(WSVN) - A local horse trainer at Gulfstream Park faced kidnappers before moving to America.
Antonio Sano was abducted twice from his home country of Venezuela in July 2009.
“[I] remember the bad situation with my kidnapping, two kidnapping[s]. One express from the ATM,” said Sano, “second kidnapping for 36 days.”
The first time Sano got abducted was for a few hours to withdraw money from ATM machines. Sano was captured again for 36 days by armed gunmen.
Sano was confused, not knowing if it was day or night, and he was not given any food.
“Thank God, I pray[ed] every day, for I have life,” said Sano.
Sano was targeted because of his high profile as a horse trainer. He was well paid for the 150 horses he trained and over 3,000 wins.
His family paid a high ransom to get Sano back. When they were reunited with him, he had lost 46 pounds.
Claudia Spadaro, Sano’s niece, recalls praying for her uncle’s release.
“My family is really religious, and I remember that every morning we would all pray for him to be alive,” said Sparado.
She said the night Sano got released, her dad was crying; a moment she will always remember.
“I remember exactly the day that he was released. I was sleeping, it was like, 3 a.m., and I still can remember the screaming of my dad crying,” said Spadaro, “That woke me up, and I think that moment, that’s gonna be in my mind forever.”
Sano left Venezuela with his family in December 2009 and moved to Weston, Florida.
“After my kidnapping, thanks God, I can look at my kids, my family. I told no more,” said Sano, “I take all from Venezuela, and I come to [the] United States.”
Sano is now one of the top horse trainers in North America.
Simplification, one of the horses Sano has trained, will be the second horse in his career to compete in the Kentucky Derby.
“I don’t think many people can recover from that kind of thing that can happen to a human being,” said Sparado. “There is some trainers that work their whole life to put one horse in the Kentucky Derby, and this guy [Sano] has put two already, so, I think, that speaks volumes to me.”
The early morning odds for the May 7th Kentucky Derby Race are out with Simplification’s odds being 22-1.
Simplification will likely be in the middle of the pack of the 20-horse field.
The three-year-old horse, Colt, has three wins in the last seven races including the Kentucky Pre-Derby Prep Race and the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park back in March.
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