Columbus, Nebraska native Jack Van Berg has died. He was 81.
The Hall of Fame horse trainer died today in a Little Rock, Arkansas hospital, according to a spokeswoman for Oaklawn Park, where Van Berg had relocated his training base after leaving Southern California in 2013. No cause was given.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, Van Berg was the leading trainer at the Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack in Omaha from 1959-77 and again in 1984.
In 1987, he trained Alysheba to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. That horse’s try for the 1987 Triple Crown came up short with a fourth-place finish in the Belmont.
Van Berg ranks fourth all-time among trainers in North America with 6,523 victories, according to Equibase. He had career purse earnings of almost $86 million.