06/19/2011 6:11PM

Charles Town legend Webb Snyder dies at 98

Webb Snyder, in the winner's circle with Scotch Age on Aug. 1, 1936

Webb Snyder, who rode during Charles Town’s inaugural meet in 1933 and remained a presence at the West Virginia track for more than 60 years, died Thursday at age 98.

Snyder, one of the first 150 members of the Jockeys’ Guild, was named on seven mounts on Charles Town’s first live racing program in December 1933. Delayed by a snowstorm while traveling from Rockingham Park in New Hampshire, where he had ridden the previous day, Snyder arrived too late to ride on opening day. He rode his first winner at Charles Town the following day on a filly named Dolled Up.

Snyder rode until 1952, then worked as an outrider at the track for 14 years and subsequently served as a pony rider into his 80s, finally retiring for good in 1995.  He was inducted into the Charles Town Hall of Fame in 2010, and a race on the Charles Town Classic undercard, the Web Snyder Stakes, is named in his honor.

“He was a legend here for sure,” said Dickie Moore, Charles Town’s general manager of racing and a longtime friend of Snyder’s.  “He was well liked by everyone and was a very, very knowledgeable horseman.”

Snyder became infatuated with horses as a teenager and liked reminiscing about racing up and down the Shenandoah Valley. He served briefly in the Naval Reserve during World War II, receiving an honorable discharge because of the effects of racing injuries.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Frances DePasquale Snyder of Charles Town, W. Va.; children Floyd Snyder of Philadelphia, Florence Marr of Gautier, Miss., and Diana Narragon of Reston, Va.; several grandchildren; and two great-grandsons.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Bernice Chute Snyder, in 1951, and two sons, Edgar Snyder and Philip Constantino, three sisters and three brothers.