05/01/2017 12:26PM

Rough time for Van Berg

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LOUISVILLE. Ky. - Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg had hoped for a joyous celebration of the 30-year anniversary of his 1987 Kentucky Derby victory with Alysheba by having a starter in the Derby this year.

Instead, Van Berg is back at Churchill Downs with a heavy heart – and not because none of his 3-year-olds panned out. His oldest son and former longtime assistant, Tim Van Berg, died suddenly April 19 at his California home at age 59.

“Unfortunately, when The Man points his finger at you, it’s time to go,” Van Berg said early Monday at his Barn 47 headquarters. “We believe he went into a diabetic coma and died.”

Van Berg ran three 3-year-olds in Derby preps at Oaklawn Park this year – Love That Lute, Appalachian Gem, and One Dreamy Dude – but none finished better than seventh. Even at age 80, he remains confident that he’ll have a horse to emulate Alysheba in a future Derby.

“I’m going to win another one,” he said.

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