Dale K. Thiel, a longtime steeplechase horseman, died Friday, June 26, in Camden, S.C. He was 83. Among his survivors is Laura Thiel Shull, a National Steeplechase Association board member. His wife, Judith Firestone Thiel, died in August 2013. Funeral plans were incomplete and will be announced by Kornegay Funeral Home, Camden Chapel. The family suggests memorial contributions to The Steeplechase Fund, 400 Fair Hill Drive, Elkton, Md. 21921. Contributions to The Steeplechase Fund are tax-deductible.
The races for steeplechase horses originally scheduled for July 11 and 12 at Parx Racing have been rescheduled for Sunday, July 12, and Monday, July 13. A $25,000 flat race for horses who have finished first, second, or third in a sanctioned hurdle race will be run on July 12, and the 1 1/2-mile race will be split into two $25,000 divisions if there are sufficient entries. A $35,000 Ratings Hurdle and a $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle are scheduled for July 13. If the 2 1/16-mile maiden hurdle attracts sufficient entries, it will be split into $30,000 divisions….
Steeplechase races will be featured at Parx Racing in suburban Philadelphia on the weekend of July 11. Three races are scheduled for Saturday, July 11, and, if the Sport of Kings maiden hurdle is split into divisions, races will be held on both that day and Sunday, July 12. The Sport of Kings maiden hurdle carries a $30,000 purse and, if split, each division will have a $30,000 purse. Monmouth Park’s Sport of Kings maiden hurdle on June 19 had overflow entries for each of its two divisions. Also carded for Parx are a $35,000 Ratings Handicap and a flat…
Chasing in Focus
Weren't we just at Aiken? After a whirlwind two months, the spring steeplechase season drew to a close on Saturday with 8 parimutuel races at Fair Hill in Elkton, Md. Capping the card was the $30,000 Valentine Memorial, this year run as a timber stakes for novice jumpers. Donald Reuwer Jr.’s Grand Manan, who hadn't raced for more than two years and was making his first start over jumps, went wire to wire en route to a 7-length score for jockey Fritz Boniface and trainer Billy Meister. The meet also marked the return after a year and a half of Greg Hawkins' Canaveral, a stakes-placed runner for trainer Janet Elliot. Canaveral made his comeback in a training flat race, one of three on the card, and gave jockey Rebecca Harris her first sanctioned winner. If you get out your scorecards, here are the various leaders, two and four legged, in the clubhouse, with a big summer in Saratoga on the horizon. Leading owner (by earnings): Irv Naylor, but only by a whisker over Gill Johnston. Leading trainer: Jack Fisher. The Todd Pletcher of the steeplechase circuit has twice as many winners as closest rivals Alicia Murphy and Jonathan Sheppard, and a $170,000 lead in earnings over Richard Valentine, who has the game's money-making machine in Demonstrative. Leading jockey. The champ is back. Paddy Young, four time leading rider, is winning like there's no tomorrow. With 12 winners, he has a 7-race cushion over Sean McDermott, Bernie Dalton, Mark Beecher, and Jack Doyle. Young has a $17,000 edge in purse earnings over Doyle. Demonstrative, one for one, has bankrolled $90,000, followed by timber aces Grinding Speed (two for two), at $72,000, and Cornhusker (three for four), with $63,000. Tod Marks has the photo recap from Fair Hill - tm
Somewhere, Tom Voss and Betty Merck are smiling. The two pillars of steeplechasing may be gone, but they were well-represented at the Radnor Hunt Cup Races in Malvern, Pa., on Saturday. Tom's daughter, Elizabeth, saddle three winners, including Armata Stables' Wildcatter, who captured the Radnor Hunt Cup timber stakes under Bethany Baumgardner, and the National Hunt Cup over hurdles with Bob Le Beau, racing in the brown and green colors of Betty Merck's The Fields Stable. Jack Doyle had the mount on Bob Le Beau. Doyle has been on fire since returning to ride in the U.S. Last week, he won two stakes at Nashville, the Grade 1 Iroquois with Demonstrative and the Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes with Syros. Paddy Young also took two on the Radnor card. Tod Marks has the photo recap - tm
The highlight of the spring steeplechase season is no doubt the historic Iroquois at Nashville's Percy Warner Park. And this year's edition, the 74th, didn't disappoint. The seven-race card featured $415,000 in purses, anchored by the $150,000 Grade 1 Iroquois Stakes. In an epic duel, Jacqueline Ohrstrom's reigning champ Demonstrative ran down pacesetter Mr Hot Stuff to win by a neck. Divine Fortune, the 2013 Iroquois winner and horse of the year, shared the lead with Mr Hot Stuff throughout much of the race before tiring to finishing fourth in the 5-horse field. In other stakes action, Gil Johnston's Syros, with Jack Doyle up, took the $75,000 Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes, while Clark Ohrstrom's Kisser N Run captured the $50,000 Margaret Currey Henley, with Darren Nagle aboard. Jockey Robbie Walsh who had the mount on both Demonstrative and Kisser N Run for trainer Richard Valentine, was injured in a spill earlier in the day. Tod Marks made the trip to Nashville and has the photo recap - tm