01/26/2017 6:43PM

Trainer Rene Araya, longtime on NYRA circuit, dies at 73

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Tom Keyser
Trainer Rene Araya, left, with jockey Irad Ortiz in 2013.

Rene Araya, a multiple stakes-winning trainer on the New York Racing Association circuit, died Thursday in south Florida from complications associated with kidney failure. He was 73.

Araya, a native of Chile, came to the U.S. in 1968 with trainer Jack Weipert. Araya later worked as an assistant for Mid-Atlantic-based trainers Pedro Briones and Merritt Buxton. Araya worked as a jockey agent before taking out his trainer’s license in 1985.

He became a regular on the NYRA circuit in 1992.

Araya briefly quit training in 2004, but returned a year later. In recent years, he was training in south Florida at Gulfstream Park. His most recent starter was Sugar Dandy, who finished eighth at Gulfstream in a low-level claiming race Jan. 19.

For his career, Araya won 354 races from 2,811 starters; his horses earned $9.8 million.

Araya had success turning claimers into stakes winners, most notably McKaymackenna, a daughter of Ends Well out of the Secretariat mare Amuse, whom Araya claimed for $35,000. For Araya, McKaymackenna won seven stakes including the Grade 3 Beaugay and Grade 3 Noble Damsel.

Other stakes winners trained by Araya included T Storm, a filly he claimed for $40,000 who won the Dearly Precious, and Nappelon, a filly he claimed for $35,000 who won the Grade 2 Comely. Textbook Method won the 2002 Yaddo Stakes at Saratoga.

Araya is survived by his wife Gloria, daughters Carmen and Elba and son Ricardo.

The family is hoping to plan a celebration of Araya’s life later this year at Belmont Park.