05/20/2017 3:12PM

Trainer Richie Scherer loses battle with cancer


Richard “Richie” Scherer died early Saturday after living gallantly with cancer for several years.

Richie’s brother, Gary, confirmed the death Saturday morning. No arrangements had yet been made as of Saturday afternoon, Gary Scherer said.

The two Scherer brothers are among the six children of Merrill Scherer. Merrill, Gary, and Richie all are trainers, and for several years have stabled at Fair Grounds in New Orleans over the winter.

Richie, who was 53, was born and raised in New Orleans. He helped his father summers growing up, and saddled his first horse in 1985 before launching his training career in earnest in 1987. Scherer won just three races his first year, but went on to win 802 more during a long and successful career. Chicago-based Chris Block often would send turf horses to New Orleans with Scherer for the winter, and in 2011, Scherer won the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz with just such a horse, Mystery Giver.

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In May 2013, Scherer was diagnosed with papillary kidney cancer. Scherer had surgery, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy, and often looked precipitously skinny, but he continued to come to the track regularly and maintain his string of horses. Last summer, watching training from a grassy knoll next to the start of the clubhouse turn, Scherer succinctly summed up his experience: “Some days are better than others, but I do as much as I can.”

At Fair Grounds in January, a gaunt Scherer, who was both well liked and well respected on the track, said his doctors had run through all known treatments for his condition, and that he was running out of options. But Scherer was at the racetrack as recently as last weekend, paying a last visit to Arlington before he was placed in hospice care.