Sidney Watters Jr., a retired veteran horse trainer who was inducted into a national racing hall of fame, died of pneumonia Feb. 14 at the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Monkton resident was 90.
He was born in Monkton and raised on Dunmore, the family farm in northern Baltimore County. His father and his uncle J.H.W. Watters, were well-known steeplechasers.
Mr. Watters attended St. James Academy in Hagerstown and was a tail gunner in the Pacific while in the Army Air Forces during World War II.
As a young man, he rode in numerous steeplechase races in the Mid-Atlantic region. He was a past Carolina Cup winner. He rode Indigo in the Maryland Hunt Cup and footage showing him was used in the 1940 movie Maryland. which starred Walter Brennan.
Mr. Watters trained thoroughbreds, at times for Pittsburgh industrialist Richard K. Mellon, from 1947 to 1999 and captured six National Steeplechase training titles. At times he resided in New York state, Middleburg, Va., and at Fair Hill in Cecil County.
"He was a naturally gifted horseman," said a nephew, Richard Watters Small of Monkton. "He could work with any kind of creature."
A 1965 Evening Sun profile described him as a "personable and extremely knowledgeable horseman."
He trained two champions, Hoist the Flag, who until injured was an early 1971 Kentucky Derby prospect, and Slew o' Gold, an offspring of Seattle Slew. With Slew o' Gold, Mr. Watters won the Wood Memorial Stakes, the Woodward Stakes and the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Mr. Watters was named to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 2005.
Plans for a funeral service are incomplete.
Survivors include a son, Eric Watters of Monkton; and a daughter, Nonie Watters of Leesburg, Va. His wife of 45 years, the former Margaret Griffin, died in 1993.