Travers winner Flower Alley, bred by late breeder George Brunacini.

Travers winner Flower Alley, bred by late breeder George Brunacini.

Skip Dickstein

Owner Melnyk Pays Tribute to Late Breeder Brunacini

Owner Eugene Melnyk on Monday paid tribute to the late Thoroughbred breeder George Brunacini, one of 49 victims of Sunday's crash of Comair flight 5191 in Lexington.

Melnyk races 2005 Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner Flower Alley, who was bred by Brunacini.

"Sunday's tragic plane crash in Kentucky is a blow to many families, as well as the tight-knit family of North America's horseracing community," Melnyk said in a statement. "George Brunacini is one of the victims – and the man who bred one of my greatest racehorses, Flower Alley. I had the pleasure to meet George at the races on a day after Flower Alley had won the 2005 Travers Stakes. We both shared great stories and our high hopes for the horse, as he had owned Flower Alley's mother--Princess Olivia. I am personally thankful that he bred such a great horse that has brought so much enjoyment to my family, as well as racing fans across North America. My wife Laura and I send our sincere condolences and prayers to George's family, as well as all the families who lost loved ones in this tragic accident."

In memory of Brunacini and other horsemen who died in the plane, jockey John Velazquez will wear a black band on his pant leg when he rides Flower Alley in Saturday's Woodward Stakes (gr. I), Melnyk said.

In addition to Brunacini, the crash also claimed the lives of Dan Mallory, owner of Meadow Haven Farm, and Lexington-based trainer Jeff Williams.