Washington Breeding Executive Joe Pirone Dies

Vital cog in WTBOA horse sales died Jan. 10 at the age of 64.

Joe Pirone, one of the most recognized figures in Washington horse racing and breeding, died Jan. 10 after a brief illness at age 64.

Originally from Albany, N.Y., Pirone began his career in Washington racing in the 1970s as a groom in the Wayne Branch barn at Longacres. During his experience at the Renton, Wash. track, he worked on the starting gate for Art McCreadywho eventually hired Pirone to assist with the annual Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association horse salesand met and married his wife, trainer Mary (Dufala) Pirone.

Pirone joined the staff of the WTBOA full time in 1986.  While his last official title was advertising sales & administrative executive, he was instrumental in the organization's special projects, sales, and events.

He and his sons Kenny and Paul were fixtures at the WTBOA offices and sales.

Pirone is survived by his wife Mary, his two sons, a daughter, and grandchildren.

Memorial information is pending.