To encourage growth of American Steeplechasing and enhance its safety, the National Steeplechase Association and the National Steeplechase Foundation have created a new program to support the sport’s maiden races when they are split into two divisions.
A growing number of promising newcomers to steeplechase racing and safety-related field limits for maiden races led to several Sport of Kings maiden hurdles being split in the recently completed racing season. The eight Sport of Kings races scheduled for this coming spring carry $25,000 purses, and the purse is $20,000 for each division when the race is split.
The new program, to be administered by the National Steeplechase Foundation through a separate capital campaign, will provide the $15,000 added purse money when the races are split. Potentially, an additional $120,000 in purse money would be available for the eight spring Sport of Kings maiden hurdle races.
“This is an important development for the National Steeplechase Association and its racing program,” said NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri. “We are seeing more and more promising steeplechase horses coming into our maiden races. At the same time, the NSA Board of Directors adopted recommendations of our Safety Task Force last January to permit no more than 10 starters in maiden races,” he said.
“Through this new initiative, our horsemen will have more opportunities to compete and earn purse money, and the race meets will be relieved of the burden of raising additional purse money on short notice for the split races. We see this new initiative as a win-win-win situation for the NSA, our horsemen, and the race meets.”
Sam Slater, president of the National Steeplechase Foundation, said the new initiative supports the NSF’s mission. “The National Steeplechase Foundation is dedicated to assuring the growth of the sport and the safety of all participants,” he said. “The new program will expand racing opportunities for all steeplechase horsemen—owners, trainers, and jockeys—and will support our commitment to safety by limiting field size.”