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OBITUARIES | John Ranard Harry Aleo, 1919 - 2008

Owner of champion thoroughbred horses

June 23, 2008|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

Harry Aleo, a real estate magnate and longtime thoroughbred horse owner, died at his home in San Francisco on Saturday. He was 88 and had been battling cancer.

Aleo began his involvement with racing in 1979. The best of the horses he was associated with was Lost In The Fog. A Florida-bred horse purchased by Aleo for $140,000, Lost In The Fog won the first 10 races of his career as a 2- and 3-year-old for trainer Greg Gilchrist and was voted the champion sprinter of 2005.

With all the victories came many lucrative officers to sell the son of Lost Soldier, something Aleo never considered.

"What the hell would I do that for?" he was quoted as saying. "I've been waiting my whole life for a horse like that." Lost In The Fog was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and euthanized on Sept. 17, 2006.

Coincidentally, on Sunday -- the day after Aleo's death -- the Lost In The Fog Stakes, a race inaugurated in 2007, was held at Golden Gate Fields.

Born on Dec. 7, 1919, in San Francisco, Aleo was at one time a pitcher in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization, but an elbow injury ended his baseball career.

Drafted into the Army after the start of World War II, Aleo served for three years and fought in the Battle of the Bulge under General George S. Patton.

After the war, Aleo began working part time in real estate. In 1947, with partner Jerry Butler, he founded Twin Peaks Properties, a real estate and insurance brokerage company. Aleo was involved with Twin Peaks until the day he died.

Among the other stakes-winning horses Aleo owned are Vicarino, Smokey Stover, Beyond Brilliant, Frisco Belle, Minutes Away and Wild Promises, who won the Yerba Buena Stakes on June 8 at Golden Gate Fields.

"Ours was more than a relationship between a client and an owner," Gilchrist told "He was more like a brother and a father. Harry, to me, represented those traditional values."

In addition to his longtime companion Deannie Bartlett, who was with him when he died, Aleo is survived by daughters Carol, Terri and Valerie, and three grandchildren. Funeral services are pending.

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