The handicapping contest community is saddened to learn of the passing of past NHC Champion Ron Rippey. Rippey, who just earlier in August won over $132k at the Wynn Handicapping Challenge, was an ardent promoter of both Thoroughbred and Harness racing throughout his over 30 years of work with the New Jersey Star-Ledger and was a top-flight handicapper and regular performer on the contest circuit. Above all, he was the consummate gentleman who was always in cheerful spirits.
My personal experience with Ron dates back to 2006, as I was administering the NHC that year, the same year he won the prestigious Championship. I was the first person to congratulate him just moments after his longshot crossed the finish line first in the last contest race to seal the victory. I recall how calm and gracious he was at that time. Since then, Ron and I stayed in regular contact, either by communicating via e-mail, or by sharing lengthy phone calls at least several times a year, mostly with Ron recounting his recent experiences and his always-good suggestions on how to improve things in whatever I was involved in at the time. Despite struggling with many trying health issues over recent years, Ron was always upbeat and always focused on the positive. He held great pride in his long-term tenure at the Star-Ledger and took his position as a public handicapper very seriously. He truly loved the game and was a respected comrade on the contest trail. Those of us that had the privilege to know him will surely miss having him around. Our sincerest condolences to his wife Arlene and the rest of the Rippey family.