Horse trainer Richard Small dies at age 68
Richard ”Dickie” Small, who trained 1994 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Concern and helped launch the careers of several female jockeys, has died of cancer. He was 68.
He died Friday night, according to a statement from Pimlico Race Course.
Small won 36 graded stakes races during his career, including Grade 1 wins by Caesar’s Wish, Broad Brush and Concern. He finished his career with 1,199 wins and purse earnings of $38.9 million, according to Equibase.
He was known for helping female riders such as Rosie Napravnik, Andrea Seefeldt, Jerilyn Brown and Forest Boyce get started in the business.
Napravnik rode her first winner for Small as a 17-year-old aboard Ringofdiamonds on June 9, 2005, at Pimlico.
”I had a conversation with Dickie last week via text and he spoke of looking forward to us catching up in the spring,” Napravnik said. ”He stayed so positive all the way to the end, and I admire him for that and in so many other ways. Dickie was a great horseman and a great man. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had him in my life.”
Small had a knack for knowing what to look for in horses and people, according to Coley Blind, stakes coordinator for the Maryland Jockey Club and a friend for over 40 years.
”Dickie was the consummate horseman,” Blind said. ”Horses came first. He put everything into the horses. He knew everything about his horse right down to the pimples.”
Small won a stakes race in Maryland every year but one from 1974-2013.
One of his best horses was Broad Brush, who retired in 1987 as Maryland’s all-time money winner with nearly $2.7 million. He won the 1986 Wood Memorial and finished third in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes that year. Broad Brush returned the next year to win the Santa Anita and Suburban handicaps before retiring at age 4.
Broad Brush’s son Concern won the 1994 Arkansas Derby and finished third in the Preakness Stakes. Concern won the BC Classic at Churchill Downs by a neck over Tabasco Cat. He finished first, second or third in all 14 starts that year and earned over $2.5 million.
Small’s father, Doug, and uncle, Sid Watters, were both well-known Maryland trainers.
Born in Baltimore on Dec. 2, 1945, Small played lacrosse at the University of Delaware and served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Green Beret before starting his training career in 1974.
Services were pending.