Diane J. Nelson, a multiple graded-stakes winning jockey from Long Island who rode more than 1,000 winners while capitalizing on her good looks with a modeling career, has died. She was 54.
Nelson died July 5, according to a post on the Moloney Family Funeral Homes’s website. There was no cause of death listed and no obituary.
A memorial service was held Monday at Mother Teresa Tribute Center at Nassau Suffolk Crematory in Lake Ronkonkoma. Denise Bisset, a relative of Nelson’s, wrote on the website’s condolence page that the service was for immediate family only.
Nelson, who grew up in Holtsville and graduated from Sachem High School, was the sixth female jockey in North America to reach 1,000 winners. She had 1,095 victories from 9,905 career races and purse earnings of $19,106,392, according to Equibase.
Nelson was one of the elite women jockeys in the sport, although she never rode in any of most prestigious Triple Crown or Breeders’ Cup races.
She rode regularly on the highly competitive New York circuit, where at times she was the lone woman.
“I’m realistic enough to know that I’m not going to get all the good mounts,” she told the Daily…
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