08/06/2003 12:00AM

John Hoover, owner, dead at 78


John C. Hoover, chairman of the board of River Downs and a longtime owner and breeder, died last week in Southern California at age 78.

In addition to serving on the board at River Downs for more than two decades, Hoover was director of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association from 1981 to 1992, and he owned and bred horses at his Circle H Ranch.

His best horse, Galaxy Libra, was co-owned in a partnership. Galaxy Libra was a multiple graded stakes winner in 1981, including Grade 1 victories in the Sunset Handicap and Man o' War Stakes.

A funeral for Hoover was scheduled for Friday at St. Edmunds Episcopal Church in San Marino, Calif. In lieu of flowers, the Hoover family has requested that donations be made to the Boys and Girls Club of Pasadena, Calif.