01/05/2010 12:00AM

Midwest trainer LaRue dies at 71

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Bobby LaRue, a longtime trainer who raced at tracks in the Midwest for more than 50 years, died Sunday at Methodist Hospital in Henderson, Ky. He was 71. LaRue's final starter, El Poco Diablo, won a $5,000 claiming race at Turfway Park on Dec. 20.

"The horses, that was his world," said his son, Jeff LaRue, who is the starter at Finger Lakes. "His world revolved around those horses. He'd be lost without them."

Bobby LaRue was a bull rider, then worked under longtime Kentucky horseman Doug Davis before he began training on his own in 1964. Jeff LaRue said his father won two titles at the now-shuttered Miles Park in Louisville, Ky., setting a record for trainer wins in a season there in 1972. LaRue also won a 1972 training title at Latonia, which is now Turfway.

A memorial service for LaRue will be held at Ellis Park's turf room on Jan. 12. It will begin at 2 p.m. LaRue, who was born in Henderson, is survived by his wife of 52 years, Beryl; two daughters, Melodie Jones and Bobbie Ward; and son Jeff.