Hall of Fame trainer Sidney Watters Jr. died Feb. 14 at age 90 in Maryland. He had been hospitalized a few days earlier because of pneumonia.
Watters was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 2005. Although he went in as a steeplechase trainer, he had experienced plenty of success with flat runners. His two best were champions Hoist the Flag and Slew o' Gold.
Hoist the Flag was voted champion 2-year-old male of 1970 and was the winter book favorite for the Kentucky Derby. After winning both starts in early 1971, he suffered a leg injury that spring and was retired. He went on to become a successful stallion.
Slew o' Gold, from the first crop of Seattle Slew, was named champion 3-year-old male of 1983 after winning the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) over older horses. He also ran second in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Watters' other top trainees included additional grade I winners Love Sign, Musical Lark, and Slewpy, another first-crop son of Seattle Slew. His steeplechase champions were Amber Diver and Shadow Brook.
Watters trained for 52 years--from 1947 to 1999--and won six National Steeplechase training titles. He had started out in the sport as an amateur rider on the timber circuit, and his victories over jumps included a win in the Carolina Cup.
The Big G