Click on the Read More link below to read about the leading National Steeplechase Association horse owners at the start of the 2016 racing season.
Armata Stables is the racing operation of Perry Bolton and Ben Griswold IV. Armata was the National Steeplechase Association’s champion timber owner in 2014. The Maryland residents race Cornhusker, winner of the 2015 Middleburg Hunt Cup. They have horses with several trainers, including Alicia Murphy, Todd Wyatt and Kathy Neilson.
MAGALEN O. BRYANT
Magalen O. Bryant is the owner of Locust Hill Farm in Middleburg, Va. Her extensive stable, trained by Doug Fout, Richard Valentine, Neil Morris, Jimmy Day, Jonathan Sheppard and Leslie Young, was fifth on the earnings table in 2014 and 2015. Her Gustavian won the 2013 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) and finished second in the Grand National (Gr. 1). Took the top two spots in the 2012 Margaret Currey Henley with homebreds Quiet Flaine and Ptarmigan, both trained by Fout. Ptarmigan won the Life’s Illusion Filly and Mare championship in 2010. Owns 2014 Travers Stakes winner V. E. Day.
MARY ANN HOUGHLAND
Mary Ann Houghland is the widow of longtime Iroquois Steeplechase chairman Calvin Houghland and has continued the family’s heritage of racing high-quality steeplechase horses. She ranked second by owner earnings with $268,000 in 2012 almost exclusively on the laurels of champion Pierrot Lunaire, who won the Lonesome Glory Stakes (Gr. 1) at Belmont Park and the Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J. Pierrot Lunaire had won the 2009 Iroquois (Gr. 1) for Calvin Houghland, who died that October. Sweet Shani, then owned by Mrs. Houghland, was the 2011 Life’s Illusion Filly and Mare Champion after winning the Margaret Currey Henley at Iroquois for the second straight year and then the Peapack Stakes at Far Hills, N.J., in the fall.
HUDSON RIVER FARMS
Hudson River Farms is the racing operation of Edward P. Swyer, an Albany, N.Y. real-estate executive. He is active in environmental projects and established the 787-acre Lewis A. Swyer Mill Creek preserve, named for his father, along the Hudson River in Columbia County, N.Y. Active in steeplechase racing for more than 20 years, Hudson River Farms raced Arcadius, winner of the 2012 Calvin Houghland Iroquois Stakes (Gr. 1) and 2010 Helen Haskell Sampson (Gr. 1) in 2010. His Parker’s Project also won the 2012 Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2). Jonathan Sheppard trains for Hudson River Farms.
MRS. S. K. JOHNSTON JR.
Gil Johnston, a Chattanooga, Tenn. resident, has been an active steeplechase owner for more than 20 years. Her Mr. Hot Stuff, winner of the Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at the Iroquois Steeplechase before winning Saratoga Race Course’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) in 2013, won the 2015 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3). Her New Zealand-bred Dahoud, a prominent turf horse in California, won a maiden hurdle at Far Hills, N.J. in 2012 and then triumphed in the AFLAC Supreme Hurdle at Callaway Gardens in Georgia. Other top horses in her stable, spread among several trainers, include Syros, Awesome Pearl and others.
A New York resident, Gregory Hawkins has had success with a small stable trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Janet Elliot. Champion novice hurdler of 2012, Alajmal won the 2013 Carolina Cup and Marion du Pont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). He also raced multiple Grade 1 winner Campanile among others.
Nashville resident Virginia Lazenby enjoyed success with Pleasant Woodman, who won the 2014 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3) and the Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes. She is a member of the National Steeplechase Association’s Board of Directors. Her small stable is trained by Doug Fout.
IRVIN S. NAYLOR
The York, Pa., businessman and philanthropist was the sport’s champion owner by purses for the fifth time in 2015. He won three straight owner titles, 2010 through 2012, and established a record for earnings by an owner in 2015 with $778,650, breaking the former mark by more than $100,000. His top horse in 2015 was Eclipse Award winner Dawalan. A longtime steeplechase participant who until recent years has concentrated almost exclusively on timber racing, Naylor owns Still Water Farm in Butler, Md., and has horses with several trainers, with Cyril Murphy handling the principal string. Other Naylor stars over the years include champion Black Jack Blues, Grade 1 winner Tax Ruling, stakes veteran Decoy Daddy and timber standouts Patriot’s Path, Askim and Make Me A Champ. Naylor got his start as an amateur jockey.
MRS. GEORGE L. OHRSTROM JR.
Jacqueline Ohrstrom ranked as American Steeplechasing’s second-leading owner in 2014 mostly on the exploits of her Eclipse Award winner Demonstrative, winner of three Grade 1 – the New York Turf Writers Cup, the Lonesome Glory and the Grand National. Demonstrative won the 2013 edition of the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). In 2012, Demonstrative won the New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1), Marion du Pont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1), and Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. Demonstrative was champion 3-year-old in 2010. Ohrstrom’s 2013 season also included Professor Maxwell’s victory in the $75,000 Maryland Hunt Cup. Widow of George L. Ohrstrom Jr., a financier, publisher, and sportsman who died in 2005, she owns Berrywick Farm in The Plains, Va. Richard Valentine trains her horses.
WILLIAM L. PAPE
William L. Pape has been an active participant in steeplechase racing for almost 50 years and has campaigned five champions either individually or in partnership. He is the sport’s second all-time leading owner with more than $4 million in purse earnings since 1965. Won the 2014 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) with Divine Fortune. Was 2013’s champion owner and raced Eclipse Award winner Divine Fortune, who won the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) and finished a close second in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Pape’s best was Racing Hall of Fame member Flatterer, whom he bred with his longtime trainer, Jonathan Sheppard. Flatterer, owned by Pape, Sheppard, and George Harris, won four consecutive Eclipse Awards beginning in 1983. Pape and Sheppard also bred Martie’s Anger, the 1979 Eclipse champion, and Pape also owned 1973 champion Athenian Idol and 2009 champion Mixed Up. Unionville, Pa., resident served as the National Steeplechase Association’s president from 1979-1987 and 1991-1998; he is a member of the NSA Board of Directors.
Stonelea Stables is the racing operation of prominent Kentucky horsewoman Cordelia “Nina” Bonnie. She is the wife of Kentucky Racing Commission member Ned Bonnie, a prominent equine attorney, and trainer Julie Gomena is her daughter-in-law. Won the 2015 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3) with Balance the Budget.