TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Tampa Bay Downs announced Monday that a trainer died Sunday from septic shock after visiting an Oldsmar beach.
Robert Raymond, 74, visited the Mobbly Beach Park in Oldsmar Wednesday. His son, Rob Raymond, told the Tampa Bay Downs that his father waded into the water, but a small cut on his leg caused bacteria to enter his body.
A release from the Tampa Bay Downs said Robert Raymond experienced some soreness at first but continued to train his horses Thursday.
However, the 74-year-old’s health took a turn for the worse after his leg became inflamed. He had shivers Friday morning.
The release said he was taken to the Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor Friday for treatment. He died two days later.
“He never stopped fighting. His heart was so big,” Rob Raymond said. “He hardly ever took a minute for himself. He had a great love for the animals and all the people he was involved with. He never had a problem helping someone on the backstretch who was in need.”
According to the trainer’s son, Robert Raymond made an impact on many people’s lives, and his family has received condolence messages from as far away as Cuba and Canada.
Robert Raymond began training for the Suffolk Downs in 1979 before training for the Tampa Bay Downs in the winter in 2003.
Prior to his death, Robert Raymond finished the 2021-2022 seasons at a tie for 8th place in the trainer standings with 17 victories in the Tampa Bay Downs. He was also honored in March as the Salt Rock Tavern Trainer of the Month.
The long-time trainer is survived by his wife Kathy Raymond, his son Rob, and his brothers Fred and Paul Raymond. Plans are being made for his funeral service.