Updated on 03/21/2014 9:57AM

Trainer Dominic Galluscio dead at age 55

Barbara D. Livingston
New York trainer Dominic Galluscio won over 1,000 races in a career that spanned more than three decades.

Dominic Galluscio, who won more than 1,000 races during a training career that spanned more than three decades, died Monday after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 55.

Often seen with a smile on his face, and frequently with a cigar between his lips, Galluscio was well-liked and well-respected among his peers on the Belmont Park backstretch.

“I know him for over 30 years, great competitor, he was always a happy-go-lucky guy, always upbeat and laughing,” said trainer Bruce Levine. “And a good horseman; he did good with the babies, good with the claiming horses, whatever he had he did good with. Last year, he won his 1,000th race and I’d bet you 900-and-something are at NYRA and that’s a feat.”

Galluscio, who won his first race at Aqueduct in 1981, won 1,047 races from 7,217 starters and his horses earned $31,291,203 in purse money. His greatest success came with New York-breds, winning the Empire Classic in back-to-back years with full-brothers Organizer (2006) and Dr. V’s Magic (2007), bred and owned by Majesty Stud. Galluscio also won stakes with half-siblings Wildcat’s Smile and Johannesburg Smile for owner/breeder Francis Paolangeli. Stormy’s Majesty, also bred by Majesty Stud, won four stakes including the Grade 3 Discovery in 2010.

Other stakes winners Galluscio trained included Double Mint, Hanselina, Le Grande Danseur, Lord of the Night, Placid Fund, Raffie’s Treasure, Roana Gale, Shane Roars, and Trinity Magic. Among his current success stories was Marriedtothemusic, who most recently finished second in the Hollie Hughes Stakes.

Beyond his successes as a horseman, Galluscio’s personality - as well as his colorful sport jackets - resonated with his peers.

“He always had a smile, and had something good to say, he was a very likeable guy,” trainer Gary Contessa said. “He was a colorful guy with a great heart; I’ll miss him for sure.”

Gary Gullo was one of Galluscio’s closest friends and was by Galluscio’s side when he passed.

“As a person, he was very giving, very caring,” Gullo said. “He loved his daughter [Dominique]. His daughter was his whole life. He enjoyed life.”

In addition to his daughter, Galluscio is survived by four brothers and two sisters.

Visitation will be held Friday from 5-9 p.m. at Park Funeral Chapels, 2175 Jericho Turnpike, Garden City Park, N.Y.; (516) 747-4300. A funeral service will be held Saturday, 11 a.m., also at Park Funeral Chapels. Burial will be at noon Sunday at the Reformed Church of Germantown Cemetery, County Rte. 8, Germantown, N.Y.

In lieu of flowers, donations can made in Galluscio’s name to the Backstretch Employee Service Team (BEST), Belmont Park, Gate 6, 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, Cottage 2B, Elmont, NY 11003.