The Oliva family also enjoys horse racing, especially at Saratoga Race Course.
The Oliva family also enjoys horse racing, especially at Saratoga Race Course. Truth be told, it was largely this passion that triggered the family’s move to Saratoga Springs, NY in 2006. Several fun trips in the summer — and a few fortunate trifectas — was all the push they needed.
In response to his lifelong passion for horse racing, Tony started his own racing and breeding stable in 2000. Oliva Stables, originally based in New Jersey, now calls Upstate New York home. Tony’s horses, much like his wines, have also been in the winner’s circle. Oliva Stables has won races at Belmont, Aqueduct, Monmouth Park and Philadelphia Park along with generating countless moments of excitement for family and friends. In fact, the silhouette of the horse in the Oliva Vineyards logo is the silhouette of one of Tony’s favorite horses, Italydar, winning a race in 2004.
If Italydar’s name sounds familiar it’s because he was named after his grandfather, the famous horse, Alydar. The Oliva’s combined their Italian heritage with Alydar and named their first colt Italydar. When Tony first began his racing stable, Italydar gave him a lot of trouble. One day Tony was walking Italydar out of the barn into the paddock when the horse reared up and kicked Tony in the head. While in the hospital emergency room getting his head stitched Tony met a nurse who owned horses; she advised Tony that he needed to take control and show Italydar who was boss. So a short time later when Tony was walking Italydar to the paddock he held tight to Italydar’s halter in order to control him and show Italydar who was boss but Italydar swung his head in the opposite direction of Tony’s hand and broke Tony’s wrist! Soon after, Italydar began focusing his energies on racing. He found his place in mid-level claiming races where he ran over 48 races with 6 wins for Oliva Stables.