Trainer John Tammaro has been missing since Sunday.

Trainer John Tammaro has been missing since Sunday.

Leslie Martin

Trainer John Tammaro Missing

Police in South Florida are investigating the disappearance of well-known trainer John Tammaro Jr., who was reported missing by his daughter on Sunday, Feb. 25.

Tammaro was last seen leaving Gulfstream Park about 10 a.m. that day by track security officers who later told police detectives Tammaro "didn't look well."

Nancy Darnell, Tammaro's daughter, said her father left the track "before the last set went to the track. The first time anything seemed out of the ordinary was when he didn't call (the barn) to see how the last set went."

Darnell, who lives in Kentucky, said her father called her at least once a day. She is the operations manager for the stable, which includes the horses trained by John Tammaro and his sons, John III and Mike. John Tammaro III is based in Maryland; Mike Tammaro, who is assisted by his sister, Cathy, is based in Kentucky. Both John III and Mike Tammaro have travelled to Florida since their father's disappearance.

Mike Tammaro, contacted in Florida, is still holding out hope. "I think he'll pop up somewhere," he said, "I think that he just got sick and went to a hospital somewhere."

The 75-year-old Tammaro has had significant medical problems over the past few years, and had liver surgery just a couple of weeks ago. But son Mike indicated that he recently got a clean bill of health from his physicians and "he'd been doing better than he had in a while."

While training in Florida each winter, Tammaro lives in Pembroke Pines with friend Edward Scala.

Darnell said her father's car, a beige 1987 Mercedes 420, is missing. She said his cell phone has had calls placed from it since Sunday.

Det. Andy Casper, information officer of the Hallandale Beach Police Department, said that nothing yet had surfaced but that a full-scale investigation is underway. They are in the process of distributing photographs and ask anyone with information to call the Hallandale Beach Police Department at 954-457-1400.

The police investigation is being augmented by Gulfstream Park security, whose director, Tony Otero, said, "There's not much we can do right now except for reaching out to other tracks and other horsemen who may have information."

Tammaro was born in Baltimore and raised near Pimlico. He won over 1,000 races as a jockey, then rose to prominence as a trainer in Maryland in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He became private trainer for Kinghaven Farms in 1977 and over the next eight years, saddled five champions including Queen's Plate winner Steady Growth and Eclipse Award winner Deputy Minister. Now a leading sire, Deputy Minister was also Canada's Horse of the Year that year, 1981.

In recent years, Tammaro's main client has been William Marquard's Eaglestone Farm. Marquard owns Aly's Alley, who Tammaro sent out to just miss in the 1998 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).