Maryland-Based Owner Arnold Heft Dies at 94

Colorful horseman campaigned Eighttofasttocatch and other multiple stakes winners.

Colorful owner Arnold Heft died in his sleep March 12 at Sunrise at Fox Hill Senior Living Facility in Bethesda, Md. He was 94.

Heft and his wife Sylvia campaigned multiple stakes winners Pulverizing, Baldski's Choice, He Is Risen, Eighttofasttocatch, and Red's Round Table.

"Eighttofasttocatch was the first horse I bought for Arnie and Sylvia," said trainer Tim Keefe. "Arnold loved putting horses in her name but when Sylvia started to have some medical problems he just switched the ownership. He owned all the horses and just loved the business. He was wonderful to train for. He loved coming to the races to watch his horses run but never wanted me to run them unless they were ready."

In his youth Heft pitched four years of minor league baseball in the late 1930s and early 1940s, finishing with a 30-25 record. He won 22 games for Owensboro in the D League in 1941. He then became an NBA referee (1945-1961) and later co-owned the Baltimore Bullets (1964-68).

"He just loved sports," said Keefe. "He was full of life. When he came into a room everyone knew it. He had great stories and had a wonderful personality."

Keefe indicated Heft's horses will either run in his wife's name or the estate of Arnold Heft.

The Heft family has arranged a graveside service to celebrate Arnold's life to be held March 14 at Garden of Remembrance Memorial Park in Clarksburg at 2 p.m.