Long a leader in American jump racing, Jonathan Sheppard has developed dozens of top horses and 10 individual Eclipse Award winners. Now, American Steeplechasing’s all-time leading trainer is making a unique offer. He’s willing to share ownership of top-level performer Barnstorming this year.
Barnstorming, a stakes winner in 2013 who was twice Grade 1-placed last year, will be the headline horse for the inaugural Owner Symposium and Marketplace Auction on Sunday, April 12, at Shawan Downs in Hunt Valley, Md.
Created by the National Steeplechase Association’s Promotion and Growth Task Force, the Owner Symposium and Marketplace Auction will bring together current steeplechase owners, former owners, and prospective owners to share ideas and best practices in the morning session. Sheppard, a Racing Hall of Fame trainer and a prominent jump-racing owner, will be one of the presenters.
The afternoon’s Marketplace Auction will provide an opportunity to put some ready-to-run horses in the hands of current or prospective owners. Barnstorming is likely to head 15 to 25 horses that will be offered for sale, lease, or other option.
“The jump-racing community is indebted to Jonathan Sheppard in so many ways,” said Bill Price, the Promotion and Growth Task Force chair. “This is indeed a unique opportunity to enter an exciting sport at the top level or trade up to a championship-caliber competitor. To have Jonathan as your partner and mentor is an amazing opportunity.”
Sheppard is certainly no stranger to bringing new people into the sport. He sold All the Way Jose to Pennsylvania neighbor Rod Moorhead, and the Sheppard-bred went from maiden winner to Saratoga victor to stakes-winning novice champion in the span of a few months last year.
Barnstorming, a nine-year-old by Thunder Gulch, certainly is capable of competing in the top levels of the sport. Racing in Sheppard’s silks, he won Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes by 6 1/4 lengths in 2013, and last year he finished second to Eclipse champion Demonstrative in Saratoga’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1), beaten only a half-length. He closed out the year with a second-place finish in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1), behind only his stablemate Divine Fortune, the 2013 Eclipse Award winner.
The winning bidder for Barnstorming’s 2015 lease will have a 49% share and will split all purse earnings equally with Sheppard. In addition, Barnstorming will run in the silks of the winning bidder.
Sheppard said he entered Barnstorming in the sale for two principal reasons. “I wanted to support the concept of the symposium and auction,” he said. “I thought he might be a very nice horse for someone to learn about being a steeplechase owner. He is a very nice horse, and he has all kinds of stamina. It’s going to be a long season, and there should be good opportunities for him.”
Sheppard purchased Barnstorming privately in 2009 after he had made two starts on the flat for his breeder, Bruce Lunsford, and trainer Frank Brothers. In all, he has earned roughly $160,000 from 18 starts over fences.
“For a current owner or a new owner, this is a unique way to experience jump racing at the top level,” said Charles C. Fenwick Jr., chair of the Owner Symposium and Marketplace Auction. “No one knows the game better than Jonathan Sheppard, and to learn at his elbow is an unparalleled opportunity.”
Sponsored by the National Steeplechase Foundation and Valley Motors, the Owner Symposium and Marketplace Auction will begin at 11 a.m., and reservation forms are available at gojumpracing.org. On the website are biographies of the Marketplace Auction horses and many jump-racing trainers as well as the RSVP form.
There’s no charge to participate in the Owner Symposium and Marketplace Auction, but reservations are requested. Winning bidders in the Marketplace Auction will pay a $250 fee. New owners will receive a complimentary 2015 owner license, a $250 value.
For further information, contact Danielle Oster at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (443) 386-2097.