Jack Van Berg (June 7, 1936 – December 27, 2017) was an American Hall of Fame horse trainer…. who was born into a horse racing family….as his father, Marion Van Berg was the Hall of Fame trainer too….as both father and son have been inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York.
For nineteen straight years between 1959 and 1977, Jack Van Berg was the leading trainer at Ak-Sar-Ben Racetrack in Omaha, Nebraska….when in 1976, he set a record for the most wins in a year with 496….and was also the United States Champion Thoroughbred Trainer by earnings….and as the trainer of Gate Dancer, he was voted the 1984 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer….then in 1985, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. In 1987 he received the Big Sport of Turfdom Award…..and was also an inductee of the Nebraska Racing Hall of Fame.
On July 15, 1987, Van Berg became the first trainer to win 5,000 races when he sent Art’s Chandelle to victory at Arlington Park. As at the end of September 2008, Jack Van Berg ranks second all-time in career wins among American Thoroughbred trainers.
Van Berg is best known for training Alysheba….who won the first two legs of the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes….and won the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Classic….and he has mentored many top trainers, including Hall of Famer Bill Mott and Frank Brothers….both of whom started off as assistants to Van Berg who led all American trainers in wins nine times.