Top Florida Trainer Melvin Calvert Dies at 93

Veteran horseman Melvin (Sunshine) Calvert died Wednesday at age 93. Until just a few years ago when his health began to fail, Calvert visited Calder on occasion, particularly around Florida Stallion Stakes time to present trophies.

The choice would often be whether to make the presentation for the In Reality or the My Dear Girl, the rich finals, because he trained both champions for his longtime patron Mrs. Frances A. Genter.

In Reality won the 1967 Florida Derby and finished second in the Preakness that spring, but had the misfortune to be born the same year as Damascus and Dr. Fager. However, the son of Intentionally out of 1959 2-year-old filly champion My Dear Girl went on to become one of the most successful stallions in Florida breeding history.

Ten years after In Reality's 3-year-old season, My Dear Girl's foal was a chestnut colt by Groshawk named Superbity, owned and bred by Mrs. Genter, and made his career debut at Calder on Dec. 1, 1979.

Superbity spent the summer getting ready at Monmouth Park before shipping into Calvert's usual winter headquarters at Hialeah Park. He not only won his debut but his next three starts at Calder as well in just six weeks, including the Tropical Park Derby (gr. III) on closing day, Jan. 14, 1980.

His next start came in Hialeah's Everglades Stakes (gr. II) and he finished third as the favorite behind 1979 2-year-old champion Rockhill Native. Superbity came right back to win the Flamingo Stakes (gr. I) by six lengths. He completed his career later that season, retiring with a record of eight wins from just 11 career starts.