Monday, January 06, 2014
Hall of Fame Thoroughbred trainer Jack Van Berg will be the special guest at the New Mexico Horse Breeders’ Association annual business meeting and Zia Awards banquet on Thursday, January 30.
The meeting and banquet will be held at the Albuquerque Uptown Marriott Hotel at 2101 Louisiana Blvd. NE. The meeting will begin at 11 a.m. (MST), and the banquet will begin with a no-host cocktail hour at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and awards banquet at 7.
Included in the business meeting will be a buffet luncheon at 12:15, the election of trustees at 1:15, a “meet-and-greet” session with Van Berg and Chris Kotulak, and a presentation by Debra Laney, Norma Alvarez, and Brenda Alvarez, the partnership which raced 2013 All American Futurity (G1) winner Handsome Jack Flash, a New Mexico-bred son of AQHA champion and New Mexico-based sire First Moonflash.
Kotulak currently works as an on-air race analyst at Remington Park Racetrack in Oklahoma City and is the author of a biography on Van Berg, who began his still-active training career in 1955 and was inducted in the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1985.
Van Berg has trained the winners of more than 6,400 races and his runners have earned more than $83.2 million in purse money. A native of Nebraska, he was the leading trainer during the Ak-Sar-Ben meet in Omaha from 1959-77.
In 1987, Van Berg became the first trainer to win 5,000 career races. The following season, he won the Kentucky Derby (G1), Preakness Stakes (G1), and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) with Alysheba, the 1988 Horse of the Year.
Van Berg also has served as a mentor to many leading Thoroughbred trainers, including Bill Mott and Frank Brothers, both of whom were assistants to Van Berg before striking out on their own.
Kotulak will also serve as master of ceremonies for the Zia Awards banquet that night. A native of Omaha, he has performed many roles in racing, including calling the races at a number of tracks and appearing on camera as a host and handicapper. Before he joined the team at Remington, he was an anchor and reporter at TVG from 2003-11.
Meeting and banquet attendees are eligible for a reduced room rate of $105 per night, plus tax, by contacting the hotel at (505) 881-6800 and identifying themselves as an NMHBA member.
To make reservations for the annual business meeting and banquet, contact the NMHBA office in Albuquerque at (505) 262-0224.