Hale, keen judge of horses, dies at 66


Funeral services are set in Cockeysville today for Bobby Hale, 66, one of the state's most proficient thoroughbred horsemen, who died of cancer on Friday.

From 1965 until his death, Hale managed Taylor's Purchase Farm in Sparks.

For more than a decade, Hale was in charge of preparing the farm's thoroughbred yearlings for the annual sales in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

In 1972, Taylor's Purchase, which was regularly among the leading consignors at Saratoga, sold the sale's highest priced yearling, a filly by champion sire, Forli, for $140,000.

"Bobby had a knack for looking at a yearling in April, and by the time of the auction in the first week of August, he'd have the horse at peak condition," said Laddie Dance, who formerly owned the farm with his wife, Jeanne.

"He was an all-around good horseman as well as a good friend," Dance said.

After the Dances' divorced, Hale continued operating the farm for Jeanne and occasionally raced one of his own horses at local tracks. Last year Hale's filly, Dance In A Cage, won four races at Delaware Park.

Hale, who graduated from Towson Catholic High School, started his career galloping racehorses for Hall of Fame trainer Hirsch Jacobs, at Stymie Manor Farm in Monkton. He served in the Army during World War II and then started training horses after the war.

He was a successful trainer at the Maryland half-mile tracks and in New Jersey before he started managing Taylor's Purchase.

Hale is survived by his wife, Nancy; a son, Robby; and a daughter, Georgeanne, who is one of the state's most popular racing officials. Georgeanne Hale is racing secretary at Timonium and serves as paddock judge at Laurel and Pimlico.

Hale will be buried at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Expressions of sympathy may be directed in Hale's name to either Stella Maris Hospice, 2300 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson or the Milton J. Dance Foundation at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, 6701 N. Charles St., Towson.

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