08/05/2008 12:00AM

DeBonis, trainer, dead at age 77


Robert DeBonis, a leading trainer in New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s, died on Tuesday morning of a heart attack in Spring, Texas, according to a family member. DeBonis was 77.

DeBonis began training in 1970 and by 1978 had climbed to third place in the New York trainer standings while operating a claiming stable. DeBonis finished second in New York's overall trainer standings in 1979, '81, and '82.

In 1988, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board revoked DeBonis's license for allegedly fraudulently attempting to register four 1985 foals as New York-bred horses. DeBonis was allowed to re-apply for a license in 1989.

DeBonis retired in 1999 after suffering several health problems. He moved to Spring, Texas, in 2005, according to his grandson, Paul McAleavey, to be closer to medical facilities. His wife of 58 years, Edith, survives him.

Arrangements are being handled by Krauss Funeral Home in Franklin Square, N.Y., McAleavy said.