The Cowra Jockey Club will honour committee member and club veterinary David Payten at its meeting this Saturday.
In addition to acting as a tribute to Mr Payten's more than 50 years of service to the Cowra club as its veterinarian and as a volunteer committee member the meeting is significant in that it marks the return of racing to the Cowra track for the first time since last November's floods.
The floods damaged much of the club's infrastructure including the running rail and race surface.
"David was available not only as a vet but on the committee attending working bees and wherever needed," Cowra club president Peter Ford said this week.
"In the 70s, 80s and 90's and into the 2000s you've made a contribution," he told Mr Payten.
In recognition of his services the club has named the final race on its program this Saturday the David Payten Retires Handicap.
"And there is life membership coming," Mr Ford said.
When Mr Payten first acted as the club veterinary in the early 1970s it was on a voluntary basis before racing authorities began to remunerate vets in the mid 1990s.
He was drawn to racing through a family connection.
An uncle was a leading trainer in Sydney and his grandfather also enjoyed considerable success.
The Paytens also owned a broodmare at the time.
"Racehorses put us on the map," he said.
"We were racing for probably $500 at the time," Mr Payten said of his early years with the Cowra club.
"The winner would probably get $400 and the others would be racing for petrol money."
This all changed, Mr Payten said, when former Cowra businessman Brian Witt took over at the helm of the Cowra Jockey Club.
"The club was on its knees, a few of us put in $1000 which was going to be a loan, but it never came back," he said with a laugh.
Aside from Mr Payten others to help out the club financially at the time were David Whitney and Keith Oliver.
"Brian got it going on a business basis".
As for the best horses and trainers Mr Payten has seen race at the Cowra track, high on the list are Cowra's Viv Miller who had a stable full of city class gallopers, among them Idle John and Our Fable.