‘A Better Horseman Than I’ll Ever Be’: Former Trainer Richard Hazelton, ‘The King,’ Dies At 88

Richard Hazelton, who won nearly 4,800 races in his career based at Turf Paradise and in Chicago, died Tuesday at age 88, according to TVG, where his son Scott works as an on-air host.

A former jockey whose father was also a trainer, Richard Hazelton’s career spanned more than five decades beginning in the 1950s. He was known affectionately on the backstretch wherever he was training as “The King.”

“I didn’t really realize how great of a horse race trainer he truly was and how respected he was in the game, and I didn’t realize it because he was ‘dad’ to me,” said Scott Hazelton in a TVG feature.

“He was Turf Paradise. He was Sportsman’s Park. He was Arlington Park. I mean, that was him,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

“I remember going up to Turf Paradise once, and I saw him in the paddock, but I was too scared to go up and introduce myself,” Baffert continued. “He’s a better horseman than I’ll ever be.”

Despite his accolades, Richard Hazelton was never inducted into the racing Hall of Fame, even though he earned more than $40 million during his training career. His best days came in the 1970s and 80s when he trained top Chicago-based stakes horses such as Pocket Zipper (a Grade 1 winner), Zip Pocket, Full Pocket, Jungle Blade and Nervous John.

From 25,479 starts, Hazelton totaled 4,745 victories, 3,867 second-place finishes and 3,504 thirds. He remains the all-time leading trainer at Turf Paradise with 16 titles. He won 18 at Sportsman’s Park.

The post ‘A Better Horseman Than I’ll Ever Be’: Former Trainer Richard Hazelton, ‘The King,’ Dies At 88 appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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