Former jockey Paul Nolan received the Ron Turcotte Courage Award on Monday during the Jockeys’ Guild Annual Assembly held at TopGolf, adjacent to the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
Nolan, who spent much of his career at Canterbury Park, was injured in a racing accident in April 2017 at Will Roger Downs. He has been confined to a wheelchair since the incident.
Nolan was Canterbury’s leading rider in 2006 and remains in the top five all-time in earnings,
wins, and starts in the history of the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack. He may be best known for his winning ride aboard longshot K Z Bay in the 1997 Lady Canterbury Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Canterbury.
Named for one of the most recognizable names in the sport of horse racing and best known as the jockey aboard Secretariat in the historic Triple Crown run of 1973, the Ron Turcotte Courage Award is presented to jockeys who have suffered a catastrophic on-track injury and provide inspiration with their display of courage and determination. Former rider Rudy Baez also received the award Monday.
Turcotte’s career ended abruptly in 1978 when the horse he was riding clipped heels and fell, leaving Turcotte paralyzed from the waist down. He has assumed a new role as a major spokesperson for disabled jockeys and a big supporter of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
Nolan was unable to join fellow riders at the annual meeting but sent this message of thanks:
Past Ron Turcotte Courage Award Winners
2015-Michael Straight, Anne Von Rosen
Jan. 2016-Ron Turcotte
Dec. 2016-Stacy Burton
2017-Jack Fires, Tad Leggett