Trainer Michael D'Angelo Dies at 55

He worked with many of the East Coast's most prominent trainers.

Trainer Michael Tiberius D'Angelo, 55, died March 5 following a long battle with cancer.

Born and raised in Wilmington, Del., D'Angelo was a lifelong fan of Thoroughbred racing. He learned the racing game with his family at Delaware Park from the late 1960s through the 1970s. He worked with trainer Richard Dutrow Sr. in Maryland and Delaware.

In 1982, D'Angelo decided to winter at Fair Grounds in New Orleans where he met his future wife, Laura Buenaventura, who was working as an exercise rider for future Hall of Fame trainer James P. Conway. Together they would saddle horses at more than a dozen tracks throughout the East Coast and Midwest. They worked for several high profile trainers, including Pat Kelly, John Veitch, Howard Tesher, Barclay Tagg, Jonathan Sheppard, and Anthony Dutrow. D'Angelo and Buenaventura also ran a stable of their own. 

They bred and trained three generations of winners from their stallion, Shoot the Works, including his daughter, Nomzamo, and his grandson, Arhat. D'Angelo raced 39 winners who earned more than $809,000.

During slow periods in his racing career, D'Angleo was in the restaurant business. He developed a small snack bar at St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton into a full service restaurant now known as the Lakeside Grill. Shortly after the couple's recent return to South Florida, D'Angelo was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

In lieu of flowers, D'Angleo had requested that donations be made to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.