Iroquois Steeplechase Introduces Groom's Bonuses

A new Groom's Bonus for the first-place winner of every race has been introduced by the Iroquois Steeplechase. A $1,000 bonus will be awarded for the Iroquois Steeplechase and a $500 bonus for all other races at the race meet. The 2024 Iroquois Steeplechase will run May 11 at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tennessee. "It's our way of saying thank you and acknowledging the hard work and passion that Grooms bring to our beloved sport," said event sponsor Don Gill. "Without them, we would be at a significant disadvantage...

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National Museum Of Racing Updates Hall Of Fame Historic Review Committee Process

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame's Executive Committee has approved changes regarding the institution's Historic Review committee process based on feedback received from the chair and members, the institution said in a Friday release. Beginning this year, the Historic Review Committee will start an annual rotation to examine a specific era of American racing history. Only candidates from within the designated era will be considered for Hall of Fame induction during that year's review process. Previously, the Historic Review Committee met three out of every four years...

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Longtime Maryland Trainer Ronald Cartwright Dies At 93

Ronald "Ronnie" C. Cartwright, a Maryland-based trainer who conditioned multiple graded-stakes winners throughout his career, passed away Nov. 11 at the age of 93. A steeplechase jockey who then trained from the late 1960's through 2005, Cartwright won almost 700 races and his horses earned more than $13 million. His graded-stakes winners included Mz. Zill Bear (Salutely), Castelets (King's Bishop), Miss Slewpy (Slewpy), Palliser Bay (Frosty the Snowman) and Mymet (Mehmet). "I've been in this for 60 years and will miss it," Cartwright said soon after he retired in 2005....

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Gwathmey Steeplechase Foundation Elects Officers

Edited Press Release Katherine Neilson, a trainer of stakes winners over both hurdles and timber and a prominent member of the steeplechase community, has been elected president of the Temple Gwathmey Steeplechase Foundation (TGSF). Based in Kennett Square, Pa., she was an accomplished jockey before switching roles. Neilson trained her 200th winner in 2021. Neilson was elected president of the Steeplechase Owners and Trainers Association in 2010 and again in 2020. She has been co-director of the Cheshire Hunt Races from 2019 to the present. The Foundation's Executive Committee also...

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Retired Trainer Peter Howe Dies at 83

Retired trainer Peter Howe, one of just four people to train an American champion over jumps and on the flat, and the father of Colonial Downs Vice President of Racing Jill Byrne, died Thursday night in Charlottesville, Va. He was 83. Howe was born in Hartford, Conn., and became an accomplished rider of show horses--competing at Madison Square Garden, the Washington International Horse Show and other top venues--before transitioning to racehorses. Training mainly for Marion du Pont Scott's Montpelier Stable, Howe conditioned a small but quality stable of flat and...

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Far Hills to Name Race For John Forbes

The Far Hills steeplechase race meet will honor the late John Forbes--a fixture at Monmouth Park where he trained for 40 years--with the first John Forbes Memorial Race during its six-race program Oct. 15. The 101st Far Hills Race Meeting will offer $575,000 in purses for the six races at Moorland Farm in Far Hills, N.J., highlighted by the $250,000 Grade 1 Grand National. The John Forbes Memorial, the only flat race on the program, will be contested at two miles on the turf. It will go as the final...

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Kumin Joins The Steeplechase Community

If you check out the entries for the second race at Tennessee's Percy Warner Park, the Sloan maiden hurdle, and notice the connections of first-time starter Montmartre d'Ange (Fr) (Montmarte), they will look quite familiar. The 4-year-old is owned in part by prominent Thoroughbred owner Sol Kumin's Madakat Stable (along with Paul and Molly Willis, and CFC Stables). Kumin has been involved in the likes of Triple Crown winner Justify, Monomoy Girl, Lady Eli, Midnight Bisou, Yoshida, Whitmore, Mind Your Biscuits, Authentic, Exaggerator, and Catholic Boy. So how did Kumin...

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Smaller, But Still Super: Helen Pitts

The daughter of a racing steward and a steeplechase trainer, Maryland native Helen Pitts was destined for a career on the racetrack. After working for several steeplechase trainers, she made the move to Kentucky to work for Kenny McPeek. When McPeek stepped away from training in 2005, Pitts took over and had her very first winner that same day. Over the years, she has reached the winner's circle with many unforgettable racehorses, including Hall of Fame champion Curlin and her all-time favorite trainee, MGISW Einstein (Brz). KP: How did you...

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New York Turf Writers Cup Renamed in Honor of Hall of Fame Trainer Jonathan Sheppard

The GI New York Turf Writers Cup steeplechase stakes has been renamed in honor of Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, the New York Racing Association announced Friday. The $150,000 Jonathan Sheppard for 4-year-olds and up going 2 3/8 miles is slated for Thursday, Aug. 19 during the summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course. "It seems fitting that one of the premier steeplechase stakes in the country is going to be named in honor of Jonathan Sheppard," said Bill Gallo, Director of Racing for the National Steeplechase Association. "He...

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Trainer Jonathan Sheppard Set to Invade Europe

Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard has accomplished everything there is to accomplish in U.S. steeplechase racing. He's been leading steeplechase trainer 25 times, has trained 15 champions and has won every major steeplechase race run in the U.S.-many of them numerous times. But the native of Ashwell, Hertfordshire, England who came to America in 1961 has never won a race in Europe. In the months ahead, he hopes to change that. With the U.S. steeplechase season having ended Nov. 15 and because only a limited number of races were...

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NSA Kicks off Foxfield Jump Season

The Foxfield Races, the first of three fall National Steeplechase Association to run in October, kicks off Sunday in Charlottesville, Va. The card, consisting of seven races--five over hurdles and two on the flat--carries purses totaling $55,000. Post time is 12:30 p.m. The Foxfield Races mark the first 2020 NSA event that will permit owners, with horse entered, to attend, albeit with restrictions. Owners will be required to remain in a designated area for the entire afternoon; no one may cross the course or go to the paddock or barn...

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National Steeplechase Association Releases Fall Schedule

The National Steeplechase Association has released its fall calendar consisting of an abbreviated schedule of seven sanctioned race meets to be contested between Sept. 26 and Nov. 15. The modified schedule is due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The schedule kicks off at Shawan Downs Sept. 26, followed by Foxfield Fall Races Oct. 4, Virginia Fall Races Oct. 10, the International Gold Cup Oct. 24, the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup Nov. 1, the Steeplechase at Callaway Nov. 7 and the Steeplechase of Charleston Nov. 15. Each race meet will...

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