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Maryland Horse Industry Board to Honor National Steeplechase Champions

Shawan DownsANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB), a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture, will honor five Maryland national steeplechase champions with its monthly “Touch of Class Award” on Saturday, March 29, at the Green Spring Valley Point-to-Point at Shawan Downs, 1401 Shawan Road, Cockeysville. The presentation is expected to take place at a reception after the races at about 3:30 p.m. Four of the recipients are from Baltimore County, the fifth from Prince George’s County.

“Maryland continues to be a bastion of steeplechase racing, going back over a century,” said MHIB Chairman Jim Steele. “Once again, many of the nation’s steeplechase champions hail from Maryland. Steeplechasing is a major part of the state’s equine industry.”

The champions being honored are:

  • Mark Beecher – U.S. champion amateur steeplechase jockey (Baltimore County);
  • Foyle – U.S. champion timber horse that is owned by Merriefield Farm (Charles Noell) and trained by Bruce Fenwick (Baltimore County);
  • Irv Naylor – U.S. champion timber owner (Baltimore County); 
  • Tuscalee – Maryland-bred and owned steeplechase champion recently inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (Prince George’s County); and 
  • Jack Fisher – U.S. champion steeplechase trainer (Baltimore County). Will not be present.

Each month, the MHIB honors Maryland horses and people who have achieved national or international recognition. Since September 2011, a total of 47 people, 23 horses and ponies from 23 different equine disciplines from 14 Maryland counties have received the award.

For more information about the Touch of Class Award and MHIB, contact MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord at ross.peddicord@maryland.gov or 410-841-5798.

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