Cover photo for Robert Veral Bowman's Obituary
Robert Veral Bowman Profile Photo
1939 Robert 2019

Robert Veral Bowman

October 21, 1939 — October 23, 2019

Veral Bowman, 80, died Oct. 23, 2019, two days after his 80th birthday. Veral Robert Bowman was one of the most respected and beloved horsemen throughout North America as his roots stretched from South Florida to his birthplace of Stayner, Ontario. His career encompassed more than five decades with his success as a driver peaking in the 1980s and 1990s before concentrating on the training side and enjoying noteworthy success, especially during the first decade of the new century. Among his successes were Florida Super Night champions Railee Possible and Pearl Of Capri, along with stakes winners Guided Miss Tique, FIMO and D’Artagnan. Mr. Bowman’s career in racing began in the 1970s with the unlikely trade of sorts as he took a horse — Meadowview Hal — for an automobile and a new career in racing was foaled. Over the years, he established himself as one of the elite drivers at Flamboro Downs, Windsor Raceway, Vernon Downs and, of course, Pompano Park.  The aforementioned D’Artagnan enabled him to establish a world record when the then 72-year-old driver was in the bike for a 1:51.4 performance — the fastest mile in history with a septuagenarian in the sulky.  Horsemen and women alike praised not only his horsemanship but, even more so, his character as he helped countless trainers, caretakers and owners in so many ways. Longtime trainer Jim McDonald lamented, “Veral Bowman was the salt of this earth. When I got started in this business and didn’t have a dime to my name, it was Veral who helped me out…even put the money up to buy a car for me. It was never about money with Veral. It was about helping everyone out. I have yet to hear a single person say an unkind word about him…and that goes back, what, 40 or 45 years.”  Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey stated, “You want to know the definition of integrity in our sport? It’s Veral Bowman!”  Owner Craig Schmidt, who had partnered with Veral over the past three years, said, “This is heartbreaking for me. I don’t believe that I have met a finer gentleman than he in my life. He was one of the last in a vanishing frontier to do business with a handshake. In other words, his word was his bond…and it was a strong, unbreakable bond!”  Mr. Bowman was a family man, as well, and survivors include his wife of almost 60 years, Mary Patricia (Patsy).  When Veral and Patsy celebrated their 50th anniversary, he remarked, “I glad we got to 50 and I wouldn’t mind another 50 one bit!”  Other survivors include sons, Ted (Sara) and Michael (Paula); and grandchildren, Clarke and Melissa.  A memorial service will be held at a later date.
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