where the grandstand was swept for mines each day and soldiers with automatic rifles patrolled the paddock.

"In his youth, Chew schooled hunters and steeplechasers for trainer Norman Haymaker at Clifton Farm in Berryville, Va."

The author of several books, in the Thoroughbred world he is best known as the author of the 1974 title "The Kentucky Derby: The First Hundred Years." He also penned the "The Inner World of the Middle-Aged Man" which won the American Psychological Association's National Media Award in 1977.

Survivors include his wife, Virginia Gaillard Chew; three children, Elizabeth Rider, Peter Chew, and Benjamin Gaillard Chew; a sister; and two grandchildren.

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