•Horse racing, Churchill Downs will miss Sam Rogers, 12/20•
Horse racing lost one of its most enthusiastic fans with this week’s passing of Sam Rogers.
If you have hung out at Churchill Downs the past couple of decades, you probably know Sam even if you don’t realize it. He was a fixture in the grandstand and barn with trainer Greg Foley, a close friend and with whom Rogers made many a road trip when the stable ran a horse out of town.
Sam was just one of those really nice guys who made you feel good whenever you talked to him. He impressed the Lloyd Madison Farms partnership enough that they named a horse Louisville Sam.
“He was very friendly and was genuinely concerned that I felt welcomed in Louisville and that the racing gods were good to me,” Lloyd Madison partner Tim Sweeney said in an email to the Foley family that he shared with me. “He always advised me to keep my eyes and ears open. He was concerned that the Madison boys fared well…’There are a lot of ways they can get you in this game.’
“When my granddaughter Betsy Hathaway was about 7 years old, she was with me one day in our basement where I have some of our winner’s circle photos. She looked at the 10-12 pictures on the wall. She pointed to Sam (who was in all of them) and asked: ‘Grandpa, who is that man who is in all the pictures?’
“I told her it was my friend Sam. She said: ‘Are we related to him?’ I told her ‘no’ and that he was a good friend, ‘Why do you ask?’ ‘Well, you have more pictures of Sam hanging up down here that you have family pictures…I just though he may be related to us.’”
As another Lloyd Madison partner, Rob Lloyd, sent in an email to friends about Sam’s death: “Sam was a great guy who was always thinking of others. He never failed to ask me how all of my kids were doing, (by name), every time I saw him. As you know, he had a really rough time since experiencing a stroke a couple of years back.
No more pain, no more discomfort, no more problems. We are all better off having known you.”
Sam got together the Millennium Racing partnership that campaigns the filly Another Trick, who won Sept. 27 at Churchill Downs.
He was a Mt. Sterling, KY, native who played basketball and baseball for American University in Washington CD.
According to his obituary, memorial services will be announced at a later date. Expressions of sympathy may be made in his honor to any equine or horse racing charity.>