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Horseman Bobby Gray, 56, dies

June 13, 2018
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New England horseman Robert Gary Gray,56, died June 10 at Saratoga Hospital, surrounded by his family.

He was born Oct. 28, 1961, in Norway, Maine, the son of Hazel Toothaker Gray and the late Gary R. Gray. After finishing school Mr. Gray entered the Army and learned to drive trucks while serving his country. This was a skill that would stay with him for the rest of his life. Upon returning to civilian life, Mr. Gray drove everything from commercial tractor-trailers to horse transportation vans of all sizes and became a friend to everyone who met him while shipping race horses all over New England and the Northeast for years.

Aside from earning a living to support his family, Mr. Gray's true passion had always been harness racing and he took part in the sport whenever time allowed. First attending the races with his father, he did the same with his children as they grew up and all enjoyed the races together as a family affair.

Mr. Gray was a trainer and driver and was first licensed in 1982. He was an amateur driver his whole life and competed in the C.K.G. Billings series as well as amateur races in Maine and most recently in Massachusetts at Plainridge Park in 2017.

On the training side, Mr. Gray oversaw a small stable most of his career and posted 1,412 lifetime starts with 189 wins, 183 seconds and 169 thirds. Those starts earned his trainees $564,166 in purses. His best two years were 2011 and 2012 when he won a combined 108 races and $300,328 in purses.

He did everything he could to provide the best for the horses in his care, but always made time to help those that needed a hand at the racetrack. All of his racing colleagues, who affectionately knew him as Bobby, have truly lost a great friend. He has been a fixture in the harness racing community for many years and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Mr. Gray cared deeply about his family, was a proud husband and father and always gave all he had to them. He is survived by his beloved wife, Sheryl; daughters, Dawn and Mikayla; son, Zackary; sisters, Patricia (Scott) Mandeville and JoAnn (Butch) Nichols; brother, John (Omar Vazquez); mother-in-law, Patricia Phipps; devoted friend, Jim (Heidi) Nickerson; along with many nieces, nephews and friends who will miss him dearly.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday (June 15) at Compassionate Funeral Care, 402 Maple Ave., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.Family and friends may call from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday (June 14) at Compassionate Funeral Care.

There will be a celebration of life at 11 a.m. on Monday (June 18) at the American Legion, 46 Griffin St., Gardiner, ME.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 2 Pine West Plaza, Albany, NY 12205.

A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help defray the cost of this unexpected tragedy. It is getting close to hitting its goal and if you would wish to help, you can go to www.gofundme.com/5nu43jc?member=290172 to donate.

Also, if you wish to express your online condolences please visit http://www.compassionatefuneralcare.com/.
--By Tim Bojarski
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