04/08/2009 11:00PM

Cono, owned Stardom Bound, dead at 86


Charles Cono, who owned Stardom Bound, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2008, died on Wednesday of complications of lupus and pulmonary fibrosis, according to trainer Christopher Paasch.

Cono died at his home in San Diego, Paasch said. He was 86. He had seven horses in training at the time of his death, including Foxy Danseur, the runner-up in the Grade 3 Las Flores Handicap at Santa Anita last Sunday.

Born in Washington, D.C., Cono had a background with Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds, and kept horses with Paasch since 2001. Together, they campaigned such stakes winners as Conveyor's Angel, Crowned Dancer, Hello Lucky, Principle Secret, and Veiled Speed.

Stardom Bound was by far the best horse Cono raced. She won three Grade 1 races in 2008 - the Del Mar Debutante, Oak Leaf Stakes, and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Her championship campaign unfolded at a time when Cono was battling illness, Paasch said.

"Right around the time of the Breeders' Cup, he took a turn for the worse," Paasch said. "To win that race was amazing for him."

Cono sold Stardom Bound at a sale in Kentucky for $5.7 million last November in a dispersal of some of his holdings. Cono attended the Eclipse Awards ceremony in Florida in January to accept the trophy for the filly's championship season.

Cono was the co-owner of a real estate investment and management firm in the San Diego area. He had lived in the San Diego area since the 1950s.

Cono was active in San Diego charities, including Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, which provides reconstructive surgery for children with severe deformities.