Members Of Backstretch Community Remembered

Friday, March 1, 2024

Over the past several months, Maryland racing has lost members of its backstretch community at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course. They are Elroy Young, Martin Souverain, Harold Brubaker, Jose Portillo, Joseph Green Jr. and Wendell Haywood Griffin Sr.

Souverain worked in the Laurel barn area for many years before retiring, but members of his family continue to do so. Griffin was a longtime assistant to trainer Leon Blusiewicz, and his son, Alphonso, also trained at Pimlico.

Young was fixture at Laurel for many years and was known for providing assistance to others on the backstretch. Many members of his family as well as the backstretch community recently participated in a memorial service at Laurel. Young was an exercise rider, pony person, hot walker and groom, and also worked at the Bowie Training Center. He also detailed vehicles on the backstretch.

“He always helped people out,” Jessica Hammond, who heads the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association counseling program, said of Young. “He also had a wicked sense of humor.”

“There are special people in life that never leave us,” chaplain Ron Singh said. “Elroy was one of them.”

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