Thoroughbred trainer Anthony Basile of Lexington, Ky., passed away on Jan. 22 at 82 while wintering in Hallandale, Fla. Basile, who trained for nearly 20 years, primarily for the late Millard A. Waldheim's Bwamazon Farm, campaigned stakes winners Coraggioso, T.V. Commercial and It's Freezing, among others.
A son of a boilermaker from C& I Railroad, Basile was born April 16, 1921 in Chicago, and was raised in East Hazelcrest, Ill., near Washington Park racetrack.
As a youngster, he galloped horses for Hal Price Headley's stable, the J.E. Widener stable and for Bud Greely. Following service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he obtained a trainer's license in 1948, but shortly went back to work galloping horses for W.C. "Woody" Stephens.
Career highlights included capturing a division of the 1967 Arlington-Washington Futurity with TV Commercial and winning the 1974 Vagrancy Handicap with Coraggioso.
TV Commercial won 15 races, including the Breeders' Futurity and the Lafayette Stakes. TV Commercial finished third in the 1968 Kentucky Derby. Basile started three other Derby starters were Television Studio in 1981 (5th), and Freezing Racing (13th) and Highland Park (17th) both in 1983.
It's Freezing, sired by TV Commercial, won 14 times in 45 starts, including the 1977 Phoenix Handicap. Basile also trained Bundler to win the 1973 Frizette Stakes, defeating Chris Evert.
Basil won 117 career races at Keeneland, and was leading trainer at the Keeneland in the spring meetings of 1974 and 1979.
He is survived by his wife, Sheila, and four daughters – Sandy, Barbara, Vickie and Karen. Arrangements are pending at Milward Funeral Home in Lexington. Basile's grandaughter, Dora Hughes, is vice president of Nominations for Breeders' Cup Ltd.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to the Kentucky Racetrack Chaplaincy.