He is survived by wife Ayesha (who was the first woman jockey of India) and son Aditya who is an engineering student.
Malesh Narredu, the ace jockey-turned-trainer, who was quite close to Gaekwad, spoke to MiD DAY about his dearest friend.
“He was the closest friend I had. We started our careers almost together. I started as an apprentice jockey when he set out as assistant trainer. I think there was some divine ring to our friendship which blossomed over the years both professionally and personally,” Narredu said.
“Both of us tasted the Derby success with Indictment in 1997, and I also rode three of the four Pune Derby winners that he trained,” Narredu added. “In fact, our friendship played a role in each other’s destiny as he was in Singapore and all set to go to Hong Kong with his employer when I recommended him to my owners — the Dhunjibhoys — as they were looking for a new trainer. In fact, Vinayak’s life was a series of strange coincidences. The latest being he was operated by a neurosurgeon (Dr Nagpal) who is the brother of his very first owner of 20 years ago (B D Nagpal) who bought a horse named Evening Star for Vinayak, and I rode five straight victories.”