Crupi honours memory of legendary US bloodstock agent


Just weeks after selling a two-year-old in training for a sales-topping US$3.65 million in 2019, beloved bloodstock agent and consignor James ‘JJ’ Crupi passed away at the age of 79. Right to the end, he was doing what he loved – selling horses – and even in declining health and only days prior to his death, hosted friends and colleagues at a gathering.

Owner Mike Repole had been introduced to Crupi some 10 years earlier. Crupi had encouraged the racing newcomer towards a yearling colt by the stallion Indian Charlie, for which he paid $220,000. The purchase became Uncle Mo, a champion racehorse who has gone on to a most successful career as a sire in Kentucky.

“I was introduced to JJ, got to go to his farm and listen to his legendary stories,” Repole said. “I knew at the time I was in the presence of a racing icon.”

Interested in horses from a young age, Crupi was a four-time leading trainer at Monmouth Park on America’s Atlantic seaboard, but turned to bloodstock later in life, becoming an advisor and successful Thoroughbred reseller.

Repole had introduced Crupi to his friend Vinnie Viola, whom he had advised on the purchase of Liam’s Map, winner of the G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (1600m). On behalf of the two owners, Crupi selected a yearling by leading American sire Curlin in 2016, a colt they named Vino Rosso.

A Grade 2 winner as a three-year-old, Vino Rosso blossomed at four, winning his first race at Grade I level mere days after Crupi’s death.

“There’s no doubt Jimmy was on that horse’s back, helping to get him home,” Repole said.

Vino Rosso would go on to win that year’s G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic (2000m) and now serves mares at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky.


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