John Watson Dies

The rider won the 1973 All American Futurity aboard Timeto Thinkrich

Edited press release

John Watson, one of American Quarter Horse racing's leading jockeys in the 1970s, died earlier this week.

John Watson, one of American Quarter Horse racing's leading riders during the 1970s, passed away earlier this week.                       

Watson was part of a star-studded jockey colony at Los Alamitos that included Bobby Adair, Charles Smith, Kenneth Hart, James Dreyer, Danny Cardoza, Terry Lipham, Steve Treasure, John Ward, Donald Knight, Ron Banks, Curtis Perner, Luke Myles, and Don Allison.  Watson was the fifth leading rider in the 1971 season, the sixth leading rider during the 1972 season, and the ninth leading rider during the 1974 campaign. He ranks 37th all-time with 518 Quarter Horse wins and 34th all-time with 29 stakes victories.

Watson was also one of the most accomplished 870-yard riders of his era, as he back-to-back Marathon Invitationals at Los Alamitos in 1970 (with Bull Rastus) and '71 (with Savannahs Rewards). He would later win the Grade 3, 870-yard War Chic Handicap with Wheatland.

In straightaway races at Los Alamitos, Watson rode champion She’s Precious to win the Grade 2 Sophomore Handicap in 1974. He also rode world champion Miss Thermolark to win the 1979 Miss Princess Handicap.

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