The champions of 2019 were honored Thursday evening at the annual Steeplechase Awards Dinner and Dance, sponsored by the National Steeplechase Association and the Steeplechase Owners and Trainers Association.
Racing commentator Michael Finney served as the master of ceremonies for the sold-out awards program, held at the Maryland Club in Baltimore. Music was provided by Release, and NSA official artist Sam Robinson displayed several of his works. His painting of Scorpiancer and Moscato graced the front of the awards-dinner program.
Honored at the dinner were:
Lonesome Glory Award, presented by McCauley’s: Michael Buckley’s Brain Power was the year’s leading earner in competition over fences. His one start, a victory in Far Hills’ $450,000 Grand National (Gr. 1), earned him $270,000.
Leading Novice: Bruton Street-US’s Snap Decision won four of six starts, including Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes and Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle, and ranked as the year’s fourth-leading earner.
Life’s Illusion Filly and Mare champion: Owner-breeder Beverly R. Steinman’s Market Alley led a competitive group of female competitors with a victory in Saratoga Race Course’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes.
Timber Champion, presented by Belmont Farm: Ballybristol Farm’s Andi’amu, trained by Leslie Young, won three timber stakes, including the Virginia Gold Cup, to lock up the title in a competitive division.
Three-year-old Champion: Rosbrian Farm’s Global Freedom shipped in from Ireland to secure a victory in Far Hills’ Gladstone Stakes for leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott.
Leading Owner, presented by Hogan Horse Transportation: For the second time in three years, Bruton Street-US led all NSA owners. The operation of friends Mike Hankin, Charlie Fenwick, and Charlie Noell campaigned Grade 1 winner Scorpiancer and novice champion Snap Decision, among others.
Leading Trainer, presented by The Mill: Jack Fisher dominated the season from beginning to end, won a personal-best 37 races, and established an earnings record of nearly $1.6-million.
Leading Jockeys, presented by SOTA and the NSA: Jack Doyle and Michael Mitchell ended the season in a tie with 20 wins apiece after Doyle sustained an injury at the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens and Mitchell declined to take a shot at winning the title outright at the Steeplechase of Charleston.
Leading Apprentice Jockey: Brian Linehan, an Irish point-to-point jockey, rode the fall season and took the apprentice title with five wins in 14 mounts.
Leading Amateur Jockey: Hadden Frost secured the amateur title with five victories, including Schoodic’s wins in the International Gold Cup and Genesee Valley Hunt Cup.
Woodville Award: The award to one of steeplechase racing’s unsung heroes was presented to Julio Herrera Jiminez, who was sponsored by Madison Meyers and Kieran Norris.