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Affrunti has Made a Big Jump (02/08/13)
Posted Friday, February 8, 2013
By Mike Paradise
Lockport’s Angie Affrunti has gone from little girl riding and jumping horses to the first woman to capture a Chicagoland circuit training title in the last 11 years.
The 48-year-old Affrunti will be honored at this Sunday’s I.H.H.A. annual Hall of Fame banquet in Alsip after she ran away with the 2012 trainer’s crown at Maywood Park. Angie also finished sixth best at Balmoral Park. Her combined 128 winners were more than any other woman trainer in our state.
“I’ve been around horses as far back as I can remember,” said Angie. “In fact I was on the back of a horse when I was a two-year-old. I was riding horses when I was 9 and by the time I was 10 or 11 I was riding jumping horses. I even won some blue ribbons.”
Angie’s father Vince Affrunti is a long-time Illinois harness horseman, first as a driver and later as a trainer.
“My dad started out with mounted horses before he switched to harness horses,” continued the Joliet native. “He has been in this industry since the 1970s and still lends me a hand out at times at the farm. And my son Frankie is a big help. He’s working with me every day and with me on most race nights.”
Angie will have most of her family with her for the upcoming awards banquet, including her brother Darin who she calls “my inspiration.”
“My brother fell off a horse about a year ago and he wasn’t supposed to survive the accident but he pulled through,” continued Angie. “He is disabled now and has been an inspiration to me. He’s shown me that if you want something bad enough you could achieve it. Maybe not always but if you keep your mind focused on your challenge and work hard at it, more times than not you’ll reach your goal.
“I’m really overwhelmed and very excited about winning the Maywood title and Darin is just as excited about it as I am.”
Angie worked alongside Pete Procopi when he tied perennial Maywood Park champion Dave McCaffrey for the 2011 training crown.
“Pete and I worked together for the last four years,” continued Angie. “Pete has other businesses so last year I pretty much ran the stable by myself.
“I try to take special care of my horses. I make sure they eat right and get plenty of nutrition. I believe it’s important to get them outdoors and spend time in the field, especially the mares who tend to get sour if you keep them cooped-up in a stall.
“I think it’s very important to keep your horses well-classified. Race them were they can have some success and build their confidence. Occasionally if one of our horses horse is really racing well for us I’ll put them at a higher level but if they don’t do well, I’ll drop them back down where they can do some good.”
Angie has started off the New Year with a bang. Her stable had 18 victories in January, more than any other trainer in Illinois and seventh best throughout the entire United States and Canada.
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Trainer Angie Affrunti and her son Frankie get a horse ready to race.
Maywood Park Photo