W. Gary Baker, a well-known Virginia horseman who was the longtime chairman of the Virginia Fall Races, died Monday in Middleburg, Va. He was 71.
A native of Port Deposit, Md., he developed an early interest in horses and was deeply involved in showing, most recently as a show manager. He was a lifetime honorary director of the Maryland Horse Show Association and received the United States Equestrian Federation’s Pegasus Medal of Honor in 2007 for his contributions to showing. He also served as the president of the National Hunter and Jumper Association.
He said in a 2007 interview with Chronicle of the Horse that steeplechase racing was his passion. He raced Quixotic, who finished third behind champion Martie’s Anger in the 1979 Colonial Cup, and he trained horses for the steeplechase circuit as recently as 2011. He was a horse breeder and also was involved in breeding cattle and show dogs.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Trinity Episcopal Church in Upperville, Va.