Ronnie Franklin, the hard-living Dundalk-raised jockey who rode Spectacular Bid to victories in the 1979 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, died Thursday of lung cancer. He was 58.
Franklin’s nephew and fellow jockey, Walter Cullum, confirmed his death.
Franklin was just 19 when he rode Spectacular Bid to glory in the Triple Crown series. Trainer Grover “Bud” Delp looked past the young rider’s lack of experience, trusting his knowing hands and innate feel for horses.
“Horses just ran for Ronnie,” said the late Delp’s son, Gerald. “He just had that God-given ability.”
He recalled Franklin’s early work with a tempestuous filly named Pioneer Patty. “No one could get on her...