- Published: Saturday, 06 January 2018 15:16
Horsemen in Maryland and beyond remember Edmond “Eddie” Gaudet not only for his horsemanship, but for his love of family and friends and for his sense of humor.
Gaudet, who had Alzheimer’s disease, died Jan. 4 at his home in Upper Marlboro, Md. He was 87. He is survived by his wife, Linda, who took over the stable several years ago; and daughters Lacey, now the trainer of record, and Gabrielle, a racing analyst and reporter in New York and Florida who began her on-air career in Maryland.
“Do you want the PG version?” Laurel Park-based trainer Ferris Allen said with a laugh. “Eddie was certainly among the most colorful members of the backside—always. He was sometimes irreverent but with a humorous bent on everything, and erroneously thought he was a poet.”
The Gaudet operation was based at Bowie Race Course, and it remained there from 1985, the year racing ended, through the spring of 2015, when it closed for training. Gaudet and his family were part of tightly knit group of horsemen, some of whom wouldn’t mind going back to Bowie if the opportunity arose.
“There will only be one of him,” trainer Dale Capuano, who was based at Bowie, said of Gaudet. “There will never be another like him. He could do everything—he basically built his farm. I can remember my brother Gary and my dad helping build the barn—I was the director rather than the worker. We had some fun times back then.”
Trainer Phil Schoenthal said Gaudet played an important role in his career when he first came to Maryland and stabled at Bowie. He said the family took him out to dinner to make him feel comfortable.
“The Gaudets were always good to me,” Schoenthal said. “I remember Eddie telling me, ‘Son, I wish you could have been here 30 to 40 years ago. It was a lot more fun back then.’ When I was around Eddie, it was never not entertaining.”
Gaudet grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Maryland in the 1950s. He became a fixture on the circuit but also raced horses at many other tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region.
According to Equibase, Gaudet won 1,735 races with $23,495,278 in purse earnings from 1959 until his retirement in 2011, when he turned the stable over to his wife and oldest daughter. He won his last two races Dec. 16, 2011, at Laurel and sent out his final starter three days later at Parx Racing in Pennsylvania.
Gaudet was a multiple graded stakes-winning trainer: Star Touch won the General George Stakes at Laurel in 1991; Classy Cut took the Anne Arundel Handicap in 1985; and Alleged Impression captured the Garden State Stakes in 1994. He trained numerous other stakes winners and horses with career earnings in excess of $150,000.
Gaudet left an impression not only in Maryland but in the region. New York-based trainer Gary Contessa, in a Twitter post, said Gaudet always made him laugh.
“He was a true horsemen, a great friend, and one of those people who would give you the shirt off his back,” Contessa said. “He will surely be missed by this trainer and the racing industry.”
The Maryland Jockey Club reported that services will be private, and a Celebration of Life will be scheduled at a later date.
Lacey Gaudet in September 2017 authored a column for thisishorseracing.com in which she discussed how the family cared for her dad as Alzheimer’s disease progressed.
“We’re doing what’s right for him, keeping him at home when it’s hard for us, because this is where he belongs,” she wrote. “He has given us a name that rings proud from coast to coast and I never get tired of people asking, when they truly care, ‘How’s Eddie?’ I always say, ‘Thanks for asking,’ because it’s comforting to know that no one has forgotten him. But how could they?’ ”