On October 19th, 2010, Robert Allen Meldahl—noted Southern California Jockey Agent—passed away peacefully in his sleep; he was 61 years young.
Born in Long Beach, California on March 22nd, 1949, Robert Allen Meldahl was a southern California baby-boomer who, after brief residency in Washington D.C. and Washington state, settled in as California’s true native son. A gifted athlete, Bob attended Arcadia High School where he excelled in basketball and baseball, and helped execute such notorious pranks as cementing a Bob’s Big Boy statue into the quad of his alma mater. Upon graduation in 1967, he briefly attended Pasadena City College before moving onto pursuits more aligned with his temperament: salesmanship and softball.
He took a position at Senco Tools in sales and joined the United States Slow Pitch Softball Association (USSSA), with which he traveled the US. In 1976, he was reintroduced to his future wife, Janis, and began a love affair that would last 34 years. After their marriage on October 23rd, 1976, they traveled the country with fellow USSSA cohorts, sharing R-rated high-jinks and cementing deep-seated friendships that would last his whole life.
In 1980, he began his career at the very place he snuck into as a raucous teen—Santa Anita Race Track. From humble beginnings he honed his skills as a shrewd negotiator to become one of the best in the business—representing such gifted riders as Frank Oliveras, Rafael Meza, Corey Black, Patrick Valenzuela, Corey Nakatani, Mike Smith and the legendary Laffit Pincay, Jr. An uncanny judge of character and a passionate devotee to his chosen field, Bob knew people, horses and the track better than any other man in the industry. He was a mountainous, if not sometimes infamous, figure on the track circuit and his shoes have yet to be filled since his retirement in 2009.
Unfailingly generous, Bob would empty his pockets of his last dime for a friend in need and did so on frequent occasions. He was, above all else, a devoted husband and father who spent many an afternoon relegated to the sidelines of his daughter’s softball games after ejections for arguing with umpires because nobody messed with his daughter. He could sweet talk a pool shark, shoot hoops with the best of the white-boys, and Lord knows he always knew a guy for whatever needs arose.
His absence will be felt every day, in every way and this world is poorer for its loss. He leaves behind his wife, Janis; his daughter, Nicole; his mother, Betty, and her husband, Manny; his brother, Tony, and two sisters—Kim and Kelly.