Jack Van Berg
Born: June 7, 1936, Columbus, Nebraska
- Jack Van Berg followed in the path of his father, Hall of Fame trainer, Marion Van Berg. He was leading trainer for nineteen consecutive years between 1959 and 1977 at Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha, Nebraska and was a two-time leading trainer at Oaklawn in 1983 and ’84.
- In his third meet since returning to Hot Springs, Van Berg has been lighting up the tote board and through Feb. 17, he has won eight races to rank fourth in the trainer standings. Among his best horses this year are promising 3-year-olds Cutacorner and Giant Trick. His two main owners are Jerry Caroom of Hot Springs and country music star Toby Keith.
- In 1984, Gate Dancer, who had finished third in that year’s Arkansas Derby, helped put Van Berg on the map by winning the Preakness and the Super Derby and earned him the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer. In 1985, he was inducted to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.
- The best horse Van Berg ever trained was Alysheba. He earned victories in 1987 in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and 1988 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Alysheba retired with $6,679,242 in earnings.
- On July 15, 1987 Van Berg became the first trainer to win 5,000 races when he saddled Art’s Chandelle to victory at Arlington Park.
- Jack Van Berg has mentored many top trainers in his day, including Hall of Famer Bill Mott and Frank Brothers, both of whom started off as assistant trainers to Van Berg.
- In his career, Van Berg has saddled more than 40,700 starters and through Feb. 17 was just two wins away from 6,466 career victories, which would place him fourth on the all-time list among North American trainers.