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Celebrity Death

‘A Classy Gentleman,’ Trainer Angel Penna Jr. Passed Away


The son of Hall of Fame trainer Angel Penna Sr., who trained 54 graded stakes winners in North America, Angel Penna Jr. passed away at the age of 74, on November 24, 2022.

He trained a dozen at the highest stakes level including Eclipse Award winners Christmas Past and Laugh and Be Merry. May he rest in peace. We send our deepest sympathies to his loved ones.

Penna, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was awarded 586 races from 3,370 starts in North America, and his runners earned over $24 million during a U.S. career that started in 1980 and continued until 2021.

His last starter was Only Time, who finished third in a maiden claiming race at Gulfstream Park in November of last year. Though Penna trained in Florida in recent years, his stable had success across North America, especially during his peak years from 1981-2011.

During that stretch, he was awarded grade 1 races with such top performers as Christmas Past, A Phenomenon, Cool, Silver Voice, Laugh and Be Merry, Nine Keys, Perfect Arc, Auntie Mame, and Diamondrella. Cynthia Phipps’ Christmas Past and Pin Oak Farm’s Laugh and Be Merry were honored as champions.

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Angel Penna Jr. Passed Away But He is Alive in Our Hearts

Although official sources have not shared information about how Angel Penna Jr. passed away at this time, some announced he lost his life due to an illness. Battling dementia, Penna took his last breath in his sleep in a memory care facility near his home in Boca Raton, Fla.

Our team does not confirm any rumors about the news, though you can be sure that we are attempting our best to find related information about the tragedy and provide the latest updates as soon as possible; but do not forget that family privacy should be respected.

Penna confirmed capable of winning top-tier races on either turf or dirt, taking such prestigious main-track races as the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) and Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and such grass races as the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1T) and Flower Bowl Invitational Handicap (G1T).

Penna grew up in racing, the son of Hall of Fame trainer Angel Penna Sr. The elder Penna, a leading trainer in France in 1974, won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) with the fillies San San (1972) and Allez France (1974). He passed away from cancer in 1992.

Originally an assistant to his father, the younger Penna started training in the U.S. in 1980. Turf Diary reported he started training overseas in 1975 in Spain, winning with his first starter there and topping Spanish training statistics in 1977 and 1978. 

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