N.J. (Skip) Retherford, who trained Thoroughbreds in California from 1968 to 1993, died May 10 after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 82.
He died at the Castro Valley home of his daughter, Kathy Gatterer, and son-in-law, Bill Gatterer. The couple cared for Retherford at their home throughout his bout with cancer.
A native of El Monte, Calif., Retherford got his start in horse racing working as an assistant for Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham in Southern California. He took out his trainer’s license in 1968 and maintained a stable in Southern California for several years before moving his operation north in the mid-1970s.
He trained stakes winners Cari’s Story (1984 Bay Meadows Oaks), Lulugal (1981 Vallejo Stakes at Golden Gate Fields), and Les Aspres (1981 Seabiscuit Invitational Handicap at Bay Meadows). Also an owner and breeder, Retherford owned and operated Oak Knoll Farm in Oakdale, Calif., from 1979-90; he stood the stallion Battle Call.
In addition to Kathy and Bill Gatterer, he is survived by daughters Terry Garcia and Stacie Retherford-Marrero, son Roland Retherford, and eight grandchildren.
A memorial is pending. In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations be made to Dusty Paws Rescue (P.O. Box 2794, Castro Valley, CA, 94546). Dusty Paws is where he found his dog Pearl, who was a trusty companion throughout his illness.