Raymond G. “Raymie” Woolfe, Jr., of Troy, Va., died on Thursday, May 10, 2018, in Charlottesville.
Born in New York, N.Y., on July 31, 1935, he was the son of Raymond G. Woolfe, Sr., and Ruth Ferguson Woolfe. While in high school in Camden, S.C., Raymie made racing history at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., when he became the youngest jockey at the time to win a stake at a New York track. Only sixteen, he won the Saratoga Steeplechase on Hampton Roads, trained by his dad and owned by Marion duPont Scott. N.Y. sportswriters wrote of famed jockey Eddie Arcaro carrying “the kid’s” saddle from the winner’s circle.
Raymie attended the University of Virginia and was a member of the polo team, before joining the U.S. Marines. After leaving the Corps as a Sergeant, he graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and became a photojournalist. After an apprenticeship with famed New York fashion and Kennedy family photographer, Mark Shaw, Raymie shot advertising, fashion, society, and celebrity print layouts. In 1968, he covered the Chicago Democratic convention and ensuing riots. Before long, his love of thoroughbred racing drew him back to a job at the Daily Racing Form. During his time with the DRF, he wrote the acclaimed Secretariat, a book many consider the definitive work on the great 1973 Triple Crown winner. He also wrote the well-received Steeplechasing, published in 1981. In 2016, his highly praised Doomed Horse Soldiers of Bataan The Incredible Stand of the 26th Cavalry was published, with a moving foreword by the late Col. Edwin P. Ramsey, of the 26th Cavalry.
Raymie is survived by two daughters, Shannon Virginia Woolfe of Snow Camp, N.C., and Laurie Ferguson Woolfe, of Decatur, Ga.; and a sister, Ruth (Tudy) Bunn, of Oceanside, Calif. On Thursday, May 17, 2018, at 3 p.m., his ashes will be scattered where his beloved dogs are buried, next to the pond on his farm at 2878 Zion Rd., Troy, VA 22974. Anyone who remembers Raymie will be welcome. Donations in his memory will be gratefully accepted by The American Steeplechase Injured Jockeys Fund, Inc., c/o Colvin G Ryan, 22359 Polecat Hill Rd, Middleburg, VA 20117-3273, or the National Steeplechase Museum, 200 Knights Hill Rd., Camden, SC 29020. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.hillandwood.com.