ALS Claims Trainer Richard Matlow, 66

Respected conditioner worked in California from 1968 until Jan. 29.

(from Santa Anita)

Longtime California-based trainer Richard Matlow succumbed to the effects of Amytrophic Lateral Schlerosis (ALS) late on the night of March 30 at his home in Monrovia at the age of 66. 

Best known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease after the Hall of Fame New York  Yankee slugger who contracted the disease and retired as a result in 1939, ALS is a neurodegenerative disease which attacks the body’s central nervous system.

Matlow, who was diagnosed with ALS in February of 2008, announced his retirement on Jan. 29 when he sent out his final starter at Santa Anita.

A native of Los Angeles, Matlow was born on May 28, 1942, and was a licensed trainer in California since 1968, dealing mostly with lower-level allowance horses and claiming stock. Greatly respected for his honesty and horsemanship, Matlow was regarded as an outstanding trainer who operated very successfully in a low-key manner.

His lone graded stakes win came just this past Nov. 23, when Jack o’ Lantern took the Hollywood Preview Stakes (gr. III) under Isaias Enriquez, returning $41.80 to win.

“He’s a great trainer, a great friend and a very, very nice person,” said Enriquez on Jan. 30. “We’ve been together for the last four years. He let me ride everything. We had good times together.”

Fellow conditioner Gary Lewis knew Matlow for 30 years.  “He was a top trainer who always took his time with his horses,” said Lewis. “Any time they had a little problem, he’d send them out to the ranch for as long as they needed. He was a real horseman and he always gave his horses a chance to develop.

“It’s really amazing he lasted as long as he did with his disease. It was misdiagnosed a couple of times and he really suffered. In 30 years, I never heard him complain or knock anyone. He was just a first class guy,” Lewis added.

Matlow is survived by his son, Andrew; his mother, Florence Farell; brother, Stephen; sister, Candace Farrell and his former wife, Patricia.  At Matlow’s request, there will be no funeral services.