Former Jockey, Racing Official Tommy Lee Passes Away at 79

Former Jockey, Racing Official Tommy Lee Passes Away at 79

Services to be Held Thursday, Aug. 11, for One-Time Maryland Leading Rider

LAUREL, MD – Services will be held Thursday, Aug. 11, for former jockey and Maryland Jockey Club clerk of scales Thomas ‘Tommy’ Lee, who passed away Aug. 3 at the Delaware Hospice Center at the age of 79.

Born Aug. 30, 1936 in Canton, China, Lee won more than 1,500 races over a 20-year career in Delaware, New Jersey, Illinois and Maryland, where he was the state’s leading rider in 1964 with 169 victories at Bowie Race Track, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.

Lee swept Laurel’s spring and fall meet titles in 1964 and was a leading rider at Pimlico in 1961 and 1964. Lee won the Dixie Handicap (G2) three times in four years with Cedar Key (1963), Flag (1965) and Knightly Manner (1966); captured the Gallorette Handicap (G3) on 44-1 long shot Double Heritage (1963) and later Sarre Green (1974); and the Woodlawn Stakes (G3) with Important Reason.

A crushed pelvis suffered when his horse reared and fell over backward loading into the starting gate at Bowie in July 1977 ultimately ended his riding career. In 1981, he was hired as the clerk of scales in the state of Maryland and served for 18 years until his retirement on March 28, 1999.

During his riding career, Lee owned 165-acre Ridgelee Farm in the Carroll County community of Finksburg, Md. An avid world traveler, Lee lived his later years in Millsboro, Del.

Lee is survived by his companion, Sharon Markward; a son, Daniel; granddaughter and great-grandaughter; siblings Gary, Kenneth, James, John, Mary, Solin and Belinda; and five nieces and nephews.

Viewing will be from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11, at Bishop-Hastings Funeral Home on 19 South Main Street in Selbyville, Del., to be followed by a funeral service. Burial will be at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Dagsboro, Del.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Lee’s memory to the Tunnell Cancer Center, 18947 John J. Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, Del. 19971.