Longtime California Clocker Japhet Ward Dies

Dean of morning clockers in Southern California died Aug. 1 at the age of 83.

Japhet Ward, longtime private clocker on the Southern California circuit, died Aug. 1. He was 83.

“The best way to put it is that he was called the 'Dean of Clockers' by his colleagues,” said Toby Turrell, a clocker/handicapper for more than two decades himself. “He was an original.”

“I’ve known him since the early 1970s,” said handicapper and HRTV commentator Jeff Siegel. “He was one of the first of his kind, coming out to the morning workouts and timing them. He started doing it primarily for himself and his friends but then syndicated handicappers, like myself, turned to him as well.

“He was well respected and his opinions were highly regarded.”

Ward was a graduate of UCLA and an accomplished pianist who often played for family and friends. He is survived by a daughter, Kathy Welch, and son Phil. No services are planned.