ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 15, 2018)–The Santa Anita Park family mourned Thursday morning upon the news of popular longtime Broadcast Department member Lou Villasenor’s unexpected passing at age 58.
Employed at Santa Anita for more than 40 years, Villasenor was walking to the car with his brother Jose, preparing to come to work from their home in nearby El Monte when he announced he was dizzy and collapsed. Villasenor had a history of heart trouble, including a major heart attack approximately five years ago. He passed away at Arcadia Methodist Hospital, just across the street from Santa Anita.
“Lou was just simply a good human being and a very dear friend, never mind being a terrific and loyal employee,” said Amy Zimmerman, Vice President of Business Coordination & Director of Broadcasting who worked with Villasenor for more than 30 years. “He loved racing and he loved Santa Anita, and everyone here truly loved him. Lou is one of those people you will never, ever forget. Generous, dependable, dedicated and blessed with a great sense of humor. Lou’s passions were his family, travel, his friends and his LA Kings.
“Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to his family at this terrible time.”
A graduate of Arcadia High School, Villasenor was first employed at Santa Anita as a Marketing Department aide while still a student. Over time, he had many roles as a Television Department staffer, including camera, graphics operator and technical director. He was also an integral part of HRTV’s production and coordination for many years.
Villasenor’s work experience extended to all Southern California racetracks, as he was employed for many years on a seasonal basis at Hollywood Park, Del Mar and Fairplex Park.
At the time of his passing, Villasenor was working as Santa Anita’s simulcast supervisor, as he oversaw the distribution of all racetrack signals broadcast over Santa Anita’s on-track system of television monitors.
Deeply steeped in the ways and traditions of racing, Villasenor’s father was a longtime groom for the legendary Johnny Longden, who embarked upon a long and distinguished training career following a Hall of Fame run as one of racing’s all-time great jockeys.
In addition to his father’s extensive backside experience, Lou Villasenor’s brother, Jose, had been a longtime assistant to trainer Hector Palma.
Funeral services for Lou, who would have been 59 on Dec. 13, are pending and will be announced in the coming days.