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Ralph Torcello Passes

Published: January 12, 2020 3:08 pm ET

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It has been reported that lifelong harness racing participant Ralph M. Torcello of Batavia, NY, has passed away at the age of 89 after a brief illness.

According to a story by The Daily News, Torcello, who owned, trained and drove Standardbreds over the course of his life, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 8 at the United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia.

Torcello’s passion was horse racing. During his college years, Torcello went to work as a part-time security guard at the newly-opened Batavia Downs, which began a lifetime of involvement with harness racing that would last almost seventy years.

Torcello was an owner, trainer and driver of Standardbred racehorses, and raced almost entirely in western New York. He trained, and often drove, his small stable of racehorses in the evenings after his full-time teaching job was concluded. He raced campaigners like Gypsy Flash, Gold Piece, Outlaw Collins and Bait The Trap. His last driving win came in 1993 in a lifetime-best effort with a trotting mare named Spell Rosie, followed by his last training win in 1999 with one of his better horses, What About Bob.

Torcello spread his love of the sport to many in his family, including his siblings and four nephews that later owned, trained and drove horses at the local raceway. Even in retirement, Ralph was a fixture at Batavia Downs and could be seen there often.

Torcello was preceded in death by nine brothers and sisters, Anna Strollo (Michael), Marie Perry (Samuel), Frances, Lawrence (Madeline), Rose, Angeline, Genevieve, Michael Jr. (Patricia) and Marcella, as well as by his nephew, Anthony M. Strollo. He is survived by his nieces and nephews, Ann Marie Caste (Paul) of New Jersey, Michael C. Torcello (Lynn) of Delaware and Lawrence Torcello (Katie) of East Bethany, Mary Jo Dumuhosky and Ross Perry, both of Batavia, Michael L. Torcello (Deborah) of Hamburg, Ralph P. Torcello (Diane) of Pavilion and Marirose Ethington (Larry) of East Bethany. He is also survived by numerous grand-nieces and nephews, as well as his longtime friend, Hiland Clark.

For more on Torcello’s passing, and information regarding arrangements, click here.

Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family and friends of Ralph Torcello.

(With files from The Daily News and Batavia Downs)

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