Roger Stein, a successful trainer of both Standarbreds and Thoroughbreds and longtime radio show host in Southern California, passed away the morning of May 31 at his home in Hidden Hills following a lengthy battle with a variety of illnesses. He was 65 years old.
Having secured a harness trainer’s license in 1979 after working a few years as a groom and owner and became an unstoppable force in the code, winning 10% of all harness races in the state from 1979-1984 while racking up 17 straight titles.
Among the Thoroughbreds of note conditioned by Stein were Southern Truce, a $16,000 claim who went on to win a pair of Grade Is, including an upset of champion Paseana (Arg) in the 1993 Santa Margarita S. Forty Niner Days gave him his most valuable victory when taking out the $400,000 GII Golden Gate H. Stein was the leading trainer at the Fairplex meeting 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.”
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. Funeral arrangements are pending.