Trainer Dominic Galluscio, who saddled more than 1,000 winners during a 34-year career on the New York Racing Association circuit, died the night of March 17 from pancreatic cancer. He was 55.
Galluscio saddled his first winner as a trainer at Aqueduct Racetrack in 1981 with Cher Cheval and notched his 1,000th career victory at the Big A on February 17, 2013 with Discreet Force. Galluscio, who graduated from Germantown (N.Y.) Central School in 1976, became involved with horses when he took a summer job at nearby Clermont Farm, then managed by now-retired trainer Ramon "Mike" Hernandez.
Galluscio's first major stakes winner was Lord of the Night, who in 1989 took the Toboggan Handicap (gr. III), the Westchester Handicap (gr. III), and the Aqueduct Handicap (gr. III). He also trained multiple stakes winner Le Grande Danseur, who won Belmont Park's Bertram Bongard and Sleepy Hollow in 2000; Stormy's Majesty, who in 2010 won the Discovery Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct and Albany Stakes at Saratoga Race Course; and Raffie's Treasure, winner of the New York Stallion Series Statue of Liberty division at Saratoga in 2008.
In 2006 and 2007, he trained full brothers Organizer and Dr. V's Magic, both by Raffie's Majesty out of the Summer Squall mare Treasure Always, to back-to-back victories in the Empire Classic at Belmont Park.
For his career, Galluscio trained 1,047 winners, and his horses amassed total purse earnings of $31.3 million.
Galluscio, who was easy to pick out in the winner's circle thanks to his brightly colored sports jackets, was fondly remembered by fellow trainers the morning of March 18 as news of his passing spread at Belmont Park.
"The thing about Dominic is that not only was he a colorful character and a great horseman, he was a highly intelligent man who always wanted to improve the backstretch, improve racing, and improve the sport," said trainer Rick Schosberg. "We lost a great man."
"He was a great friend and a great horseman," said trainer Bobby Barbara. "A real gentleman; I've known him for 30 years and I know everyone will miss him."
Galluscio is survived by a daughter, Dominique Marie Galluscio; brothers Robert, Raymond, Joseph, and Gerard; sisters Marie Britt and Denise Cote; and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be at Park Funeral Chapel, 2175 Jericho Turnpike, Garden City Park, from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 21, with religious services offered March 22 at 11 a.m. Burial will be at the First Reformed Church in Germantown, N.Y. March 23.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in the name of Dominic Galluscio to the Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T.) at Belmont Park, 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, Cottage 28B, Elmont, N.Y. 11003.