06/14/2017 3:16PM

Florida trainer Manny Azpurua dies at 88

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Barbara D. Livingston
Manny Azpurua's best horses included Nightmare Affair, Weigelia, and Social Inclusion.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Manny Azpurua, a mainstay on the south Florida racing scene for nearly 40 years, died Tuesday at the age of 88.

Azpurua trained such nationally prominent horses as Nightmare Affair, Weigelia, and Social Inclusion during his career in the United States. Nightmare Affair won the Grade 2 Smile Sprint in 2006 before finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Weigelia won the Grade 3 Carry Back in 2004, while Social Inclusion set the 1 1/16-mile track record at Gulfstream in 2014. Later that year, he finished third in the Preakness, Grade 1 Wood Memorial, and Grade 2 Woody Stephens.

Azpurua won more than 3,500 races in his native Venezuela before following his two brothers, Leo Sr. and Eduardo, to this country in 1980. His nephews Eduardo Jr. and Leo Jr. are also trainers on the local circuit.

“He truly loved the experience of training horses in this country,” said Leo Azpurua Jr. “He’s been the leader of the family for many, many years.”