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 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 40,000 starters, made more than 6,400 trips to the winners circle and earned more than $83,000,000 in earnings.