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Legendary Horse Trainer Jack Van Berg Offers Tips for Good Horse Nutrition
Ask Jack Van Berg, one of the most successful horse trainers in racing history, the secrets to his success and he will tell you they include patience, tenacity and the ability to spot a winner. But, Van Berg says, the number one reason why his horses cross the finish line first is proper nutrition.
“A good feeding program is the number one thing by far that horse owners should focus on if they want to keep their horses healthy and at peak performance,” Van Berg says. “A good nutrition program, using high-quality feed with high quality supplements, will make all the difference in the world in keeping horses sound, healthy and top-performing.”
Van Berg, one of the most successful trainers in thoroughbred racing history, is also a life-long user of Calf-Manna, the leading nutritional feed supplement for performance horses. He attributes his success in winning thousands of races, including the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, in part to the fact that his horses were fed Calf-Manna.
“I remember helping my father feed Calf-Manna to our horses back in Nebraska when I was a boy. I feed it to my horses every day and both of my sons do too,” says Van Berg, who with sons Tim and Tom, trains horses at Van Berg Racing Stables in Inglewood, Calif., and La Grange, Ky. “Both Alysheba and Gate Dancer were fed Calf-Manna, which gave them the energy to win.”
In addition to a proven performance supplement like Calf-Manna, Van Berg feeds his horses high-quality alfalfa, oats, corn and steam-rolled barley. When assessing the health and performance potential of a horse, Van Berg says the first thing he looks for is a good coat of hair. “The hair should be shiny and have a luster to it. That means the horse is healthy and receiving high-quality feed and has the potential for top performance,” he says.
Trained Alysheba, Gate Dancer
Van Berg holds several records in the thoroughbred racing world. Besides training 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Alysheba and 1984 Preakness and Super Derby winner Gate Dancer, he was the first trainer to saddle 5,000 career winners. He and his father, the late Marion Van Berg, are both inductees in the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame. Jack Van Berg’s feat of winning 496 races in 1976 earned him a listing in Guinness World Records for most horse racing wins in a year. The record stood for 28 years.
“There are several things that go into training a winning horse, but I know the key to producing winning horses for me has been the fact that they all ate Calf-Manna. It gave them the extra energy and stamina to run and compete successfully,” Van Berg says.
Van Berg says he remains active in training and conditioning horses, and is at the training stables in Inglewood at 5 a.m., seven days a week.
Van Berg says he has no intention of retiring from a long and successful career in horse racing. He lists winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness with Alysheba in 1987 as his most memorable experiences as a horse trainer.
“Jack Van Berg is a legend in the thoroughbred horse racing world, and we are proud that he is a loyal Calf-Manna feeder,” says John Howe, senior vice-president of sales and marketing for Manna Pro, maker of Calf-Manna feed. “Calf-Manna has been the choice of champions for 75 years. Not only does it produce champions, it also produces life-long users throughout the country.”
Calf-Manna, the first dry pelleted calf feed to be made in the United States, is the flagship product of Manna Pro, a leader in the fields of companion animal and livestock nutrition. Manna Pro recently launched the Calf-Manna Diamond Anniversary Giveaway contest, in celebration of Calf-Manna’s 75th anniversary. The giveaway, which ends Oct. 14, 2006, includes a chance to win a trip to Diamond Head, Hawaii, and Calf-Manna merchandise.
About Manna Pro
Manna Pro is a leader in the fields of companion animal and livestock nutrition and management. Founded in 1985, Manna Pro is the successor to Carnation Company Milling Division. Manna Pro’s flagship product, Calf-Manna, was developed in 1931 and is the country’s leading nutritional feed supplement for performance horses, beef and dairy cattle, rabbits, goats, poultry, and swine.