06/06/2013 4:54PM

Michigan horseman, track president Walter Bay dies at age 75

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Walter Bay, owner and breeder of champion Quarter Horse Cold Cash 123 and track president of Mount Pleasant Meadows in Central Michigan, died of cancer on June 6 at age 75.

A native and resident of Clare, Mich., Bay was the owner and CEO of trucking company Tandem Transport Corp., where he worked for 42 years. He also served as president of the Michigan Trucking Association in 1991, and was its chairman from 1992-1993.

Bay bred and raced Quarter Horses with his wife, Carolyn, under the name T-Bill Stables, with their breeding operation based in Central Michigan. Their horses often bear the numbers “123” at the end of their names in homage to a code phrase Carolyn’s parents used to say “I love you” when they began dating, much to the chagrin of their own parents.

T-Bill Stables’ biggest triumphs in racing and breeding came courtesy of Hot Cash 123, a homebred Takin on the Cash mare who went winless in seven starts, then was retired due to injury. Though unspectacular on the racetrack, her true success came in the breeding shed.

Her first foal was I Do One Two Three, who in 2010 earned the American Paint Horse Association’s Running World Champion for Regular Registry Paint Quarter Horses. The Judys Lineage gelding was a winner of four of 16 starts during his racing career for earnings of $74,465.

Hot Cash 123 topped that achievement with her second foal, Cold Cash 123, who was named World Champion Racing Quarter Horse in 2011. The Oak Tree Special gelding has won 13 of 23 races to date for career earnings of $1,326,306, and has tallied wins in seven Grade 1 races.

Other notable horses bred by the T-Bill operation include Grade 1-placed stakes winner Friday 123, Grade 3 winner Very Dashin 123, and Grade 3-placed stakes winner Apollo Babe 123. The Bays’ success both locally and nationally earned them an induction in the Michigan Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2010.

In 1995, Bay led Oil Capital Race Venture, a group of horsemen and investors, in leasing Mount Pleasant Meadows on the Isabella County Fairgrounds in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Bay served as the president and primary investor of the mixed-breed track, which in 2011 became Michigan’s primary Thoroughbred venue.

“Walter will be deeply missed at Mount Pleasant Meadows,” said Tom Fritz, the track’s vice president. “He spent hours and hours at the track boggling over things and keeping it running. Hopefully, everyone will appreciate [his service], and I think they have. He was a great friend.”
In Bay’s absence, Fritz said he and the rest of Mount Pleasant Meadows’ board of directors would take a team approach to running the track’s operations for the foreseeable future.

Bay is survived by his wife Carolyn, children Maria Gross and David Bay, and three grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at the First Congregational Church in Harrison, Mich. on Sunday, June 9 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Visitation will be held at Stephenson Wyman Funeral Home in Clare on Friday, June 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, June 8 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.