Aug 17, 2021
Joe Fusaro, Jr. loves greyhound racing.
It’s in his blood and it’s in his heart.
Fusaro got into the business in 2004 at age 36 when he purchased his first greyhound, but he was hooked on the sport as a youth in Colorado. His great uncle, Paskey Teto, had a greyhound training farm near Mile High Kennel Club and his father, Joseph Fusaro, Sr. has been a greyhound handicapper his whole life.
Now Fusaro is entering into a new greyhound venture – kennel operator.
For nearly 10 years, Fusaro has been one of the major suppliers of greyhounds for the Tom Engle-trained Abrahamson Kennel at Wheeling Island. With Neal Abrahamson stepping aside as kennel operator at the end of June, Fusaro decided to take the plunge.
The new kennel is called Code Red, named after the Fusaro-owned greyhound FF Code Red – a finalist in two Southland sprint stakes in 2012-13 and the Hollywood World Classic in 2013. Engle will continue to train the kennel.
“It’s very exciting anytime you own a business for the first time – I’m super excited as well as nervous. I raced greyhounds out of the Abrahamson Kennel for eight or nine years, so I’ve gotten to know Tom Engle very well,” Fusaro noted. “I know, trust and believe in Tom (Engle) and wouldn’t have made the decision to take over the kennel if not for him being the trainer. I’ve considered opportunities to own a kennel at other tracks and turned them down.”
Engle is looking forward to teaming up with Fusaro.
“I’ve known Joe (Fusaro) for about 10 years and we have a great relationship. I know he’ll put his heart and soul into the kennel – he loves greyhound racing,” Engle said. “I’m grateful for Joe’s support and appreciate his confidence in having me handle his new kennel.”
The Code Red Kennel will be made up of a lot of Fusaro’s own greyhounds as well as leased racers from several sources.
“In any industry, you need to build relationships and I hope those connections I’ve made (owners of leased greyhounds) will help strengthen our kennel,” Fusaro said. “I’m still breeding so I’ll have a lot of my own greyhounds in the kennel as well.”
Fusaro has set some goals for the kennel.
“I want to be a top five kennel, but first we have to figure out what we need to do to finish in the top five. Ultimately, we want to get there and win a kennel championship,” Fusaro said. “One of the things I love about greyhound racing is the competition. It’s exciting, and to win races is fun.”
It’s been a learning experience for Fusaro since taking over the kennel.
“I’m not a greyhound trainer, so I rely on and trust my team. I understand the business end and realize there’s ups and downs in the industry,” Fusaro said. “Hopefully there will be more ups and it turns into a successful endeavor.”
In time, Engle feels Code Red will be a competitive kennel at Wheeling Island.
“With Joe’s contacts and my contacts, I think we will have a pretty competitive kennel,” Engle said. “It’s going to take some time, but I’m excited.”