Veteran Trainer Jim Eckrosh Dead at 96

Retired trainer Jim Eckrosh, a popular Chicago trainer for decades, died Aug. 29 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Eckrosh was believed to be the oldest living trainer in the United States at the time of his retirement in 2004. Born in Des Moines and raised on a farm in South Dakota, Eckrosh bought the gelding March Step for $100 down and $100 later while visiting Ak-Sar-Ben in the early 1930s. After giving March Step time off, Eckrosh won 10 races with him.

Eckrosh, whose career was interrupted because of service with the Army Air Corps during World War II, trained 20 stakes winners, including Turbo. Eckrosh claimed Turbo and raced him, winning 26 races. Turbo was a stakes winner for Eckrosh in partnership.

Eckrosh's other stakes winners included Jim's Alibhi, who won the 1970 Louisiana Derby, and Big Latch, the runner-up in the 1974 Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.

Eckrosh experienced his best decade in the 1980s. A dozen of his runners were stakes winners. Eckrosh's last stakes winner, Magic Doe, was a stakes winner from 1999 through 2002.

Arlington honored Eckrosh on his 94th birthday. Those in attendance included track chairman Richard Duchossois.