Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jonathan Sheppard to be honored at Far Hills Races

Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, who recently reached a milestone when he saddled his 1,000th steeplechase winner, will be honored at the Far Hills Races on Oct. 23. Sheppard, who has won more races over fences than any other trainer in the sport's long history, will receive a plaque honoring his accomplishment.

Presenting the award will be Guy J. Torsilieri, co-chair of the Far Hills Races and president of the National Steeplechase Association. "We are honored to recognize Jonathan Sheppard's milestone victory," Torsilieri said. "Besides being a peerless horseman, he has been a leader within the sport and a tireless advocate for steeplechase racing."

Sheppard, 69, currently is enjoying one of the most successful periods of his illustrious career. The British-born horseman handled two Eclipse Award champions last year, steeplechase winner Mixed Up and female sprinter Informed Decision.

A year earlier, he guided the career of his first Eclipse Award winner on the flat, champion turf female Forever Together. Informed Decision and Forever Together are both owned by the Augustin Stable of longtime client George Strawbridge Jr. In all, Sheppard has trained nine individual Eclipse Award winners, including Hall of Fame steeplechase horses Flatterer and Cafe Prince, both of whom won the Grand National.

Sheppard has been the National Steeplechase Association's leading trainer by races won a record 23 times, and he has led the earnings list 24 times, which also is a record. He is the sport's leading all-time trainer by purse earnings with more than $19-million since he saddled his first runner in 1966.

He is having a spectacular 2010 season, leading the trainer standings by wide margins. He reached his milestone victory when Arcadius won the $100,000 Helen Haskell Sampson (Gr. 1) at Monmouth Park on Sept. 25. It was his 21st win of the year, following an unprecedented near sweep at Saratoga Race Course, where he won four of five steeplechase races and finished second in four races.

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