Richard John Lugovich

September 3, 1942 ~ November 15, 2022 (age 80) 80 Years Old
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Richard did not come from a racing heritage. As a kid in Bridgeport CT in the 1940’s and 50’s his experience with horses was limited to seeing them pull the milk and junk wagons, or joining his more daring buddies in clambering bareback and bridle-less aboard the neighbors’ back yard steed whenever they could catch it. Rich definitely belonged in that “daring” category.


That all changed one day when his older brother Stanley took him to the races in seemingly other-worldly Aqueduct. Captivated by Stanley’s excitement and that of his “associates”, the intrigue of betting and the sheer beauty and power of the horses, young Richard told his brother then and there that “I’m gonna to own one of those before I die”. Stanley reacted as you might guess an older brother would – but the seed was sown.


After graduating high school Richard enlisted in the US Air Force and promptly found himself serving in the jungles of southeast Asia in the earlier and murkier stages of the Vietnam war. He rarely shared those experiences with family or friends. After multiple deployments he was assigned to Headquarters Command in Washington DC. His stories from that time would fill a book by themselves and he relished telling those tales for the remainder of his life. But the horseracing connection was also re-kindled by a chance association with a new friend whose father owned horses. Attending the Timonium sales with his new mentor, Richard eventually purchased a mare in foal. He named the resulting colt “Mr. Lugg” and then he was – literally - off to the races.


While serving in the Army National Guard he earned his trainers license and began building a public stable based at Laurel and Bowie Race Tracks. His stable competed primarily on the Maryland circuit until a divorce turned his thoughts towards “home”. He settled back in Connecticut with “Mr. Lugg” and it didn’t take long before he was plying his trade at the New England tracks – mainly Green Mountain and Suffolk Downs.


Richard eventually re-married and the couple decided to “try and go straight” (no horses) for a time. But that was never in the stars for either of them and by 1977 they were foaling their first NY bred (“Bourbon Prince”) in New Paltz, NY. Several nomadic years of racing followed at NYRA tracks, Meadowlands, Narragansett, Rockingham, the New England fairs, Keystone (Parx), Finger Lakes and others. Looking to start a family, Rich and Lisa finally settled near Penn National in the mid 1980’s, mainly due to the year-round racing schedule and proximity to a variety of other tracks. Two sons, Stephen and John, arrived in 1990 and 1993.


A years long search for a New York base was realized in 2000 when they purchased a farm near Saratoga in Stillwater, NY. Rich’s eldest son, Rich Jr. partnered with his dad and step-mom to establish “Northway” where Rich Jr. oversees the mares, foals, early training and retirees to this day.


Richard eventually discovered Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton MD and immediately fell in love with the concept and most everything else about it, including the people. He moved their training operation there in the mid 1990’s. He whole heartedly committed to the commute from Harrisburg and rarely missed a day of training until his recent illness. Maryland may seem to some an odd choice to base a stable of New York home-breds. Those who knew Richard will be reminded of the Sinatra song… He did it “his way”.


One of his many friends may have said it best… “God bless ye Mr. Richard, you were always you.”


A celebration for Richard will be held in the spring of 2023. 


In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Cutler Scholars Fund, Inc., PO Box 56, Cutler, ME 04626 or USO, PO Box 96860, Washington, DC 20077.


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In Loving Memory Of

Richard John Lugovich

September 3, 1942-November 15, 2022

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