Longtime trainer Morris Nicks, also the father of trainer Ralph Nicks, died on November 25 at his home in Waskom, Texas, aged 74. He was battling cancer.
âHer upbringing and upbringing has been about having a good work ethic and getting things done early,â said Ralph, who coached the 2017 2-year-old filly champion. Caledonian road . âIf you were big enough to hold a pitchfork, you were big enough to start cleaning a stall. Basically, if you were big enough to walk, you were learning to ride a horse; the list goes on from there. is how he brought me around, which probably has to do with some of the things that I was able to accomplish and go on. “
Morris was born in Clarksville, Texas, and raised in the nearby town of Avery. It has become a mainstay of the racetracks of the South West. Since official statistics began to be tracked in 1976, he has trained 819 thoroughbred winners who made $ 15,737,189 through 2018, according to Equibase. Morris retired in 2018 due to leukemia.
“I remember when I was a kid a picture of him winning a Quarter Horse futurity or handicap at Blue Ribbon Downs, before it was a recognized racetrack, hanging in our house, which was probably in the early 1970s.” Ralph said.
âIts main objective was Louisiana downs and the Oaklawn Park circuit for most of his life, âsaid Ralph. âHe did a stint and would go to Kentucky with my mom for about five or six years, but he ended his career at Louisiana Downs and the Fair Grounds. “
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Morris saddled Run Johnny to win the Aristides Handicap (G3) 1999 in Churchill Downs and Golden Sonata to win the 2004 Oaklawn Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G3). His best earner was Smitty’s Sunshine, a seven-time black type winner who took in $ 532,219 in the 2006-08 race. Smitty’s Sunshine’s stakes wins have been in Kentucky, Louisiana, Florida and Texas. Morris was also a winning Stakes owner with Pure Tactics, which won the 2013 Barksdale Stakes at Louisiana Downs. Pure Tactics has won four more appearances in California for coach Doug O’Neill and owner Nita Winner. Morris has also trained several bet winners, Carolina Sky, Groovy Jett, Master Link, Northern Scene, Old Bushmill, Pretty Squall and Tensas Yucatan.
âDad has been a full rider for the last 30 to 40 years of his life,â Ralph said. âIf he had an afternoon off, he was out buying supplies and hay for the rest of the week. He never took days off.