Retired Trainer William Stirling Jr. Dies

Former show rider at one time trained grade I winner Nijinsky's Secret.

William Stirling Jr., a retired trainer and father of Florida racing official Kent Stirling, died June 12 in Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada. Born in 1917 in Pittsburgh, Stirling also was a show horse rider.

Stirling served in World War II in the U.S. Army Calvary Remount at Fort Robinson, Kan., then later in New Caledonia in the South Pacific and as a captain with the 10th Mountain Division in Italy.  After the war, he and his first wife, Jean, were successful show horse riders. Stirling was Master of the Hounds for the Rolling Rock Hunt in Ligonier, Pa.

Stirling gave up show riding and began training race horses in Florida in the 1970s. He saddled Nijinsky's Secret to win the 1984 Americana Handicap on grass at Calder Race Course. Nijinsky’s Secret won several other stakes including the 1983-84 Hialeah Turf Cup Handicap (gr. IT) while trained son by Kent.

The elder Stirling also conditioned stakes winner What a Threat.

In addition to Kent, who is executive director of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Stirling is survived by his wife, Leslie, and a daughter, Jill Thomas, a former show rider who manages Chime Bell Farm in Aiken, S.C.