American steeplechase racing features plenty of big names from the world of Thoroughbred racing. It’s common to see owners of flat horses make the conversion for one reason or another.
A few of our fans…
He and his wife Sarah own one of racing’s largest stables, including Ramsey Farm (home to leading sire Kitten’s Joy) and hundreds of horses. The Ramseys won Eclipse Awards as racing’s outstanding breeder and owner in 2014 and 2013. Over fences, they have campaigned 2010 steeplechase champion Slip Away and other winners.
“I’ve got two stories to tell . . . I sold Flat Top for $5,000 because he wasn’t a very good horse on the flat. He won two Eclipse Awards and earned $500,000 as a steeplechaser. I was smart enough to keep Slip Away, who we bought as a yearling. He never ran on the flat, but was champion steeplechase horse of 2010 and made almost $400,000. Steeplechasing is a great second chance for a horse, a horse you might already own.”
He founded the Dogwood Stable ownership group and is often referred to as the “father of racing partnerships” with major wins at the Breeders’ Cup and in Triple Crown races. For 30 years, Dogwood has campaigned a number of quality steeplechasers.
“Dogwood has campaigned a few steeplechasers for a long time. We even won an Eclipse Award in 1987 – with Inlander. Steeplechasing is a great alternative for the right horse; and often times a flat horse takes a new lease on life when he tries jumping. And the venues are plenty spiritied!”
Dr. J. David Richardson
An owner/breeder for years, noted Kentucky-based surgeon Richardson is a member of the Jockey Club and the Kentucky Racing Commission in addition to serving in various other industry leadership positions. He transitioned turf stakes horse Harrods Creek to steeplechasing in 2014, and was rewarded with a win and several placings.
“I’m happy to be part of jump racing and so is Harrods Creek. He had run out of options – other than claiming races – on the flat and after talking it over with some people we thought we’d give it a try. He broke his maiden third time out and we’re excited.”
As a jockey, she rode some of Thoroughbred racing’s biggest names including 2014 champion Untapable, Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, Breeders’ Cup winner Shanghai Bobby. Napravnik won jockey championships at Fair Grounds and Keeneland and won 1,877 races before announcing her retirement – and pregnancy – after a Breeders’ Cup win aboard Untapable in 2014. Napravnik has deep roots in jump racing. She rode in pony races at steeplechase meets as a youngster, her sister Jazz is a steeplechase trainer and Rosie is a staunch supporter of second careers for Thoroughbred racehorses – a role steeplechasing can fill for some.
“I got my start riding in pony races on the steeplechase circuit, so jump racing is important to me but it’s also a great second career for Thoroughbreds off the flat track. Some were just born for it and plenty of others just need a change of pace. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell an owner or a trainer to consider jump racing with a horse and, in fact, I’ve encouraged owners to consider jump racing with certain horses I’ve ridden.”