Edmond “Eddie” Gaudet, a thoroughbred trainer with more than 1,700 winners during a five-decade career, died of Alzheimer’s disease Thursday at his Upper Marlboro home. He was 87.
“Eddie was a unique individual,” said Mike Trombetta, a fellow trainer currently at Gulfstream Park in Florida. “He always had a joke or a story, and he had lots of valuable life experiences to share.”
Mr. Gaudet was married to horsewoman, owner and trainer Linda Norwood Gaudet for 41 years. He had two daughters, Lacey Gaudet and Gabrielle Gaudet, who are also active in the racing industry.
“The Gaudets have been a family operation for years,” said a 2012 Sun profile of the family. “Linda, a show-horse woman when she met Gaudet, has been learning the business from her husband for 40 years. And Lacey has been around horses since she was a baby and working with them since she was 12.”
Gabrielle “Gabby” Gaudet is a former racing analyst for the Maryland Jockey Club and is currently covering Gulfstream Park’s meet for the TVG Network.
Mr. Gaudet was born in Leominster, Mass. He rode his first horse at age 11 and rode a thoroughbred as a 13-year-old at Narragansett Park.
He attended Massachusetts public schools. He came to Maryland in the 1950s and lived in Harwood in Anne Arundel County. He also spent time at Detroit, where he was also involved with training horses.
“He was a wonderful father and a devoted husband,” said his daughter Lacey Gaudet, who trains under the name Team Gaudet and is based at Laurel Park. “He made our days better and he was a pleasure to be around. He taught us everything we know in life and in business.”
His wife, Linda Gaudet, said her husband had “exceptional ability.”
Mr. Gaudet’s training operation was based at the old Bowie Race Track in Prince George’s County. According to a biography supplied by Laurel Park, he won 1,735 races and $23,495,278 in purse earnings from 1959 until his retirement in 2011. At that time he turned his stable over to his wife and daughter.
He won his last two races Dec. 16, 2011, at Laurel.
Laurel Park said Mr. Gaudet’s best-known horse was Concealed Identity, a Maryland-bred horse who was the son of Smarty Jones — who had won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
Mr. Gaudet ran Concealed Identity in the 2011 Preakness. He finished 10th behind upset winner Shackleford, but later won the 2011 Find Stakes at Laurel. In 2013, with Linda Gaudet as trainer, Concealed Identity won the John B. Campbell Handicap and then ran second in the 2014 Maryland Million Classic.
Mr. Gaudet was recalled as a popular figure in Maryland racing circles.
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“Gaudet has plenty of stories, including the four times he said he died,” the 2012 story in The Sun said. “Three of them came three years ago when he had emergency open heart surgery. The fourth was years before at Philadelphia Park when he was helping a friend with a horse in a trailer, and the horse decided it wanted to exit through the small side door, crushing Gaudet and then falling on top of him after they both had squeezed through the opening.”
“The medics came and said I was dead, but my good friend Horace Savoy, who was with me, said, ‘He's not dead,’” Mr. Gaudet recalled in the article. “But they held a mirror under my nose and didn't see anything and said I was. I really had died for a little while. But then Horace saw my lips begin to move, and said, 'Look!' Then I got up and saddled my horse for the next race.”
Mr. Gaudet considered himself a good judge of horses’ talents and flaws.
“I don't know why, but when it comes to the horses, I can still go over them and find the problems,” he said in 2012.
Services are private. A life celebration is being planned.