Horse Racing in Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday lost another great friend with the passing of Owner/Trainer Rolf Bartolo. Within the last three months the Racing Fraternity has seen, the passing of no fewer than six racing stalwarts, Venice Ricards, Nyron Dookeran, Vere Bhagan, Chee Awai and Juan Mosca.
Bartolo died at Port-of-Spain General Hospital after ailing for a short time on Sunday morning.
Bartolo, 74, was an accomplished teacher, cyclist, footballer, coach and trainer. He will be remembered for being a goalkeeper and coach of the legendary Maple Football Club.
Bartolo got his trainer's licence seven years ago and has landed 42 winners in his career. His earning during his short career was $1.3 million. Before that, Bartolo was an owner and had many horses with deceased trainer Cyril 'Greypatch' Arneaud.
Some of Bartolo's best horses were Little Miss Muffet, Root of Jesse, Rio Ponti, Simon Peter and Jesse's Girl.
However, his greatest achievement as an owner and as a trainer came on a day when our nation celebrated its 57th Anniversary of Independence on August 31, 2019. That day, trainer Bartolo celebrated the biggest day in his training career. He sent out three horses on Independence Day and all were in winner’s row but more importantly, he won the feature event of the day, the Grade One - Independence Cup over 1,800 metres on the turf course at Santa Rosa Park in Arima with Root of Jesse.
Bartolo’s gift to himself and racing fans began in the fourth event when three-year-old Simon Peter ridden by Nela Mohammed scored at odds of 7-2. The combination teamed up in the next to race to land Jesse’s Girl in the next event at odds of 2-1 before Mohammed and owner/trainer Bartolo secured their third success in the featured eighth race with Root of Jesse which won at 7-2.
Bartolo said then, “This is the best training feat that I have had in my career.
Bartolo was was awarded a Jetsam Award in 2017 for his performance as a trainer. He received the Most Improved Trainer' award at the Jetsam Awards.
That day he gave this country his most famous quote, ‘Every dog, has his day and today was my day'.
Indeed for Rolf Bartolo, Independence Day will be etched into everyone’s memory as the day that Bartolo stands proudest and tallest at Santa Rosa Park in Arima.
May he rest in peace.