02/28/2014 8:56AM

Norm Schmitt, jockey agent, dies at 77


Norton “Norm” Schmitt, a fixture for decades at Churchill Downs and other tracks as the longtime cigar-chomping agent for retired jockey Larry Melancon, died Wednesday following a long illness in the Cleveland suburb of Westlake, near where his brother lives. He was 77.

Melancon said he was an apprentice at the old Jefferson Downs in 1971 when he met Schmitt, who was working as clerk of scales. Schmitt began working for Melancon in 1980, a working relationship that endured more than 20 years. Schmitt, who never married, also was very close friends with Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

Schmitt’s brother, Brook, said Friday that there will be no public memorial service. “Norm always felt very fortunate to have as many good friends as he had in the racing business,” he said.