Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1929 of German immigrant parents, Hemmerick first became involved in horse racing in the early 1950s when he worked for legendary horseman Hirsch Jacobs as a hotwalker, exercise boy and groom. He was drafted by the United States Army in 1951 and sent to Germany, where – in addition to serving his country during the Korean conflict – he rode steeplechase horses.
Upon returning to the U.S., Hemmerick worked with another legend, John Nerud. In 1961, Nerud insisted that Hemmerick go on his own as a trainer and he did so that year in Maryland.
In 1988, Hemmerick suffered a stroke, which kept him from training horses full-time for several years. He made a return, however, in late 2000 at Calder Race Course, where he maintained a stable of four to five horses. His wife of ten years, Vivan Hemmerick, was also his partner at the barn, serving as his assistant trainer. The two had been together for 21 years. "He was a great, gracious person," said Vivian.
Hemmerick is also survived by two sons (from a previous marriage): Ronald Hemmerick of Baltimore, Maryland and Gregory Hemmerick of Sarasota, Fla.; and a stepson, Ed Bowles of Cape Coral, Fla.
No services are planned.
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