‘Rough, Little And Tough’: Former Jockey Rudy Turcotte Passes At Age 69

by | 02.19.2019 | 2:53pm
Rudy Turcotte, second left, jockey Bill Passmore (middle) and Ben Feliciano (second right) awarded leading rider titles at Delaware Park in 1971.

At the age of 69, former jockey Rudy Turcotte died on Wednesday, Feb. 13 in Canada. He won the Grade 1 Laurel Futurity on Cure the Blues in 1980 and once rode six winners in a single day at Aqueduct, but his career was cut short due to alcoholism.

“Despite his remarkable gifts as a jockey, the disease of alcoholism plagued him his entire adult life and kept what his brother Ronnie, the legendary jockey who rode Secretariat to the Triple Crown, referred to as 'an exceptional jockey' and 'a special rider' from being an all-time great,” reads a post on his Facebook page. “Let me remind you that alcoholism and addiction are NOT choices. My father made more money in the early 70s on talent alone than most average modern folks make in their entire modern careers. But the disease robbed him of continuing that.”

The Facebook post was penned by his son Rudy Turcotte Jr., one of his father's three surviving children. The others are daughters Stacey and Trudy. Turcotte Jr. goes on to explain that the other jockeys had a saying about Rudy Turcotte's initials, RLT: they stood for “Rough, Little and Tough.”

According to the Daily Racing Form, Rudy Turcotte rode 1,709 winners from 12,622 starts in a career spanning from 1968 to 1984.

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