Elizabeth “Betty” Ranney Moran, the longtime Radnor Hunt Races chair who enjoyed success in Thoroughbred flat racing and breeding as well as a win in the Grand National at Aintree, passed away peacefully at home on January 23 at age 89. She was born on Aug. 7, 1930, in Bryn Mawr, Pa., to Claude J.
Hudson River Farms’ Winston C, a newcomer to American racing who easily won Saratoga Race Course’s two Grade 1 jump races, was honored Thursday evening with the Eclipse Award as North America’s champion steeplechase horse in 2019.
An Irish-bred gelding by Galileo’s son Rip Van Winkle, Winston C prevailed in the Eclipse voting over two other Grade 1 winners: Michael Buckley’s Brain Power, who invaded from England to win Far Hills’ Grand National, and Bruton Street-US’s Scorpiancer, the 2017 Eclipse Award champion who won the Calvin Houghland Iroquois for a second time.
Winston C and other Thoroughbred champions were honored at the 49th annual Eclipse Awards dinner at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla. This year’s Eclipse Awards presentations were sponsored by Claiborne Farm stallion Runhappy.
Among the Eclipse winners was George Strawbridge Jr., the all-time leading steeplechase owner who was honored as outstanding breeder.
Accepting the Eclipse Award was Hudson River Farms owner Edward P. Swyer, who was accompanied by trainer Jonathan Sheppard’s assistant, Keri Brion, jockey Thomas Garner, and National Steeplechase Association director Eve Ledyard.
Dr. Alfred C. Griffin Jr., the co-chair of the Virginia Gold Cup who played a key role in keeping pari-mutuel racing alive in his home state during Colonial Downs’ closure, was elected president of the National Steeplechase Association at Friday’s NSA Board of Directors meeting.
The Warrenton, Va., orthodontist succeeds Guy J. Torsilieri, who was elected as the NSA’s chairman. Torsilieri, who served as the NSA’s president for 11 years before declining to seek another term, was elected as the NSA’s chairman. He succeeds Beverly R. Steinman, who retired from the board at the conclusion of her term last year.
Also elected were Virginia Lazenby as vice president, Robert Bonnie as secretary, and Mason Hardaway Lampton as treasurer.
The champions of 2019 were honored Thursday evening at the annual Steeplechase Awards Dinner and Dance, sponsored by the National Steeplechase Association and the Steeplechase Owners and Trainers Association.
Racing commentator Michael Finney served as the master of ceremonies for the sold-out awards program, held at the Maryland Club in Baltimore. Music was provided by Release, and NSA official artist Sam Robinson displayed several of his works. His painting of Scorpiancer and Moscato graced the front of the awards-dinner program.
Honored at the dinner were:
Lonesome Glory Award, presented by McCauley’s: Michael Buckley’s Brain Power was the year’s leading earner in competition over fences. His one start, a victory in Far Hills’ $450,000 Grand National (Gr. 1), earned him $270,000.
With the start of the racing season little more than two months away, the National Steeplechase Association opens 2020 with meetings and the annual Awards Dinner and Dance, all at the Maryland Club in Baltimore.
The activities begin this Thursday, Jan. 16, with the Race Chairmen’s meeting from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hosted by Chairman Peter Fenwick, the day will be filled with discussions pertinent to race directors and other representatives from each of the 28 meets on the NSA circuit.
The annual Award Dinner and Dance, hosted by the Steeplechase Owners and Trainers Association and the NSA, will be held starting at 6:30 that evening. Racing commentator Michael Finney will be the master of ceremonies for a program that honors the champions of 2019.
On Friday, Jan. 17, the NSA’s Board of Directors will convene for its first meeting of the year. Officers will be elected for 2020, and a nominating committee comprising Mike Hankin, Robert Bonnie, and Dwight Hall will present its report.
Jack Fisher, a record-setting trainer and a prominent member of the steeplechase community, has been elected president of the Temple Gwathmey Steeplechase Foundation. Based in Monkton, Md., Fisher succeeds Charles C. Fenwick Jr., who had completed his maximum term as a foundation trustee. Also elected by the foundation’s Board of Trustees were Emily Day, a