Veteran River Downs Employee Burge Dies

River Downs placing judge Dickie Burge spent 60 years on the racetrack

Richard “Dickie Burge, a racetracker for 60 years, died May 23 at Anderson Mercy Hospital, not far from River Downs, where he held various positions. He was 75.

Burge mucked stalls as a teenager and finished his years at River Downs as a racing official, serving as a placing judge until he fell ill in early May. He will be best remembered for his years as a valet in the jock’s room.

In 1983, Burge hooked up with an apprentice rider out of Arkansas named Perry Ouzts and together they dominated the Ohio circuit for decades and enjoyed success in Kentucky.

Burge made the transition from valet to placing judge after leaving the jock's room. When Ouzts won his 5,000th career race, Burge was one of the first to greet him in the winner's circle. "I know he's not a kid anymore," Burge said that afternoon. "I knew he was going to win this many--he's just got so much heart--you can't keep him down."

Visitation will be held at T.P. White Funeral Home in Mount Washington from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 26. There will be a memorial service at the funeral home at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, May 27. River Downs will be having a race in his honor during live racing May 28.