James D. Nichols
James D. "Jimmy" Nichols (March, 1928 - February 27, 2003) was an American Thoroughbred horse racing jockey and a widely respected horseman who, after retiring from race-riding, played a key role in the two U.S. Triple Crown race wins of Risen Star.
Known as "Jimmy", and nicknamed "Cowboy," he competed in rodeo bull riding, worked as a stable groom, and then went on to become a successful jockey in Quarter Horse racing before turning to Thoroughbred flat racing.
In 1947 Jimmy Nichols was the leading apprentice jockey at Hollywood Park Racetrack  and the following year, the leading jockey at Del Mar Racetrack. He went on to ride for major racing stable owners such as Christopher Chenery, George A. Pope, Jr., the Phipps family's Wheatley Stable, Fred W. Hooper and John W. Galbreath. During his career, Nichols rode in seven U.S. Triple Crown races, his best finish a third aboard Gentleman James in the 1967 Belmont Stakes.
After thirty-two years, Jimmy Nichols retired from riding in 1979 and went to work as a steward at various racetracks including Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, Waterford Park near Chester, West Virginia and finally at Trinity Meadows Race Track in Willow Park, Texas.
In 1993, Jimmy Nichols was inducted into the Fair Grounds Racing Hall of Fame. He suffered from kidney failure in 1995 and spent his last years working in the jockeys' room at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. 
Even after his retirement from riding, Jimmy Nichols was sought out by owners in the horse racing industry for his knowledge of Thoroughbreds. The best known example of this occurred in 1987 with Louie Roussel, an owner/trainer who also owned Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Roussel hired Nichols to check out approximately twenty two-year-old Thoroughbreds coming up for auction and to make buying recommendations. The result was Nichols recommending a colt that Roussel and partner Ronnie Lamarque would acquire for $300,000 and name Risen Star. At age three, the son of Secretariat just missed out on winning the 1988 U.S. Triple Crown series when he was a narrowly beaten third in the Kentucky Derby then won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Throughout Risen Star's campaign, Jimmy Nichols maintained an important role. He turned down a job offer from Ellis Park Race Course to remain as the exercise rider of Risen Star in exchange for a bonus of one lifetime breeding right to the valuable colt.
- Youngstown Vindicator (Ohio) - July 3, 1984
- 2012 Hollywood Park Media Guide
- Modesto Bee (California) - June 4, 1967
- Fair Grounds Hall of Fame
- James Nichols obituary at Bloodhorse.com February 27, 2003
- Schenectady Gazette - June 11, 1988
- Newsday, June 7, 1988 article titled BELMONT STAKES - Nichols, the Hidden Star