Champion trainer & NYTB past President Stephen A. DiMauro passes away at 87

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

By Matt Hegarty, courtesy

Stephen A. DiMauro, a champion trainer and a breeder who also was highly involved in the New York backstretch community, died on Wednesday night at his home in Winter Park, Fla., after a long illness, according to his son, Stephen L. DiMauro. He was 87.

A native of New Jersey, DiMauro started his career as a jockey in 1952, but in 1959 he turned to training. He trained his first champion, 1966 3-year-old filly champion Lady Pitt, just seven years later, and in 1975, he guided Dearly Precious to the champion 2-year-old filly title and Wajima to the champion 3-year-old male title, earning the Eclipse Award for the country’s top trainer in the process.

Although he amassed 1,159 wins and $23.2 million in earnings in a career that stretched from 1959 until 2002, DiMauro was also well known for his tutelage of young racetrackers, including Richard Migliore, the champion apprentice jockey of 1981, who went on to win 4,450 races in a 30-year-career.

“He took a chance on a 14-year-old kid and made a profound difference in my life,” Migliore said on Twitter, calling DiMauro his “mentor.”

DiMauro was also heavily involved in the New York backstretch community, serving on the board of directors of the New York Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the New York Backstretch Pension Fund, and [served as President and Director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB)].

DiMauro said that during his father’s training career, he bought a farm on Long Island, a farm in Kentucky, and a farm in Ocala, Florida. He would breed his mares in New York to qualify them for the New York-bred program, send the foals to Kentucky for breaking, and then to Ocala for training.

“He thought he wanted New York-breds, and he thought Kentucky was the best place to bring them up, and that Ocala was the best place to get them ready,” his son, who trained until 2016, said. “That was just him all the way. He did everything 110 percent.”

His son said that he always respected and admired his father for the way he conducted himself, and that he taught him “patience, not just with horses, but with everything in life.”

“I admired him, I respected him, and I looked up to him,” his son said. “I couldn’t have accomplished half of what he did.”

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