John Hamilton Forbes
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John Hamilton Forbes

Holmdel - John Hamilton Forbes, 73, of Holmdel, passed away on January 31, 2021. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, grew up in Fallston, Maryland on Rochelle Farm be-fore settling in New Jersey 42 years ago. He was the son of two thoroughbred race-horse trainers, Nancy Shakespeare Forbes and John Hamilton Chew Forbes. John worked as a Thoroughbred Racehorse Trainer for over four decades. He began his career in his home state of Maryland in 1972 but soon thereafter switched his op-eration to New Jersey. He was lured to the Garden State by the charms of Mon-mouth Park.

He was a five-time leading trainer at Monmouth and topped the standings seven times at the Meadowlands. Among many successes over his career, in 1978, he won 109 races and followed that up with a career-best 233 in 1979. In 1995, Forbes and longtime assistant and friend, Pat McBurney, formed a limited partnership, Phan-tom House Stables, that raised nearly $2 million to purchase yearlings. He was named President of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association in 2010, after having helped launch the umbrella organization, the THA, comprised of six states in the mid-1990s, and served until 2021. John built the Blue Grass Mini Golf Course in 2012 at Monmouth, which hosted the 2014 and 2017 U.S. Open for Mini Golf. He was inducted into the U.S. Pro Mini Golf Hall of Fame in 2020.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 40 years, Vicki (Duckworth) Forbes, his lov-ing children, Anne and her husband Damian Zajac, John Truxtun Forbes and his wife Nicole and Carrie and her husband Dr. Eric Oberdorf, his cherished grandchil-dren, Avery Grace Forbes and Estella Anna Elizabeth Zajac and his siblings, Cath-arine Ishii and her partner Jim Valdy and Anne and her husband Jim Taylor. Also surviving are Jamie Ishii, Christopher Ishii, Nathanial Taylor and Amanda Steg-mann Taylor and Ellis Taylor.

Due to Covid-19, all services are currently private and under the direction of the John E. Day Funeral Home, Red Bank, NJ. A memorial service will be planned at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Forbes's name to the Back-stretch Community Assistance Program (BCAP), a program that assists New Jersey horse racing stable employees in the areas of counseling, health, education, recrea-tion and benevolence. Their address is BCAP, c/o Monmouth Park, 175 Oceanport Avenue, Oceanport, NJ 07757.




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Published in Asbury Park Press from Feb. 2 to Feb. 7, 2021.
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February 8, 2021
John was one of the nicest people I have ever known,He will be greatly missed by all in the USPMGA family.RIP John.My deepest sympathy and condolences to the Forbes family.
Randy Reeves
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