Palace, Alfred G. Vanderbilt H'cap, Saratoga, August 2nd 2014; Forego, Saratoga, August 30th 2014
Trained by Linda Rice, Sire: City Zip. Dam: Receivership
Even before he became a legend as a Thoroughbred owner—claiming Palace for $20,000 and watching him become a millionaire and two-time Grade I stakes winner under the astute handling of trainer Linda Rice—82-year-old Antonino Miuccio was a legend as a baker in Albany, N.Y., and a long way from his native Sicily. “I was a baker in Italy,” he said in a phone interview. “I came to the U.S. and met my wife.”
Miuccio was smart enough to bring his recipes from Italy with him in 1954, and after settling in Albany, just a half hour south of Saratoga Race Course, he opened Nino’s Bakery, which is still doing well long after he sold it in the 1990s. He then was the baker at Aromi d’Italia in Guilderland, just outside of Albany. His recipes for focaccia, an Italian flat bread, and pizza are still popular, long after he retired.
Previously owning horses briefly, he was out of racing for some years. “Two years ago, he showed up at my barn one morning and introduced himself,” Rice said. “He said hadn’t owned horses for 20 years.”
Their decision to claim Palace has certainly worked out well. “He’s a very sharp guy,” Rice said. “He really gives me the liberty to do my job. We took several breaks with Palace. He ran a couple sub-par races, and we turned him out for a couple of months. We’ve done that with Palace several times. He’s always great about that.”
He’s obviously delighted that he returned to racing. “It gets inside you,” he said. “You’ve got to be lucky. When he does well, you feel good—for the people involved, too. You never know from today to tomorrow.”
He knows he’s having fun with Palace. “Sure, I have a lot of fun,” he said. “Anybody has fun when they win.”