08/02/2004 11:00PM

Meittinis, trainer, dead


Louis Meittinis, a successful harness trainer who made the transition to Thoroughbreds, died Monday night in his Westbury, N.Y., home, apparently of a heart attack. He was 61.

Meittinis had a long and successful career in harness racing, training champions Icarus Lobell, Turn the Tide and Hot Hitter. Meittinis syndicated Hot Hitter for $5 million and had H Hitter on his license plates.

At the age of 50, Meittinis switched over to Thoroughbreds, where he owned and bred several horses. Among the best horses he bred was Trial Prep, winner of the 2002 New York Derby. At the time of his death, Meittinis had a stable of 14 horses, including Judy Soda, who was entered in Thursday's $250,000 Statue of Liberty division of the New York Stallion Stakes at Saratoga.

Meittinis had 98 winners, 98 seconds, and 128 thirds races from 1,169 starters since 1992. His horses earned purse money of $3,272,736.

Meittinis is survived by his wife, Carol; sons Nick and Jimmy; a daughter, Carol; brothers Paul and Danny; and grandchildren Tyler, Natalie, Louis Nicholas, and Matthew Mason.

As of Tuesday, funeral arrangements were pending. A viewing was being scheduled for Thursday at the Oyster Bay Funeral Home in Oyster Bay, N.Y.