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Anthony Thomas Abbatiello

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Anthony Thomas Abbatiello Obituary
Anthony Thomas Abbatiello

AGE: 89 • Colts Neck

Anthony Thomas Abbatiello, 89, passed away on Friday October 20th at his home in Colts Neck after complications from congestive heart failure. He was 89.

The son of Italian immigrants from Staten Island, Anthony built his career around his love for horses. He spent several years competing in rodeos before settling down to become a successful standardbred horse trainer and driver. In 1954, Anthony established Five Point Farm which became the home of many outstanding standardbred horses including million dollar winners Newt Lobell and Taurus Romeo.

A decorated Korean War veteran who rose to the rank of Captain, Anthony demonstrated courage under fire, receiving numerous commendations including: the Combat Infantry Badge, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Valor, three Purple Hearts, the Presidential Unit Citation, a Korean Campaign Ribbon with four Battle Stars, and the Korean Service Medal.

Off the track, for 28 years Anthony served the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, both as Co-founder and President. Due largely to his leadership, the SBOA NJ has been a strong motivating force behind the success of harness racing in the state. Anthony's previous titles included: Chairman of the Board of the United States Trotting Association, Director of the Standardbred Owners of New York, Chairman of the New Jersey Sire Stakes Board of Directors, Trustee Chairman of the Board of the American Horse Council in Washington DC, and Trustee of the Trotting Horse Museum in Goshen, New York. In 2005, Anthony was appointed a member of the New Jersey Racing Commission by then Governor Cody and has been active ever since. Beyond his commitment to harness racing, Anthony served on the Board of Managers at Rutgers University and the Advisory Committee of the Federal Land Bank.

Anthony's honors include: Harness Horse International Man of the Year, the New Jersey Horse Council's Horseman of the Year, the Clem McCarthy Good Guy Award, the New Jersey Sports Writers Association, Harness Racing Man of the Year and National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame Inductee. On July 2, 1995, Anthony was inducted into the Harness Horseman Living Hall of Fame. His induction represented the first brother tandem following his brother Carmine's in 1985.

After Anthony retired from racing, he still enjoyed spending time on his farm with his grandchildren, driving his golf cart and feeding the fish. He also looked forward to inviting children battling cancer for a day in the country and a chance to fish for bluegills. Despite Anthony's distinguished career, his proudest moments are his time spent with his family and friends, and his role as honorary Chairman of the Perkins Breakfast Club.

Anthony is predeceased by his wife Kathleen, and is survived by three daughters Jean Sardoni (Craig) of Colts Neck, Christine Whelan (John) of Colts Neck, and Lisa Locke (Jim) of Fairfax VA; six grandchildren, Ava and Michael Sardoni, Shane and Jack Whelan, Abigail and Ian Locke; brothers Carmine and Matt, and sister, Sadie Merillo, and several nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 PM on Tuesday October 24th at the Higgins Memorial Home, 20 Center Street in Freehold. A prayer service will be held during the visitation at 7:00 p.m. Relatives and friends may gather at the funeral home on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. A military burial will be held on Wednesday October 25th at 10:30 a.m. at Brigadier General William C. Doyle Memorial Cemetery in Arneytown, NJ.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The K Hovnanian Children's Hospital Foundation Pediatric Palliative Care Program, C/O Paul Huegel, 1945 Route 33, Neptune, NJ 07753.
Published in Asbury Park Press on Oct. 22, 2017
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