James J. (Jack) Phillips, who retired as a trainer in 1984 after a career that took him to Churchill Downs, Del Mar, Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Oaklawn Park, and numerous other tracks, died at his home in Aton, N.M., April 11. He was 87.
He also raced on the fair circuits before and after World War II and was the leading trainer at La Mesa Park several times in the 1950s and 1960s before switching to the larger tracks and concentrating on Thoroughbreds.
Mr. Phillips married Virginia in 1938, and she was his partner working side by side with him until her death. His father, Vern Phillips, also ranched and trained horses on the New Mexico and Arizona circuit.
In 1970, Jack Phillips went to Santa Anita with Earl of Milldale and Rag Tag Circus and won the San Simeon and Premier handicaps. He ran many stake winners after that, saddling his last horse in 1984 and going out with a fast one in Smokite (23 wins, $466,599.00 and six stakes wins). After that, he served as a clocker and clerk of scales at Albbuquerque Downs.
Mr. Phillips is survived by sons Lory and Jackie, daugher Jo Ann, five grandsons, and numerous great-grandchildren.