- Published: Wednesday, 01 November 2017 17:56
The Maryland racing community Nov. 1 celebrated the life of outrider Edward Pryzbyla, affectionately known as “Pollock Eddie,” who died Oct. 15 after a battle with cancer. He was 68.
Pryzbyla was remembered during a memorial service coordinated by the MTHA and held in TIPS at Laurel Park. His wife, Karen, a longtime pony person at Maryland racetracks, died last October after fighting leukemia.
Ed Pryzbyla was known for his prowess on horseback, but it was noted at the memorial service he was a man of many talents. He served two tours of duty in the United States military, operated a small landscaping business on the side, and provided a home for cats and dogs.
Pryzbyla’s sister Lucille Hebert and her husband Don, who live in New Hampshire, were on hand for the memorial service.
“He was a people person,” his sister said. “He loved all of you.”
Pastor Richard Monterrey, a former jockey in Maryland, conducted the service. He offered prayer and related a personal story in which Pryzbyla greatly impacted his life.
“I was struggling with my weight,” Monterrey said. “I rode a horse one day (at Pimlico) and won the race, but I couldn’t stop the horse because I was crying while thinking about retirement—at age 32 that’s not easy. Eddie was there waiting and helped me pull up the horse.
“He saw I was crying and could see I was broken. It was the first time I saw Eddie share tears. He was man enough to feel what I was feeling. He gave me a hug and then let me go. I think God was working through him to speak to me at that moment when I was down.”
Eric Fried, an exercise rider who became a jockey agent, galloped horses along with Pryzbyla for decades and said he was a “strong rider” with a knack for handling difficult horses.
“He got to get on horses a lot of exercise riders couldn’t gallop because he was such a strong rider,” Fried said. “It was a passion of his, and I’m sure every minute of his life he enjoyed what he did.”
Kaymarie Kreidel, a former jockey and now an exercise rider, said Pryzbyla played a major role in her life, both on and off the racetrack.
“Pollock Eddie was like a father to me,” she said. “We were definitely family. I would do anything for him and he would do anything for me. He would do anything to take care of friends and foes. He was a truly open-hearted person who would give his shirt off his back if you needed it.
“He always took care of me and my family. A large part of my heart is gone with the loss of my second father.”
Friends of Pryzbyla said he died at home, as he had wished. They noted that he was caring for seven indoor cats, all of which are available for adoption.