10/09/2008 11:00PM

Cannizzo follows his passion to NYTB


Jeffrey Cannizzo, the new executive director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc., brings solid credentials to the post.

The 30-year-old began work for NYTB in late July at the organization's home office in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., after a stint as web manager at Daily Racing Form.

Cannizzo, the son of Finger Lakes trainer Ronald Cannizzo, grew up in Auburn, about 30 miles west of Syracuse, N.Y.

The great-grandson of a Thoroughbred owner, he spent much of his youth working for his father at Finger Lakes, learning the game as a hotwalker and stablehand on weekends and summer vacations.

One of his father's major clients was the late Seymour Cohn, a major supporter of New York Thoroughbred breeding for decades. Cohn, who died in late 2003, had about 20 horses with the elder Cannizzo at Finger Lakes.

"His philosophy of breeding to race and to value your New York-breds was really instilled in me," Cannizzo said. "I learned a lot of the culture of the New York program from Mr. Cohn and admired his support of Highcliff Farm."

Cohn stood the stallions Daygata, Mesopotamia, and Hidden Vice at Highcliff Farm in Delanson, N.Y.

Cannizzo is in the process of integrating his academic and corporate experiences with the horse world.

After graduating from LeMoyne College, he worked in business development and sales for Lockheed Martin in Syracuse, N.Y., and Washington, D.C. He received a masters of business administration degree from the University of Phoenix.

"A couple years ago, I realized that to have a passion for something and to be outside of it was not what I desired," Cannizzo said. "So I began to take steps to see how I could bring my experience from the corporate world to breeding and racing. I definitely want to provide added value to our membership."

When the NYTB position opened, Cannizzo said it had added appeal because of its location in Saratoga Springs.

He pointed to several things that he believes hold future promise for New York breeding.

With stints at Dell and Microsoft on his resume, Cannizzo sees a need for using technology to better promote the state program.

He cited the reworking of the NYTB website, the use of electronic newsletters, and partnerships with major media outlets as short-term goals that he is working on.

Cannizzo also favors an increased emphasis on education programs and joint seminars with state and national organizations.

Cannizzo said the relationship between state breeders and state government is a good one. He also noted the current success of New York-breds in open stakes races the last couple of years, and lauded state breeders for strengthening the quality of broodmares.

Cannizzo is excited that video lottery terminals may finally be installed at Aqueduct, now that the 25-year franchise deal between New York state and the New York Racing Association is in place.

Slots promise to increase revenue for the state breeding and racing program. He hopes farm owners will use that revenue to continue to upgrade both bloodstock and property.

"I do think we need to do a better job at informing the nation about the success of this program," he said. "Our program, by numbers alone, sets a bar. If you attach that to NYRA and the races they are running, it makes New York state one of the most prominent places to be in breeding and racing."

Legal Consent wins N.Y. Breeders' Futurity

Legal Consent won the rich New York Breeders' Futurity at Finger Lakes last weekend for owner-breeder Lansdon Robbins III. Worth $318,525 and contested at six furlongs, the event was run for the 46th time.

Legal Consent was second in his only other start, a restricted maiden event at Belmont Park on Sept. 25. The son of Officer has now earned $200,315.

Legal Consent is out of the Mt. Livermore mare Flame Trick. Her third dam, Seed the Cloud, captured the My Juliet Handicap and is the grandmother of Rizzi Girl and Papi Chullo.

Rizzi Girl won the Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes, while Papi Chullo won the Birdstone Stakes and placed in the Grade 3 Queens County at Aqueduct.

This family also includes the multiple stakes winner Gala Lil.

Dagnabit, coupled in the betting with Legal Consent, finished second, while the filly Mother Russia finished third.

Dagnabit, by state sire Freud, won the open Tremont and Aspirant stakes in his two previous starts.

Mother Russia, by state sire Maykovsky, won the Lady Finger in her last outing.