Pete McCormick, a longtime Keeneland bid spotter and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, passed away Thursday at the age of 75. A native of Ontario, California, Pete was just a boy when given his first job in the auction business from Tom Caldwell, the longtime head auctioneer at Keeneland, who took McCormick under his wing.
“The Keeneland family mourns the passing of Pete McCormick, who was an iconic presence in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion during his four decades as a bid spotter,” Keeneland said Friday in a statement. “Pete famously said, ‘My life is the auction business,’ and he was widely respected by colleagues and horsemen for his tireless work ethic, professionalism and devotion to his craft. He would arrive at the sale two to three hours before the auction began to walk the barns, talking to buyers and consignors and getting to know the horses. His extensive knowledge and his demeanor won him a legion of fans, many of them buyers at the highest level, who showed their confidence in Pete by sitting in his area of the ring to place their bids. He was their good-luck charm.”
“Keeneland extends its deepest condolences to Pete’s family, especially his son, Ken. He will be greatly missed.”