09/19/2013 2:00PM

Van Berg will relocate stable to the Midwest


Jack Van Berg, the Hall of Fame trainer who has spent the last 20-plus years primarily in Southern California, announced Thursday on a national teleconference that he is returning to live and work in the Midwest, where he spent many of his most successful years in racing.

Van Berg, 77, called the teleconference primarily to promote his new book, “Jack, From Grit to Glory,” authored by Chris Kotulak, and his upcoming participation in the “Breeders’ Cup Experience” at the Nov. 1-2 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita. Van Berg said he will leave California after the Betfair Hollywood meet ends in December and move to Oaklawn Park in Arkansas for the winter and then on to Kentucky in the spring.

Van Berg, with 6,417 victories, is fourth all-time in career wins, behind only Dale Baird, Steve Asmussen, and Jerry Hollendorfer. He led the national standings in wins nine times and was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1985, one year after earning the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer. He is best known for his work with Alysheba, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 1987 and the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1988.

Van Berg has struggled in recent years in California, averaging less than 10 wins a year since 2002. He is just 1 for 93 in 2013 and currently has about 16 horses in his stable at Hollywood.

Veronica Covatch More than 1 year ago
In 1980 I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with Jack when I was dating his stepson while in the Marine Corps. He was always very gracious and down to earth. I am so glad he's moving closer to my side of the country! Best wishes always.
Margi Foley More than 1 year ago
Both Frank Brothers and Wayne Catalano, among others, took their lessons from Jack Van Berg. Catalano has been basically tearing them up for a long time, but especially recently. What maybe a lot of people don't know is that Jack's greatest contribution as a teacher and mentor is some guy named Bill Mott! He raised and taught a Hall Of Fame trainer, and that's something that the University of Lukas has yet to do. It's kind of fitting, really, because Jack was the pioneer of the national operation, and Wayne just took it and ran with it. Lukas just took Jack Van Berg's model and turned it into a juggernaut.....and the face of racing was changed forever. And Jack Van Berg, God love him, started it all!
Walter More than 1 year ago
You forgot about Bill Mott, he was a JVB assistant also.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Sorry, yes you did mention Mott!
Kelly Knisley More than 1 year ago
A true horseman & a true man !
jackdsplns More than 1 year ago
Good for Jack.A hall of fame trainer one of the all time greats cannot win a race in California racing against the chronic drug cheaters.
Walter More than 1 year ago
My bet is JVB just didn't succumb to the methods that most of the other SoCal trainers use. Trainers like Jack, Ron McAnally, Bruce Headley & some other longtimers never forgot how to train, and the game didn't pass them by. They just choose to do it the old fashioned way. Train honestly. Good luck JVB.
ken n More than 1 year ago
Jack is the king of cheap claimers.Charetown $3000 claimers run for$ 17000.Jack is old school.Good luck Jack.
Charlie More than 1 year ago
If I'm handicapping Jack Van Berg the horse I'm thinking that the Midwest surfaces might be a little easier on those tender shins of his and the change of scenery rejuvenates his competitive spirit. Blinkers come off, tons of back class, look for him in the winner's circle. Today's best bet. Good luck to you Mr. Van Berg.
James F Webb More than 1 year ago
Van Berg isn't fashionable anymore. Too many owners with the big bucks necessary to buy the horses that can compete want one of the "big name" trainers. Give him Pletcher or anyone else's top horses and they'll run for Van Berg just as well as they did with their previous trainers.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Great guy and one of the best trainers to ever saddle a horse but it is a mystery as to why it took him so long to make this decision. I can't remember a time since the late 1980s when he had any horses who were serious competitors on the SoCal circuit.
Earl Rhodes More than 1 year ago
Come on lets be honest , even though I hate to say this ,and by no means do I mean any disrespect ,the game has passed him bye .
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
You're selling him short. Van Berg and his Father put the midwest on the map.