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Vet-turned-trainer de Gannes dies

Greg de Gannes, a popular Woodbine-based trainer and veterinarian, has died in Florida at the age of 49.

De Gannes won 124 career races, including 120 at Woodbine. He won 10 Woodbine stakes races, including three with Jenny's So Great and two with Southern Exchange.  After he saddled C Karma to win the Grade 3 Natalma Stakes in 2008, he sent her to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita Park, where she finished eighth.

Born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1963, de Gannes came to Canada in 1973 when his father, Dr. Rolph de Gannes, accepted a position as resident veterinarian at Windfields Farm in Oshawa.

During his youth at the famous nursery, personal exposure to such stars as Deputy Minister, The Minstrel, Sunny's Halo and Vice Regent only inspired him further to want to become involved in the industry.

He proceeded to obtain a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Guelph in 1988. Upon graduation, de Gannes went to work for the firm of Fishman & Chris at Woodbine, specializing in the care of Thoroughbred racehorses.

In 1991, when Windfields closed its Maryland Nursery, his father moved back to Ontario and started his own rural practice, specializing in equine reproduction. Greg teamed up with his father to form a mixed equine practice.

However, in 1988, he met trainer Mark Casse and went to work at Mockingbird Farm in Ocala, Florida, as head veterinarian and principal assistant for Casse. During that time, he was involved with such standouts as Valid Appeal, End Sweep, Successful Appeal, Swept Overboard and Exciting Story.

De Gannes took out his trainer's licence in 2003 and was well supported by owners from his native Caribbean.

The Palm Meadows Training Center, his winter headquarters, will hold a memorial service in the trainers' lounge on Wednesday at 11 a.m. (EST). Woodbine will post information regarding funeral arrangements in Canada, once available.



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