Top Ohio Trainer Palacios Dies in Accident

From River Downs

Known as Ohio's "El Gran Senor" for his outstanding abilities in horsemanship, Luis "Albert" Palacios, 73, died in a three-vehicle accident in Wilmington, Ohio, Sept. 22. The 73-year-old trainer recently captured the training title at River Downs.

A native of Argentina, Palacios made his first mark as a horseman as one of that country's top Polo players. He was first brought to the United States as a "guest player" in the highly regarded Polo circuit in Miami in the 1950s.

Palacios gained the attention of J.C. Maier, founder of the Frisch's Big Boy restaurant chain, and became his personal trainer of Thoroughbreds. Palacios soon met and married Maier's personal
secretary Traudy, a German-born American citizen who wasn't with Palacios at the time of the accident.

For decades, they lived on Frisch's Farm in Morrow, Ohio, and continued on at the farm after Eugene Daniels of Independence, Ky., purchased it in 1997. Daniels employed Palacios as his trainer, while his son, Matt Daniels, was an assistant to Palacios.

The farm was recently put up for sale, the Palacios' had moved to a residence in Wilmington.

Over the years, Palacios won 15 stakes and five training titles at River Downs, and many more at Beulah Park in Grove City, Ohio. He saddled several state champions in Ohio, including the undefeated Horse of the Year Alphablood in 1991, and Major Adversary, Horse of the Year in 1995.

Palacios was held in high esteem by horsemen through the Midwest.

"Everyone loved Albert--the people that worked for him, other trainers, his owners, the jockeys," said River Downs publicity director John Engelhardt, a longtime friend of Palacios. "He had a kind word for everyone and always welcomed you with a wide grin and a hardy handshake.

"He would throw a big picnic for his hired help, friends, and owners at the farm every year. Two years ago, he ordered a leading trainer trophy from River Downs--but he had the name of his assistant trainer, Ivan Vasquez, engraved on it. He surprised him in front of everyone at the party. He was that kind of guy."

Palacios won the training title at the recently concluded Jockey Club meet at River Downs. He started 67 horses at the meet and had 16 winners; his nearest competitor sent out 165 starters. He captured the top spot in the standings by winning a race on closing day.