Veteran horseman Lugovich dies at 80

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022

Hold the Salsa, a homebred also trained by Richard Lugovich, won the 2020 Bertram F. Bongard Stakes at Belmont Park. NYRA Photo.

Longtime owner, breeder and trainer Richard Lugovich, who conditioned Hold the Salsa to multiple stakes wins and a New York-bred championship nomination in 2020, died Nov. 15 at the age of 80.

A native of Bridgeport, Connecticut and resident of East Hanover Township in Pennsylvania, Lugovich trained out of Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland and bred and raised horses at Northway Farm in Stillwater, New York.

Lugovich won 106 races with 125 seconds and 135 thirds from 1,409 starts and earned $1,791,055 in purses as a trainer from 1978 to 2022. He enjoyed his best season in 2020 with four wins from 15 starts and purses of $271,927, and also record double-digit victories in 1991, 1989 and 1984.

Lugovich bred, owned and trained Hold the Salsa, winner of the Bertram F. Bongard Stakes at Belmont Park and Great White Way division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes at Aqueduct in 2020. Hold the Salsa, nominated for champion New York-bred 2-year-old male honors, also finished third against open company in the 2021 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct.

Hold the Salsa, a 4-year-old son of Hold Me Back out of Lugovich’s unraced homebred King Cugat mare Northern Mambo, remains in training and is 3-0-2 in 15 starts with $284,162 in earnings. Hold the Salsa was a third-generation homebred for Lugovich, who bought the four-time-winning Kick mare Northern Nymph, in foal to Four Seasons, for $2,700 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale in 1997.

Northern Nymph produced Northern Sprite on that cover in 1998. She only made one start, finishing 10th in a maiden race at Belmont in 2002 as a 4-year-old, before joining Lugovich’s broodmare band at Northway Farm. Northern Mambo, the dam of Hold the Salsa, was born at Northway in 2009.

Lugovich also bred, owned and trained Regal Chant, winner of the 1996 Damon Runyon Stakes who earned $118,331; and Gregorian Gold, winner of the 2015 Lady Finger Stakes who earned $99,889; along with steady allowance performers Royal Jest ($155,108) and Lost in the Woods ($127,840).

Lugovich also co-bred the third most expensive New York-bred sold at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May sale of 2-year-olds in training, a colt by Violence out of the unraced Pulpit mare Oenophile. The colt, co-bred by Barbara Nelson, sold for $210,000 after originally being an RNA for $45,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale.

Lugovich is survived by his wife of 48 years, Lisa L. (Hubbell) Lugovich, sons Richard John Lugovich, Jr., Stephen Michael Lugovich and John Daniel Lugovich; and brother Charles Lugovich.

A celebration for Lugovich will be held in the spring of 2023.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Cutler Scholars Fund, Inc., PO Box 56, Cutler, ME 04626 or USO, PO Box 96860, Washington, D.C., 20077.

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