Winning the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is the ultimate dream for many trainers. David Cross was one of the lucky ones, saddling Sunny's Halo to take the Run for the Roses in 1983.
But the good times did not last. Cross, who has had trouble finding work in recent years, sold his Derby trainer's trophy Monday on eBay for $8,928,56. The cash will be welcome.
"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't (emotional)," said Cross Thursday of the decision to auction off one of racing's most sought-after awards. "I was going to give it to my son, and he didn't want it. I don't have my farm in Kentucky anymore, so I didn't really have anywhere to keep it and I didn't want to carry it around. I never got much enjoyment out of it anyway. It was lost for three years. Nobody knew where it was, but I finally found it.
"And there were financial reasons," he continued. "I haven't done much of anything in three years. My fiancée has been sick, and the doctor bills are piling up."
Cross said he had not trained horses since 2000. This past summer, he worked as a placing judge and entry clerk at Colonial Downs. He is in Southern California now, hoping to become a jockey's agent.
"I've only got a sixth grade education, and this is all I know," Cross said. "I'd love to train again, but I think that's passed me by. It seems to be for young people now. But if I got an opportunity back East somewhere, I would take it. My first love is the horse business."
Cross said a friend handled the transaction on eBay, which is an online auction company.
"I didn't think it (the trophy) would bring anything like that," Cross said of the price. "I thought it would bring between $6,000 and $7,500, myself."