LARC NEWS Posted: 8/24/2017 4:45:08 PM

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John Watson, a star during a golden era of superstar riders at Los Alamitos Race Course in the 1970s, passed away earlier this week.                      

Watson was part of a sensational jockey colony that included all-time greats Bobby Adair, Charles Smith, Kenneth Hart, James Dreyer, Danny Cardoza, Terry Lipham, Steve Treasure, John Ward, Donald Knight, Ron Banks, Curtis Perner, Luke Myles, Don Allison, and more.  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 at Los Alamitos with 518 Quarter Horse wins and 34th with 29 stakes wins here. Watson won the 1973 All American Futurity aboard the outstanding Timeto Thinkrich at Ruidoso Downs. 

Watson was one of the most accomplished 870-yard riders of his time at the Orange County oval. He won back-to-back Marathon Invitational races in 1970 and 1971, piloting Bull Rastus to the 1970 renewal and Savannahs Rewards in the 1971edition. He had previously guided Bull Rastus to victory around the bend in the 1969 Endurance Handicap. He would later guide Red Chigger Bar to win the 1972 Endurance. He also guided Wheatland to the winner’s circle in Grade 3 War Chic Handicap at 870 yards.

In straightaway races at Los Alamitos, he was aboard the wonderful champion She’s Precious for trainer D. Wayne Lukas in her 1974 Grade 2 Sophomore Handicap win and also piloted then world champion Miss Thermolark in the 1979 Miss Princess Handicap. Watson rode Miss Thermolark in the 1980 Champion of Champions.

Watson was on Joe Moreno’s Assured Copy in the 1971 Grade 3 Los Ninos Handicap and on the champion 3-year-old colt Timeto Thinkrich in the 1973 Grade 3 Los Ninos. He was also on Timeto Thinkrich in his 1975 Chicado V Handicap win. For Ceasar Dominguez, Watson piloted Catchajet in 1974 to a stakes win. In the Leo Handicap, he rode Mighty Pass in 1979 and Phoebe’s Moon Bug in 1973 to victories. Other stakes wins he enjoyed came with Royal Doulton, first  over the great Kaweah Bar in the 1971 Go Josie Go Handicap and then over Blondy Rockette in the 1971 Inaugural Handicap.

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