Trainer Jack Van Berg Dies at 81

Entered Hall of Fame in 1985; trained Alysheba.


the son of Hall of Fame trainer Marion Van Berg, died Dec. 27. The 81-year-old conditioner had been hospitalized at Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock, Ark., due to complications from cancer.

Van Berg, who entered the Hall of Fame in 1985, ranks fourth on the all-time win list for North American-based trainers with 6,523 victories. His runners earned more than $85 million.

His most famous runner was Alysheba, winner of the 1987 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1). After being named champion 3-year-old male of 1987, he was dubbed “America’s Horse” and earned Horse of the Year and champion older male crowns following his victory in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Alysheba, who entered the Racing Hall of Fame in 1993, raced for Dorothy and Pamela Scharbauer and earned a then record $6,679,242 (surpassing John Henry) with 11 wins from 26 starts.

Van Berg also had classic success with Gate Dancer, winner of the 1984 Preakness.

Among the many accomplishments of Van Berg, he was the first trainer to reach the 5,000-win plateau on July 15, 1987. In 1976 he set a record for the most wins in a year with 496 and was also the leading trainer by earnings. He won the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer in 1984.

Van Berg’s beginnings were in the West, where he sent out his first winner in 1957. A few years later, he was the leading trainer at Ak-Sar-Ben in Nebraska for years, where he was able to be the leading trainer in the country by wins nine times between 1968-86.

At the time Alysheba came along, Van Berg had more than 150 horses in training for some 35-40 clients. The majority of his horses trained at his center near Goshen, Ky.

A $500,000 sale yearling bred by Preston Madden, Alysheba “was a little light because he hadn’t been prepped that much,” Van Berg said in 1987. “He had an air about him. He was very well balanced, and he had that look.”

While not as accomplished as others for the classics, Alysheba had an entrapped epiglottis, and a new technique was performed by Dr. Scott Merrell following a second-place finish in the San Felipe Handicap (G1). Alysheba returned to the track to finish first in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, but was disqualified and placed third. In a famed Derby stretch run where he bumped with Bet Twice and almost fell, Alysheba rallied under Chris McCarron to win by three-quarters of a length.

The BloodHorse‘s editor, Ed Bowen, wrote after the Derby: “The day after he won the Kentucky Derby with Alysheba, Van Berg spoke of his father’s gruffness with affection. As a boss, Marion Van Berg had a tendency to call his male help ‘boy,’ regardless of whether the individual being addressed happened to be his grown son.

“‘I never sassed him, because I had too much respect for him,” the son said, and he recalled that his father’s technique of helping others learn often was to let them try for themselves, and then point out their mistakes.”

After Alysheba’s win in the Preakness, he failed to land the Triple Crown finishing fourth behind Bet Twice, Cryptoclearance, and Gulch in the Belmont Stakes (G1). Later that year Alysheba finished second to fellow Derby winner Ferdinand in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The following year Alysheba won seven of nine starts and closed out his career with four straight grade 1 wins: the Philip H. Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park, the Woodward Handicap at Belmont Park, the Meadowlands Cup Handicap, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, where he defeated runner-up Seeking the Gold by a half-length.

Van Berg later moved his base to Southern California, but he was unable to maintain his winning level. A mid-1980s land development deal soured, and so did his business. He resurfaced in the 2010s at Oaklawn Park and began to rebuild his stable. He was recognized of late motoring around the backstretches on a scooter and he would often watch his horses train from a pickup truck parked on the grandstand apron.



1941 – 2017 Obituary Condolences

Peter L. "Pete" Orlando Sr. Obituary
Peter L. “Pete” Orlando, Sr. passed away on Friday, November 17, 2017 while doing what he loved to do, tending to his horses, in Folsom, LA. He was born on March 13, 1941 in New Orleans, LA to the late Lawrence Joseph Orlando, Sr. and Elaine Debelo Orlando. Pete was married to his beloved wife, Pamela Rinck Orlando, for 51 years. He was the loving father of Peter L. Orlando, Jr. (Lisa), Philip J. Orlando (Jamie), and Elaine O. Marquize (Kip). Pete was the proud grandfather of Jacob, Luke, and Nicholas Orlando, Lucy, Jillian, and Kasey Orlando, and Isaac and Rachel Marquize. He was the brother of Lawrence J. Orlando, Jr., Josie O. Adams, Eva O. Vinsanau, and the late Nick H. Orlando.

Pete is also survived by nieces, nephews, cousins and his beloved aunt, Eve “Aunty” Romano. Relatives and friends are invited to the Funeral Mass at E.J. Fielding Funeral Home, 2260 W. 21st Avenue, Covington, LA 70433 on Saturday, November 25, 2017 at 12:00 Noon with visitation from 10:00 AM until Mass time. Please Share a Memory on the Tribute Wall at

Published in from Nov. 21 to Nov. 25, 2017

Former racing executive Al Stall Sr. dies at 85

By Marcus Hersh

Albert Stall Sr., a former longtime chairman of the Louisiana Racing Commission and a prominent Thoroughbred owner, died Sunday in New Orleans at 85. He was the father of four children, including the Breeders’ Cup Classic-winning trainer Al Stall Jr.

Al Stall Sr. was born in Cairo, Ill., but came to New Orleans with his family as a child. Stall’s father worked in the Louisiana oil fields, and Stall got into the oil business himself after becoming a geologist. Stall first went to the races at Fair Grounds as a teenager in New Orleans and quickly was smitten with the racing bug. He became chairman of the LRC in 1972 and during more than 20 years in that position helped introduce turf racing, Sunday racing, and exotics betting to Louisiana racetracks.

Stall had a long and successful career as a horse owner, winning many major races alone or in partnerships. His Lady Vi-E captured the 1970 Kentucky Oaks, and Combat Ready won the New Orleans Handicap in 1973.

Stall had been living with Alzheimer’s for more than a decade, according to Al Stall Jr., who said services were to be arranged Monday.

Obituary for Doyle Wardrop

Memorial services for Doyle Reece Wardrop will be 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, August 22, 2017, at the Freedom United Methodist Church with Rev. Carolyn Murrow officiating. Arrangements were entrusted to Marshall Funeral Home of Alva.

Doyle Reece Wardrop, 67, was born November 15, 1949, to Foy Reece and Nena Mae (Olson) Wardrop at Alva General Hospital in Alva, Oklahoma, and passed away August 16, 2017, at Alva, Oklahoma.

Doyle grew up on the family farm 6.5 miles west of Camp Houston in western Woods County, Oklahoma. He started school at Centerview Rural School and graduated Freedom High School, Freedom, Oklahoma, in 1968. He attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University, majoring in Agriculture. He spent many hours working with Professor Leo Brandt showing livestock across the United States. In 1970, Doyle entered the U. S. Army at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and served with distinction until his honorable discharge in 1972.

Doyle started in the horse business near Lafayette, Louisiana, after his discharge from the Army. He was well known and respected in the Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred Racing Industry across the country, having trained numerous award winning horses. He owned and operated Southern Horse Transportation while managing Iron Horse Acres near Sunset, Louisiana.

In 2002, he returned home to Woods County and took over the operation of the family farm and ranch. He also managed the Jim Darnell Ranch in far northwest Woods County for many years. Doyle married Kay Decker in 2010. They continued to live on the farm until recently moving to Alva, Oklahoma.

Doyle served on the Woods County Election Board for many years, was Commander of Hatch-Vincent American Legion Post in Freedom, was a member of the Freedom Chamber of Commerce, the Cimarron Cowboys Association, served on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association, and was active in the Woods County Republican Party for a number of years.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Nena and Foy Wardrop.

Doyle is survived by his wife, Kay, of Alva; his daughter Kendra Wardrop Barrilleaux and his son-in-law, Adam Barrilleaux of Cypress, Texas; his daughter, Shelby Wardrop of Broussard, Louisiana; three granddaughters, Graison and Addison Barrilleaux of Cypress, Texas, and Bailey Wardrop of Broussard, Louisiana; three sisters, Connie Brown, Jana Stein, and Jill Elmore; numerous other relatives and many, many friends.

Memorial contributions may be made through the funeral home to the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Foundation for the Social Sciences Department Doyle Wardrop Fund.

Linda Plaisance Obituary

Graveside services for Linda Ann Plaisance will be held at 1:00 P.M. on Saturday, July 22, 2017, in St. Francis de Sales Cemetery, Echo, LA.

Visitation will be held from 12:30 P.M. until time of service in the cemetery on Saturday, July 22, 2017,

Linda Ann Plaisance, 67, of Loranger, passed away on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, in her residence.

She is survived by her husband Doug Plaisance; two sons, Douglas Plaisance and Donald Plaisance and wife, Michelle; one sister, Loretta Romero and husband, Gerald; one brother, David Marshall and wife, Sandra; along with four grandchildren, Emily, Donnie, Drew, and Douglas, IV.

To extend online notes of condolence to the Plaisance Family, please visit

Darlene Wahman Obituary

November 23, 1934 – May 27, 2017

Freddie Darlene Wahman, 82, of Alma passed away Saturday, May 27, 2017. She was born on November 23, 1934 in Los Angeles, CA to the late Raymond and Velta McKinney. She graduated from Mulberry High School. She was employed as a secretary at Fort Chaffee Hospital where she met her husband of 52 years, Dr. Gerald Wahman. Her interests were real estate investments, thoroughbred horses, the Razorbacks, the Airedales, and cooking. She enjoyed following all activities of her children and grandchildren. She was a member of First Baptist Church of Alma, and was preceded in death by her brother, Michael McKinney.

She is survived by her husband, Dr. Gerald Wahman of the home; five children, Cindy Henderson of Friendswood, TX, Jeff Wahman and wife Leveta of Van Buren, Lisa Jensen and husband Greg of Alma, Paul Wahman and wife Stacy of Mulberry, and Roger Wahman and wife Amy of Cedar Park, TX; twelve grandchildren, Amy Vazquez and husband Ray, Shane McWater and wife Kristy, and Darci Chambers and husband Kyle, all of Friendswood, TX, Payton Wahman of Van Buren, Gunner Jensen and wife Britney of Oklahoma City, Gage, Garrison, and Gabriel Jensen, all of Alma, Katie, Nicholas, and Alayna Wahman, all of Cedar Park, TX, and eight great-grandchildren, Elena, Ray, and Ava Vazquez, Madelyn and Andrew McWater, and Jesse, Eli, and Katie Chambers, all of Friendswood, TX.

Funeral service will be 10:00 a.m. Thursday, June 1, 2017 at First Baptist Church of Alma with interment to follow at Evergreen Cemetery, under the direction of Edwards Van-Alma Funeral Home of Van Buren.

Pallbearers will be Payton Wahman, Gunner Jensen, Gage Jensen, Garrison Jensen, Gabriel Jensen, Jackson Wahman, Nicholas Wahman, and Shane McWater.

The family will visit with friends from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at Edwards Van-Alma Funeral Home, 4100 Alma Highway, Van Buren, AR.

Longtime Breeder Judy Agular Obituary

Judy Louise Agular passed away suddenly on May 18, 2017 at the age of 66.  Her family and friends will dearly miss her kind and energetic spirit.

For many years Judy was involved in the thoroughbred industry in Louisiana as a breeder and owner of race horses.  A longtime member of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association, she greatly enjoyed the many relationships she made in horse racing statewide, from the farm to the track.

Judy’s compassion was best expressed through her love of animals, including her many dogs, cats and horses, which she enthusiastically cared for.  Her concern with the welfare of thoroughbred horses led her to become actively involved with the Louisiana Horse Rescue Association, where she served as a Director, helping to raise awareness of aftercare for horses.

A memorial service will be held at 10:00 am on Thursday May 25th in Folsom, LA at Elite Thoroughbred Farm.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested for the Louisiana Horse Rescue Association, P.O. Box 10204, New Orleans, LA 70181.

Sandra Duke Obituary

Sandra Kay Duke, wife of trainer Steve Duke passed away on Sunday, May 21, 2017. She was 63.

Sandra was a resident of Texas.

She graduated from Bloomburg High School in 1972.

Services will be 2:00 pm Tuesday May 23 2017 at First Baptist Church in Atlanta Texas under the direction of Hanner Funeral Service with Bro. Jeremiah Moss and Bro. Dale Perkins officiating.Visitation will be from 6pm- 8pm Monday May 22 2017 at Hanner Funeral Service.Interment will be in New Hope Cemetery Bloomburg Texas.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to Hospice of Texarkana whose dedicated service and ministry has been a tremendous blessing to Sandra and the family during the past several months.

Trainer Richie Scherer Dies at Age 53

Trainer Richard “Richie” Scherer, who enjoyed success at tracks throughout the Midwest and in his native Louisiana, died May 20 at age 53.

Scherer battled papillary kidney cancer for several years. His brother, Merrill Scherer, reported Richie Scherer’s death and saluted him on social media.

“I’ve had many sports athletes that I’ve looked up to growing up as a kid, but really I only had two heroes: my older brothers Richie Scherer and Gary Scherer. A little past midnight on May 20 I lost one of those heroes, my oldest brother Richie,” Merrill Scherer wrote. “After nearly a five-year bout with cancer—which he won by the way he lived his life—Richie is now cancer free and in heaven, where he belongs with all the other angels.”

Richie Scherer trained horses along with his brother Gary and father Merrill. In December 2008, all three won a race on a single card at their hometown track, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Gary Scherer noted on Facebook that “the rail will never be the same,” following the loss of his brother.

Among Richie Scherer’s 65 black-type stakes wins are five graded victories: the 2012 Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap (G3T) at Fair Grounds with Mr. Vegas, the 2004 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (G2T) at Fair Grounds with Mystery Giver, the 1999 Hawthorne Derby (G3T) with Minor Wisdom, and the 1999 Locust Grove Handicap (G3) and Ashland Mile Stakes (G3) both at Churchill Downs and both won by Shires Ende.

Richie Scherer secured his first stakes win in 1990 at Canterbury Parkwith Hero’s Countess.

Roger Hunt, Sr., Obituary


And a resident of Mt. Hermon died at 7:15 pm Tuesday April 18, 2017 at Lakeview Regional Medical Center. He was a farrier for 38 years, shoeing horses for about 100 clients throughout southeast Louisiana and nearby Mississippi counties. Roger loved trail riding with his covered wagon and horses, his favorite of which was Chic, that passed on a few years before. He was known as Roger Buck to many of his friends and he enjoyed the outdoors and spending time at the campfire. He loved to visit Tennessee regularly and visit the Amish country there. He adored his grandchildren and family. Roger and his wife had a special saying to each other…
“I Love You a whole bunch, and more every day.”

Survived by:

Wife of 45 years: Dody Hunt of Mt. Hermon

Son and Daughter in law: Roger Hunt, Jr. and Kelly Hunt of Franklinton

5 Grandchildren: Cody Winget,
Wyatt Winget,
Gage Winget,
Blaze Winget,
Tyler Hunt

Parents: Dee and June Hunt of Covington

Brother and Sister in law: Richard and Samantha Hunt of Covington

2 Sisters and Brothers in law: Brenda and Raymond Clelland of Covington,
Diane and Hershel Dunn of Carriere, MS

Also numerous nieces, nephews, brothers in law, sisters in law and many friends.

Visitation will be at Crain Funeral Home Saturday April 22nd from 10 am until 2 pm. A funeral service will be held at 2 pm Saturday in the funeral home chapel. Burial will follow in the Mt. Hermon Cemetery.

Pallbearers: Gage Winget, Raymond Clelland, Bruce Clelland, Brian Clelland, Jamie Ladner, Floyd Magee

Honorary Pallbearers are grandchildren Cody, Wyatt, Blaze and Tyler

Obituaries can be viewed online at


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