03/19/2013 12:42PM

Anthony Alonso, acclaimed racing artist, dies at 81


Thoroughbred racing and portrait artist Anthony M. Alonso, whose paintings graced every major racetrack in North America and who enjoyed an affiliation with Saratoga Race Course that lasted more than 30 years, died March 15 in Stuart, Fla., of cancer. He was 81.

A native of New York City and a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean War, Alonso began his career as a commercial artist before being introduced to Thoroughbred racing by Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens. Over the next 35 years, he painted most of the major equine athletes and many of the human personalities in North American racing. Along with Mary, his wife of 57 years, Alonso held an annual showcase of his art at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., coinciding with the opening of the summer racing season at Saratoga.

In addition to Saratoga and the nearby National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Alonso’s art is on display at Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Santa Anita Park, and other tracks. He was a member of the American Artist Professional League, the Salmagundi Club, the Society of American Artists, and the American Academy of Equine Artists.

In addition to his wife, Alonso is survived by his daughter Karen and his sons Anthony and James.

Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at Forest Hills Memorial Park in Palm City, Fla., with visitation from 5 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday at Forest Hills Funeral Homes Palm City Chapel.

Contributions can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.