MILTON, February 14, 2023 – Twice monthly until April, a familiar Woodbine Mohawk Park horse person will step into the spotlight to answer a handful of fun, offbeat questions, while giving readers a unique perspective into their personality on and off the racetrack.
Carmen Auciello has just had the most successful year of his career with 1,627 starts, 197 wins, and $3.2 million in purses in 2022. The seasoned trainer is quickly approaching 2,000 career wins, and despite a busy schedule, he still finds time to enjoy some Billy Joel and Tragically Hip.
What is your most memorable win?
“It would be my only Super Final win with Bugger Bruiser back in 2013. It’s almost been 10 years now but it’s still my biggest. My boy was just a baby, and my whole family and friends were in the winner’s circle. One of those nights I'll always remember.”
What is your goal for 2023?
“Last year I had a goal of 200 wins and $4 million. We fell quite a bit short on the money end but almost got the 200 wins. So that's my goal for this year: 200 wins and $4 million. I've been in the three-millions a few times now, but never got to four and have never got to 200 wins. With around 50 to 60 racehorses going for most of the year, I think that goal is realistic.”
If you weren't a trainer, what job do you think you'd have?
“I guess I had a few different ones growing up. I always wanted to be an NHL hockey player because I played goalie. Then that switched to PGA Tour golf pro. And then in my early 20s I wanted to be a musician, because I sing and play guitar quite a bit. I always thought maybe that was something that I could get into, but all those things take so much time and I wasn’t good enough in any of those categories. Horse racing kind of fell in my lap because my dad was already in the business and had a stable of his own. After I went to school [to study business], I decided this is something to take a shot at doing, and it’s worked out. I just passed my 20th anniversary of getting involved in horse racing.”
What’s your favourite karaoke song?
“My go-to was always Mambo Number Five. There are probably some videos out there of me singing that. I loved the line, “Ladies and gentlemen, this Mambo number five.” Piano Man by Billy Joel would probably be my go-to now if I was getting up to sing. My boy plays AAA hockey, and there have been a few weekend tournaments the last couple of years that someone’s brought a speaker and karaoke system to, and have forced me to get up and sing, so I still do karaoke a little bit but not as much as I used to.”
What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
“I went to see The Tragically Hip on New Year's Eve 1999. We had a box up in ACC. Everybody was worried about Y2K and wondering what was going to happen, and we didn't care. We just partied our faces off and watched The Hip bring in the new year and it was amazing. I was a huge Tragically Hip fan, so a bunch of their concerts really stand out in my mind. I still listen to their music, and I love it.”
What is your dream vacation?
“Definitely a vacation with the kids. We’ve traveled a lot as a family, but haven’t as much since COVID. We used to go away pretty often with the whole family to all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. Those are definitely memorable. All I need is a warm place to chill by the pool. We’re hoping to get away soon.”
What actor would you have play you in a movie about your life?
“I think I’d go with Robert De Niro. He’s just funny enough but also tough when he needs to be, and I think he’s a lot like me that way.”