Dorothy F. “Dot” Smithwick, a longtime steeplechase trainer and mentor of horsemen, died Thursday, June 16, at her Sunny Bank Farm in Middleburg, Va. She was 82.
Mrs. Smithwick remained an active trainer until the time of her death. She sent out Indian Run Farm’s Swimming River for consecutive victories in the Alfred M. Hunt at Middleburg Spring on April 23 and the Steeplethon at the Virginia Gold Cup on May 7.
Among her best in recent years was Dr. Ramsey, the two-time winner of the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup who accumulated 11 victories under National Steeplechase Association rules in a long racing career. She also trained Big Estero to a victory in the 1991 Temple Gwathmey.
A member of the Virginia Steeplechase Hall of Fame, Mrs. Smithwick was also well known for the horsemen who emerged from Sunny Bank. Among them were her sons, D. Michael “Speedy” Smithwick Jr. and Roger Smithwick. Others included Julie Gomena and Gregg Ryan.
She was the daughter of Samuel Hamilton Rogers Fred and graduated from Vassar College in 1950. Sunny Bank had been in her family since the mid-18th century, and she placed more than 1,000 acres of it into a conservation easement in recent years. She had been married to Racing Hall of Fame trainer D. Michael Smithwick Sr., who died in 2006.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, June 25, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Middleburg. Memorial contributions can be made to the American Steeplechase Injured Jockey’s Fund or the Goose Creek Foundation.