The National Steeplechase Association’s 2010 racing season begins March 20 with the traditional kickoff at Aiken, S.C. In all, the NSA’s spring season encompasses 19 race meets extending from Georgia to Pennsylvania. The historic Tanglewood Steeplechase in Clemmons, N.C., is returning to the NSA schedule on May 8. (See spring schedule here.)
As the new season opens, NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri and the Board of Directors are charting a course for growth for the steeplechase sport in 2010 and beyond. Despite the economic recession, American steeplechasing held its own in 2009. “While much of horse racing was contracting, we added races to our schedule, and the Queen’s Cup meet returned to the spring lineup,” Torsilieri said in a letter to the NSA’s members and supporters.
Torsilieri noted that the NSA made several advances last year, including a significant expansion of streaming video coverage of the races, “which puts steeplechasing into new markets and positions us to attract new fans and new owners,” he said. The NSA added racing at flat tracks and held a one-day race meet at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. “This is an area where we will be seeking to expand opportunities, especially in the Midatlantic region,” he said. In addition, the NSA inaugurated U.S. Championship Day, a televised program of championship-quality racing at Far Hills, N.J., and The Plains, Va.
Torsilieri said that increasing race purses will be a goal in 2010 and beyond, and the NSA is actively preparing for the June 30 departure of Chief Executive Officer Lou Raffetto to pursue other interests in the Thoroughbred racing industry. Torsilieri said the NSA Board of Directors will be deeply involved in the transition.
“Collectively, the NSA board represents decades upon decades of experience in running race meets, acting as racing officials, owning or training racehorses, and providing leadership to the sport in so many ways,” Torsilieri said. “As a board, we are determined to marshal this bounty of knowledge and apply it to keeping American steeplechasing on a growth path. It can be done, and it will be done. It will take lots of hard work, and it will require both the patience and persistence of our NSA board, our executive staff, our race chairmen, our horsemen, and our members. Together, we can lead American steeplechasing toward a bright future. And, we will.”
For further information, contact Don Clippinger (814) 515-3113.