Hugo Dittfach passes – Past The Wire
TORONTO – Woodbine Entertainment is saddened to learn of the passing of Hall of Fame jockey Hugo Dittfach at the age of 85.
Winner of over 4000 races, ‘Hustlin’ Hugo Dittfach is known for his incredible work ethic and perseverance. Dittfach arrived in Canada after World War II, a refugee from East Germany who spent three years in a Russian concentration camp in Poland.
While working at a restaurant in Calgary, Dittfach received a suggestion from a customer to continue horse racing because of his size. Launching his career in 1956, Dittfach was a leading rider in Western Canada before settling in Ontario.
Dittfach would reach the pinnacle of Canadian races in 1961, riding Blue Light 20-1 in long shot to victory in the Queen’s Plate, edging world top jockey Johnny Longden and race favorite Just Don’t Shove in the one of the closest finishes. in the history of the race.
Dittfach has remained a fixture and a leading rider in Woodbine, Greenwood and Fort Erie for many years, winning numerous stakes including the Prince of Wales a five-time record. He retired from horseback riding in 1989 to become a trainer.
“So many people in our racing industry, including myself, are blessed with fond memories of Hugo,” said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. “Hugo was a serious and hard-working man who gave his all every time he got on a horse. Hugo rode regularly for the Jim Dandy team and I fondly remember his run on Ruthie’s Run to win the Princess Elizabeth Stakes in 1974.
“A true gentleman, Hugo has made an incredible contribution to our sport in Ontario and he will be missed by all. ”
‘Hustlin’ Hugo won the Sovereign Award as Canada’s Outstanding Jockey in 1975, was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1983 and received the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award in 1991 for his contribution to the sport.
Woodbine Entertainment offers its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Hugo Dittfach.
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Woodbine press release