When the National Steeplechase Association’s spring season concluded at the Fair Hill Races on May 26, the leader boards disclosed tight contests for top owner and trainer as the sport headed into its summer races.
With a win by Ozmoz in the last race of the spring stanza, Irvin S. Naylor assumed the top spot on the owner board with $248,200 in purse earnings for the spring. Naylor’s diverse stable had nine wins from 50 starts.
Less than $2,000 behind him was George Mahoney Jr.’s Rosbrian Farm, which had $246,400 in purses from five wins in 19 starts. Rosbrian is a partner with Ben and Wendy Griswold in Zanjabeel, who was the spring’s leading earner with $160,500 after winning the $200,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) at the Iroquois Steeplechase.
Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard made a fast start in March, winning two races each at the Aiken Spring Steeplechase and the Carolina Cup Races. He maintained that lead through Fair Hill with 11 victories in the spring season. Among them was his Pram, winner of the Life’s Illusion Stakes at the Carolina Cup.
Close behind him with 10 wins is Ricky Hendriks, Zanjabeel’s trainer. The Pennsylvania-based horseman also won the $50,000 National Hunt Cup with Wendy Hendriks’ Surprising Soul. Hendriks led the money-won category with $346,600 to $324,550 for reigning champion Jack Fisher.
Jack Doyle opened a four-win bulge in the battle for the jockey championship with 13 victories to nine for 2017 wins champion Darren Nagle. Doyle also held a big advantage in the earnings category with $434,150 to $317,700 for Ross Geraghty, the regular jockey of Zanjabeel and Surprising Soul. Geraghty ranks third by wins with eight.
Skip Crawford’s Senior Senator led the timber category after winning the Grand National and Maryland Hunt Cup in his two 2018 starts. He earned $90,000, only $2,000 more than Sara E. Collette’s homebred Zanclus, the Virginia Gold Cup winner.
Amateur jockey Eric Poretz, Senior Senator’s rider, accumulated five wins in the spring season and ranks fourth on the jockey leader board.