Oak Tree to Hold Benoit Memorial
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 10/13/2008 2:29:20 PM
Last Updated: 10/14/2008 12:14:04 PM
A memorial for the late Bob Benoit will be held Oct. 16 at Santa Anita.
Edited press release
A memorial tribute to long-time racing executive and publicist Bob Benoit has been set for Thursday, Oct. 16, at Santa Anita Park. The Oak Tree Racing Association is sponsoring the event, to be held immediately after the races in Santa Anita’s Turf Club Chandelier Room.
“Bob Benoit was a dear friend and an incredibly talented guy,” said Oak Tree Director and Executive Vice President Sherwood Chillingworth. “His mission was to promote our sport and nobody ever did it better than Bob. He loved the game and the people in it. Here at Oak Tree, we had a wonderful relationship with Bob and we’re going to miss him. He was truly one of a kind.”
Benoit, who died on Aug. 15 at the age of 81, was well known nationally and was regarded as one of the most thorough and highly respected executives in racing history. After graduating from UCLA, Benoit became a seasonal publicity department staffer at Hollywood Park in 1953, and eventually rose to the rank of chief operating officer and general manager in 1977.
In 1980, Benoit formed his own public relations firm, Benoit and Associates, which eventually took over as the photographer for Oak Tree at Santa Anita in 1991. Benoit and Associates now serve as official track photographer at all major Southern California race meetings, including the Los Angeles Turf Club meet at Santa Anita.
Benoit’s photography business will be continued by his partners, Rayetta Burr and Tom Abahazy. Burr was hired by Benoit while working as a switchboard operator at Hollywood Park in 1973. “Bob always paid strict attention to detail and he loved every aspect of the game” said Burr. “He was especially close with many of the jockeys over the years and he had great respect for them.”
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