Jerry “Nic” Nicodemus, considered one of Quarter Horse racing’s greatest jockeys of all time, died Wednesday at his residence in Ruidoso, N.M. He was 73 years old.
“He was a great friend to so many people within the racing industry and we are all shocked and saddened by his passing,” Ruidoso Downs President and General Manager Jeff True said. “His accomplishments on the race track are legendary, and the humble way he approached his success will always be remembered. Truly a Quarter Horse legend.”
Ruidoso and AQHA Hall of Fame jockey Nicodemus won three All American Futurities with Three Oh’s in 1968, Rocket Wrangler in 1970, and Ronas Ryon in 1986. He won four Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos in California; twice with Dash for Cash in 1976 and 1977, Lady Juno in 1980, and Denim N Diamonds in 1981.
In 6,317 career races, Nicodemus won 1,252 for a winning percentage of nearly 20 percent with lifetime earnings of $18,888,775. He retired in 1993 and worked for many years as a New Mexico racing steward. He was a member of the All American Ruidoso Downs Foundation Board of Directors, the race track’s charitable organization that provides scholarships for young people within the racing industry.
Nicodemus and Dash For Cash are historically linked and are commemorated outside the American Quarter Horse Association headquarters with a life-size bronze sculpture which signifies their status. Dash for Cash won 21 races in 25 lifetime starts with $507,687 in earnings. Dash for Cash was named World Champion twice, and his bloodline is still very prominent in today’s Quarter Horse runners.
“It is clear that ‘Nic’ had the unique ability to bring out the most in those horses when they were in competition,” said True. “He will be known for his special role in the history of our sport, and he will be missed tremendously by his Ruidoso Downs family.”
The All American Ruidoso Downs Foundation created a memorial fund for contributions in the name of Jerry Nicodemus. Contributions can be sent to AARDF PO Box 449, Ruidoso Downs, NM, 88346.
Services and memorials are pending at this time.
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