November 6, 1988 |
It was like seven Dempsey-Tunney fights the same night, a whole card of Ali-Fraziers. It was like seeing Notre Dame and USC play nine quarters. Horse racing got jealous of the Super Bowls, Final Fours, Wimbledons, U.S. Opens. To be on the "in," nowadays, to be fashionable, a sporting event needs a Roman numeral. Like Popes, Czars, Rocky movies, Caesar's campaigns and rich kids, you need a whole bunch of X's and V's to make yourself important.
July 16, 1987 |
Jack Van Berg must have known something. Wednesday, needing only one win to become the first trainer to reach the 5,000 mark, Van Berg and his far-flung stable had horses starting at Louisiana Downs, Ak-Sar-Ben in Nebraska and Arlington Park in suburban Chicago. One of three horses he entered at Ak-Sar-Ben went off at 3-5 odds. Van Berg's only starter at Louisiana Downs was also a heavy favorite.
March 12, 1989 |
Electric Flash caught Mr. Nickerson just before the finish Saturday and won the $87,300 Swift Stakes for 3-year-olds by a half-length at Aqueduct. Eddie Maple took Electric Flash up the middle of the track to overtake Mr. Nickerson, who had led most of the way in what turned out to be a battle of longshots. Mr. Nickerson, ridden by Herb McCauley, finished three-quarters of a length in front of Detonated, ridden by Julie Krone. Texian, the favorite, finished sixth in the eight-horse field.
November 15, 1987 |
Ferdinand is the best horse Charlie Whittingham ever trained. The evidence is incontestable. He won the Kentucky Derby. Charlie has had horses who won the Arc de Triomphe, Santa Anita Handicaps, Hollywood Gold Cups, Marlboro Cups, Del Mar Futurities. But only one won the Kentucky Derby. Other horses made him wealthy. Ferdinand made him famous. Jack Van Berg has trained horses almost as long as Charlie Whittingham. He was all but born in a stable.
August 16, 1994 |
For a few long hours Monday morning, Del Mar's first match race in 56 years looked as if it might be no match at all. Joe Harper, the thoroughbred track's president, had learned that Cool Air, who was to race against Soviet Problem on Sunday, had been scratched by trainer Gary Jones because of an infection. Greeted in the racing office by trainer Jack Van Berg, Harper replied glumly, "I was doing pretty well this morning until I found out Cool Air was out of our race Sunday."
June 18, 1987 |
Father's Day comes officially on Sunday, but it has already been observed by two horsemen who were successful in this year's Triple Crown races. After Alysheba's victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, trainer Jack Van Berg quickly thanked his late father for giving him the background that led to the winner's circle at Churchill Downs and Pimlico.