A crowd of more than 140 gathered at the Maryland Club in Baltimore this week to salute the National Steeplechase Association's big winners from 2017.
Gillian Johnston's Mr. Hot Stuff, the winner of Far Hills' $400,000, Grade 1 Grand National in October, took top honors when NSA President Guy Torsilieri presented trainer Jack Fisher's barn and training staff with the Lonesome Glory Trophy as 'chasing's leading purse earner.
The then 11-year-old banked $251,000 for Mrs. Jonhston, a long-time devotee of racing over jumps. Second place in the standings went to Buttonwood Farm's All the Way Jose, the winner of Belmont's Grade 1 Lonesome Glory Handicap in September.
Both Mr. Hot Stuff and All the Way Jose are finalists for 'chasing's Eclipse Award to be presented Jan. 25.
Bruton Street-US' Scorpiancer, the winner of Middleburg's Grade 3 Temple Gwathmey and the Grade 1 Calvin Houghland at Iroquois in his only two starts of 2017, is the third finalist.
Bruton Street-US, the nom de course of Maryland buddies Mike Hankin, Charlie Fenwick and Charlie Noell, took the owners' title with $438,500 in purse earnings.
In addition to Scorpiancer, the Maryland trio raced Moscato who ran his way to wins in Saratoga's Michael G. Walsh Stakes and Belmont's William Entenmann Stakes to earn them the novice championship.
Amy Taylor Rowe's Lady Bianco, a Leslie Young trainee, won the Life's Illusion Trophy as filly and mare champion.
Bonnie Rye Stable's Menacing Dennis, the winner of Far Hills' Gladstone, took 3-year-old honors.
Among the humans being honored...
Fisher, who trained for Bruton Street-US, Mrs. Johnston and a host of other owners, collected his sixth straight leading trainer trophy and broke his own record for purse money won in the process. His 2017 total was over $1.3 million.
Top jockey honors went to Darren Nagle and Sean McDermott. Nagle earned his trophy for his 19 wins in races over jumps. McDermott, the regular pilot for Scorpiancer and Moscato among others, was the leading rider in purse money won for the second straight year.
Two other riding awards ended in ties. Keri Brion and Keith Dalton dead heated for the apprentice award with three wins each. Mark Beecher and Hadden Frost each rode seven winners as amateurs.
Irvin S. Naylor collected his ninth award as champion timber horse owner.
Hall of Fame trainer Janet Elliot annually presents the Woodville Award to members of chasing's backstretch community for their tireless efforts as caretakers.
Michael Benson from Amy Taylor Rowe's stable and Sara Miller, a member of Willie Dowling's team, were this year's winners.
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