When Anthony Bonomo started racing horses in 2006, he named his Brooklyn Boyz stable after the borough in which he’d grown up, and to which he still felt a close tie. Not uncommonly, he’d name his horses after place in the old neighborhood: Lorimer Street, McCarren Park, Jackson N Humboldt.
It’s been a long time since Bonomo lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the neighborhood has sure changed since then. Once a bastion of Italian-American residents, it was for a while the home of artists taking up residence in abandoned factories; edgy and at times dangerous, it became known has a haven for drug users and dealers.
More recently, Williamsburg helped lead the real estate boom in Brooklyn, its waterfront location offering tempting opportunities for developers and the bohemian rich; if hipster Brooklyn has a birthplace, it’s Williamsburg.
But that’s not the Brooklyn that Bonomo and Vinnie Viola remember. Friends since childhood, the two join racing forces last year, owning a number of horses in partnership, along with their wives Mary Ellen and Teresa. And less than a year after going into business together, the two men celebrated winning the Kentucky Derby with a horse Mary Ellen Bonomo named Always Dreaming because, as her husband said, “That’s what you have to do every day, especially in this business.”
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