Sam Siciliano, who as publicity director at Pimlico during the 1970s and early 1980s helped bring three Triple Crowns to racing enthusiasts worldwide, died Jan. 31 in Shrewsbury, N.J., of congestive heart failure. He was 89.
As publicist of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Siciliano coordinated national media coverage of Preakness victories by Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed. His 1980 Preakness Press Book won the Thoroughbred Racing Association's top award for publications and was widely prized by the media for its vivid history of the Preakness, its vignettes and sketches of important racing personalities and events, its illustrated biographies of champions, and its ample statistics.
After leaving Pimlico, Siciliano wrote a weekly column on New Jersey racing for Daily Racing Form
for 12 years and contributed articles to New Jersey Thoroughbred
magazine. In 1999, he compiled and edited the book, "A Century of the Triple Crown."
Siciliano served as president of the Turf Publicists of America and
the New Jersey Sports Writers Association.
A newspaper journalist for 26 years before joining Pimlico, Siciliano spent 10 years with the New York Herald Tribune
. He also held editorial or reporting positions with the Morning Telegraph
and several other publications. During the 1940s, Siciliano was sports editor of the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press
Siciliano was a Navy war correspondent aboard the USS San Francisco in the Pacific during World War II and covered the Philippines air-sea action, the invasion of Okinawa, and the Yellow Sea operation.
Siciliano is survived by his wife, Emilia, who is mayor of Shrewsbury, N.J., and two daughters.