12/19/2003 12:00AM

Buddy Bishop to retire

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Buddy Bishop, the chief registrar of The Jockey Club since 1984, will retire on Dec. 31, The Jockey Club announced on Friday. He will be replaced by Rick Bailey.

Bishop, 68, was in charge of maintaining the official Jockey Club Stud Book, developing policies on registration and identification, and approving registered horse names. In addition, Bishop served on the International Stud Book Committee, and worked with registry officials in nearly every racing country in the world.

Bishop's responsibility for approving names sometimes put him in adversarial situations with horse owners. Several owners, most notably Mike Pegram, and, in Bishop's earlier years, Caesar Kimmel, tried to slip risque names by Bishop. Despite a staff of checkers and a computer program designed to root out double entendres, the occasional eyebrow-raiser or tongue-tripper slipped through, incensing the normally mild-mannered Bishop.

Referring to the staff of checkers, Bishop once told The Blood-Horse magazine, "We always have a young person, a middle-aged person, and me, I'm the old person. I don't know all of the current slang, movies, and music groups."

Bailey, Bishop's replacement, has worked in The Jockey Club's registry office since 1988. A 37-year-old resident of Lexington, Ky., where the Jockey Club has its registry offices, Bailey was appointed associate registrar in January 2002, after five years as the manager of registration services.