From the Streets of Brooklyn to Trainer to the Stars: John Parisella's Lifetime of Celebrity Connections

From the Streets of Brooklyn to Trainer to the Stars: John Parisella's Lifetime of Celebrity Connections

by Denny Dressman

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Bethenny Frankel of Real Housewives of New York and Shark Tank . . . The New York Yankees' Mickey Mantle and George Steinbrenner . . . Showbiz legend Frank Sinatra, comedian Don Rickles and actor James Caan . . . Rick Pitino, former Basketball Head Coach of the NY Knicks and Boston Celtics. What do these famous people—and dozens more—have in common? They're all part of John Parisella's lifetime of celebrity connections. They all play important roles in developing the story of one of the most colorful figures in one of history's most colorful sports, Horse Racing.

An accomplished trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses, John Parisella grew up on the streets of post-Depression, post-war Brooklyn. The son of a bookmaker and shylock, he began playing the horses at Aqueduct and Belmont while in high school. He became the protégé of fellow New Yorker and Hall of Fame trainer, John Campo. Parisella ran horses at thirty-eight tracks and half the Thoroughbreds he sent to the post finished in the money. His most famous horse, Simply Majestic, once ran faster than the great Secretariat. That's only part of the story of the man who went FROM THE STREETS OF BROOKLYN TO TRAINER TO THE STARS.

John Parisella enjoyed over five decades of adventures with the biggest names in sports and entertainment. In the early 1970s he appeared twice on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson," and on his second appearance was proclaimed the "Trainer to the Stars" by actor Jack Klugman because, at that time, Parisella was training horses for a stable of movie stars that included Klugman, Caan and Telly Savalas. He went drinking with Mantle; cajoled Steinbrenner into helping Joe Pepitone and lived with James Caan at the height of Caan's fame; became Pitino's close friend and was the intermediary with the New York Knicks as he orchestrated Pitino's move to become head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky; and, as Bethenny Frankel's stepfather, was the father-figure in the future Reality TV star's life as she was growing up.

The long list of notable figures with whom the TRAINER TO THE STARS was connected includes "Broadway Joe" Namath . . . Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater . . . iconic actor James Stewart . . . lead singer Bono of the mega-group U2 . . . former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones . . . and New York City shock jock Howard Stern . . . as they, too, are among the many stars within John Parisella's almost-unimaginable orbit. He was even befriended by John A. Gotti, son of the man called The Teflon Don, mob boss John J. Gotti.

John Parisella lived faster than his horses ran, burning through millions of dollars as a result of his generosity and profligate spending. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he endured addictive behaviors associated with the condition—drug abuse and compulsive gambling. From the Streets of Brooklyn to Trainer to the Stars shares the whole story with never told behind-the-scenes conversations and dealings that helped make history.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940161240281
Publisher: Hit the Mark Books
Publication date: 05/20/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 669,280
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

DENNY DRESSMAN concluded a 44-year newspaper career in June 2007, retiring from the Rocky Mountain News in Denver after 25 years. From 1992 to 2001 he was vice president for labor and human resources at the News. Earlier, he was city editor at The Cincinnati Enquirer and editor of the Oakland Tribune. He began his career as a sports writer at The Kentucky Post and the Courier-Journal & Louisville Times. He was inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame in 2008.

Dressman served as president of the Colorado Authors’ League, the state’s oldest professional writers organization, for two and a half years, from January 2016 through June 2018. Author of one book in Cincinnati in 1981, he resumed writing books in 2005, and his ninth book, Beyond The Camps – From Japanese-American Internment Nightmare To ‘American Dream’ was published in April 2018. This biography of horse trainer John Parisella is his tenth book.

His past books—all nonfiction—include a biography of iconic Grambling football coach Eddie Robinson titled EDDIE ROBINSON ‘... he was the Martin Luther King of football’ that was a Colorado Books Awards finalist; first-person accounts of the wartime experiences of 36 veterans from northeast Colorado titled Sterling Heroes of World War II; a behind-the-scenes true story about the 1970 Major League Baseball All-Star Game titled HEARD but not SEEN: Richard Nixon, Frank Robinson and The All-Star Game’s most debated play; and The Idea Within: David Griggs and his quest for meaning in public art.

Dressman has edited a dozen other books; written for several magazines; taught writing and editing in the University of Denver’s University College continuing education program; and won several writing awards. He is a past president of the Colorado Press Association, the trade organization representing the state’s newspapers.

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