Barn Notes

Sciametta Family Roots Run Deep at Monmouth Park

Posted Sunday, Aug 5, 2012

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Oceanport, N.J- Assistant trainer Anthony Sciametta, Jr. and jockey agent John Sciametta are well respected at Monmouth Park and in the sport of Thoroughbred racing as pure professionals and true gentlemen. Like father, like sons.

            Anthony Sciametta, Sr., raced under the nom de course Old Glory Stables and successfully campaigned over 100 horses in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland before his untimely death in 1990 when he was only 50. Known affectionately as “Shep”, he left a lasting legacy as more than a horseman.

            “He was a great guy. I know it was a big loss to his family when he died, but it was a huge loss to racing as well,” said John Forbes, the longtime president of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, who trained for Sciametta. “He loved Monmouth Park and he was passionate about racing. He had a lot of grit and a lot of determination. In the four years we were together, we had some stakes horses and we had some $5,000 claimers. He did the whole gamut.”

            Sciametta’s primary business was on Wall Street, where he ran Noonan, Astley and Pearce and built the foreign exchange brokerage from a company that staffed seven people to one with over 300 employees. His kindness, compassion for others and generosity are legendary in the financial district, on the backside and in his old neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.

            “I grew up in the Sciametta house as much as in my own,” said Mike Monroe, an agent who represents Monmouth-based jockey Chris DeCarlo. “When I graduated from high school, he asked me if I was going to college. When I told him that I hadn’t decided, he told me that he had already decided for me. He said that I was coming to work for him on Wall Street. I sat next to him so he could teach me the business and I became a trader. He helped a lot of people who needed jobs and he kept a lot of kids off the streets.”

            Not only did Sciametta, Sr. find employment for anyone willing to work, he ran baseball and basketball clinics for kids and the funding came from his own pocket. If anyone on the backside was down on his luck, he was the first one to give a leg up.

“He was generous; overly generous. He would help anyone in need whether they asked for it or not. He was a great guy and the world needs more men like him,” said Forbes.

Monmouth-based trainer Jason Servis has also known the Sciametta family for a long time.

            “Shep was the best,” Servis said. “When Mike Miceli was his trainer, I was galloping the horses while Anthony was walking hots. He was always doing nice things for people. He took care of all his help in the barn and he also took care of anyone else who ever had a problem.”

            Sciametta, Sr. and his wife, Mary Ann, had five children but only Anthony and John followed him onto the racetrack.

            “I never thought about doing anything else,” said Anthony, who runs Todd Pletcher’s division at Monmouth in the summers and at Gulfstream Park in the winters. “I started walking horses right out of high school and worked my way up in his barns here and in New York. I went where my dad had horses and hung around John Forbes and Pat McBurney while they were training them and I learned from them.”

            After Anthony paid his dues on the track and even tried working at the firm on Wall Street one summer, his father gave him a string to train and race at Monmouth Park. Although the horses might have been in the second division, there was plenty of all-star action around the barn.

            “My dad had partners in some horses and couple of them were pro athletes like (former New York Yankees player and manager) Lou Pinella. Audrey and Judy Landers (the Hollywood actress sisters and Playboy Magazine co-cover girls) were partners in some,” said Anthony. “You should have seen all the people around the barn whenever they’d show up.”

            John, who represents Monmouth-based jockey Pedro Cotto Jr., started off at the track and then also tried working for his father on Wall Street for awhile. His career in the financial industry was short-lived as well.

            “I never really wanted to do anything else, either,” he said. “I had to come back to the track. It’s in my blood. I think my dad’s watching over us and is really glad that my brother and I are keeping his dream alive.”

Although Sciametta, Sr. has been gone for more than 20 years, he has never been forgotten.

            “I’ll be walking though Gulfstream or Monmouth and people still come up to me and ask, ‘Are you Tony Sciametta’s son?’ It’s really nice being able to carry on my dad’s legacy,” Anthony said.

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