by Michael E. Hoffman We lost a dear friend, Solo Lord, this week. We have known each other since he was two. There was an immediate friendship and connection. We did a lot of first together, and when we were both home you knew the other was there. He was an international traveler, visiting the
The Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup on Nov. 19 brings down the curtain on another exciting year of steeplechase racing, and the 47th running of the historic Camden, S.C., race meet will honor the memory of Austin A. Brown.
Known as one of the Great Gentlemen of Steeplechasing, Mr. Brown died on May 4 in Hilton Head Island, S.C. He was 89.
The South Carolina Legislature has declared Nov. 19 as Austin Brown Day across the state, and the Colonial Cup will honor his many contributions to the race meet, Kershaw County, and steeplechase racing.
The meet’s Springdale Turf Club will be adorned with photographs of Mr. Brown and other Great Gentlemen of Steeplechasing. In conjunction with the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Carolina Cup Racing Association will help to raise contributions for the foundation on race day and through a pre-race golf outing.
Austin Brown indeed was a Gentleman of Steeplechasing and, without question, a Gentleman of the Turf. In recognition of his lifelong devotion to jump racing, he was honored in 2007 with the F. Ambrose Clark Award, which recognizes those who have done the most to promote, improve, and encourage the growth and welfare of American Steeplechasing.
“He was deeply involved in many aspects of our sport for well more than a half-century, and he led with grace and charm,” National Steeplechase Association President Guy J. Torsilieri said at the time of his death.
In a year of records, leading owner Irv Naylor has set a remarkable record. He has established a mark for owner purse earnings—in the middle of October and five weeks before the conclusion of the 2016 National Steeplechase Association season.
Naylor broke the mark that he set last year, $778,650, and he left that milepost in the dust at the Far Hills Races on Oct. 15. When the sun went down on a picture-perfect day in central New Jersey, Naylor’s 2016 purses totaled $841,800.
Last year, the Maryland-based owner won three races at Far Hills, including the $300,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) with eventual Eclipse Award champion Dawalan. This year, he needed only the one victory—in the Grand National, worth $350,000—to go over the top.
Rawnaq, undefeated this year, won America’s richest steeplechase race by three-quarters of a length. Naylor also had a second in the Peapack Stakes with One Lucky Lady and a third in the Harry E. Harris maiden hurdle with Hooded. In all, Naylor’s Far Hills purses totaled $227,000.
The 2016 annual mark, which was the third earnings record that Naylor has set since he ventured wholeheartedly into hurdle racing less than a decade ago, followed a record spring meet in which his horses earned in excess of a half-million dollars. Highlighting the spring season was Rawnaq’s victory in the $200,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr.) at Nashville on May 14.
Rawnaq started the year with a dominant victory in Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 1). His $360,000 in 2016 earnings all but assures him the Lonesome Glory Champions Award as the NSA’s leading earner, and he also will be the favorite in the balloting for this year’s Eclipse Award after his two courageous Grade 1 victories.
Rawnaq’s trainer, Cyril Murphy, also had an excellent afternoon at Far Hills and has almost $700,000 in purse earnings. But Naylor’s principal trainer is more than $200,000 behind Jack Fisher, who is on track for his second consecutive year with earnings exceeding $1-million.
Through the Far Hills meet, Fisher’s 2016 earnings totaled $923,260. He trained the first two finishers in the Foxbrook Champion Hurdle, Special Skills and Ice It, respectively. He also trained Bruton Street-US’s Scorpiancer to a game second-place finish in the Grand National.
Cot Campbell, a longtime steeplechase owner and an ardent supporter of jump racing, was inducted into Saratoga Race Course’s Walk of Fame on Friday, Aug. 26.
Campbell and fellow inductee Bill Mott, a Racing Hall of Fame trainer, received their red jackets emblematic of Walk of Fame membership in ceremonies at the Upstate New York track.
An Aiken, S.C. resident with his wife, Anne, Campbell created Dogwood Stable, an innovator in syndicate ownership, in 1969. His keen eye for a horse, his masterful powers of persuasion, and the appeal of owning a racehorse propelled Dogwood to the forefront of the racing world.
Among Dogwood’s leading runners were Storm Song, Palace Malice, and Summer Squall, to name only three.
Dogwood also has raced steeplechase horses, and Inlander was voted the 1987 Eclipse Award after winning that year’s Colonial Cup.
Sam Slater, who built HCP Sports from a self-described one-man band into a leader in live video sports programming, is retiring. But don’t expect the affable horseman to disappear from the jump-racing scene. Chairman of the National Steeplechase Foundation, he will continue to be a regular at many race meets and will serve as the
Nancy Peterson Brewster, the widow of prominent steeplechase owner Andre W. Brewster, died Saturday, Feb. 27, one week after the death of her husband of 70 years. Nancy Brewster died on her 91st birthday. Her husband’s constant companion at steeplechase races, Nancy Brewster was preparing for her husband’s memorial service that afternoon and said told