05/14/2014 11:40AM

Oy gevalt! Derby-winning trainer is a nice Jewish boy

Barbara D. Livingston
Art Sherman (left), with his son and assistant Alan, was born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents.

BALTIMORE – Since winning the Kentucky Derby, Art Sherman has been interviewed by NBC, Fox, TVG, HRTV, and members of print media, including a publication for those of the Jewish faith that wanted to know how this nice Jewish boy came to train the winner of the Derby.

Yes, little Arthur Sherman, born in Brooklyn, raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, didn’t grow up to be a doctor or a lawyer. Instead, this son of a barber became a jockey, then a trainer, owing to his size, 5-foot-2. His younger brother, Jack, became a psychologist. Art Sherman gravitated to the racetrack.

Sherman follows some Jewish cultural customs but does not practice the religion.

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“I never even had a bar mitzvah,” Sherman said recently at Los Alamitos, where he is based. “I went to Hebrew school. One day, my teacher hit me on the head. I told my parents I’m not going back to learn from this idiot.”

Sherman said his parents were not religious. But his nieces – the daughters of his late older sister, Gladys – have a Passover seder every year, and Sherman tries to make it.

“We probably have more gentiles than Jews at the table,” Sherman said.

Sherman loves ethnic Jewish food. His favorite deli in the San Diego area is the well-known D.Z. Akin’s, near San Diego State University, about 25 miles from his home in Rancho Bernardo.

“Akin’s, they have the best matzoh ball soup,” Sherman said. “I like going there for Jewish soul food – lox, eggs, onions.”

Sherman is not the first Jewish person to train a Derby winner. For instance, Max Hirsch, a Hall of Famer, won the race three times, including in 1946 with Assault, who won the Triple Crown.

Other well-known Jewish trainers include the late racing Hall of Famers Bobby Frankel and Hirsch Jacobs, both of whom are also in the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Israel, as are Walter Blum, a former jockey who is now a steward, and the late jockey Bill Harmatz.

Sherman’s late mother would be proud to have her son in such company.

Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Anytime you see big, money to be made you see a Jew ... Hal King did well on so cal circuit
nico wright More than 1 year ago
mr.Sherman does not own the horse. He is a HARD WORKING trainer who earns a salary from the non-jewish owners of California Chrome. Your comment is nothing but recycled anti-semitism, its obvious to all you truly have NO IDEA what youre talking about
Baba Booey More than 1 year ago
Enjoy your can of Spam for dinner.
Michael Zeisler 9 months ago
Very much of anti-semi comment
Mark More than 1 year ago
Don't forget the crafty Alan Goldberg and the old pro Howie Tesher.
Walter More than 1 year ago
And David Jacobson?
david carpenter More than 1 year ago
I wonder if California Chrome will get a circumcision?
ponyace More than 1 year ago
I selflessly volunteer to accompany him to Katz's if he makes it to New York.
Roberta More than 1 year ago
Why is it significant to mention?
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
No need to take it so seriously. Take it as just another, "fun fact" to know about Art Sherman. It's like knowing that Kayla Stra owns a hot yoga studio, or Victor Espinoza used to own a gym, etc. I enjoy knowing about the personal lives of the trainers and jockeys. Maybe the fact that we know so little about people such as, for example, Jerry Hollendorfer and Todd Pletcher, makes it a bit hard for most fans to warm to them. So relax, Roberta and others questioning the point of this article.
Joseph Rotell More than 1 year ago
Maybe Sherman is feeding cali chrome matzoh ball soup also ?
MGropenSDREADER More than 1 year ago
Nice family barn, unpretentious owners, over-achieving horse. Never though he was in the same league as Shared Belief, but this is a funny game, and the twists and turns--though daunting to many handicappers--make it interesting. It's easy to get on board now, and although a Pimlico triumph seems more than possible, that long, long home stretch at Belmont will be the final arbiter. Very good chestnut, sure. Great? Check back on Saturday, then on another day in June to see. No wagering value in the Preakness if he wins, though some nice exacta combos may be waiting.
BIG PLAY More than 1 year ago
No, but look who wrote it. Pathetic
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
Is there a reason for this kind of article?
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Yes there is! Interesting facts about the people behind the game garners more fans. I'm not Jewish, but like knowing his background and interests. I'd love to know if Cali Chrome has any favorite treats or personality quirks too. These types of articles warm people up to horseracing. Does anyone even know anything about Todd Pletcher besides his stable of well bred horses and well heeled owners? For example, even though Bobby Frankel was a well known curmudgeon, it was fascinating to know that he skipped a Breeder's Cup because he didn't want to leave his beloved dog who was in failing health. That made me a Frankel fan for life.
Peter Murphy More than 1 year ago
Don't forget trainer Skippy Shapoff, a New York regular some years back.