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CHAMPIONS HONORED AT AWARDS DINNER

Thursday, 17 January 2019 by

With assistant trainer Eve Ledyard, left, George and Mandy Mahoney lead in Rosbrian Farm's Optimus Prime after his New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) victory. Ross Geraghty rode the winner. {Tod Marks photo)

The National Steeplechase Association’s 2018 champions were crowned Thursday at a gala awards dinner and dance held at the Maryland Club in Baltimore. The dinner and dance were jointly sponsored by the National Steeplechase Association and the Steeplechase Owners and Breeders Association.

The year’s Lonesome Glory Award went to Jury Duty, who earned $270,000 with his 3 1/4-length victory in Far Hills’ $450,000 Grand National (Gr. 1), the year’s richest race. Owned by the Sideways Syndicate, Jury Duty was trained to his New Jersey victory by leading Irish horseman Gordon Elliott.

Topping the owner list by a wide margin was Rosbrian Farm, which earned $712,050 from 54 starts.

Owned by Mandy and George Mahoney, the stable had 14 victories, including two Grade 1 wins—the $200,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois and Belmont Park’s $175,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap—by Zanjabeel, who is owned by Rosbrian in partnership with Wendy and Ben Griswold’s Meadow Run Farm.

Trained by Ricky Hendriks, Zanjabeel will be a leading candidate for the Eclipse Award with earnings of $265,500. He also had two second-place finishes, in the $150,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) and the $75,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2).

Hendriks also trained Rosbrian’s Optimus Prime, winner of Saratoga Race Course’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) and the International Gold Cup’s David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2). He, Zanjabeel, and Jury Duty are the finalists for the 2018 Eclipse Award, which will be announced on Jan. 24 at Gulfstream Park.

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CHASING IN FOCUS

Charleston meet closes door on 2018 season

Though there was no Grade 1, championship-calibre race on the card, the Steeplechase of Charleston in Hollywood, SC, on Nov. 11, did indeed settle some year-end titles. Darren Nagle, aboard Irv Naylor’s Moss Code, took the opener to successfully defend his champion jockey crown by wins, with 17, one more than runner-up Jack Doyle. Ross Geraghty topped all riders in purse earnings. Jack Fisher, who started the season very slowly, came to Charleston with a one-race lead over Ricky Hendriks for training honors, and increased his lead to two with a score by Noble Stables’ Dynaformersrequest (and Willie McCarthy) in the $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle. The victory gave Fisher his seventh consecutive training award. But Hendriks wasn't going down without a fight, saddling Rosbrian Farm's Caldbeck (Ross Geraghty)to win the allowance hurdle, which assured the 3-year-old the title of the game's top young jumper. Caldbeck also won The Gladstone Stakes at Far Hills last month, the season's biggest race for 3-year-olds. Another winner at Far Hills, Straylight Racing's Invocation, captured the featured ratings handicap for Billy Santoro and Sean McDermott. Though it didn't count in the standings, trainer Hendriks won the finale, a training flat race, with Rosbrian's Indigo Heart, the first US victory for jockey Katie Young. Catherine French has the photo recap.

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$5,998,500

NSA PURSES IN 2017

480 HORSES

RAN IN 2017

+1,000,000

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12 STATES

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