06/23/2017 11:05AM

Former jockey agent Ivan Puhich dies at 89

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Retired jockey agent Ivan Puhich, who represented riders throughout the West Coast in a career that spanned more than 60 years, died on Monday in San Diego, according to his nephew, Mike Puhich.

Ivan Puhich was 89 and died of age-related infirmities, Mike Puhich said.

A veteran of World War II who served in the South Pacific, Puhich began working as a jockey agent in the 1950s and retired earlier this decade. He is well known for the early development of jockey Tyler Baze and was instrumental in Baze winning the Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding apprentice jockey of 2000.

More recently, Puhich represented Mario Gutierrez in 2012, the year Gutierrez won the Kentucky Derby on I’ll Have Another.

“He lived a great life,” Mike Puhich said. “The last couple of days, I’ve been thinking of everything.

“It’s amazing how many people have called. I forgot how popular he was.”

Born in California, Ivan Puhich was raised in Washington state and was introduced to racing at Longacres, where he would sneak into the barn area to walk hots, Mike Puhich said.

After leaving the military, Ivan Puhich worked on the gate crew at Caliente in Tijuana, Mexico, in the 1960s while continuing to represent riders, Mike Puhich said.

Through the decades, Ivan Puhich represented riders throughout the West Coast’s tracks, including Warren Ferguson, Marco Castaneda, and William Mahorney. An avid fan of the San Francisco 49ers, Puhich lived in Southern California for the last 20 years.

Mike Puhich said a memorial service will be scheduled this summer in Del Mar.