Veteran jockey Dean Kutz, who overcame countless physical setbacks to ride more than 2,800 winners during his career, died Sunday morning in Lexington's Saint Joseph Hospital following a long illness. He was 48.A native of Carrington, North Dakota, Mr. Kutz began riding in 1972 and rode with considerable success for almost 30 years in the upper midwest and Kentucky. He won 2,835 races and his mounts earned $33,691,225.His victories at Keeneland included the 1992 Phoenix Breeders' Cup aboard British Banker and the 1994 Forerunner atop Jaggery John, both for trainer Pete Vestal. He also rode successfully at Turfway Park, Ellis Park and Churchill Downs.
Mr. Kutz's fingers were disfigured from frostbite he suffered as a child and he received a kidney transplant from his sister in 1984. Despite losing his larynx to throat cancer in 2000, he returned to ride competitively.Mr. Kutz recently was named to the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame. He also received the 2001 George Woolf Award and the 2002 Mike Venezia Award. He was the first jockey inducted into the Canterbury Downs Hall of Fame.A memorial service for Mr. Kutz will be held at 3 p.m. on Sept. 28 in the Keeneland sales pavilion. Blackburn and Ward Funeral Home in Versailles, KY is in charge of arrangements.