Charles Assimakopoulos, whose blue-and-white Yasou Stable Trust silks symbolized the top class of New England racing for decades, died April 22 in his hometown of Fitchburg, Mass. after battling a long illness. He was 83.
Assimakopoulos was inducted into the New England Turf Writers Hall of Fame in the owner/breeder category and he was also honored as the region's top trainer multiple times after winning titles at Rockingham Park and Suffolk Downs.
As an owner, his horses made 1,488 starts, reached the winner's circle 331 times and earned $4,263,467 in purses. As a trainer, he achieved 1,633 victories from 8,916 starts and his horses bankrolled $17,661,238, according to Equibase statistics. On the strength of numerous regional champions in his barn, he enjoyed a streak as New England's leading owner in seven of the 11 years from 1992 to 2003.
Prolanzier, who was bred in Florida by Fred Hooper, is a horse he will always be associated with. The New England fan favorite was a multiple stakes winner at both Rockingham and Suffolk and the gelding made 96 starts, winning 32 times and earning just shy of $500,000 in his career that stretched from 1993 to 2001.
The New York-bred Gander is another horse associated with Assimakopoulos. After Gatsas Thoroughbreds' Gander was named the 2000 Horse of the Year in New England and in New York, the conditioner generously told the owners that the gelding deserved to be stabled with a New York-based trainer and should compete on the New York Racing Association circuit. Mike and Ted Gatsas then transferred Gander to the care of John Terranova.
Assimakopoulos, who retired from training in 2015, was as well known around the racetrack for being a true gentleman as he was for being an outstanding horseman.
Among his survivors are his sons, John and James Assimakopoulos, his daughter Lisa MacAloney, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. John Assimakopoulos served alongside his father as his top assistant for many years and is now a trainer based at Gulfstream Park.