08/06/2012 1:02PM

Pete Pedersen, highly respected California racing official, dies at 92

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Benoit & Associates
Pete Pedersen

Pete Pedersen, one of the most respected racing officials of all-time and a winner of the Eclipse Award of Merit, died on Sunday at age 92 from complications of a recent fall, his longtime companion, Marlene Crain, reported on Monday.

Pedersen collapsed and fell just outside his home in Arcadia, Calif., near Santa Anita two weeks ago, and since then had been in the critical care unit at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, Calif.

Known for being both fair and gracious, Pedersen was widely admired and was considered the West Coast’s equal of Kentucky’s legendary Keene Daingerfield, who received the Eclipse Award of Merit in 1985. Pedersen was so honored in 2002. They are the only two stewards to receive that prestigious award.

Pedersen also received the Laffit Pincay Jr. Award from Hollywood Park in 2008. That award is given to someone in California racing who serves the sport with dedication and integrity.

Pedersen retired in 2005 after that spring’s meeting at Hollywood Park, ending a career in racing that began as a newspaper reporter in 1939 at Longacres in his native Washington state. Though he had his first job as a racing official at Longacres in 1948, he worked as a writer and handicapper – under the heading “Pete’s Picks” – for the Los Angeles Times in the early 1950s. He occasionally wrote for various racing publications throughout his life, including Daily Racing Form.

He was a steward in California for 50 years, and officiated at every Breeders’ Cup in the state from 1984 through his retirement in 2005. As such, Pedersen was one of three stewards in the booth for the inaugural Breeders’ Cup in 1984 at Hollywood Park, which featured the disqualification from first of Fran’s Valentine in the BC Juvenile Fillies, and Gate Dancer from second to third in the BC Classic.

Pedersen flew for the Navy Air Corps during World War II.

In addition to Crain, Pedersen is survived by two sons, Michael and Craig Winfrey.

Funeral services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, Crain suggested that donations be made to a charity that benefits horses or cats, Pedersen’s two favorite animals.

Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Pete remembered most for BC & SA Hdcp (wicked north) DQ's and CHRB PINK SLIP in 2005........................ es a le pachucko,,,,,,,..
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
RIP and condolences are a "given". Horsewriter claims he was gracious and must have had all his facilities at the time of his death. He was 92, I doubt it. The fact remains, you and your CA Karma heads have forgotten his blunder at the first BC Classic. I was on the plane back to NY with Harvy Pack and Pete Axhelm, who also felt it was a poor call. Maybe he was so nice, now, but then he was younger and cabable of knowing the correct call. He messed up, but all is fogiven with time. RIP
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
Bob Rose, if your Karma was good, I'd have heard of you as a trainer. Try another job or get better horses or find your Karma at the beach. Basically your old friend made a bad call in the biggest race of it's time. The first BC classic.
horseswriter More than 1 year ago
Who are these pissmires that walk like men, that would curse one of the most gracious men in racing at the time of his death? Shame on you. My condolences to Marlene and Pete's children.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
I was at Hollywood Park at the first BC and in my 42 years of racing saw the worst steward's decision. In the Classic, Gate Dancer was guilty, but so was the winner, they both bumped Cordero's horse (who was moved up from thrid to second). Only Gate Dancer was DQ's. The Winner also was flashing and should have come down. RIP and all that, but this was the worst job of officiating I've ever seen.
Bob Rose More than 1 year ago
Rest in Peace, knowing you were the fairest and most consistent steward this lifelong trainer ever served under. I am so glad I took a moment to thank you for your fairness a couple years back. Your appreciative response warmed my soul, Sir. You were placed in the stewards stand by God, as He knew there was no one more qualified. You were also an amazing Turf writer ad I enjoyed reading every word you wrote involving our great sport, over many decades. May Karma strike those of you that show no class at all in speaking so poorly of a classy man that you obviously never knew. I feel sorry for those that have to exsist in 'your' world.
David Robinson More than 1 year ago
you mean the real wprld?
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Wow! where's the moderator on this stuff. It's best to just keep quiet in areas like this than air grievances from past gambling losses. Never knew the man but my condolences to those who loved him
David Robinson More than 1 year ago
never knew him, but yet you have to speak up and call out others who have issues with him. maybe your trhe one who should keep silent.
Greg Scherr More than 1 year ago
Jesus guys, he died, it's probably way passed the time to let the bad calls go, it's not the place to air grievances, a simple you will be missed is dine, or nothing at all
Bsb Jaws More than 1 year ago
Sorry greg , I'm not a big fan of these old guy hanger ons like Robert Byrd Strom Thurmon or Pete Pederson. Just calling a spade a spade. He was in it for himself and his friends and he was a bum of a steward . No getting around that.
David Robinson More than 1 year ago
amen bob.