12/23/2002 1:00AM

Turf Paradise superintendent dies


PHOENIX - John Baker, 62, track superintendent at Turf Paradise since 1994, died Saturday of congenital heart failure.

Baker admitted himself to John C. Lincoln Hospital following the last race Saturday. He was diagnosed with a serious heart condition and was implanted with a pacemaker. His condition deteriorated, however, and efforts to stabilize his condition were unsuccessful.

Baker began his career more than 30 years ago at Longacres and moved on to several other tracks, including Ruidoso Downs and Sunland Park. Baker joined Turf Paradise as superintendent when the facility was acquired by Hollywood Park in 1994, and that year he supervised a $500,000 renovation of Turf Paradise's track surface.