• 64°

JIMMY PICOU 1934-2019: Port Arthur native trained multiple stakes winners

James E. “Jimmy” Picou, a Port Arthur native who trained multiple stakes winners in his 45-year career, died July 19 near Miami following a long illness. He was 85.

He was a resident of Cooper City, Florida, at the time of his death.

Picou and his brother Clarence, who died in November 1998, were born as two of 16 children to Talton and Adelaide Picou in Port Arthur and raised in the LaBelle community.

Clarence Picou was the leading apprentice rider in 1948, according to Clarence’s daughter, Suzie Picou-Oldham, and became a trainer for more than 30 years, earning a win in the Grade 1 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.

Jimmy Picou and his wife Helen walk with a horse in this undated photo. (Courtesy photo)

Jimmy Picou totaled 422 wins, 538 second places and 526 third places in 4,171 starts between 1976-2004 (results before 1976 are not posted) and earned $15,067,701, according to his Equibase profile.

He began his racing career as a jockey in 1949 and trained a number of stakes winners including Val’s Prince (1997 Hong Kong Cup and 1999 Turf Classic and Man o’ War Stakes), Diplomatic Jet (1996 Belmont Turf Classic, Man o’ War and Manhattan Stakes) and Willow Hour (1981 Travers and Jim Dandy Stakes). Notable owners who hired Picou included Fred Hooper and Marcia Schott.

“He brought himself up from very modest beginnings,” Picou-Oldham said. “He made himself a name with the most elite part of the thoroughbred industry. The thing everyone would say about him was he was congenial, a good horse trainer and a gentleman. He was well liked. His wife Helen was by his side all the time.”

Helen Picou died in December 2016.

Jimmy Picou also trained Mr. Brick, the 1964 Withers Stakes winner which finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby that year. Picou-Oldham added her uncle maintained a high clientele in New York and Florida.

Picou’s survivors include son Jim Picou and daughters Deborah Markowski and Lisa Picou. The three grew up following their father and enjoying life on the backstretch and at the races, Picou-Oldham said.

Jimmy’s and Clarence’s brother, Joseph Gabriel “Gabe” Picou of LaBelle, died Jan. 15.

Arrangements for a family celebration of life will be planned at a later date.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.