03/04/2015 6:38PM

Former trainer Lake dies at 82


Robert P. Lake, who trained horses for five decades before retiring in 1991, died Wednesday at a hospital in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., due to complications from pneumonia. He was 82.

Lake won his first race July 7, 1950, at Tanforan Racetrack in California, according to his son, Robert Lake Jr. Overall, Lake won 992 races, his son said, with Bravely Bold being his most accomplished runner, having won four stakes, including the Grade 3 Toboggan and Grade 3 Coaltown Breeders’ Cup, both at Aqueduct in 1991.

Lake trained for five years for Alfred G. Vanderbilt and won back-to-back runnings of the Westchester Handicap for Vanderbilt with North Sea (1973) and Dundee Marmalade (1974).

In 1971, Lake won three stakes with the 2-year-old filly Brenda Beauty for Herb Palestine’s Birchfield Farm, including the Sorority at Monmouth Park.

In the 1980s and ‘90s, Lake was a successful claiming trainer on the New York Racing Association circuit. He finished in the top 10 in wins six times in the 1980s. His other stakes winners included Anniron, Timber Cat, Little Annie O, and At the Spa.

Among the horsemen who worked under Lake at one time were Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, David Cross, Tom Albertrani, and his brother Louis Albertrani.

Robert Lake Jr. said his father put jockey Mike Smith on his first winner in New York in the early 1990s.

Lake said his father most likely would be cremated.

“I’d like to spread his ashes at Saratoga after the ninth race one day,” Lake said. “He won so many ninth races there.”

In addition to his son, Lake is survived by his wife, Diane.