Trainer Gary Sherlock dies at 73

134th Kentucky Derby
Intangaroo, left, ridden by Alonso Quinonez, edges Baroness Thatcher, middle, and Hystericalady to win the Humana Distaff before the 2008 Kentucky Derby. Intangaroo was one of Gary Sherlock’s best-trained horses.
(Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

Veteran trainer Gary Sherlock, who first found success in quarter horses and then thoroughbreds, died Sunday after a long fight with cancer. He was 73.

Sherlock not only had an extensive career as a trainer but was also involved in racetrack insurance and was a bloodstock agent. His father, William, was a jockey and his mother, Mary, was a racing official. He died in a care facility in Arcadia. He would have turned 74 on Wednesday.

His quarter-horse training career went from 1966 to 1980. During that span he won 353 races. When he switched to thoroughbreds, he had 2,631 starters with 245 wins.

Sherlock’s time away from racing wasn’t always simple. Running quarter horses at night and training them in the day took its toll.


“I had a good career [at Los Alamitos], but I also had a wife and two kids,” Sherlock told the Los Angeles Times in 2016. “So, I gave away all my horses and came to Santa Anita with no clients. I decided to raise my family.”

The decade saw the Lakers stumble, the Rams return to town and to the Super Bowl, and the Dodgers fail to win a World Series. Oh, and the Balls stole headlines.

Five years later, Sherlock had to quit when he was found to have a dissected carotid artery.

“I didn’t do anything for a year,” Sherlock said. “I just tried to get healthy. The doctors didn’t want me around horses [so I quit training]. I sold equine insurance for 10 years. The problem was I basically had the same schedule, but I didn’t have a barn.”


Sherlock couldn’t resist and returned to training. His best horse was probably Intangaroo, a 4-year-old filly who won three Grade 1s in 2008.

In 2016, he made his only trip to the Triple Crown when he took Uncle Lino to the Preakness. The colt finished seventh, suffered an injury, and never raced again.

Sherlock is survived by his wife, Sharon, sons Brian and Michael and two grandsons. At Sherlock’s request there will be no memorial service.

Carson Palmer, who won the 2002 Heisman Trophy with USC and played 15 years in the NFL, is now living a quiet life in Idaho with his wife and kids.

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