Day At The Track

Anthony DeFrancesco, IV, 18, sends out first winner

07:07 AM 10 Jul 2018 NZST
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Anthony DeFrancesco, IV on far left, pointing up to his grandfather in heaven after his scored his first win as an owner and trainer.
World Wide Racing Photo
Anthony DeFrancesco, IV jogging at the training center
Anthony DeFrancisco, III (right) with son Anthony DeFrancisco IV after graduation from high school last month
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On July 4 it was not just a special day of remembrance of our United States winning the war for independence against Great Britain, it was also a very special for a young man by the name of Anthony DeFrancesco, IV at Harrah’s Philadelphia harness racing track.

Anthony, 18, of south Philadelphia, just graduated high school in June. He had perfect attendance for 12 years of school. Finished with a GPA of 3.93 and a top 1st Honors Student.

And when not in school, Anthony learned about harness racing, from both his father, Anthony DeFrancesco III and from his grandfather, Anthony DeFrancesco, Jr. thus making Anthony IV a third-generation horseman.

It looks like some of those training skills rubbed off on young Anthony as on July 4, he sent ABC Again out for the 6th race pace at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Along with his cousin, Joseph Laino, also of south Philadelphia, they co-own the six-year-old gelded son of ABC Garland.

It was only the 14th start for DeFrancesco as a trainer.

Anthony, IV, admits he was pretty nervous before the race.

“The whole week I felt nervous,” Anthony explained. “because I knew he was dropping in class and he had been racing well against better horses. I just felt getting Tony Morgan back to drive and in a lower class and great post that this was gonna be the week.

“And bam, we won!” Anthony said. “My heart was pounding during the race. I saw George Napolitano on the outside coming to us and I know he wins all the time, so I was sweating. But the big horse held on in a new lifetime mark.

“With tears in my eyes I point up to my grand pop (Anthony, Jr. who was the first to train horses) and thanked him for looking over me. I only wish my dad didn’t have his issue and was with me, but I know mom and he were watching at home and I have their full support.”

“About 10 seconds after the race my phone start blowing up from family and friends,” Anthony said. “They were just so happy for me but the horse did all the work and he deserves all the credit ABE Again. I never forget this horse or my first win.”

ABC Again and driver Tony Morgan led from start to finish and won in 1:55.2. He has career earnings of $74,751.

“I was so excited for my son,” said Anthony DeFrancesco, III. “I am currently on suspension right now and can’t go to the track, but we watched it on the computer and it was very emotional. Especially when I saw my son point to the sky, pointing to his grandfather. He has done that in all our win pictures in the past. I would always do it too.”

Anthony trains his horse at Jjeps Training Center in Mullica Hill, NJ.

So, what will Anthony now do for an encore?

Well, he starts at the Community College of Philadelphia in September but will also continue to work and race his horse while in school. He hopes to get at least one more horse in the stable. Anthony also works a few nights a week at Johnnie’s Fine Foods in south Philadelphia for extra pocket cash.

“I like to keep busy,” Anthony said. “So, between school and training and racing, I know that I will not have much free time, but I love what I am doing and that’s what counts.”

By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink 

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