“It’s a long story,” Francis Paolangeli cautions when asked how he first got into horse racing.
He doesn’t add that it’s also wildly improbable.
As he tells it, Paolangeli–Frank to his friends—was at the racetrack in 1982 for one of the few times in his life. The native of Ithaca, New York went to Finger Lakes with some friends who had purchased a yearling who had finally made it to the races, after a series of delays not uncommon in young horses.
After Call Me Slade finished well off the board, his friend invited Paolangeli and his wife Jeanne back to the barns.
“So we went to the backside, and there’s this fellow walking a horse,” Paolangeli recounted. “I was up $1,400 because I’d hit the last trifecta of the day, so I said to him, ‘Is that horse for sale?’ When he said yes, I said, ‘What’s his name and how much do you want for him? And will you take cash?’”
$800 later, Frank Paolangeli was a first-time owner of a racehorse.
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