Successful and popular Woodbine-based owner and trainer Audre Cappuccitti has died at age 75.
Cappuccitti, who won 537 career races including 35 stakes scores, owned and trained Canada's 2011 champion male sprinter Essence Hit Man. Her first stakes win as an owner came in 1993 and her first triumph as a conditioner was three years later.
She also experienced Sovereign Award success with Deputy Inxs, who won three trophies, including top sprinter honors in 1998, as well as delivering Cappuccitti her first stakes victory as a conditioner and 100th career Woodbine win.
Other stakes winners trained by Cappuccitti include Joey's Best, Ocean Front, Ocean Squall, American in Paris, Dream Launcher, and Dalavin.
Born in Mansfield, Ontario, Cappuccitti, also a prominent breeder, had a special affinity for Thoroughbreds, especially gray and roan horses. For those who knew her well, including jockey Jesse Campbell, it was Cappuccitti's good-natured demeanor that immediately came to mind.
"I was very upset when I heard the news," said Campbell, who teamed with Cappuccitti and Essence Hit Man to win several high-profile races including this year's Jacques Cartier, Vigil, and Bold Venture Stakes. "She was a fine lady. She had so much class. She was so happy all the time and so polite.
"I wish I could have told her something, how I really felt about the impact she's had on me both personally and professionally. We had a very good relationship. She gave me a lot of respect when I first came to Woodbine two years ago. She trusted me and would listen to what I would say. I know like everyone else, I'll truly miss her."
Essence Hit Man is slated to contest the Kennedy Road Stakes Nov. 25, a race he won last year. Campbell will be in the saddle.
"I can't even imagine the emotions that will come out if he were to win," said Campbell. "I've been thinking how great it would be to pay tribute to Audre in that way. It would be special."
Cappuccitti, whose grandfather was a breeder of show horses, had raced Quarter Horses before making the switch to Thoroughbreds.
Survivors include her husband, Gord, and their children. Visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 21, as well as Nov. 22, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Lynett Funeral Home, 3299 Dundas Street West, in Toronto.
Funeral services are scheduled for Nov. 23 at 9:30 a.m., at St. Francis of Assisi Church, located on 72 Mansfield Avenue, in Toronto.