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Jack Kopas Passes

Published: April 10, 2017 2:43 pm ET

Last Comment: April 27, 2017 10:03 pm ET | 11 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Trot Insider has learned that iconic Canadian horseman Jack Kopas has passed away at the age of 88.

After a short illness, Kopas passed at his winter home in Orlando, Florida. Arrangements have yet to made available, but Trot Insider will convey the information when it is available.

Kopas began his career in the Standardbred racing industry in 1942. The native of Lumsden, Sask., who was born in 1928, decided very early in life he wanted to be a horseman. In fact, he celebrated his sixteenth birthday as a groom on the backstretch of New York’s Roosevelt Raceway. Like most of the greats, Kopas spent his share of time apprenticing. Perhaps the most influential time he spent was with the legendary Hall of Fame inductee Clint Hodgins. In 1958, Kopas and his wife, Alice, set up shop on their own. They moved their operation to Trois Rivières, Que., where they operated a public stable for several years before moving to Ontario, where they established their home and a stable just north of London in Ilderton.

The first horse to make the Kopas name a household word was Super Wave, the free-for-all pacer he campaigned for owner Dr. George Boyce of London. Super Wave, a son of Shadow Wave, was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2002. At age five Super Wave hit the pinnacle of his career when he was acclaimed as the fastest and richest older pacer in North America. He was the Canadian Trotting Association’s Horse of the Year and the USTA’s Older Pacer of the Year. The colt was a stakes winner at ages two through five and was the CTA’s champion three-year-old of 1969. Kopas soon gained the reputation as the developer of outstanding horses. A listing of Kopas trained horses reads like a page from the performances of the racing elite. In the 1966/1967 season, Kopas toured North America with the triple-threat trio of Jade Prince, Super Clint and Nat Lobell. Other stars such as Springfield, Roses Are Red, Areba Areba and Savilla Lobell are just a few that were developed by Kopas.

Inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1989, Kopas was a two-time Canadian Horseman of the Year as he took home the honours in both 1969 and 1976. He retired following the 1991 season. The future of the Kopas stable, however, and its familiar green and white colours are well in hand. Assisting their father were his sons, John and Roger, who was developing into a top ranked trainer in his own right with world champion filly Keystone Wallis. John, who has been training on the WEG circuit since 1990, had considerable success on the OJC/Woodbine Entertainment circuit.

Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family and friends of Jack Kopas.

(With files from the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame)

April 27, 2017 - 10:03 pmSo sorry to hear of Jack's

So sorry to hear of Jack's passing. A great horseman and an amazing human being. My condolences Alice, from one of the Saskatchewan girls, Dreda Braybrook

April 11, 2017 - 11:32 pmJack represented everything

Tom Turner SAID...

Jack represented everything that is good and decent within the industry and, for that matter, the world.
We have lost a national treasure.
My most heartfelt condolences to Ms. Alice Jeanette, John and Roger.

April 11, 2017 - 3:08 pmWe send our heartfelt

John Findley SAID...

We send our heartfelt condolences to Alice, John and Roger. Another old friend gone, who will be missed greatly by the racing fraternity.
Mary Jane & John.

April 11, 2017 - 10:46 amWithout a doubt the greatest

Garth Gordon SAID...

Without a doubt the greatest Horsemen "Ever"! My condolences to the Kopas family.

April 11, 2017 - 1:20 amWe lost a good one with the

We lost a good one with the passing of Jack Kopas. Got to know the Kopas family about 50 years ago and had horses with them all through the 80's. Jack was a great horseman, two things come to mind (he could tell you in January what kind of horse you had and when the bill arrived the vet charges were minimal. Savillla Lovell raced two years at a high level and her total vet bills were less than $1000.) Jack was a plain speaker and oozed integrity, rest easy old friend.

Brian and Gay Webster

April 10, 2017 - 9:58 pmA first class gentleman and a

Harley Waxer SAID...

A first class gentleman and a pleasure to work for in the 90s.

Harley Waxer, DVM

April 10, 2017 - 6:27 pmA world class horseman and

A world class horseman and perhaps even more important, a world class human being. We were so very, very fortunate to have had Jack Kopas in our midst. My most sincere condolences to Alice, John and Roger.

April 10, 2017 - 5:51 pmWhat can you say about Jack

Karen Breen SAID...

What can you say about Jack Kopas? Truly one of the greatest horsemen of all time. I can't say enough about Jack and Alice, in the last 10 years they have been like parents to me. My heart is broken but I know his legacy will live on. ❤️you Poppa Kopas, I will never forget you.

April 10, 2017 - 5:07 pmA great horseman and friend.

Gordon Irwin SAID...

A great horseman and friend. Our condolences to Alice and family. Jack will be missed by family and his friends. Gord and Pat Irwin.

April 10, 2017 - 5:04 pmI worked for Mr Wall when Mr

Steve Jewitt SAID...

I worked for Mr Wall when Mr Kopas was training back the triple threat as 3 year olds and when they came on the track for last trip you had to keep your head up. He also trained back Adam Lobell with this set, 4 deep off the top turn at London... not much room left. They had a special qualifier just for this group. My condolences to the Kopas Family, the industry lost one of the greats. Sonny Jewitt

April 10, 2017 - 4:17 pmA true giant of our sport.

Jack Darling SAID...

A true giant of our sport. This is a sad day for harness racing. Our sincere condolences to Alice, John and Roger. Jack and Ann

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