Via Bill Finley
Angel Penna, Jr., who coached Eclipse Christmas Past and Laugh and Be Merry Award winners and was the son of Hall of Famer Angel Penna, Sr., died Tuesday at the age of 74.
Battling dementia, Penna passed away in her sleep at a memory care facility near her home in Boca Raton, Florida.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Penna worked as an assistant to his father before leaving on his own in 1980. His clients at the time included Cynthia Phipps, who raced in the colors of Wheatley Stable, the stable of Her grandmother also raised and raced the Daring Ruler. Phipps owns Christmas Past, who failed to break his daughter on two starts at the age of 2, but finished them all the following year. Named a 3-year-old champion in 1982, she won five shares that year, GI Coaching Club American Oaks, GI Gulfstream Park H. and GI Ruffian H.
Laugh and Be Merry is owned by Pin Oak Farm and was named the 1990 horse grass champion. She won three shares that year, including GI Flower Bowl H.
“He loved his horses,” said Ruth, his widow. “As you know, he is a good coach. He takes great pride in taking them to the races.
Other top horses trained by Penna include the Perfect Arc, Silver Voice, Via Borghese, Auntie Mame, A Phenomenon and Diamondrella. His clients also include Martha Gerry’s Lazy F. Ranch.
According to Equibase, Penna had 586 career wins and earned $24,084,854. He last played on November 4, 2021.
In addition to his wife, the survivors include his stepmother, Elinor Penna.