Dr. Manuel Alan Gilman, an industry leader who was
the chief examining veterinarian at New York
racetracks for 32 years and later served as the Jockey Club steward at Aqueduct
Park, and Saratoga Race
Course, died on November 25. He was 91.
native of Queens, N.Y. and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania veterinary school, Gilman began working
in the horse identification department at the New York tracks in 1945 after serving in the
U.S. Army during World War II. He became chief examining veterinarian in 1950, a
position he held until 1982, during which time he developed the way racehorses
are currently “fingerprinted” by using the unique horny growths on the inside of
horses’ legs called chestnuts, as well as pioneering the extensive pre-race
examination for every horse that is now widespread in the industry.
pre-race examinations and horse identification as well as his development of
programs for racing officials are all big components of his legacy,” said
Dr. W. Theodore Hill, who was hired
by Gilman as an examining veterinarian in 1977 and who currently serves as the
Jockey Club steward at the NYRA tracks. “The pre-race examination now is a big
component of horse welfare and safety, and you hear a lot about it, but back in
the 1960’s and 1970’s, virtually no one else besides Dr. Gilman was doing it. He
was well before his time in establishing those standards.”
leaving NYRA, Gilman became general manager of Harbor View Farm, and two years
later became director of the Jockey Club. He served as the Jockey Club steward
at NYRA from 1986-1991, when he was awarded the Jockey Club Gold Medal for his
contributions to the industry.
Gilman, a former resident of Garden City, N.Y., is survived by his wife
of 63 years, Margaret Werber Gilman, a former Women’s Airforce Service Pilot
during World War II who in 2009 was honored with a Congressional Gold Medal;
their children, Charles and Jane, five grandchildren and four
loved his job, he loved horses, and he loved the racing industry,” said Gilman’s
son, Charles, an attorney with the Manhattan Law Firm of Cahill, Gordon and
Reindel. “He examined tens of thousands of horses during his career, and he
always said the most perfectly conformed horse of all the champions he ever
examined was Buckpasser. He also said the biggest, strongest and most imposing
champion he saw was Forego.”
Visitation will be at the Fairchild Funeral Chapel at 1201 Franklin Avenue
in Garden City, N.Y., from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29. A
private funeral service will be held Wednesday.
lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to either the
Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation or the Backstretch Employee Services
Team (B.E.S.T.), which provides a range of health and human services for
backstretch workers at NYRA tracks.