Larry Wolken, Horse Owner And Longtime Head of Turf Catering, Dies

Larry Wolken, who headed Turf Catering for decades and was a Thoroughbred owner, died on March 30 in Hot Springs, Ark. He was 87.

Wolken took over operations of Turf Catering from his father in the mid-1960s, when the company was operating the food concessions at Keeneland, Oaklawn Park, Fair Grounds, and The Red Mile. He worked with four different presidents of Keeneland – Louis Lee Haggin II, Ted Bassett, Bill Greely, and Nick Nicholson – before retiring in the 1990s and turning over the business to his sons, Brad and Mike, who had joined Turf Catering in the mid-1970s.

Wolken owned a number of horses during his earlier days in racing, owning stakes winner Hook It Up and stakes-placed Apple Jackie, both trained by Doug Davis. Hook It Up, by Bosun, won four stakes, including the Bashford Manor, and earned $165,431 while winning 16 of 47 career starts. Apple Jackie, a full sister to Hook It Up, was second in both the Golden Rod and Pocahontas. After Hook It Up was retired, he later became a mount for the Lexington Police Department. Wolken was a member of the Thoroughbred Club of America.

A native of Chicago, Wolken graduated from the University of Illinois and took over Turf Catering in 1965 from his father, following in his family's footsteps. Known for his humor, warmth, and good racing stories, Wolken built the company into one of the most respected catering businesses in racing, known for the quality of its food. At Keeneland, in particular, no day was complete for thousands of racing fans without a bowl of Turf Catering's famed burgoo.

The Wolken family had operated concessions at Keeneland from the track's opening in 1936 until 2015. Turf Catering had run the concessions at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, from 1934 until 2000, working with the Cella family that whole time.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations to be made to Old Friends Retirement Farm and/or the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

He is survived by his wife, Sue, sons Brad (and Elaine), Mike (and Kristie), the late Eric, and Chris Rains, daughter Karyn (and Robert) Shuler, eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

The family will hold a private ceremony in Hot Springs honoring his memory this summer.

The post Larry Wolken, Horse Owner And Longtime Head of Turf Catering, Dies appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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