With the passing of Dr. Jack Robbins, Chairman of the Board of Oak Tree Racing Association and the last surviving member of the original Board who were the founders of Oak Tree, the horse industry has lost an irreplaceable leader. Jack was a world-renowned veterinarian. As a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School, he was particularly pleased that those who graduated from that school had a V.M.D. after their names whereas most other veterinarian schools use D.V.M. on their degrees.
Jack was preceded in death by his wife, Maggie, of seventy years whom he had met while at the University of Pennsylvania. He is survived by four children: David, an attorney; Don, also an attorney; Jay, a retired trainer and Tom, Executive Vice President of Racing at Del Mar, in addition to eleven grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Jack was highly respected by his peers and served as president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners in 1963. He was a figure of national stature, being involved in many organizations that promoted both human and animal welfare. One of these recipients of his interest was the Veterinarian School at U.C. Davis in funding research on equine health and safety, as well as its Testing Lab, which is considered by many to be one of the outstanding laboratories of its kind in the world.
In addition to all of his abilities, Jack had a marvelous, sardonic sense of humor, so much so that he acquired the nickname “Doc” which, in many ways, captured the fun-loving person within the great veterinarian that he was.
Finally, Jack’s efforts in founding and building the institution that Oak Tree has become, was, without question, one of the most notable gifts to the horseracing community. No other racing association has contributed more to the betterment of the horse and its human participants over its forty-six years of existence.
By Sherwood Chillingworth
Executive Vice-President, Oak Tree Racing Association