Edited press releases
More than racing will miss Trudy McCaffery, Trudy McCaffery will miss racing. One of the most popular people in the sport, the prominent horse owner and breeder who died Feb. 12 at 62 after a long battle with cancer had an unmatched love of the game.
“She was an enthusiastic, passionate supporter of the sport,” said Oak Tree Racing Association executive director and vice president Sherwood Chillingworth. McCaffery’s many affiliations with racing included one as director and vice president of Oak Tree.
HorseRacing TV will present live coverage of the memorial service for McCaffery from Santa Anita Park's Turf Club Chandelier Room on Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.
McCaffery, along with then-partner John Toffan, campaigned one of the sport's most successful stables through the 1990's. Among the stars they owned were Free House, Mane Minister, Bien Bien, Del Mar Dennis, and Pacific Squall.
“Trudy always had good ideas, and she was a very enthusiastic proponent of things that she felt would benefit the racing industry,” said Chillingworth. “She was a very good board member at Oak Tree and was not afraid to state an opinion. Although she was passionate in her beliefs, she was a team player and quick to support whatever the Board’s consensus was. We will miss her greatly.”
McCaffery didn’t stand on ceremony when it came to her fellow human beings.
“A year ago, she walked up to me coming out of the winner's circle,” said Dennis O’Neill, the brother of trainer Doug O’Neill who has been battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “I didn’t even know who she was, but she hugged me told me to keep fighting. I was going through my chemo (treatment) at the time. She was so nice, and I didn’t really know her because we didn’t hang in the same circles. Her friends weren’t our friends.
“I just walked away shaking my head. She was so nice to me and so supportive. At that time, she said she couldn’t do the chemo anymore. I tried to tell her she had to, but she said, ‘No, it will kill me.’ I probably talked to her for five or 10 minutes, but for her to have quit her chemo and still be supportive of what I was going through kind of blew me away."
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation, an organization that aids backstretch workers at the track. McCaffery was on the foundation’s board of directors.
Over the years, McCaffery also served on the boards of the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, Breeders' Cup Ltd., and NTRA Charities.
She founded the Kids to the Cup in 1999, which enabled youths to attend such fabled events as Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup.