In his first start since capturing the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1, Concern won the New Orleans Handicap-G3 at Fair Grounds, employing his familiar late-running style to win by 3 lengths. The Maryland-bred was one of nine graded stakes winners in February and March bred in the region, the others being Maryland-breds Cigar (Donn-G1, Gulfstream Park-G1), Awad (Pan American-G2), Smart ’N Noble (Barbara Fritchie-G2, Snow Goose-G3), Square Cut (San Luis Obispo-G2), Who Wouldn’t (General George-G2) and Brushing Gloom (Fair Grounds Oaks-G3), Virginia-bred Honor the Hero (Phoenix Gold Cup-G3) and West Virginia-bred Afternoon Deelites. The latter ranked as the top 3-year-old on the National Thoroughbred Poll through April, having won the San Vicente Breeders’ Cup-G3 and San Felipe Stakes-G2 to remain undefeated in five starts, four in stakes.
- Steeplechase owners and trainers finally received formal representation with the creation of the Steeplechase Horsemen’s Association (SHA). “Long overdue,” said Duncan Patterson, an owner/trainer and former amateur rider who volunteered to head the steering committee which would draft the bylaws and a constitution. The SHA planned to tackle issues such as the need for uniform standards for course maintenance, medication policies, more consistent officiating and the most complicated threat of all – liability.
Later that year, the SHA changed its name to the Steeplechase Owners and Trainers Association (SOTA), which still exists today.
- The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s second national program, at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County, Md., was nearing its first-year anniversary. It was a joint effort of the TRF, the state of Maryland, and Youth Services International, which ran the Hickey School, a facility for incarcerated male youths aged 14 to 17.
The program was in place for just over a decade before unrelated issues at the school shut it down. TRF has run a program at Second Chances Farm in Sykesville, Md., since 2009.