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Breeders Cup 2015

Owner Joseph Cornacchia dies at 78

Joseph M. Cornacchia, co-owner of Kentucky Derby winners Strike the Gold and Go For Gin, and a former member of The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) Board of Directors, passed away on Sunday at the age of 78.


Born and raised in Queens, New York, Cornacchia made his mark in the board game industry as the manufacturer of Trivial Pursuit and President and Founder of The Games Gang, which brought the world Pictionary and Balderdash.


He partnered with B. Giles Brophy and William Condren to buy Strike the Gold as a 2-year-old in 1990, and found himself in the Churchill Downs winner’s circle a year later. Cornacchia and Condren repeated the Derby feat in 1994 with Go For Gin, and also teamed up to win the 1996 Preakness with Louis Quatorze, who went on to win the Jim Dandy later that year at Saratoga Race Course.


Cornacchia, a second generation printer for 30 years in the East Village of Manhattan, was appointed to the NYRA Board in September 1998 by New York Governor George Pataki and served through September 2008.


“Joe Cornacchia was a thoughtful and caring man who had a deep love for horse racing,” said NYRA Chairman C. Steven Duncker. “He had incredible business acumen, which he displayed in both the board game industry and in winning three prestigious Triple Crown races. His presence at the racetrack will be sorely missed.”


Cornacchia was also a board member of Good Shepard Services, which provides housing and education for young people in New York.


He is best remembered around the race track for his dapper fashion sense and his unfailingly kind disposition. His passions beyond racing included boating, golf (he had two holes-in-one to his credit) and family.


Cornacchia is survived by his wife Eileen, sons Jim and Brian, stepson Ryan, daughter-in-law Amanda and grandchildren Colin and Caitlin.


Arrangements for the wake and funeral services are as follows:



Wednesday, June 29th:  7 – 9 p.m.

Thursday, June 30th:  2 – 4 p.m., 7 – 9 p.m.


Follett & Werner Funeral Home

60 Mill Road

Westhampton Beach, NY 11978




Friday, July 1st:  10:30 a.m.


Immaculate Conception Church

580 Main St.

Westhampton, NY, 11978




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