William “Bill” Teter, a longtime steeplechase enthusiast who was an occasional horse owner and racing official, died Thursday, June 14, while surrounded by his family at his home in Parkesburg, Pa. He was 83. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Jane Oas Teter. Among his survivors are son Jeffrey Teter, a three-time
Eugene E. Weymouth, a steeplechase horseman whose racing career spanned eight decades, died Monday, June 11, after being in failing health for several years. He was 85.
The son of steeplechase owner George Tyler Weymouth, Gene was the namesake of his grandfather, Eugene Eleuthere duPont. His late younger brother, George “Frolic” Weymouth, was the founder of the Brandywine Conservancy.
Gene Weymouth graduated from the McDonogh School and attended the University of Wisconsin’s School of Agriculture and the University of Delaware, but his passion was horses, and specifically steeplechase horses.
Beginning in the 1940s, he rode, trained, and owned jump horses. At 6-foot-3, most hurdle races were out of the question, so he specialized in riding timber horses. He rode England’s Grand National in 1949 aboard Possible and fell at one of its towering fences.
He enjoyed success in most American timber races, including a victory in the 1957 Maryland Hunt Cup with Ned’s Flying, a $50 purchase as a two-year-old. Sports Illustrated reported that year that Weymouth had promised his father he would quit riding if he ever won the Hunt Cup, but he soon reneged on that promise and rode Another Hyacinth to victory in the Iroquois Steeplechase two weeks later.
He transitioned into training from his Chester County, Pa., base in the 1960s and maintained a stable of flat and hurdle horses through the remainder of the century. He was one of the original purchasers of a condominium Fair Hill Training Center barn in the mid-1980s. As a trainer, his final National Steeplechase Association start was in 2000.
In recent years, he has raced horses with Hall of Fame trainer Janet Elliot, and his Wild for Gold won in 2011 and 2012.
Funeral services will be private.
The National Steeplechase Association concluded its 2018 spring season with record purses of $2,833,800, an increase of 7.2% and more than $140,000 over the prior record set in 2017.
For the first time, the NSA season featured two Grade 1 races, the $150,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup at the Carolina Cup Races, and the $200,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase. Also for the first time, the NSA spring season had two Grade 2 races, with Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey joining the David Semmes Memorial at the Virginia Gold Cup.
Zanjabeel, owned by Rosbrian Farm and Ben and Wendy Griswold, participated in three of those races and ended the spring season as the leading earner at $160,500.
After a second-place finish to Stonelea Stable’s Balance the Budget in the Colonial Cup and another second to Robert A. Kinsley’s Lyonell in the Temple Gwathmey, the British-bred five-year-old scored a five-length victory in the Iroquois for trainer Ricky Hendriks and jockey Ross Geraghty.
Also collecting graded stakes victories in the spring were Magalen O. Bryant’s Personal Start, winner of the David Semmes, and Wendy Hendriks’ Surprising Soul, who won the National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) at the Radnor Hunt Races.
The record spring purses were achieved despite the High Hope Steeplechase in Lexington, Ky., moving to the fall schedule. While a cold late winter and early spring hampered training schedules, the race meets were well supported. Even with High Hope missing from the schedule, the spring meets recorded 670 starters, only 11 fewer than the previous spring.
The record purses contributed to another spring-season record, average purse per race. At $32,572, jump racing’s average purse is approximately $4,000 per race above the average for all North American Thoroughbred races.
The season closed impressively with an unprecedented 94 starters at Fair Hill on May 26. A $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle division was added to the lineup to accommodate heavy entries, and both races had long also-eligible lists. In all, well more than 100 horses were entered for Fair Hill’s nine races.
In a victory for family connections, The Fields Stable’s lightly regarded Dawn Wall charged through the homestretch on Saturday to claim a half-length victory in the $50,000 Iris Ann Coggins Memorial Stakes, the featured race of the 84th annual Fair Hill Races.
Check Mark Stables’ Willow U appeared to be in a winning position after the final fence, but jockey Jack Doyle pointed Dawn Wall toward the finish line from the outside and gained the advantage inside the sixteenth pole.
Owner-trainer Paddy Young’s For Goodness Sake, bidding for a second straight win in the Coggins Memorial, finished third with a late move, three-quarters of a length behind Willow U. Dawn Wall ran the 2 1/4-distance in 4:25.20 on turf rated as good.
Dawn Wall’s families are notable. She is owned by The Fields Stable of Laddie Merck. She is trained by Elizabeth Voss, whose mother, Mimi, bred Dawn Wall.
Dawn Wall’s dam is Guelph, who was raced by The Fields Stable—Laddie Merck and his late mother, Betty—and was the National Steeplechase Association’s novice and female champion in 2005 at age four and the female champion again in 2008. Guelph was trained by Elizabeth Voss’ father, the late Hall of Fame member Tom Voss.
The race she won, the Iris Ann Coggins Memorial, was created last year in memory of a longtime Fair Hill supporter and volunteer, and the race is generously supported by her family.
Dawn Wall, named for an extremely challenging climbing precipice at Yosemite National Park, faced a steep challenge in the Coggins Memorial against a tough and seasoned field. Willow U had beaten males at the Virginia Gold Cup, and For Goodness Sake had been a good third in the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Margaret Currey Henley Stakes two weeks earlier.
Lightly raced Dawn Wall, a five-year-old Not For Love mare making only her fifth career start and her third over fences, was at long odds in the program betting line–and appeared to deserve those odds. In her most recent start three weeks earlier, she was well beaten in a Virginia Gold Cup maiden race.
Despite the competition, Merck said Elizabeth Voss was not intimidated. “She said Dawn Wall was training very well. I was a bit surprised,” he said.
The National Steeplechase Association is soliciting proposals to provide high-definition video services for all of its race meets, with an initial one-year contract period extending from this coming fall through next spring. The video services primarily will serve the stewards at approximately 30 race meets and will provide photo-finish capabilities at those meets. Initial expressions
A year ago, For Goodness Sake won the emotion-laden Iris Ann Coggins Memorial Stakes with injured jockey Paddy Young listed as his trainer.
The Irish-bred mare returns on Saturday as a favorite to score a repeat victory in the $50,000 Iris Ann Coggins Memorial, the featured hurdle race on a jam-packed, nine-race program for the 49th edition of the Fair Hill Races.
Always a popular Memorial Day Weekend attraction in northern Maryland, the Fair Hill Races will have full fields across the board, with pari-mutuel wagering under the supervision of the Maryland Racing Commission on all races. First post time is 1 p.m.
The 2 1/4-mile Coggins Memorial drew a full field of 11 after scratches. The program also will feature a highly competitive edition of the $40,000 Valentine Memorial ratings handicap and two divisions of a Sport of Kings maiden hurdle, each carrying $30,000 purses. In all, Fair Hill purses total $210,000.
Young, now the owner of For Goodness Sake, was seriously injured in a fall at the Radnor Hunt Races a week before last year’s Fair Hill Races, and the five-time champion jockey lay in a hospital with a life-threatening head injury.
In the ensuing year, he has made significant progress in his recovery, and he attended this year’s Radnor event with his wife, Leslie, also a trainer.
For the Coggins Memorial, For Goodness Sake will be ridden by Willie McCarthy, who was in the irons for last year’s 2 3/4-length victory.
The six-year-old Yeats mare enters the Coggins Memorial with strong credentials. In her first start this year, she finished a good third, beaten only a length, in the Margaret Currey Henley Stakes at the Iroquois Steeplechase on May 12.
Young also is the owner-trainer of French-bred Sbarazzina, a seven-year-old mare who will be making her first U.S. after three career starts in England in 2016.
Trainer Richard Valentine will saddle Check Mark Stables’ Willow U, a seasoned competitor who defeated males in a Virginia Gold Cup allowance hurdle on May 5. Shane Crimin will ride.
Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, currently leading the trainer standings by wins, will send out his Pram and Riverdee Stable’s Wigwam Baby. Pram won the Life’s Illusion Stakes at the Carolina Cup on March 31 and was fifth in the Henley. Darren Nagle, the 2017 champion jockey by wins, has the mount.
Sean McDermott was named aboard Wigwam Baby, who fell in the Henley.
Ricky Hendriks, who leads the trainer standings by purse earnings, will saddle Eve Ledyard’s Quarla and Rosbrian Farm’s Tay Lane. Michael Mitchell rides Quarla, a maiden winner at the Foxfield Spring Races on April 28, and Ross Geraghty will be aboard Tay Lane, a maiden winner in Ireland last year.