Dr. Howard Baker, breeder of Hall of Fame filly Serena's Song, died Feb. 10 in Encino, Calif., from a rare form of cancer. A retired neurologist, he was 68.
Serena's Song is the sole filly foaled during the 1990s inducted into the Hall of Fame. Campaigned by the late Robert Lewis, and his wife, Beverly, the daughter of Rahy won an astounding 17 graded stakes in three years of racing and was voted champion 3-year-old filly of 1995. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.
"My dad was extremely proud of that and happy for the Lewises," said Mindy Kolani, one of Baker's daughters. "They were very gracious and invited him to the Hall of Fame ceremony. He was proud to be there.
"Dad had a replica of the plaque made and wanted it placed on his headstone. I told him it might not hold up in the weather, so we decided to have it displayed in my house."
Baker bred five other stakes winners, including Serena's Song's graded stakes-winning half-sister Vivid Imagination, plus Autumn Mood and Stoller, both of whom he raced. Baker also campaigned Santa Anita grade II winner Dancing.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Baker walked hots as a teenager at Thistledown.