“It’s most satisfying, believe me,” said Bozzo, who is believed to be the oldest trainer to win a stakes. “People always tell me, ‘Why don’t you quit?’ and I say, ‘What for? I’m having too much fun. This is most satisfying.’ No, this is it. I’m going to die with my boots on.”
The oldest active trainer to win a race, Bozzo must wait until next year to eclipse the mark set by the late Noble Threewitt, who scored with Threeatonce in a maiden claimer at Santa Anita in 2006 at the age of 95.
Bozzo has every intention of maintaining his Gulfstream Park-based stable for the foreseeable future.
“I look forward every morning to get out here and see my horses perform,” said Bozzo, who will turn 95 in October.
Flutterby ($9.60) won the 6 ½-furlong Sea Lily in a romp, crossing the finish line under a hand ride from Luca Panici while prevailing over five fillies and mares to notch her first stakes success.
“I told the jock, ‘Break the horse well and get a neck or half-length in front and wait until the top of the stretch and then ask her,” Bozzo said. “She really responded beautifully. She tries every time. She’s as honest as the day is long. She was ready today.”
Little Alexis finished second under Jesus Rios, while favored Best Behavior checked in third, another 3 ½ lengths back.
Flutterby, who captured her fourth career victory while pushing her career earnings to nearly $200,000 with her $36,828 winnings, ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.04.
The daughter of Congrats’ triumph marked Bozzo’s 211th career victory from 2076 starters since taking out his trainer’s license in 1984.
“I used to work for a living. I used to own a glass bottle manufacturing company in Pennsylvania,” Bozzo said. “As a sideline, I used to ride horses and commenced breeding them on my farm. I’d also break them and send them to various tracks.”
After retirement in 1969, Bozzo continued to breed and own thoroughbreds in Pennsylvania before moving to Florida and taking out his trainer’s license.
“I bought some land down here in Boynton Beach, of all places, and built a training center,” said Bozzo, noting that he had pinpointed Palm Beach County as an ideal training venue long before Gulfstream’s satellite facility was established in Boyton Beach. “I moved out and they moved in – that was quite a coincidence. I was there for a long time. I’d train them there and van them down to the races.”