02/16/2015 5:01PM

Former trainer Dorfman dies at 92


ARCADIA, Calif. – Leonard Dorfman, who trained such well-known California-based stakes winners as Biggs, Joni U. Bar, McCann’s Mojave, and Travel Orb in a 46-year training career, died Sunday, according to a statement released Monday by Santa Anita’s publicity department.

Dorfman was 92. He had been living with family in Round Rock, Texas, in recent years following his retirement from training in 2005.

Dorfman was a fixture at racetracks in the West from the late 1930s, when he “officially claimed to be 16,” he was quoted as saying in the 1989 Hollywood Park media guide. Dorfman, who was born in Winnipeg, Canada, served in the U.S. Army in World War II in Belgium and Germany and resumed racetrack work after the war as a stable foreman.

In 1959, Dorfman began training. His career highlights included wins by Biggs in the 1965 San Gabriel Handicap at Santa Anita, Travel Orb in the Californian Stakes and American Handicap at Hollywood Park in 1966, Minnesota Chief in the Cinema Handicap and La Jolla Mile in 1981, and Joni U. Bar in the 1987 June Darling Stakes at Del Mar.

Dorfman’s final stakes winner was McMann’s Mojave, whose dam was Joni U. Bar. Co-owned by Santa Anita publicist Mike Willman, McCann’s Mojave won the 2005 Sensational Star Handicap for Dorfman. The horse was later trained by Paddy Gallagher and Steve Specht.

Dorfman won 205 races in his career at Hollywood Park and 158 races at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

“He was such a kind and gentle man,” retired jockey Don Pierce told Santa Anita publicity. “He was without a doubt one of the finest horsemen I ever rode for. Leonard was always straight up with me. When he told me he had something for me to ride, they were live, believe me.”

Services are pending. Dorfman is survived by his wife, Marlene, and daughter, Lisa Crisks.