03/07/2006 12:00AM

Ex-Ontario racing official dies


Roland "Roly" Roberts, recipient of a Special Sovereign Award in 2002 for his lifetime contributions to the Thoroughbred racing industry, died at age 75 in Toronto last Saturday following a lengthy battle with bone cancer.

Roberts, who served as the vice president of finance for the Ontario Jockey Club - now Woodbine Entertainment Group - retired in 1990 and ran his own consulting company.

He also was a steward for The Jockey Club of Canada, serving as treasurer of that group for 25 years, and was one of the founding executives of Racetracks of Canada, joining as treasurer in 1965 and serving as managing director in his post-retirement years.

He also was a founding director of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association and a longtime member of the election and nomination committees for the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

In recent years, Roberts enjoyed racing in an ownership role as a partner in The Very Dry Stable.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bloordale United Church, 4258 Bloor St. W., in West Etobicoke, Ontario.