Courtney C. Reid, who served as the National Steeplechase Association’s manager of racing operations for the past year, has resigned to become senior manager of racing operations for Breeders’ Cup Ltd.
She begins her new position on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the Lexington, Ky., headquarters of Breeders’ Cup and will report to Dora Delgado, executive vice president of racing and nominations.
“We wish Courtney well in her new position,” said NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri. “She made significant contributions to the NSA in her time with us, especially in the area of technology. She was a self-starter and approached every task assigned to her with enthusiasm and a strong desire to succeed.”
During her time with the NSA, she worked under the supervision of Director of Racing Bill Gallo Jr. “Courtney brought to the NSA her passion for Thoroughbred racing. She was an extremely fast learner in every aspect of our operation, and I have no doubt she will be an asset to the Breeders’ Cup,” he said.
A native of Williamsburg, Va., she holds an undergraduate degree from James Madison University and a master’s degree from Liberty University. She previously worked for the Virginia Racing Commission and joined the NSA as racing operations coordinator in November 2015.
U.S. Pony Racing will host the Mid-Atlantic Junior Racing Clinic on Sunday, Feb. 24, at Bonita Farm in Darlington, Md. Clinicians will be (racing schedules pending) top Maryland flat jockey Forest Boyce, flat and steeplechase trainer Kevin Boniface, five-time champion jump jockey Paddy Young, steeplechase trainer-young rider educator Regina Welsh, and several guest instructors. Young
Eclipse Award finalist Optimus Prime and a newcomer to Irv Naylor’s stable top the initial National Steeplechase Association ratings for the upcoming 2019 racing season, which kicks off March 23 with the Aiken Spring Steeplechase in South Carolina.
Third in the ratings is Scorpiancer, the 2017 Eclipse champion who did not race last year.
Owned by 2018 champion owner Rosbrian Farm, Optimus Prime arrived in the United States last May and was prepared by trainer Ricky Hendriks and his staff for a victory in Saratoga Race Course’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) on Aug. 23.
Third in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) behind stablemate and eventual Eclipse champion Zanjabeel, Optimus Prime came back with a dominant victory in the International Gold Cup’s David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) on Oct. 27. The French-bred, now seven, was second in the Eclipse balloting behind overwhelming choice Zanjabeel, who is owned by Rosbrian and Meadow Run Farm.
Naylor’s newcomer is Bedrock, a British-bred who is now six. Formerly trained by Iain Jardine, he collected two farewell victories for his former owner, The Risk Takers Partnership, in Ireland. After an October win at Tipperary, he was victorious in a Down Royal hurdle on Nov. 2. In all, his earnings over hurdles exceed $130,000.
Optimus Prime and Bedrock were listed at 157 in the ratings prepared by the expert panel comprising Equibase chart caller Martin Chamberlin, racing official and announcer Will O’Keefe, and Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Editor Joe Clancy. Their work is overseen by NSA Director of Racing Bill Gallo Jr.
The National Steeplechase Association, in partnership with video provider TPH Productions, will inaugurate professionally produced TV programming of steeplechase race meets for the upcoming 2019 season. The launch of the National Steeplechase Association Network follows the debut of high-definition video for race stewards last fall and builds upon that innovation.
The network-quality programming, similar to television shows in other sports, will be broadcast over broadband and will be available around the globe.
All of the NSA’s 28 race meets will participate in the NSA Network shows and the meets will share in revenues produced by the new programming.
The fully produced TV shows will highlight all the racing action and will feature horses, jockeys, trainers, and standings as the season progresses. These features will provide an introduction to the sport for new fans of jump racing and will enhance the experience of existing fans.
“The Board of Directors and I are excited about the prospects for the National Steeplechase Association Network and the shows it will be producing,” said NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri. “With these shows, we will be able to reach new audiences in our traditional markets and around the world.” The NSA Network broadcasts are expected to reach at least five million viewers in 2019, adding to the nearly one million fans who attend the events each year.
In past years, race meets such as the Iroquois Steeplechase, Far Hills Races, and the Virginia Gold Cup have offered professional shows for their races. Those types of shows will be available to all meets in 2019, said Steve Hankin, a principal of the NSA Network with Piper Klemm.
The principles are straightforward. While live streaming of the steward videos certainly has value, a produced TV show delivers content and context that are not available from a mere live stream. A produced TV show–like the ones the NSA Network will deliver–has the capability to build markets and to gain new followers for the sport.
Hankin, a video-industry entrepreneur who is the brother of prominent steeplechase owner Michael Hankin, presented his vision of the new video programming at the annual NSA Race Chairmen’s Meeting in Baltimore on Jan. 17. In the broadest terms, he said, the goal of the NSA Network is to increase the visibility and popularity of jump races in the race-meets’ home markets as well as nationally and internationally.
Richard Migliore, a retired Eclipse Award-winning jockey and a well-known television racing analyst, will be the keynote speaker at the South Carolina Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s annual awards banquet on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the National Steeplechase Museum in Camden, S.C. A Brooklyn native, Migliore won the Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding apprentice
The Virginia Equine Alliance, a strong supporter of jump racing since its inception in 2014, will inaugurate cash payments to Virginia-owned or Virginia-trained horses at seven point-to-point race meets in the commonwealth this spring.
Each starter will receive a $200 cash starter reward for each point-to-point start.
Although the point-to-points are not sanctioned, its participants often race under rules in National Steeplechase Association races. For many horses, the point-to-points are a final preparation before racing in NSA meets.
“We hope to get more horses out for the point-to-points and to get people excited about the races,” said John B. “Jeb” Hannum, the Virginia Equine Alliance’s executive director. VEA officials estimate the spring races will attract 200 starts by Virginia-owned or -trained horses.
In addition to the starter rewards, the VEA will provide a $10,000 grant to the Virginia Point-to-Point Foundation to defray some operational costs. The VEA also provides $25,000 in purse supplements to each of the commonwealth’s NSA meets.
Since the closing of Colonial Downs in 2013, steeplechasing has helped to keep racing alive in Virginia. The Virginia Equine Alliance was formed in the aftermath of Colonial’s closing, and revenues generated from off-track wagering sites and online betting platforms have supported race purses.