Updated on 09/15/2011 1:57PM

Jimmy Jones dead at 94


MARYVILLE, Mo. -- H.A. "Jimmy" Jones, trainer of Kentucky Derby winners Iron Leige and Tim Tam and one of the most popular figures in horse racing over the past half century, died here early Sunday afternoon at St. Francis Hospital, where he had been bedridden since last May. He was 94.

"His kidneys hadn't been good," said Hale Sanders, a friend of Jones since childhood. "But if he was in any pain, he didn't speak of it. About three days ago he slipped into a kind of semi-coma and just went to sleep. He died around 2:30 in the afternoon."

Born Nov. 24, 1906, Jones was the oldest living member of the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame. With his father, the legendary Ben A. Jones, they made up the famous "Jones Boys" training team from the tiny town of Parnell, in northwest Missouri. Together, they accounted for nine national training championships and eight victories in the Kentucky Derby between 1938 and 1961.

Jimmy Jones emerged from the shadow of his famous father to become widely respected as the trainer of Citation, the 1948 Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year, who became racing's first millionaire in 1950. Although it was Ben Jones who saddled Citation for his victory in the '48 Kentucky Derby, it was Jimmy who trained the champion throughout rest of his stellar career, which at one point included a 16-race winning streak.

Working privately for the powerful Calumet Farm stable, Jimmy Jones was North America's leading trainer in 1947-49, 1957 and 1961. He retired from training in 1964 to become director of racing at Monmouth Park, a position he held until 1976. For the past 25 years--until last spring--Jones was a regular at the Kentucky Derby as well as other industry gatherings. He also spent every winter in Miami, going to the races at Gulfstream Park.

Jones will be buried in the Jones family plot in Rose Hill Cemetery on the outskits of Parnell. The date for the funeral service is pending. Jones is survived by his sister, Pauline Kneale, of Jefferson City, Mo.