Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino
Friday, February 1, 2019
by Eric Alwan
Legendary Quarter Horse riding great Jerry Nicodemus passes away
The world of horse racing and Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino lost a great treasure on Wednesday. Jerry Nicodemus, arguably the greatest Quarter Horse rider of all-time, passed away at his home in Ruidoso, New Mexico at the age 73.
Since bursting onto the racing scene in Ohio as a teenager, Jerry Nicodemus became one of the most sought after riders in the Quarter Horse industry and was also a terrific Thoroughbred rider.
The Hall of Famer won three All American Futurities with Three Oh’s (1968), Rocket Wrangler (1970) and Ronas Ryon (1986). He won four Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos; twice with Dash for Cash in 1976 and 1977, Lady Juno in 1980 and Denim N Diamonds in 1981. His horses earned nearly $19 million from 1,252 victories in 6,317 mounts.
Nicodemus frequently won major races for trainers like Bubba Cascio and H. Don Farris and owner R.D. Hubbard.
“Nic” rode the great Dash For Cash who won 21 of 25 races and retired to stud with over $507,000 in earnings. The photograph of Nicodemus looking back for the competition aboard Dash For Cash winning the Champion of Champions is the Mount Olympus of racing lore.
At Sunland Park in the seventies, a young Nicodemus showed his immense talent winning back to back Riley Allison Thoroughbred Futurities with Italian Ruler (1971) and Bold Liz (1972), respectively. Bold Liz would go on to win the Hollywood Lassie Stakes and the Hollywood Park Juvenile.
Nicodemus was beloved by all in racing. He retired in 1993 and worked for many years as a New Mexico racing steward. Jerry was pure class and will be sorely missed.