New York Turf Writers Cup Renamed For Jonathan Sheppard

Mar 15, 2021 - 1:30 PM

The New York Racing Association will honor Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard at the Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York, where he won at least one race for 47 consecutive years.

Starting with this year’s running in August, the Grade 1 $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup will be rechristened the Jonathan Sheppard, a race he dominated a remarkable 15 times.

The 80-year-old, who retired in January after a 56-year career, has an unparalleled list of accomplishments, many of which took place in New York, starting with his Saratoga winning streak from 1969 through 2015.

Sheppard, a native of Ashwell, England, captured the National Steeplechase Association training title 26 times, his final award coming in his final season. Sheppard conditioned 15 Eclipse award winners over hurdles and on the flat racked up 3,426 winners, and more than $89 million in purses. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.

“Jonathan Sheppard has been the dominant force in American steeplechase racing for decades and has always represented the sport in a positive way, particularly at Saratoga, where his success has gained national attention,” said Bill Gallo, director of racing for the NSA. “We thank NYRA and the New York Turf Writers for honoring Jonathan in this fashion.”

Sheppard’s namesake hurdle will be contested on Aug. 19 at 2 ⅜ miles. Saratoga is home to another Grade 1 jump race, the $150,000 A.P. Smithwick, scheduled for July 22.

The NSA is also honoring Sheppard in the soon-to-be-released 2020 Yearbook, “American Steeplechasing,” a comprehensive review of last season’s races and a compendium of the sport’s history. This year’s edition is dedicated to the trainer who has left an indelible imprint on the turf.

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