A Look Back at FL-Bred Gate Dancer and a Wild 1st Breeders’ Cup

In 1984, I had the pleasure to attend the inaugural running of the Breeders’ Cup as a reporter for The Florida Horse. My brother in law, Bryan Howlett, was farm manager for Tartan Farms, and by coincidence John Nerud was president and trainer for Tartan Farms.

He also happened to be on the board of the Breeders’ Cup and was a very big deal in that organization. One morning before the races, I happened to run into Nerud, and he invited me to ride with him around the Santa Anta facilities.

Nerud, the trainer of Dr. Fager and many other horses for Tartan Farms, lived to be 102.

What a thrill that was, and the thrills didn’t end there. Gate Dancer was running in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Gate Dancer was a Florida-bred, and an extremely good one…

Famed Racehorse Trainer Jack Van Berg Passes Away at 81

He fell one win short of Triple Crown prestige with Alysheba

LOS ANGELES — Jack Van Berg, who walked the barns of Southern California race tracks for more than 40 years and remained haunted by the Triple Crown he never won, died Wednesday in Little Rock, Ark., from complications of cancer. He was 81. Van Berg, always adorned in a cowboy hat befitting his upbringing in rural… [Read more…]

Great Horse Racing Videos – R.I.P. Jack Van Berg

We’re sad to hear of the passing of legendary horseman and trainer Jack Van Berg.  Jack’s accomplishments are too long and deep to list here, but the first major horse of his that was a favorite of mine was the exciting runner Gate Dancer.  The Hall of Fame trainer would parlay that success on the national stage to  Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Breeders’ Cup Classic wins with the great Alysheba.

Rest in peace, Jack.

https://youtu.be/P6RFGkD9yFU