Hall of Fame trainer John Nerud, who campaigned such legends as Dr. Fager, Ta Wee, and Gallant Man, will celebrate his 100th birthday Saturday. Nerud, one of the founders of the Breeders’ Cup, was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1972. He is the senior living member of the Hall of Fame.
Nerud trained 27 stakes winners and compiled more than 1,000 wins in a training career that began in 1935 and continued through 1978. He developed the great Tartan Farms breeding program and was instrumental in transforming Ocala, Fla., into a major Thoroughbred center.
“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. “Mr. Nerud built a reputation that has stood the test of time and he has been a tremendous ambassador for the sport of Thoroughbred racing.”
Born in Minatare, Neb., on Feb. 9, 1913, Nerud developed his first champion, the sprinter Delegate, in 1949. Nerud’s greatest horse was the Hall of Famer Dr. Fager, the 1968 Horse of the Year. Dr. Fager won an unprecedented four championships that year as Horse of the Year, as well as being named the top sprinter, turf horse, and handicap horse. Other champions trained by Nerud include Hall of Famer Ta Wee, Dr. Patches, and Intentionally.
Nerud, who still owns a few active Thoroughbreds, will celebrate his milestone birthday Sunday at the Sands Point Golf Club near his home in Old Brookvillle, N.Y. In an effort to preserve Nerud’s legacy and to allow his friends and admirers an opportunity to send Mr. Nerud a birthday greeting, a website at www.johnnerud.com was developed by LGB, LLC. The site allows its visitors to post comments, anecdotes, tales, myths, stories, and a greeting to the soon-to-be centenarian. The developers are actively encouraging friends and fans alike to pay tribute to one of the living legends of our time.