05/10/2011 2:50PM

Dominic Imprescia, former trainer, dead at 93

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Dominic Imprescia, the trainer of Timely Writer, the co-highweight of the 1981 Experimental Free Handicap, died Sunday morning at his home in Hallandale Beach, Fla., according to friends. Imprescia was 93.

Imprescia, a onetime used-car salesman who turned to training in the 1940s, raced on the New England and Florida circuits for nearly four decades, mostly with a claiming stable. He retired in 1986, but continued to own horses until several years ago and frequently visited horse and dog tracks in Florida, where he made his home.

Larry Pilotti, who trained horses that Imprescia owned after his retirement, said he died in his sleep on Sunday morning. “He was at his home,” Pilotti said. “He was comfortable, but he had had a bad week. He hung around until the Derby, and when they tried to wake him up in the morning, he was gone. I guess if you have to go, that’s a good way.”Timely Writer was Imprescia’s most successful horse. After winning the Hopeful Stakes and the Champagne Stakes in 1981, Timely Writer was co-highweighted at 126 pounds with Deputy Minister in the 1981 Experimental Free Handicap, and he was one of the winter-book favorites for the Kentucky Derby the following year.

After winning the Flamingo Stakes and Florida Derby in the winter of 1982, Timely Writer missed the Derby and the other two races of the Triple Crown with a stomach ailment. Returning to the track in late summer, he ran a series of good races and went into the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont as the favorite. But he broke his left front cannon bone early in the race, triggering a three-horse pile-up, and was euthanized. He was buried in the infield at Belmont.

– Matt Hegarty