Charles John "Chick" Lang, 83, the longtime head of Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course who helped make the Preakness a must-watch for sports fans around the country, died Thursday of natural causes in a medical facility on Maryland's Eastern Shore, his family said.
Known as "Mr. Preakness," Lang is credited with bringing the Preakness national attention at a time when the Kentucky Derby overshadowed it. He tirelessly promoted the Baltimore race, traveling to the Kentucky Derby with "Next Stop Preakness" signs. He once floated hundreds of yellow and black balloons over the Kentucky Derby Parade.
The opening of the infield was Lang's idea. In 1965, he brought a school bus full of his daughter's friends to the infield to watch the races and some lacrosse games. That evolved into the all-day party, complete with rock bands and drinking, that marks today's Preakness.
Lang had deep family roots in horse racing. His great-grandfather, John Mayberry, was a Kentucky Derby-winning trainer in 1903 and his father, Chick Lang Sr., won the 1928 Kentucky Derby riding Reigh Count.
Lang started as a successful jockey's agent. He worked at Pimlico from 1960 to 1987, holding several management positions.
He later worked as a racing consultant for tracks around the country and as a racing analyst on radio.
Kennedy High track coach
Warren Farlow, 69, who started the Kennedy High School track program in Granada Hills in 1971 and coached for more than 25 years, died March 12 at a San Fernando Valley hospital after a bout with cancer.
Farlow grew up in Hollywood, ran track with his twin brother, Wayne, at Hollywood High and was a member of USC's 1961 NCAA championship track and field team. He and his brother were also child actors.
Farlow helped build a top track program at Kennedy, winning a state girls' title in 1980. In recent years, he served as a consultant on work experience with the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Arcadia Invitational director
Doug Speck, 62, a former teacher, track and cross country coach and athletic director at Arcadia High School who was also the longtime meet director of the well-regarded Arcadia Invitational track meet, died March 4 after a long battle with melanoma. He lived in El Segundo.
Speck coached and taught social studies at Hueneme and Channel Islands high schools before being hired to do the same at Arcadia in 1976. He was Arcadia's athletic director from 2000 to 2004, and he retired in 2007.
A native of North Dakota, Speck graduated from Cal Poly Pomona and had a master's degree in education from Azusa Pacific University.
He also was a writer for track publications and an announcer for various meets.
PASSINGS: 'Chick' Lang, Warren Farlow, Doug Speck, Charlie Gillett, Johnnie High, Barry Brief
'Chick' Lang, Preakness executive, dies at 83; Warren Farlow, track coach, dies at 69; Doug Speck, Arcadia Invitational director, dies at 62; Charlie Gillett, music journalist, dies at 68; Johnnie High, country music promoter, dies at 80; Barry Brief, developer, dies at 68
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