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Thoroughbred owner-breeder Richard Bomze dies at 76

By Jenny Kellner | 03/14/2014 11:40 AM ET
Richard Bomze with Fourstardave
PHOTO/Adam Coglianese

Richard Bomze, past president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and the owner-breeder of champion New York-bred brothers Fourstardave and Fourstars Allstar, died Tuesday evening at his home in Hollywood, Fla. He was 76.

Bomze became involved with thoroughbred racing first as a writer and then as an owner, when he purchased a steeplechaser named Sports Reporter in Ireland. He then purchased a mare named Broadway Joan for $2,500, who foaled Fourstardave in 1985 and three years later, Fourstars Allstar.

Fourstardave, who became known as the "Sultan of Saratoga" for having won a race at Saratoga Race Course every year from 1987-1994, won 21 races including the Albany Handicap, the Poker, the West Point Handicap, the Jaipur, and the Daryl's Joy, which was renamed the Fourstardave Handicap in his honor in 1996.

Fourstars Allstar made history in 1991 as the first American-trained horse to win a European classic when he captured the Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh. Like his older brother, Fourstars Allstar was a multiple stakes winner and retired with earnings of more than $1.6 million. Both were trained by Leo O'Brien.

Bomze, a graduate of Duke University who owned Star Sports Corp., publisher of American Turf Monthly and other periodicals, was elected to the NYTHA Board of Directors in 1996 and voted president in 1999. He was voted Outstanding Breeder of 1990, 1991 and 1993 by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders and the first "State Breeder of the Year" for 1990-91 by the Thoroughbred Owner and Breeders  Association (TOBA).

Additionally, he was a founding member of the Belmont Child Care Association, which operates Anna House, the on-site child care center for the children of backstretch workers at Belmont Park.

“Richie was a great advocate for the day care center at Belmont, he worked tirelessly not only to make sure that became a reality, but also in his capacity at NYTHA president,” said NYRA board member and horse owner Michael Dubb. “He was great for the children, the backstretch workers and the horseman, he will be sorely missed."

In the 2000 NYRA Media Guide, Bomze said his most exciting personal moment in racing came down to three events: "Making racing history in the 2000 Guineas, receiving the TOBA Breeders Award in Kentucky, and Fourstardave winning the 1991 Daryl's Joy."

Bomze, who was born in Lawrence, N.Y., is survived by his wife Diane, daughters Dana and Jennifer, and four grandchildren. A funeral service will be held Sunday, March 16 at Parkside Memorial Chapel in Forest Hills, N.Y., followed by burial at Old Montefiore Cemetery.