Audre Cappuccitti, one of Woodbine’s most popular and successful trainers, who had been around horses her entire life, has passed away.

Cappuccitti, who won 537 career races, including 35 stakes scores, celebrated a Sovereign Award in 2011 when Essence Hit Man was named Canada’s
champion male sprinter. She had horses with Vito Armata and Glen Buttigieg before breaking out on her own. Her first stakes win as an owner came in 1993
and her first triumph as a conditioner was three years later.

She also experienced Sovereign success with Deputy Inxs, who won three trophies, including top sprinter honours in 1998, as well as delivering Cappuccitti her first stakes victory as a conditioner and 100th career Woodbine win.

Cappuccitti’s other stakes winners included Joey’s Best, Ocean Front, Ocean Squall, American in Paris, Dream Launcher and Dalavin.

Born in Mansfield, Ontario, Cappuccitti, also a prominent breeder and owner, had a special affinity for thoroughbreds, including her love of grey and roan horses.

For those who knew her well, including jockey Jesse Campbell, it was Cappuccitti’s good-natured demeanor that immediately came to mind.

“I was very upset when I heard the news,” said the veteran rider, who teamed with Cappuccitti and Essence Hit Man to win several high-profile races, including this year’s Jacques Cartier, Vigil and Bold Venture Stakes. “She was a fine lady. She had so much class. She was so happy all the time and so polite.

“I wish I could have told her something, how I really felt about the impact she’s had on me both personally and professionally. We had a very good relationship.  She gave me a lot of respect when I first came to Woodbine two years ago. She trusted me and would listen to what I would say. I know like everyone else, I’ll truly miss her.”

Essence Hit Man is slated to contest Sunday’s Kennedy Road Stakes, a race he won last year. Campbell will be in the saddle.

“I can’t even imagine the emotions that will come out if he were to win,” said Campbell.  “I’ve been thinking how great it would be to pay tribute to Audre in that way.  It would be special.”

Cappuccitti, whose grandfather was a breeder of show horses for the RCMP, had raced quarter horses before making the switch to thoroughbreds.

Survivors include her husband, Gord, and their children.

Visitation will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, as well as Thursday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Lynett Funeral Home, 3299 Dundas Street West, in Toronto.

Funeral services are scheduled for Friday morning at 9:30, at St. Francis of Assisi Church, located on 72 Mansfield Avenue, in Toronto.