Raymond (Shorty) Adair
July 19, 1922 – November 24, 2012
Jockey, Husband, Father
Raymond (Ray) Adair was born on July 19, 1922, on a family ranch in Ramah, New Mexico. In those days and in that part of the country, horses outnumbered automobiles and they did most everything that needed to be done. Ray grew up around horses, he knew and loved them. When Ray was fourteen, he left home and headed to San Diego, California to start a career as a Thoroughbred horse jockey where he worked on the San Ysidro Stock Farm near the Mexican border. Ray like others his age, hoping to become a jockey, started out cleaning horse stalls and doing various chores around the horse farm. However, it was not long before the manager of the farm discovered young Ray's special way with horses and began to give him more chores related directly to the handling of green horses. For the next few years, Ray continued to learn how to handle and ride Thoroughbred races horses. Ray got his first break on a big time Thoroughbred horse track on January 23rd, 1938. The manager of the San Ysidro Stock Farm took him to Agua Caliente in Tijuana, Mexico where he rode his first horse race on a recognized race track. From that point young Ray had twenty-nine victories his first season at Caliente, giving him a real chance to become a top national rider. One of the most memorable experiences young Ray often talked about from his days riding at Caliente was a match race in 1938 against the famous Thoroughbred Seabiscuit. Ray got beat that day, but by only a nose. It was an experience he never forgot later in life. From Caliente, Ray's career took him to the eastern tracks where he rode at Suffolk Downs in Boston, Aqueduct and Belmont Park in New York and Hialeah Park in Florida, to name a few. It was an unbelievable adventure for the young Ray to be given the chance to race on a "big time" race track on the eastern seaboard. From that point, Ray rode at all the famous eastern race tracks of the time. During his horse racing career, Ray rode with some of the most famous jockeys of the time such as Edie Arcaro, George Woolf, and Johnny Longden. He rode in the Kentucky Derby in 1943 and again in 1951. Ray continued his racing career into the mid 1960s.
Ray had to give up his racing career when at the death of his wife Evelyn in 1963, he had to raise two young kids on his own. Needing to find a steady source of income, Ray took his family to live with his sister, Virginia Medlock in Window Rock, Arizona. Virginia's husband, Ray Medlock, taught Ray how to use and handle heavy equipment. However, Ray longed to be around the horses he loved. When Connie Stewart who had a Thoroughbred farm in what is now called Colorado City, Colorado offered Ray a job to manage his horse farm, Ray jumped at the chance. Ray with his two young children, Rayette, eleven years old, and Raymond, ten years old, packed up and headed for Colorado.
Ray worked on the Stewart Thoroughbred Farm for several years before finally taking on his last career to maintain the roads around Rye and Colorado City for Pueblo County. Ray retired from Pueblo County in 1990 and spent the majority of his life in retirement in the mountain country around the Greenhorn Mountain he so loved. In August of 2011, he moved to San Diego, where he lived with his son Raymond Adair and his partner Scott Eldredge until his death on November 24, 2012.
Ray is survived by his former wives Neppie Williams and Marilyn Gilmore, both of Rye, Colorado. In addition, he is survived by four children, Dallas Adair, who lives in Colorado City, Colorado with his wife Kim and two children, Chance and Kacie; Robin Adair, and her husband Michael Anderson who live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado; a daughter Rayette Adair, who lives in the Chicago area; and an older son Raymond, and his partner Scott Eldredge, who live in San Diego, California. He is also survived by his sisters Virginia Chilson of Portland, Oregon and Peggy Renolds of Overland, Nevada. In addition, Ray had numerous grandchildren. He will be missed and loved by his family and friends.
A memorial service for the family will be held in the Spring of 2013 in order to fulfill their father's desire to be in the Greenhorn Mountain country he so loved. The family requests that instead of flowers a donation in the name of their father be made to the San Diego Humane Society. To make a donation go to www.sdhumane.org and then click on the Donate link at the top of the page.