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.
The National Steeplechase Association’s 2019 season concludes on Sunday with the Steeplechase of Charleston at Stono Ferry in Hollywood, S.C. First post time will be 12:45 p.m. for a program of six races, with five of them over fences.
Owned by the Post and Courier, the South’s oldest newspaper, the Steeplechase of Charleston offers $100,000 in purses.
The Stono Ferry meet will provide a racing opportunity for the sport’s youngest competitors, the three-year-olds, in the $25,000 Alston Cup, an allowance hurdle. Heading that field is Rosbrian Farm’s Global Freedom, winner of the Far Hills Races’ Gladstone Stakes on Oct. 19.
Now trained by Ricky Hendriks, Global Freedom made a strong late move to take the lead at the last fence in the Gladstone and won by 2 ¾ lengths over Irv Naylor’s Must See The Doc, who also was entered for the Alston Cup.
Gerard Galligan rides Global Freedom, and trainer Leslie Young named Brian Linehan to ride Must See The Doc.
The Monday Report for Nov. 11, featuring Storm Team’s victory in the Aflac Supreme Hurdle at the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens and a look ahead at the season-closing meet at the Steeplechase of Charleston at Stono Ferry, is now available here. The web address is: https://www.nationalsteeplechase.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/MR11-11-19w.pdf
Leading jockeys Kieran Norris and Jack Doyle sustained injuries in falls at the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens on Saturday. Norris fell with My Afleet on the first circuit of the course in the Aflac Supreme Hurdle, and Doyle was injured when Zanzi Win stumbled at the last fence of the Standard Concrete Cup for four-year-olds
Storm Team set the pace from the start of the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens’ $75,000 Aflac Supreme Hurdle and turned back two challenges in the stretch to claim a one-length victory over City Dreamer on Saturday.
Michael Mitchell rode the winner and pulled into a tie for the year’s jockey title with Jack Doyle, who was aboard City Dreamer. Each has 20 victories for the year.
Jack Fisher trained both Storm Team, owned by Sheila Williams and Northwoods Stable, and Riverdee Stable’s City Dreamer to the top spots in the year’s final stakes race for novices, or horses in their first seasons of racing over fences.
Maccabee, an overachiever owned by Steeplechase at Callaway Chairman Mason Hardaway Lampton, finished third, a length behind City Dreamer, and Iranistan was fourth, a half-length farther back.
On a Georgia race course that was favoring speed, Mitchell pushed to the lead at the start with Storm Team, a Candy Ride five-year-old who had finished third in the Far Hills Races’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for novices on Oct. 19.
A highly competitive field of nine remained intact after scratches for Saturday’s $75,000 Aflac Supreme Hurdle, the featured race of the 35th annual Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens.
The Aflac Supreme Hurdle highlights the National Steeplechase Association’s rising-stars division for novices, or horses in their first seasons of racing over fences. The program offers $175,000 in purses at the Pine Mountain, Ga., course and drew full fields for the five races, with a minimum of seven starters per race after scratches. First post time is noon.
Weights for the 2¼-mile Aflac Supreme Hurdle are determined by age and number of victories. Hudson River Farms’ Iranistan, a five-year-old who is the reigning novice champion, carries the 159-pound highweight because of his three victories last year, including a romp in the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle.
The Einstein gelding subsequently placed in two Grade 1 races at Saratoga Race Course, a second in the A. P. Smithwick Memorial and third in the New York Turf Writers Cup, before going to the sidelines in the fall of 2018.