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Trainer Mike Tammaro Dead at 57

Saturday, January 28, 2012 12:00 AM
  • General
FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 28, 2012 – Longtime Kentucky Thoroughbred trainer Michael A. Tammaro died of a heart attack at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Edgewood, Ky., Friday night following a long illness. He was 57.

A public memorial service is planned for 1:00 p.m. on Thurs., Feb. 2, in the Turfway Park Racing Club, fifth floor.

Born in East St. Louis, Ill., and a resident of Burlington, Ky., Tammaro was a member of a large and successful racing family. Among horses trained by his father, the late John Tammaro Sr., was 1981 juvenile champion and top stallion Deputy Minister. His one brother, John Tammaro III, also is a trainer. One of his five sisters, Cathy Tammaro, had been his assistant until recent years. The jockey Dean Sarvis is a nephew. Another nephew, John Tammaro IV, is a blacksmith.

Mike Tammaro earned his first win as a trainer in 1975 with Bid For Me at Laurel Race Course. His career took him to tracks across the midwestern and eastern United States and in Florida and Canada. Among major clients was Mereworth Farm, owned by the late Susan Donaldson.

According to records maintained from 1976 to the present by Equibase, the industry’s database, Tammaro trained 8,380 starters and compiled a record of 930 wins, 1,006 seconds, and 998 thirds for purse earnings of more than $17 million. Five starters had been entered under his name this year; his final starter was Dancin Skeeanno on Jan. 20 at Turfway.

Among Tammaro’s wins were 30 stakes victories, including the 1998 Firecracker Breeders' Cup (G3) at Churchill Downs with Claire's Honor; the 1997 Gardenia Handicap (G3) at Ellis Park with Three Fanfares; and the 1986 Niagara Handicap (G3) at Woodbine with multiple stakes winner Golden Choice. He earned his first stakes win in the 1979 Martha Washington Handicap at Arlington Park with Amerigirl. The $250,000 Firecracker was his biggest stakes win. Also among his stable stars were multiple stakes winners Wonchindordor, Steady Zephyr, and Dynamic Asset.

His accomplishments at Turfway Park included leading trainer titles for the Winter/Spring meets of 1992 and 1993 and victories in the Wishing Well Stakes, Hansel Stakes (twice), Forego Stakes (twice), and Cincinnati Trophy Stakes.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the racehorse adoption agency CANTER Kentucky ( or to any racehorse adoption agency of the donor’s choice.


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