Washington Trainer Craig Roberts Dead

Craig Roberts, one of the Northwest’s most successful Thoroughbred trainers and the only Washington-based conditioner to saddle a grade I winner, has died from pneumonia.
 
Roberts, 78, had been in poor health since suffering two strokes last winter, and was rehabilitating at a Seattle-area nursing facility when he contacted pneumonia.
 
Best known as the trainer of grade I winner Slew Of Damsacus, for decades Roberts operated formidable barns at Longacres and later Emerald Downs. He finished fifth all-time with 39 stakes victories at Longacres, and had 116 victories and eight stakes wins at Emerald Downs.
 
Roberts oversaw the development of Slew Of Damascus, a Tennessee-bred by Slewacide, from a claimer into the winner of the 1994 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park. A hot-tempered gelding, Slew Of Damascus won 16-of-48 starts and earned $1,420,353, while establishing track and course records at Yakima Meadows and Del Mar. Slew Of Damascus still shares with Sky Jack the Washington state record of 1:33 for one mile on dirt.
 
Slew Of Damascus notched his final career victory at Emerald Downs in the 1997 FSN Handicap.
 
A graduate of Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Roberts took out his trainer's license in 1965, and rapidly built one of Longacres' most powerful stables, and the dapper Roberts always dressed the part. During the Longacres off-season, Roberts' horses would often compete in the Bay Area at Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows.
 
Other famous horses trained by Roberts include Rock Bath, the 1971 Washington-bred Horse of the Year, and Dave's Reality, the winner of the inaugural WTBA Lads Stakes in 1982. Dave and Jill Heerensperger owned Dave's Reality, and are among a long list of influential owners for whom Roberts worked. Roberts also sent out Condotierri to win the 2002 Gottstein Futurity at Emerald Downs.
 
In Roberts' absence, longtime assistant Martin Pimentel has overseen Roberts' current 15-horse barn at Emerald Downs. Horses in training include Westsideclyde, the 2007 Sprinter of the Meet, and Exclusive Eagle, a stakes winner nominated to the FSN Handicap on Memorial Day.
 
Roberts is by survived by Connie, his wife of 38 years. 

Most Popular Stories