09/02/2015 3:16PM

Steven Pini, Suffolk Downs track superintendent, dies at 63

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Steven J. Pini, the longtime track superintendent at Suffolk Downs and the 2009 recipient of the Sam McCracken Memorial Award for lifetime contributions to New England racing, died Sept. 1 after suffering a sudden heart attack. He was 63.

Pini had been overseeing the main track and turf course preparations as the track readies to reopen for training on Friday and 13 live races on Saturday.

He was a third-generation Suffolk Downs employee, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who joined the staff when the 80-year-old track opened in 1935, and his father, who came on board in 1938 and stayed for the next 40 years.

Pini is survived by his wife, Joyce; daughters Jaclyn Peppucci and Christine Pini; and grandchildren Sam, Madeline, and Lilah.

The wake will be at the McDonald Funeral Home in Wakefield, Mass., on Thursday from 4-8 p.m. and a funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph's Church in Wakefield on Friday morning.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers contributions be made to St. Jude's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.