We are saddened to hear of the passing of CHRHF honoured member, Thoroughbred trainer David C. Cross Jr., who died late yesterday at the age of 84.
According to the Daily Racing Form, Cross died at the University of Kentucky’s Albert B. Chandler Hospital in Lexington. Cross had battled a series of health issues in recent years and had been in hospice care following a stroke, according to trainer Jinks Fires for whom Cross had worked for several years.
In 1983, and for the first time in the storied history of the Kentucky Derby, Sunny’s Halo, a Canadian-bred colt, owned and trained by Canadians, wore the blanket of roses at Louisville’s Churchill Downs. The training accomplishment by Cross was nothing short of a miracle.
Cross’s interest in horse racing began in the 1940’s at Willows Fairgrounds in Victoria, BC during WWII, where he galloped horses for a “buck a head”.
Sunny’s Halo’s dam Mostly Sunny, Cross said she would run “for a ham sandwich”. She was bred to Halo for $4,000 and the rest is history. “The Queen of England had sent a horse to Halo, and I figured if he was good enough for the Queen, he was good enough for me.”
Sunny’s Halo was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986 and was the first 3-year-old thoroughbred in North America to earn more than $1 million in a single season. He was bred and owned by David J. (Pud) Foster of Toronto.
Services are pending, according to Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman.
David Cross Jr. was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. A horseman’s horseman, he will be missed.
With notes from DRF
Additional information about David Cross and Sunny’s Halo can be found here: