Trainer Warren A. “Jimmy” Croll died the evening of June 6 at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J., after a lengthy illness. The Hall of Famer who resided in Monmouth Beach, N.J., was 88.
"It's a great loss," said his son, Bill Croll. "He was sharp mentally until the day he died. The whole family was there."
Among the top horses trained by Croll were champions Parka, Forward Gal, Housebuster, and Horse of the Year Holy Bull, as well as influential sire Mr. Prospector.
Born March 9, 1920 in Bryn Mawr, Pa., Croll attended the University of Pennsylvania for two years before leaving school to work at the racetrack, first for Charlie Mills. He moved to New Jersey in 1946 for the opening of Monmouth Park and had returned every summer since.
Croll's first “big horse,” Parka, was claimed for $10,000 and went on to be top grass horse of 1965. Following Parka, Croll trained three other champions: Forward Gal (champion 2-year-old filly of 1970), Housebuster (champion sprinter of 1990 and 1991), and Holy Bull (Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old of 1994).
Croll also trained such notables as Mr. Prospector, who held the six-furlong track record at Gulfstream Park, and 1987 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Bet Twice, who was one of Croll’s three Haskell (gr. I) winners at Monmouth Park.
While a top conditioner for decades, Croll’s crowning achievement came in 1994 when he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Just one year prior, he inherited Holy Bull from longtime owner Rachel Carpenter, who passed away just before that horse broke his maiden.
Holy Bull went on to win the Florida Derby, Met Mile, Haskell, and Travers (all gr. I), before entering his stud career.
In 2002, Croll turned over the day-to-day operations of his stable to his son, William E. Croll, but remained active in racing as an owner. He is survived by his wife Roberta “Bobbi," his son, and a daughter, Nancy.
Arrangements are pending.