INGLEWOOD, Calif. (January 10, 2012)—Lewis Cenicola, a jockey, trainer and best known for being the exercise rider for the legendary John Henry, died Jan. 8 at his Arcadia home after battling liver and pancreatic cancer. He was 66.
During a training career that began in 1982, Cenicola won 279 races from 2,673 starters. One of his stakes victories came at Hollywood Park as he captured the Grade III Silver Screen Handicap with Natural Nine in 1992. His other top horses included Caballo de Oro and 1994 California Cup Sprint winner Uncaged Fury.
A jockey for more than 10 years, Cenicola, who earned his first win as a rider at Caliente, worked with John Henry during his time in California with Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally. John Henry was a two-time Horse of the Year, winning titles in 1981 and 1984.
“He was a very good horseman and I really liked him.’’ McAnally told Bloodhorse.com. “He did some things with John Henry that I don’t think anyone else would have had the patience to do. He would let him stand and look when he was on the track, and when John got ready to move, he would let him go.
“He was very instrumental in John Henry’s success, let me put it that way. I can’t tell you enough about him. He was just good.’’
Cenicola is survived by his wife Donna. A rosary for Cenicola will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Douglas Zook Chapel of Remembrance Funeral Home in Monrovia. Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Thursday at St. Rita of Cascia in Sierra Madre.
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