John Nerud Celebrates 100th Birthday
Hall of Fame trainer John Nerud, a founder of the Breeders Cup who campaigned such legends as Dr. Fager, Ta Wee and Gallant Man, celebrated his 100th birthday on February 9.
Nerud was inducted into the US Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 1972 and is the oldest living member.
He trained 27 stakes winners and won more than 1000 races in a training career that began in 1935 and continued until 1978.
He developed the great Tartan Farms breeding program and was instrumental in transforming Ocala in Florida into a major thoroughbred centre.
"Mr. Nerud enjoyed one of the greatest careers of any trainer in the 20th century, and we wish him a
happy 100th birthday and continued good health," said Christopher Dragone, the director of the National
Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Born in Nebraska in 1913, Nerud's greatest horse was the Hall of Famer Dr. Fager, the 1968 Horse of the Year.
Dr. Fager won an unprecedented four championships in1968 as Horse of the Year, top sprinter, turf horse and handicap horse and was a world record holder for a mile.
The winner of 18 of his 22 starts, Dr Fager was named after Dr Charles Fager, a neurosurgeon who saved Nerud's life when he sustained a head injury after falling from his stable pony in 1965.
Other champions trained by Nerud included Dr Fager's sister and Hall of Famer Ta Wee, Dr. Patches and Intentionally.
Nerud, a founding member of the Breeders Cup committee , was honored with the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2007.
Nerud's Tartan Farms has been the source of noted champions and sires Fappiano, Unbridled, Tasso, Cryptoclearance, Quiet American, Cozzene, Grand Canyon and Codex.
Nerud tutored future Hall of Fame trainers Carl Nafzger and Scotty Schulhofer, while his son Jan has been a successful trainer since the 1980s.