Roché, being an avid horseman, always drew and painted horses from life for his own
enjoyment. As time went by, these paintings become very popular with collectors and
were purchased as soon as they were painted.
Then, in October 1959 his paintings and
drawings were brought to the attention of the President and Chairman of the Board of the
The New York Racing Association, namely, Edward T. Dickinson and John W. Hanes
This is a large,
powerful painting done at Aqueduct Race Track in 1963.
Roché then was
commissioned to paint "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons, the great horse trainer, who was
painted from life outside his training office at the "Oklahoma" exercise track
at Saratoga. This was followed by a commission to paint the famous race horse, Man
O' War, half-life size, for the Man O' War Room at Aqueduct Race Track. The N.Y.R.A. also
purchased six oil studies for the painting.
The following year, he was commissioned to do ten
paintings of Belmont Race Track (NY). Five were done in June and five in October, to
capture the seasonal colors of the beautiful old track.
Four of the Saratoga
series were selected and reproduced by the N.Y.R.A., in a set entitled "Paintings of
Old Saratoga Race Track", which were and are still being sold at the Museum of
Racing, Saratoga Springs, New York.
In his inventory are
several paintings that were completed between commissions during this period,
1959-1963. One is a second portrait from life of "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons,
a portrait from life of Eddie Arcaro, horse, track and barn subjects on location at
Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct Race Tracks.
National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, NY held an exhibit of Mr. Roché's works entitled "A
Retrospective of the N.Y.R.A. Racing Years
1959-1965". The exhibit, October of 2000 to May
2001, included racing related paintings and
drawings from his personal collection,
and some paintings of his from the New York Racing Association