- Published: Saturday, 24 October 2015 15:55
John Hardeo Baboolal, Jockey, of North Beach, Maryland, passed away on September 11, 2015 at the age of 65. He was born in Trinidad on April 26, 1950 to the late Bhiro Baboolal and Rampiari Baboolal.
His early years were spent at the Santa Rosa Race Track where he learned to muck stalls and exercise racehorses. His dream was to become a jockey as a young boy because he loved the speed and power of the magnificent horses. He had a clock in his head and the hands to hold the reins. At the age of fifteen he obtained is jockeys license and proceeded to became one of the most talented jockeys in Trinidad before coming to the United States in December, 1967 to pursue his racing career. He helped his mom and dad financially so his brothers and sisters could pursue their college education.
He rode his first win in the United States on February 29, 1968 on a horse named “SHAMAN”. He won races for some of the top trainers in the State of Maryland: R. E. Dutrow, Tuffy Hacker, Ronald Cartright, Grover (Bud) Delp, King T. Leatherbury, Howard Wolfendale and Ernest (Chico) Green to name a few. A good gate jockey who rode regularly on the Maryland circuit but won in other states, he was implemented as an unindicted co-conspirator in what is known as the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, when jockeys conspired to hold their horses in the ninth race at Bowie Racetrack in Maryland on February 14, 1975. His license was suspended for 10 years. He continued to exercise and break racehorses on farms and continued to ride races in Canada. He returned to riding where he was the leading rider at Bowie Racetrack when it closed in 1985. He officially retired as a jockey in 1997 due to weight but continued to exercise racehorses.
He obtained a trainers license in 1998 and trained horses for Dr. Matura and Mr. Griffin. In April, 1999 he purchased a horse named “Go Bug Off” for $1.00. He exercised and trained the horse and on July 1, 1999 won his first race in Maryland as a trainer and owner. Over the years he continued to train his own horses with a few wins. He breed the horse “Queen of Valsyn” who went on to win by 11 ½ lengths at Charlestown, West Virginia on January 29, 2011 for trainer Kelly L. Dieter.
His struggle with health and injuries received over the years while race riding forced him to retire in 2010 and end his professional career doing what he loved best: riding, training, owning and breeding the amazing, beautiful thoroughbred racehorse. One of his favorite sayings was “Just Win” which he said every day. He loved the race track and always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone. With his love of the power and speed of racing, John also loved NASCAR and would watch every race. If he was riding he would record the race and watch it later. His favorite drivers were Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart. He also had a love for all animals big and small. He would walk the family golden retriever, KC Molson, on the boardwalk every day after returning home from the racetrack
He donated his body to the Maryland Anatomy Board to support research and medical study in hope of helping others. "If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever. "
John was the beloved husband of Barbara (Curtin) Baboolal; father to John H. Baboolal, Jr., wife Nellie Baboolal and granddaughter, Briani A. Baboolal; step-father to Richard E. Ganyon, Jr. and his wife Meredith N. Ganyon and Christopher R. Ganyon and his wife Kristina Ganyon, and grandsons Christopher R. (C J) Ganyon, Jr. and Kyle Ray Ganyon; brother Kayam Baboolal, sisters Moira Fuochi and Chandaye Baboolal, sister-in-law, Enisha Baboolal; and many nieces, nephews, uncle, cousins and friends in the racing industry. He was predeceased in death by his brothers Ramkarran Baboolal, Basdeo Baboolal and RamdeoSaith.
The family gathering was private.
Donations can be made in John’s memory to:
Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, P. O. Box 803, Elmhurst, Illinois 60126 or on line at PDJF.org.