Two stalwart supporters of American steeplechasing, Arthur W. “Nick” Arundel and Cary W. Jackson, died within hours of each other on Feb. 7 and 8. Jackson, 88, a Maryland horseman and breeder, died in an auto accident in West Virginia on Feb. 7 while returning to his White Hall, Md., farm from a Kentucky horse auction.
Arundel, who successfully combined his passions for steeplechasing, land conservation, philanthropy, and newspaper publishing, died at his Merry Oak Farm in The Plains, Va., on Feb. 8. He was 83 and died on the day he was to be named the Outstanding Virginian of 2011 by the Virginia General Assembly.
Arthur W. “Nick” Arundel
Nick Arundel purchased 540 acres of boggy land destined for a housing subdivision in 1982 and transformed it into Great Meadow, an equestrian center and steeplechase course in The Plains that he ultimately donated to the Great Meadow Foundation to preserve it as open space. He was a driving force behind the growth of the Virginia Gold Cup and the International Gold Cup, which was transferred to Virginia in 1984 after the Rolling Rock Races in Pennsylvania shut down.
The Virginia Gold Cup dates from 1922, but the race grew in stature and purse value after its1985 move to Great Meadow from the Broadview course in Warrenton. Arundel won the timber race in 1986 with Sugar Bee, who also won the Maryland Hunt Cup the following year. Sugar Bee was the leading timber horse by earnings in the latter year. Arundel also raced Seeyouattheevent, two-time winner of the International Gold Cup in 2007 and 2009.
Arundel often repeated his life philosophy: “In the first part of your life, you learn. In the second, you earn. And in the third, you give back.” He certainly followed his philosophy.
Born in Washington, D.C., Arundel was the son Russell Arundel, a Pepsi-Cola executive and fox hunter who served on the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association Board of Directors. His mother, Marjorie, was an ardent conservationist.
He graduated from Harvard University in the same 1951 class as his friend Robert F. Kennedy, the future attorney general in the administration of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. Arundel eventually would serve in Bobby Kennedy’s presidential campaign until his assassination in June 1968.
A twice-decorated Marine Corps officer, Arundel plunged into the news business after his military service and was a Defense Department correspondent for CBS News and United Press International.
With a $75,000 loan, he bought a Washington country-music radio station and almost by accident became the father of all-news radio. When a morning disc jockey was killed in an auto accident, Arundel and other staff members began reading wire-service stories continually. The station, WAVA, was the first piece of his communications business, but his heart was in print media. He bought the Loudoun County Times-Mirror in 1963, and in time his Times Community Media expanded to as many as 17 newspapers.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Peggy; five children; and 11 grandchildren.
Cary W. Jackson
Cary Jackson grew up in Baltimore, and horses always were a part of his life. He served in World War II and was wounded in France. After the war, he returned to Baltimore and obtained an engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University while galloping horses in the morning at Timonium.
He subsequently launched C. W. Jackson and Associates, a construction company based first in Baltimore and then in Towson, Md. All the while, he maintained his horse activities from Fox Harbor Farm in White Hall.
While the prize he most wanted–a victory in the Maryland Hunt Cup–eluded him, Jackson had success as an owner and breeder. He campaigned Dr. Ramsey, who won the 2002 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after a victory in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup.
On June 27, Jackson retired the Chaceland Farm Challenge Trophy at the Maryland Horse Breeders Association’s annual yearling sale when his Langfuhr colt out of Millashand, by Regal Intention, won the grand champion trophy. Jackson previously had swept the grand prize in 2005 and 2006.
Among his survivors are his wife, Ann, and son Taylor, a former steeplechase trainer.