05/27/2008 11:00PM

Clem Florio dies at 78


Clem Florio, a member of the Maryland press corps for more than 40 years, died Sunday night in a Florida hospice after a battle with cancer. He was 78.

Florio last worked in racing as a radio commentator for WWLG and covered his last Preakness in 2004. He was the morning line maker for Maryland Jockey Club, serving in that capacity from 1993 to 2001. Previously he was the Maryland handicapper for The Racing Times, The Washington Post, and the Baltimore News-American.

Earlier in his life, Florio fought as a middleweight with a record of 8 wins and 6 losses.

Andrew Beyer, who worked with Florio at the Washington Post, said, "Clem was way ahead of his time in his understanding of the game in addition to being a colorful racetrack character. He understood time before speed figures became fashionable, and he was an expert at watching races before trip handicapping became fashionable. He had a deep understanding for the game, and he loved it."