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Meet Trainer Ralph Quaranta!

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By Professor M. Scott McMannis

Hawthorneís Handicapping and Business Center on the third floor of the grandstand, begins with the basics, and by the end of the series, you will be out-handicapping your competition.

Meet Trainer Ralph Quaranta!

After profiling trainer Ron Shenofsky for last Tuesday's track program cover, who would have thought that my next undertaking would be another trainer who traded a career in automobile horsepower for Thoroughbred horsepower.

Meet Ralph Quaranta.

Quaranta was born 55 years ago on "the other side" of Niagara Falls, more precisely in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. His father was Canadian and his mother was from the United States, so, Quaranta is a U. S. citizen.

After finishing school, Quaranta went into the automobile business and became a finance manager, working for over 20 years for several dealerships. "It was a good career but a demanding one with long hours," explained Quaranta.

During that time Quaranta became a Thoroughbred horse owner.

"I started dabbling in horse ownership when I was 31," he recalls. "Then, at age 41, I started my career switch by becoming an assistant trainer," continued Quaranta. "My finance manager job at that time had a start time of 11 AM so I could go to the barn in the morning and do my work there, then clean up and go to my dealership job."

Six years later, in 1996, Quaranta made the big decision.

"My schedule was grueling. So my wife, Deborah, and I had a family meeting and, with her encouragement and blessing, I resigned from my finance manager job and took out my trainer's license. She became my assistant trainer and we've never looked back."

Quaranta campaigned at Fort Erie, Finger Lakes, Great Lakes Downs, and Thistledown.

"We were a small operation but we did well and loved it," Quaranta stated. "We started with our own horses and added those of John Burness, owner of Colebrook Farms. John is like a father to me. Guys I knew from Woodbine would send me horses that they thought would fit better at those tracks. Now we've added J. W. Wright and Paul Cooper as owners."

Quaranta came to Hawthorne in October of last year and stayed the winter.

"We felt it was time to pursue better purses," explained Quaranta. "I called racing secretary Gary Duch and he gave me stalls. "Gary's help didn't stop there. He's made a number of recommendations to me, even where to stay. I want to go on record by saying that Gary Duch, his racing office staff, the license office, Tim Becker and the backstretch maintenance people, and others too numerous to mention have been very friendly and helpful. It's more than we've experienced anywhere else."

Fellow horsemen come in for Quaranta's praise.

"I've stabled with, and become friends with, trainers Anthony Mitchell, Joel Berndt, Andy Hansen, and Ron Shenofsky," he stated. "All have volunteered help of all kinds, even to make suggestions that would help my horses, even though we could be competitors. Why, jockey Uriel Lopez's family even had my wife and I to their house for Christmas and New Years! The Chicago racing community is quite unusual in its family atmosphere."

Last Sunday Quaranta broke the ice by winning the fourth race with Portofino Creek, jockey Shane Laviolette aboard.

"It's always great to get that first win of the meet," agreed Quaranta. "This win was special because Portofino Creek is the clown of the stable. Deborah and I have no children together so the horses are her kids. She's wonderful to them and they give their all for us."

The Quaranta's will motor to Fort Erie from Hawthorne but will be back in October.

"And, I'll know better what kind of horsepower to bring," he said with a knowing look.

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