Thomas H. Voss, a highly respected and well-liked Maryland horseman, died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday evening at his farm in Monkton. A successful trainer over fences and on the flat, he was 63.
A steeplechase horseman from his youth, Voss successfully rode over timber fences and subsequently launched his career as a trainer in his native Maryland. He was the National Steeplechase Association’s leading trainer by wins five times over a quarter-century, beginning in 1997 and most recently in 2011. He won consecutive championships in 2000 through 2002, and he was the leading trainer by purse winnings in 1997, 2002, and 2009. He is the third-leading trainer by career purses with nearly $9-million.
He trained Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Slip Away to the 2010 Eclipse Award as champion steeplechase horse with a campaign that culminated with a victory in the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1).
On the flat, he is best known as the trainer of John’s Call, who at age nine won the Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap (Gr. 1) at Saratoga Race Course and finished third in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (Gr. 1).
He also served on the National Steeplechase Association’s Board of Directors and was the NSA’s secretary in 2013. “American Steeplechasing and horse racing have suffered a great loss,” said NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri. “Tom was a great friend, and he introduced me to owning steeplechase horses. He was a wonderful person as well as a great trainer, and the steeplechase community will miss him greatly.”
Bill Gallo Jr., the NSA’s director of racing, paid tribute to Voss. “Tom Voss represented everything good about steeplechasing,” he said. “He was a skilled horseman who took the very best care of his horses, and he was a great person who was as thoughtful and kind as anyone I have ever known.”
Funeral arrangements are incomplete. Among his survivors are his mother, Mrs. Edward S. Voss; his wife, Mimi; son Sam; daughter Elizabeth; stepson Matthew McKnight; and grandchildren Genevieve and Thomas.