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John A. Nerud

John A. Nerud
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Occupation Trainer & Owner
Birthplace Minatare, Nebraska, United States
Birth date February 9, 1913
Career wins 1,000+
Major racing wins, honours & awards
Major racing wins
Belmont Stakes (1957)
Travers Stakes (1957)
Peter Pan Stakes (1957)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (1957)
Hollywood Gold Cup (1958)
Metropolitan Handicap (1958)
Fall Highweight Handicap (1965)
Cowdin Stakes (1966)
Arlington Classic (1967)
Withers Stakes (1967)
Hawthorne Gold Cup (1967)
Gotham Stakes (1967)
Man O' War Stakes (1967)
Vosburgh Stakes (1967, 1968, 1969, 1978)
Suburban Handicap (1968)
United Nations Handicap (1968)
Whitney Handicap (1968)
Comely Stakes (1969)
Gazelle Handicap (1975)
Paterson Handicap (1978)
Meadowlands Cup Handicap (1978)
Arlington Handicap (1984)

Selected wins as an owner:
Breeders' Cup Mile (1985)
Longfellow Handicap (1985)
Oceanport Handicap (1985)
Fall Highweight Handicap (1986)
Racing awards
Big Sport of Turfdom Award (1968)
Eclipse Award of Merit (2006)
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (1972)
Significant horses
Delegate, Gallant Man, Intentionally
Dr. Fager, Ta Wee, Dr. Patches, Cozzene

John A. Nerud (born February 9, 1913) is an American thoroughbred horse trainer and owner who was inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1972. [1]


Early years

Nerud, who was born on a ranch in Minatare, Nebraska, worked as a rodeo cowboy, groom and most notably as a trainer during his youth. Prior to serving in World War II, he was the agent for Hall of Fame jockey Ted Atkinson in New England. He served with the United States Navy during the war, then returned to racing as an assistant to Frank J. Kearns at Woolford Farm. He eventually took over from Kearns and in 1949 trained his first Champion when Delegate earned American Co-Champion Sprint Horse honors.[2]


Nerud spent the bulk of his 44 year training career (1935–1978) as a trainer, president and general manager for William L. McKnight's Tartan Farms in Ocala, Florida. When Nerud retired from training in 1978, he remained at Tartan as manager of racing and breeding.

As a trainer, Nerud first drew national attention in 1956 after prepping Switch On to win the Palm Beach and McLennan Handicaps. The following season, in 1957, Nerud lost the Kentucky Derby by a nose to Iron Liege after jockey Bill Shoemaker, aboard Gallant Man, misjudged the finish line. Gallant Man later defeated Bold Ruler in a record breaking Belmont Stakes.

Nerud's most acclaimed runner was Hall of Fame inductee, Dr. Fager. In 1968, Dr. Fager became the only thoroughbred to win four Championships in one year: Sprinter, Turf Horse, Handicap Horse and Horse of the Year. In addition to Delegate, Nerud also trained champions Intentionally (1959 Sprinter) Ta Wee (1969, 1970 Sprinter and also a Hall of Fame inductee) and Dr. Patches (1978 co-Sprinter). Overall, Nerud is credited with saddling over 1,000 winners including 27 stakes winners.

Nerud helped turned Tartan into one of the nation's top racing and breeding operations. Besides developing an excellent broodmare band, Tartan stood Dr. Fager, Intentionally, In Reality and later, Hold Your Peace, Codex and Smile.

Nerud also bred and owned Fappiano, sire of the champion and top stallion Unbridled.

Founding Director of Breeders' Cup

During the early 1980s, Nerud assisted in the early development of the Breeders' Cup, helping founder John R. Gaines to sell the concept to horsemen across the nation. As a Founding Member, Nerud also served as chairman of the Breeders' Cup marketing committee in its formative years.

In 1985, Nerud won the Breeders' Cup Mile with his homebred Cozzene, who was trained by his son, Jan. Cozzene was voted the 1985 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Male Turf Horse.

He remains a Director Emeritus of Breeders' Cup, Ltd.

Nerud and his wife Charlotte are resident of Old Brookville, New York.



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