03/04/2015 7:38PM

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.

Michael Petrolle More than 1 year ago
I remember the Lakes with great fondness and give my condolences to Bob Jr and Diane.I was a hot walker at Saratoga In the late 1970's.you might remember taking my wife Marie in her wheelchair and me, Mike, to a Willie Nelson concert at SPAC.You folks were crazey for the Movie ET at that time.Marie passed in 93. I remember you all as honest ,honorable people. Again so sorrey.
Rob More than 1 year ago
Thanks so much Michael! I remember going to see Willie Nelson, he still looks the same. We saw ET 5 times, once at midnight, and my dad started snoring right when ET died. Thanks for bringing back those happy times. Remember Lady Hoot? That year she was one of 3 deaths in the family. Grandma, grandpa, and Lady Hoot. Guess whom we were most upset about, no not ET. HA, HA. ps, horsemen are crazy.
Dave Stevens More than 1 year ago
Mr. Lake was a fine horseman and a fine man. I worked for him as a hot walker several times in the late 70s and early 80s before life took me on path away from racing. Many times over the years I regretted not staying with Mr. Lake as it was always a pleasure being in his barn. Some of the horses I recall are: Admiral Byrd, Lady Hoot, Star Rights, and Skagerrak. Also, Spartan Royalty was a nice filly Mr. Lake trained for a while. She was owned by Peter Fuller and raced a few times before she was sent to Florida to be bred. Warm memories and good times.
Rob Lake More than 1 year ago
Dave, thanks for the fine paragraph, the dams of some of those horses was a gift from Vanderbilt.
Eric Troje More than 1 year ago
Mr. Lake, Dianne and Robert Jr. treated me like family when I worked for him in the eighties. Everybody liked "Bobby Lake". He was as equally personable as he was professional. I'll always remember Mr. Lake and what he taught me.
Eric Troje More than 1 year ago
He should also be credited at this time for Silver Charm's existence, as it was disclosed to a national t.v. audience, on his derby day, that it was Bobby Lake, one of the trainers of his dam, Bonnie's Poker who had the foresight to convince her owners to breed her.
Rob Lake More than 1 year ago
Thanks Eric my dad was very close to getting a top runner a couple of times. Just wasn't in the cards, I also considered the people of Lake stable as family.
Rob Lake More than 1 year ago
I would like to thank Raymond Destefano for being a loyal friend to my dad and myself, and for making all the posthumous articles possible.
Abby Fuller More than 1 year ago
I have many wonderful memories of Bob and my dad. Had some nice wins for him and the horses were always very well cared for and ready. Condolences to Diane and Robert and his many friends,a really good guy, he will be missed.
Rob Lake More than 1 year ago
Thanks Abby, My dad was very proud to train for your dad. He was very fond of you.
Eric Troje More than 1 year ago
i liked walking Minabchar for all of them. Those were the days.
Charles Obert More than 1 year ago
Charles Obert, Bob was the first trainer I worked for and he was the best, to his help to his horses strictly first class. Rest In peace Bob, thanks for the memories.
Rob Lake More than 1 year ago
Thanks Charles, you made my day.
Corinne Hillery Ulrich More than 1 year ago
Was a wonderful caring man. Fantastic with horses and people. He was a racetrack fixture and loved by many. He will be missed.God bless him and peace to Robert and Diane.
Rob Lake More than 1 year ago
Hey Corinne, Im happy to hear from u. I think of you and Roxanne at Saratoga in 79, 80 and 82 at finger lakes. Love ya
Robert Darling More than 1 year ago
A very good trainer , but best of all : A Very good man. Thank you Bobby and God bless.
Rob Lake More than 1 year ago
Thank you Robert very much.