New York horse trainer Joe Aquilino dies at 76

Joe Aquilino, shown in 2007, was a firefighter for 20 years before finding a second career at the racetrack.


NEW YORK — Joe Aquilino, a longtime New York trainer whose 58-1 shot Badge finished third at the 1999 Preakness, has died. He was 76.

His death was announced by the New York Racing Association, where Aquilino worked for more than three decades. He died Wednesday of congestive heart failure.

Aquilino’s biggest win came in 1999 when Badge took the Gotham at Aqueduct. Two starts later, Badge showed at the Preakness, threading through traffic in a race won by Charismatic.

Aquilino was a New York firefighter for about 20 years. After hurting his knee on the job, he became a hotwalker and got his trainer’s license in 1977. He won his first race that year.

His first stakes victory came in 1982 at the Charles Hatton at Belmont Park. Aquilino’s final starter was Charming Eyes, who finished fourth Thursday at Aqueduct.

He is survived by wife Victoria and adult children Joanne, Theresa, Laura and Nicholas, a creative services supervisor for NYRA.

The funeral is Saturday in Queens.

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