Trainer Roger Stein died this morning at his home in Hidden Hills after a lengthy battle with a myriad of illnesses. He was 65.
Stein, who hosted a horse racing radio show on KLAA AM 830 for many years until June of 2017, began training Thoroughbreds in 1987 but obtained his harness trainer's license in 1979 after two years as an owner and groom, dominating the circuit from 1979-84 by winning 10 percent of all harness races in California and 17 straight training titles.
Perhaps his most noteworthy Thoroughbred was Southern Truce, whom he claimed for $16,000 in March of 1991 and developed into a multiple stakes winner. Her victories included two Grade I's, including the 1993 Santa Margarita when she upset two-time champion Paseana.
His richest Thoroughbred victory came when Forty Niner Days captured the $400,000 Golden Gate Handicap in 1990, one of 470 career Thoroughbred wins for Stein, who was the leading trainer at Fairplex Park in 1990.
“Roger was always supportive of me from the time I had the 'bug,'” recalled jockey Aaron Gryder. “He had a good stable back then and I was out every morning. Obviously, the last 10 years he hadn't been out much because of health issues, but I kept in touch with him and would visit with him from time to time.
“I'd sit and talk with him even though he was frustrated because he was bedridden most of the time and in and out of the hospital struggling, but Roger was good to me. He had his ways about him, but he was always good to me.”
Stein is survived by his mother, and two grown children, daughter Shayna and son, Sam, as well as one grandchild. Services will be Sunday, according to Roger's brother, Rick, 63. No further details were available at press time.
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