02/18/2008 12:00AM

Hall of Fame trainer Sid Watters dies


Sid Watters Jr., a Hall of Fame steeplechase trainer who also enjoyed tremendous success on the flats, died on Feb. 14 at his home in Maryland. He was 90. According to published reports, Watters had been hospitalized a few days earlier with pneumonia.

After beginning in racing as a steeplechase rider, Watters became a six-time leading trainer in steeplechase racing, beginning his career in 1947. He trained steeplechase horses until 1973, and over that period he won 448 races.

By 1970, Watters was already a successful trainer on the flats and campaigned Hoist the Flag, that year's 2-year-old champion. In 1983, Watters trained Slew o' Gold, who was voted champion 3-year-old by virtue of victories in the Wood Memorial, Peter Pan, Woodward, and Jockey Club Gold Cup. Slew o' Gold also finished second to Caveat in the Belmont Stakes.

Other top flat horses trained by Watters include Slewpy, Love Sign, and Quick Call. Watters's major stakes victories include the Alabama, Beldame, Matron, and the Meadowlands Cup.

Watters stopped training in 1999.

In 2005, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, he was too ill to attend the ceremony. Watters was introduced by Jane Forbes Clark, the chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, whose family owned horses trained by Watters. Clark told the audience that Watters "embodies the Hall of Fame. He has character, integrity, sportsmanship and a brilliant career."