08/06/2014 2:04PM

Turf writer Zast dead at 69

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Victor Zast, a freelance contributor to many racing publications and unabashed racing traditionalist, died on Sunday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 69, according to an obituary prepared by his family.

Zast’s pieces, which ranged from discussions of serious racing policies to the fashion sensibilities of racetrack patrons, appeared in the New York Times, Blood-Horse, ESPN.com, and MSNBC.com. He had written a daily diary from Saratoga, his favorite racecourse, for the Blood-Horse website for the past several years. He book, The History and Art of 25 Travers, about Saratoga’s premier race, was a finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award as best book in racing for 2008.

Zast was born in Buffalo, N.Y., and grew up in the city. His career included varied experiences marketing perfumes, alcohol, and horse racing. He lived in Illinois at the time that he died.

Zast is survived by his wife, Maureen, and four children.

– Matt Hegarty