Skeets Holland, jockey, exercise rider


June 10, 1993|By Staff Report

Raymond "Skeets" Holland, who had been a jockey an exercise rider at Maryland horse racing tracks for about 50 years, died Sunday of cancer at his home on Denmore Avenue in Northwest Baltimore.

Mr. Holland, who was 83, retired as an exercise rider in 1978 after being thrown from a horse he was exercising at Pimlico Race Course.

In 1966, he retired as a jockey after being hurt in a spill at Marlboro Race Track in Prince George's County days before the track was to honor him with a day named for him.

That year was the first, with the exception of those spent in the Army during World War II, that he had gone through a racing season with out a winner since his first win in 1928 at


Though most of his racing career was spent on the circuit of half-mile tracks in Maryland that included Timonium, Bel Air, Hagerstown, Cumberland and Marlboro, he also raced at other nearby tracks.

Two of his favorite races were in New York and Cuba. He often spoke of winning a 1947 featured race at Belmont aboard Shivaree and of finishing ahead of the legendary jockey Johnny Longden in a race in Cuba.

In 1975, the Maryland Jockey Club declared "Raymond 'Skeets' Holland Day" at Pimlico.

In 1984, he was among those in the thoroughbred racing industry who were honored at the Federico Tesio Awards Dinner.

He also was cited for his long career in racing by the governor, the Maryland Racing Commission and the House of Delegates.

A native of Elkton, he was reared in Philadelphia, where he attended public schools.

His wife of 57 years, the former Clara H. Rideout, died Jan. 8.

Services for Mr. Holland were to be conducted at 11:30 a.m. today at the Nutter Funeral Home, 2501 Gwynns Falls Parkway, Baltimore.

He is survived by two sons, Raymond H. and James Holland, both of Baltimore; two daughters, Carolyn Cole of Catonsville and Teresa Holland of Baltimore; a sister, Mable Richardson of Philadelphia; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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