06/26/2007 11:00PM

Drake, former trainer, dies at 73


Retired trainer Harmon Drake died Tuesday morning at Marymount Hospital in Garfield Heights, Ohio. Drake, who was 73, had suffered for more than a decade with chronic respiratory disease.

Drake and his wife, Shirley Girten, came to Thistledown at the end of the Detroit Race Course meet in 1983 with one horse. Their stable quickly grew, and the following year Drake was leading trainer at two of the track's four annual meets. Over the next five years, he won seven more meet titles before retiring in 1990.

Girten, who survives Drake, then took over the stable, with Drake as a consultant. She went on to win a then-record 21 meet titles.

A memorial service for Drake will be held in the Thistledown winner's circle after racing Saturday.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Missions Fund at Rockside Church, 4100 Rockside Road, Independence, Ohio, 44131.