09/02/2005 12:00AM

Charles Nuckols Jr. dies


Charles Nuckols Jr., owner of Nuckols Farm in Midway, Ky., and breeder of the 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, War Emblem, died at home Friday of congestive heart failure. He was 83.

Nuckols had a long and fruitful partnership with owner and breeder Russell Reineman, who followed a tradition between the two men when he leased his Lord at War mare Sweetest Lady to Nuckols. That made Nuckols the breeder of record for War Emblem.

"Charlie does all the matings, selects the stallions, takes the mares to the stallions," Reineman said after War Emblem's Derby victory. "How can I take credit for breeding the horses when he's the one who has earned it?"

Nuckols and Reineman teamed up in 1960 and had immediate success when the first mating Nuckols planned for a Reineman mare resulted in 1962's champion juvenile filly, Smart Deb.

Nuckols also raised such champion runners as Hidden Lake, Typecast, Decathlon, White Skies, and Grecian Queen.

The Nuckols family has a long involvement in Kentucky Thoroughbred breeding. More than 100 years ago, Charles Nuckols's grandfather founded a farm in Midway that now covers 1,150 acres. Nuckols's father, Charles Sr., began Thoroughbred operations at the farm, named Hurstland. Charles and his brothers later divided the family property into two operations, with Charles operating Charles Nuckols Jr. and Sons and his brother Alfred operating as Hurstland.

Nuckols was a Keeneland trustee and a purple heart veteran of World War II.

Visitation will be Tuesday at the Milward Funeral Home in Lexington from 4-8 p.m. The funeral is Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Midway Presbyterian Church.