04/19/2012 1:23PM

Richard Hamilton, longtime New York racing official, dies

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David Grening

Richard Hamilton, a longtime racing official best known as a steward for the New York Racing Association, died Wednesday night in Albany, N.Y. after having a heart attack. He was 76.

According to Peter Hammell, former director of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga, Hamilton had been taken to Saratoga Hospital on Tuesday, complaining of pain in his neck and jaw. Shortly after arriving at that hospital, Hamilton had a heart attack. He was transported to St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, but was removed from life support at approximately 6 p.m., Hammell said.

A native of Lowell, Mass., Hamilton graduated from Emerson College in Massachusetts in 1958 and served in the Army until 1961. Hamilton worked at Daily Racing Form , and for various radio stations in New England before going to work for the Jockey Club in 1972. Three years later, he joined NYRA as a racing official in a variety of capacities before being appointed NYRA steward in 1989, a position he held for six years. Hamilton later worked as communications for the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame before retiring in 2005.

Hamilton is survived by a niece, Mary Lake, and three nephews, Philip, David, and Steven Biati, the children of his late sister, Audrey Biati. A memorial service will be held in Saratoga Springs during the racing season, said Hammell.