Bobby Zen

Stephen Brunetti, whose family operates Red Oak Farm and Red Oak Stud and owns Hialeah Race Course, passed away Monday after a long battle with cancer. He died at his home in Delray Beach, Florida, surrounded by his family. He was 56.

His passing was first announced in a Facebook posting from his son, Stephen Brunetti Jr.

Brunetti took on an added role at Red Oak when his father, John Brunetti Sr., passed away in 2018. Along with his brother John Jr., he also took over as the owner of the casino at Hialeah. Hialeah last conducted a Thoroughbred meet in 2001.

“Ever since my father passed away, I just want to do everything at a higher level,” Brunetti told the Blood-Horse in 2022. “And that’s what we’re trying to do: acquire better mares, breed to the better stallions, better horses, and if it means you got to sell some here and there as yearlings, that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to be a little bit more commercial. We’ve had a lot of success with the breeding program. My family loves going to Saratoga and we loved going up north this summer, and that’s where we want to participate.”

“Stephen was the horse guy in the family. He was a super breeder and was actually director of racing at the end of Hialeah. He loved the horse racing business,” said Red Oak’s racing manager Rick Sacco.

Under the leadership of Stephen Brunetti, Red Oak enjoyed some of its greatest success in recent years. Mind Control was bred by Red Oak and co-owned by Red Oak and Madaket Stables LLC. He won 10 stakes, including three Grade I’s, the GI Cigar Mile H, the GI H. Allen Jerkens S. and the GI Hopeful S. He owned and bred another Grade I winner in Unbridled Mo (Uncle Mo), the winner of the 2018 GI Apple Blossom H.

The Brunetti family also owned King for a Day (Uncle Mo), a listed stakes winner that now stands at stud in New York at Irish Hill & Dutchess View Stallions.

“He loved our game and was getting more heavily involved in breeding,” said one of his trainers, Greg Sacco. “Our industry lost a real cool guy. He put up a valiant fight against cancer.”

According to Rick Sacco, the passing of Stephen Brunetti will not slow down the Red Oak operations.  Sacco said that John Brunetti Jr. is still very much committed to having a racing and breeding operation. In addition, Stephen Brunetti’s son, Stephen Brunetti Jr., a recent graduate from the University of Kentucky, is ready to take on added role in the racing and breeding operations.

“John Jr. has a love of horse racing and shared that passion with his father,” Rick Sacco said. “We will continue on. We’ve already spoken about having horses in New York and at Monmouth this year. We are also looking forward to the King for a Day babies. Stephen Jr. Is already a horse owner and has a horse in over the weekend trained by Todd Pletcher.”

The post Stephen Brunetti Passes Away at 56 appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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