ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 29, 2013)–Sunday’s fourth race at Santa Anita, dubbed “Ted Di Nunzio’s 100th Birthday Celebration,” honored the gregarious Di Nunzio, who will mark his 100th birthday on Monday and who works about a half mile from Santa Anita’s main track quarter pole as an official door greeter at Nordstrom Santa Anita, in the Westfield Shopping Mall.
Joined by a large group of family and friends, and with the nearby San Gabriel Mountains serving as a striking backdrop, Di Nunzio was all smiles and cut a bright, enthusiast figure in the Winner’s Circle alongside jockey Irving Orozco, who won Sunday’s fourth race with Tribal Spy.
“He’s an inspiration to us, he’s an example for us,” said Nordstrom Store Manager Marcille Hughes. “Ted is kind, people love him and he loves others in return. We couldn’t be happier to have him at Nordstrom and have him here with us today. He’s just good for everybody!
“He makes people feel wonderful and he leaves us all with a sense of feeling valued and cared about. We love him.”
Di Nunzio, who took the Nordstrom job at the tender age of 86, has been working at Nordstrom Arcadia every week for the past 14 years and is admired by employees and customers, alike.
When asked what his secret is to living a long and happy life, Di Nunzio replied, “Faith and staying positive is my secret. Always be nice to people and always smile. I say hello to everybody, even if I don’t know them.”
Di Nunzio also allowed that he keeps tabs on the local racing scene.
“I look in the paper for the results every day,” he said. “I look for guys like (trainers) Neil Drysdale and Martin Jones. I remember when Shoemaker used to ride and I always follow racing through the paper. I like to read about the horses.”
And we like meeting people like Ted Di Nunzio. Here’s hoping he chooses The Great Race Place to celebrate his 101st year!!