Surrounded by his extended family in his home in Philadelphia, Pa, harness racing veteran owner and former trainer-driver Joseph Muscara died Monday, July 7. He was 90.
Mr. Muscara has been involved in harness racing since the early 1970's. Running his stable at Liberty Bell Park, he was one of the first in the Standardbred business to begin exporting race horses from Australia and New Zealand on a regular basis. In the mornings he would be out at his stable at Liberty Bell Park training horses and by the afternoon he was running his very successful real estate development and construction company in Philadelphia.
"There is no one in the harness racing business world-wide who has purchased and imported more horses from down under to the United States than Joe Muscara,” said longtime friend and business associate John Curtin, who came in from New Zealand just two weeks ago to see Mr. Muscara. "Over the last 40 years he has spent millions of dollars on horses from down under and for the most part has done extremely well with many of them.”
The Muscara Standardbred Stable and Muscara Racing Trust, with his sons also involved in the business, have also fared very well with racing and purchasing horses in North America also.
Muscara Standardbred currently has three world champion stallions in Mach Three, Art Official and Mister Big, and recently purchased half interest in the 2013 Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year He's Watching as well as an interest in 2012 Meadowlands Pace winner A Rocknroll Dance. They currently have 20 race horses with trainer Darin Cassar and they still import horses from Down Under. Recent winners include Dream Out Loud N, Ginger Spice N and Erle Dale N.
Mr. Muscara had purchased Mister Big for $250,000 at the Harrisburg sale and he went on to win $4 million. He's Watching, who Muscara Trust purchased half interest in this past winter, is one of the favorites this Saturday to win the prestigious $776,000 Meadowlands Pace.
"I remember one of the first horses he ever owned named Dream Volo,” said Robert Muscara, "And my dad was the leading owner/trainer at Liberty Bell back then in 1970 and that horse really helped him get his career going. He would rather work the horses than work in the construction business.
"He first got his USTA license in 1970 and over his career he owned thousands of horses that made millions of dollars,” he added. "He was the most prolific importer of horses from New Zealand and Australia in the history of harness racing. And he always cut out the dead wood. If a horse was not earning his keep Dad would drop him in class until he could win or he got rid of them.
"He was very pleased this past weekend when he saw He's Watching win his elimination division of the Meadowlands Pace in 1:48.1. He was really hoping that this horse could win him his second Meadowlands Pace. He won his first Meadowlands Pace with Mach Three in 2002.”
Mr. Muscara's daughter Cheryl remembered her father recently at his 90th birthday party and had reminded him about one of his special birthdays years ago, "It was 50 years ago today we will always remember your birthday when you turned 40....it was when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and we all watched the show at your birthday party."
Details are pending for the funeral arrangements and will be posted when available. (by Steve Wolf)