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Joe Napolitano dies

April 05, 2005

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Joseph Napolitano, one of the top-10 trainers at Pompano Park Harness Track over the past eight years, died late Monday evening. He was 61.

Napolitano was involved in the sport for nearly 40 years. His father, George Napoltaino, is a trainer, and his sons, George Napolitano, Jr. and Anthony Napolitano, are also drivers-trainers at Pompano Park.

He started his career as a horse trainer at Monticello Raceway in 1964 and apprenticed under such notable horsemen as John Chapman, Rejean Daigneault, Steve Liuzzi and George Gilmour. During his career he trained 725 winners, who earned $2,692,300. Some of the top horses he trained include the former Pompano Park track record holder Artist Impression, Sharp Memory, Photo Radar, and High Hope Rick.

He was the leading trainer at the 2002-2003 meet at Pompano Park, at which he sent out 108 winners. Ironically, the last horse on which he was programmed as the trainer, Jenna's Entry, won the 10th race at Pompano Park on Monday evening.

During his younger days, Napolitano also competitively raced stockcars and motorcycles.

A resident of Coconut Creek, Fla., Napolitano was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was a member of the U.S. Trotting Association and the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association.

He is survived by his wife, Pauline; his parents, George and Carmela Napolitano; six children; and nine grandchildren.

Visitation has been scheduled for between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (EDT), at the Mason's Funeral Home, 7151 West McNabb Road, in Tamarac, Fla. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday morning, at 10 a.m., at the Queen of Heaven Cemetery, 1500 S. State Road 7 in North Lauderdale, Fla.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either the Children's Network or St. Jude's Children Hospital.

There will be a special horsemen's memorial service at Pompano Park on Wednesday at 6:55 p.m. in the winner's circle.
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