Monday, February 15, 2010

Racing industry loses innovator, friend: Jack Werk

Thoroughbred Daily News reports that Jack Werk, who founded Werk Thoroughbred Consultants and was the innovator behind one of racing's preeminent nicking systems, died Sunday at age 65 after a long battle with cancer.

Werk's firm was established in the late 1980s, TDN reports, and was an adviser on matings that included such notable products as Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet and last year's champion 2-year-old, Lookin at Lucky. His eNicks Web site went online in 2004. Werk also created the monthly publication Owner-Breeder along with Daily Racing Form columnist Leon Rasmussen, and partnered with Roger Lyons to develop the pedigree software CompuSire.

Sid Fernando, former bloodstock editor of The Daily Racing Form and a reader of this blog, was a longtime friend of Jack's, and reportedly will take over managing the company.

Said Fernando: "We're all devastated at losing Jack, but his most heartfelt wish was that the company go on, and he put a solid plan in place that promises the Thoroughbred industry WTC's high standard of service for a long time to come."

I'm an interested observer of both Werk's nicking system and the TrueNicks system, which emerged much more recently and is affiliated with The Blood-Horse magazine. While I believe nicking is only part of the solution to any mating question -- sirelines are important, but female family is half the equation -- I do take into account the results from both Werk's system and TrueNicks when planning my own (few) matings to mares, or when advising my friends.

Meanwhile, Jack Werk was undeniably an avid fan and friend of the racing game. And we who include ourselves in that group should mourn the loss of each and every person who is among our number.

I regrettably never met Jack Werk, but I extend my condolences to Jack's family and friends, including Sid.


  1. My condolences to Mr. Werk's family and friends.

    And best wishes to Sid Fernando on his new responsiblities.

  2. Glenn, thanks. I had dinner tonight in Fremont with Jack's daughter, Kris, and will pass this on to her. I know she'll appreciate it.


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