A July 25 reception at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame will celebrate the publication of Racing Time: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Liberation by Patrick Smithwick, who has been aptly described as the chronicler of the American steeplechase mind.
The date and the setting are both significant and appropriate. A few hours before the 5:30 p.m. book signing and reading by the author, Saratoga Race Course will feature the $150,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), a top-rated steeplechase race.
The race is named for Patrick Smithwick’s father, Paddy Smithwick, who was the focus of the author’s first book, Racing My Father, in 2006. The reception across Union Avenue from the race course will be held in the area containing Paddy Smithwick’s Hall of Fame plaque.
Not far away are the Hall of Fame plaques of Paddy Smithwick’s brother, trainer D. Michael “Mikey” Smithwick, and trainer Tom Voss. Mikey Smithwick appears in Racing Time and Patrick Smithwick’s second work, Flying Change, winner of the prestigious Tony Ryan Book Award for 2012.
Racing Time is dedicated to the memory of Voss, Patrick Smithwick’s best friend, who died suddenly in January 2014. He was inducted into Thoroughbred racing’s Hall of Fame in 2017.
Racing Time is in part the story of their friendship and the love that exists between men who first encountered each other as boys in Maryland’s horse country and maintained those ties through adulthood, with the common bond of the horse and shared experiences.
It’s also about loss, the wrenching abyss when a loved one is taken away without warning and without a chance to bid farewell.
The National Steeplechase Association’s 2019 season kicks off within weeks at its traditional opening South Carolina race meets, the Aiken Spring Steeplechase on Saturday, March 23, and the Carolina Cup Steeplechase in Camden a week later on Saturday, March 30.
Both race meets are located in historic centers of winter horse training, and both welcome spring to the Carolinas with festive crowds and quality racing.
Aiken Spring always attracts a capacity crowd to the Aiken Horse Park and has a waiting list for prime tickets. The meet’s net revenues benefit a long list of local charities, including Helping Hands, Inc., Hitchcock Woods Foundation, The Cumbee Center, Public Education Partners, CanHope, Aiken S.P.C.A., Aiken Rescue Squad, Aiken Public Safety Horse Rescue Squad, National Steeplechase Association Injured Jockey Fund, and the Aiken Thoroughbred Hall of Fame.
The racing kicks off at 1 p.m., and the afternoon’s feature will be the $30,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup, a ratings handicap for horses rated at 120 or lower. The ratings handicap is a popular race in which weights are determined by ratings assigned to each horse by a three-member expert panel overseen by NSA Director of Racing Bill Gallo Jr.
Also offering a $30,000 purse will be a Sport of Kings maiden hurdle. The Aiken schedule in the NSA’s condition book offers a second ratings handicap, the $20,000 Ford Conger, for horses at 110 or lower and have never won two races. Aiken Spring’s hurdle races are run at a two-mile distance.
The Carolina Cup will be run at Camden’s Springdale Race Course for the 87th time, with a 1:30 p.m. post time at the historic course.
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
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
Make your reservations now for the gala annual Steeplechase Champions Dinner and Dance to be held Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Maryland Club in Baltimore. The celebration of the sport’s champions is sponsored by the National Steeplechase Association and the Steeplechase Owners and Trainers Association.
All the 2018 leaders will be honored at the dinner and dance, which will kick off with cocktails at 6:30 p.m. Dinner will be at 7:30 p.m., followed by the presentation of the 2018 awards. Music will be provided by The Release.
The reservations deadline is Monday, Jan. 7, and tickets are $150 per person. For further information and to RSVP, please contact Courtney Reid, the NSA’s manager of racing operations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The reservation form can be downloaded at https://www.nationalsteeplechase.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/AwardsDinnerForm2018.pdf. The form also contains information on room reservations at the nearby Hotel Indigo at special rates.
Mark your calendars for Jan. 18 for the National Steeplechase Association’s annual Awards Dinner. Join with other steeplechase enthusiasts at the Maryland Club in Baltimore for this gala event.
Details will be forthcoming, but be sure to put that Thursday evening in your calendar. The event will honor champion horses as well as the champion owner, trainer, and jockeys.
The dinner will follow the annual NSA Race Chairmen’s meeting beginning at 10 a.m. that day at the Maryland Club.