David A. Hershbell, a National Steeplechase Association senior steward who held positions at many NSA race meets, died Wednesday, Nov. 27, at the age of 72.
He and his wife, Charlene, resided in the Allentown, Pa., area, and Dave Hershbell was sales and marketing manager for Lehigh Heavy Forge, which is based in Bethlehem. Before that opportunity arose approximately five years ago, he was vice president of marketing for Lenape Forged Products Corp. in West Chester, Pa., where he had worked for more than 30 years.
Hershbell said recently that his only regret about taking the Lehigh Heavy Forge position was that he and Charlene had to move from their farm in West Grove, Pa. Active with horses throughout his time in Pennsylvania, he attended stewards school and became an accredited steward in 2002. For several years, he had been the presiding steward at the Genesee Valley Hunt Races.
Charlene Hershbell also was a race official in varying capacities, and she and her husband supported the Winterthur pony races, which are named in memory of their daughter, Allison, a retired flat jockey who died in 2007. They also have a son, Scott.
Funeral services are pending.
Michael Mitchell had the 2019 jockey championship at his mercy after his compatriot Jack Doyle sustained a season-ending injury in the last race and at the last fence of the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens on Nov. 9.
Mitchell only had to make a few calls, or take a few calls, and get on the favorites at the season-ending Steeplechase at Charleston at Stono Ferry on Sunday. He certainly would have had a full dance card, and one win in five jump races would have given him the championship over Doyle, who is recovering from a fractured jaw sustained in an allowance hurdle for four-year-olds.
One race earlier, Mitchell had climbed into a tie with Doyle for year-end honors with his victory aboard Storm Team in the Aflac Supreme Hurdle. The English-born jockey, who was New Zealand’s champion jockey four years ago, had every chance of occupying the line as 2019’s champion jockey in the National Steeplechase annals.
Instead, the 2019 jockey title will contain two lines, one for Mitchell and one for Doyle, after Mitchell declined to take any mounts at Charleston. In a magnanimous action, Mitchell refused to take advantage of Doyle’s misfortune. Thus, the title ends in a tie, with each jockey having 20 victories.
The National Steeplechase Association elected five members to the Board of Directors at its annual meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at NSA headquarters in Fair Hill, Md. The Board of Directors comprises 15 members, and five are elected each year to three-year terms. Two current directors, NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri and Vice President Doug
The Monday Report for Nov. 18, featuring the season-ending Steeplechase of Charleston at Stono Ferry, its Alston Cup for three-year-olds, and the tie for the jockey championship, is now available here. The web address is: https://www.nationalsteeplechase.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/MR11-18-19w.pdf
Irv Naylor’s Must See The Doc, always prominent in the Steeplechase of Charleston’s $25,000 Alston Cup for three-year-olds, battled past front-runner Global Freedom after the last fence and held off Another Try for a narrow victory on Sunday.
Hudson River Farms’ Another Try finished second, just ahead of Rosbrian Farm’s Global Freedom, winner of the Far Hills Races’ $50,000 Gladstone Stakes on Oct. 19.
Trained by Ricky Hendriks, Global Freedom became the year’s three-year-old champion with $32,500 in jump purses. Leslie Young-trained Must See The Doc, second to Global Freedom in the Gladstone, finished second in the standings with $24,000.
Under sunny skies and with temperatures in the brisk mid-50s, the six-race Steeplechase of Charleston at Stono Ferry brought down the curtain on the 2019 National Steeplechase Association program. The races in Hollywood, S.C., were run for the first time under the ownership of the Post and Courier, the South’s oldest newspaper.
In the Alston Cup, Gerard Galligan sent Global Freedom to the lead at the start and set a moderate pace on the Stono Ferry course. Must See The Doc took up an occasionally fractious stalking position under Brian Linehan, with Diablo Voloce briefly prominent in the early going and Another Try well back.
Funeral services for Thomas M. “Tommy” Walsh, a champion steeplechase jockey who was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2005, will be held Monday, Nov. 18, at the Edward L. Collins Funeral Home in Oxford, Pa., at 11 a.m. He died Wednesday at the age of 79.
Consistently among the sport’s leading jockeys during his 12-year career, he was champion for the first time in 1960 with 29 jump victories and again led the standings in 1966 with 37 jump wins.
He was a member of the remarkable Walsh family of steeplechase horsemen and learned the sport from his father, James Walsh, at his parent’s Great Neck, Long Island, riding academy. His first mount was on St. Patrick’s Day in 1956, shortly before his 16th birthday, and he rode frequently for his uncle Michael G. “Mickey” Walsh, also a Racing Hall of Fame member.
He ranked second in the win column the following year, behind Hall of Fame member Paddy Smithwick, and reached the top spot in 1960. He had 31 jump wins in 1963 and was second in the standings behind Joe Aitcheson Jr. When top-level mounts came his way in 1966, he secured his second title, finishing 10 wins ahead of Doug Small Jr., who died last month.