Richard "Rick" Pasko, a prominent member of the Washington Thoroughbred community for five decades, died Wednesday, Nov. 18 in Auburn, Wash. as a result of a heart attack. Pasko, who had suffered from Parkinson's disease for several years, was 80.
Pasko, who founded and operated Meridian Valley Real Estate in Kent, raced stakes winners at Emerald Downs, Longacres, and Yakima Meadows. He purchased a filly named Missa Bet at a local horse sale in the late 1970s and she became a stakes winner and broodmare who still paid dividends in 2015.
Missa Bet produced Longacres and Yakima Meadows stakes winner Timely Bet, and as a broodmare Timely Bet produced 13 winners including eight at Emerald Downs. One daughter, stakes winner Ippodamia, produced grade I winner Georgie Boy for California owner-breeder George Schwary. Another daughter, Castle Bet, produced Pasko's final winner as John Paul's Bet won his career debut at Emerald Downs Sept. 20.
Pasko was an active and vocal board member of the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association (WTBOA) for many years. In recent years Pasko worked tirelessly on fund-raising efforts for the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF), and also followed his horses at Emerald Downs and other West Coast tracks. Junior Coffey was Pasko's longtime trainer in Washington and Tim Yakteen oversaw Pasko's horses in California.
Services are pending.