Pioneering Racetrack Photographer Bob Coglianese Dies at 88

Bob Coglianese, whose work from Belmont Park, Saratoga Race System and Aqueduct Racetrack served as the conventional of excellence in racing photography for a technology, died Friday in Boynton Beach front, Florida, the New York Racing Association has declared. He was 88.

Coglianese experienced been unwell for a number of months just after a slide requiring medical procedures.

As NYRA’s formal track photographer for a lot more than 50 a long time, Coglianese was mentioned for illustrations or photos of horses from Kelso and Dr. Fager to Secretariat, Affirmed and Cigar, and most of all for his iconic head-on shot of Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont Stakes, which Athletics Illustrated named the greatest racing image of the 20th century.

“My father labored practically 300 times a calendar year getting photographs at the keep track of, and he handled every single working day like it was the Belmont Stakes,” explained his son Adam, who took above the enterprise from his father in 2013. “Every day was the same–the same commitment to the racing business and to NYRA. He taught me everything I know, and when I instruct people who operate for me or beginner photographers, I go again to the information and the classes my father taught me.”

“Bob Coglianese was a giant in the world of racetrack images, with his pictures amongst the best ever taken of thoroughbred racing,” said Dave O’Rourke NYRA President and CEO. “Bob mixed an remarkable perform ethic with a knack for innovation and a passion for the sport. He was a learn at the craft and a mentor to countless photographers doing the job now. NYRA provides our condolences to Bob’s loved ones and close friends, and we search ahead to honoring his memory in the months in advance.”

Secretariat, with jockey Ron Turcotte up, won the 1973 Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths to turn out to be racing’s ninth Triple Crown winner, and Coglianese’s unforgettable head-on shot captures the magnitude of what numerous think about to be the biggest racing overall performance ever. The impression nonetheless crops up in guides and magazine characteristics and is commemorated in a ground-to-ceiling mural on the first floor of the Belmont Park grandstand.

Bob Coglianese picture

As was his design and style, Coglianese underplayed how he took place to get the shot. “It was a significant race, it was the Belmont Stakes, and there was a photograph stand over there and I was on it, capturing the race,” he stated in 2018. “It just so transpired I acquired that shot.”

Coglianese earned two Eclipse Awards for excellence in racing pictures. “He would often say the Eclipse Awards were being luck,” claimed Adam, “but he was pretty happy of his Eclipse Awards. For a long time, he was the only particular person who experienced received two Eclipse Awards. He captured two pictures that you couldn’t replicate if you tried out.” Coglianese was also the winner of the George Featherston Award in the mid-eighties.

His Eclipse Award-winning photos came in 1972, when he caught a horse and a hen hitting the wire at the similar time at Aqueduct, and in 1980 for “The Savage,” a picture of the 1980 Tremont S., where Excellent Prospector achieved around and savaged the winner, Golden Derby.

Coglianese was portion of NYRA’s little and elite fraternity of formal photographers with roots going back again much more than than a century. In 1952, even though in his teenagers, he went to work at the New York tracks, assisting his uncle, Mike Sirico, who had been a NYRA photographer given that 1920. Sirico had been introduced into the game as an apprentice to famed Charles C. [C.C.] Cook dinner, whose New York track pics date to the quite initially years of the 20th century.

In 1955, Sirico took above as NYRA’s formal photographer. Coglianese assumed the function in 1962, and was succeeded by his son, Adam, who retains the position today. Together the way, Bob Coglianese’s pictures turned memorable not just for all the well known horses and races he lined from Belmont Park, Aqueduct Racetrack and Saratoga Race Course as properly as Gulfstream Park in the winter, but in some cases as historic documents that demonstrate how racing has advanced.

Adam and Bob Coglianese | NYRA photo

On March 14, 1969 at Aqueduct, Coglianese was on hand to history Barbara Jo Rubin’s victory aboard Bravy Galaxy, which made her the 1st female jockey to get a race in New York. And he was also there through the article parade exactly where, as Rubin recalled a several a long time ago, people were yelling at her to give up racing and go home. He was also there afterwards when Rubin was warmly congratulated by foreseeable future Corridor of Famer Angel Cordero the photo of the two of them appeared in newspapers all over the country and signaled an acceptance of Rubin in New York that experienced eluded her in other places.

He shot the numerous superstars who came out to the races as nicely. “He employed to go on and on about the superstars,” explained Adam. “I keep in mind escalating up and he explained to me that he shot Barbra Streisand and requested her to keep up an Aqueduct method. He’d say, `just envision obtaining Barbra Streisand currently!’”

A stringent taskmaster who insisted that people do their career correctly, Coglianese was joined by his son Adam in the business enterprise immediately after graduating from college in the early 1990s.

“It was my choice to go into the small business in the nineties after college or university,” reported Adam. “It was at the tail close of movie, which was a heck of good deal much more included than the electronic earth we stay in these days. I had to be at operate on time, I experienced to develop the movie, I experienced to get my palms damp. My father failed to give me a break when it was raining or snowing or it was freezing. I went by the very same tutelage that my father went as a result of for the reason that my father labored for his uncle, Mike Sirico.”

Adam labored together with his father for 20 years right before Bob Coglianese retired in 2013. Ahead of his comprehensive retirement, when he felt cozy leaving his son with the business, he began spending winters in the South of France, with which he had fallen in enjoy. Later on, operator Seymour Cohn introduced him to Anguilla, and he started paying out winters there. But even just after retirement, he expended summers at Saratoga.

“He would commit the summers at the booth at Saratoga with my mother, selling his well known pics, present-day champions and the popular horses of the yr,” mentioned his son. “And he would have numerous interactions with individuals about the history of the photographs, and how he took this picture and what horses he preferred. He would argue with men and women that Seattle Slew was much better than Secretariat and vice versa, and voice his view about who he liked ideal.”

The Savage | Bob Coglianese photo

Amid his beloved images were two training pictures of Secretariat. “He recalled how stunning the horse looked,” explained Adam. “The way Ron Turcotte on him was so stretched out. He generally spoke of that picture.” The 2nd photo of one particular of Secretariat’s performs served as the model for the statue in the Belmont paddock. “He said it was shot in the early early morning hours at a quite gradual shutter velocity,” stated Adam.

But although he will often be intrinsically linked to Secretariat, his son claimed he observed and remembered so a lot of of the greats. “His favored horses ended up Seattle Slew, Kelso. They just go on and on. He saw a great number of champions, and not just Secretariat. His to start with time at the racetrack was in 1952, when Native Dancer broke his maiden, and he saved that software his entire life.”

Coglianese is survived by his spouse Rosalind, son Adam, grandson Ethan and daughter-in-regulation Tia Sozzi.

In lieu of bouquets, the Coglianese loved ones asks the horse racing community to kindly take into account a donation to the Belmont Youngster Treatment Association, the Backstretch Worker Support Workforce or the New York Race Observe Chaplaincy.

These non-revenue corporations present a host of products and services and support to the backstretch neighborhood in New York, and Bob valued their collective mission deeply.

“He beloved likely to the keep track of,” said Adam Coglianese. “He liked sitting in the yard talking to people today. It was usually about the historical past of racing in Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct. He cherished what he did. Liked it. And he was unquestionably the pioneer of racetrack images.”


“I have recognised Bob considering the fact that I was five decades previous. My father was the assistant coach for Robert DeBonis again in the 70s and 80s. Bob was 1 of the finest guys that I’ve ever fulfilled. A wonderful photographer. I became buddies with Adam and they’re like household to me. I are unable to say adequate very good items about Bob. He was often a gentlemen to me, since I was a kid. Back again then, you could not carry a kid into the get photo and my father would sneak me in and somehow, Bob would allow it materialize. As a kid, it was the most important deal in the globe to be in a acquire picture. I gained a race these days, the fourth race at Aqueduct, and I swear Bob was watching more than me.” -Jay Provenzano, Traveling Companions Racing

“I was the image products and services coordinator at NYRA from 1985-1987, and, as a 22-year-previous when I started out the career, I was terrified of Bob. He would get in touch with me down to his office when he would locate an uncredentialed photographer in the winner’s circle, and I would trip down the elevator with dread. I would get a loud and critical lecture—very loud and really serious–about his rights as the contract holder for NYRA, and would be informed that it was my task to make certain that deal was enforced, and that I wasn’t guarding his legal rights. And you know what? He was appropriate. He taught me additional about carrying out my work correctly than any individual I ever met. I came to love our extended talks about his winters in Great and Anguilla, and will skip his heat smile and major heart.” -Sue Finley, TDN Publisher

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Coglianese family members. Bob Coglianese’s legacy will are living on via his gorgeous & famous pictures. How blessed the New York racing neighborhood was to have him and to have his son carry on in his footsteps.” -Sackatoga Stables

“Legendary Bob Coglianese was 1 of our sport’s all-time good photographers. He shared the magnificence of our activity with the planet. Condolences to all who beloved him. Thank you, Bob, for your life’s service to our sector. You impressed so numerous of us.” -Barbara Livingston, DRF photographer

“RIP Bob Coglianese. He once informed me the story of (The Savage), which he explained turned his most significant seller (even extra than Secretariat’s Belmont). He took this picture with what I believe is termed a plate digicam, which offers a photographer just one possibility to get the image they want. When he went into the darkroom following the race, he did not like this shot since he felt the rail ruined it, so threw the plate in the trash. Anyone else saw it and pointed out how exceptional it was, so he determined to produce it. The relaxation is heritage. Feel of how quite a few excellent horses and races Bob Coglianese photographed about the a long time. It is genuinely awesome. What a skilled he was at his craft and what a existence he lived. Sincere condolences to Adam and the rest of the Coglianese family members, and all who understood (him).” -Ray Paulick

“Very sad news that the fotog titan Bob Coglianese has handed at 88. In addition to his legendary talent with a digicam, modern spirit and tireless work ethic, he was heat, generous, caring and funny. Deepest sympathies to Ros and Adam, his many friends and admirers.” -Steve Byk


Kenneth Proto

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