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Maryland National Steeplechase Leaders to Receive Touch of Class Award Saturday

MHIB LogoANNAPOLIS, MD – Maryland-based stables, trainers and riders from the state’s large steeplechasing community swept leading national honors in 2014 and are being honored for their achievements with the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) March Touch of Class award at a reception on Saturday, March 28, at 4 p.m., following the races at the Green Spring Valley Hounds Point-to-Point at Shawan Downs, Cockeysville.

MHIB, a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture, presents the Touch of Class Award monthly to honor Maryland horses and people who achieve national and international recognition. The award is named after Touch of Class, a Maryland-bred Olympic champion.

“Every year Maryland produces a number of national leaders in the sport of steeplechasing. This past year was no exception,” said MHIB Chair Jim Steele, who will present the award along with MHIB board members Beverly Raymond and Jay Griswold.

The award is being presented to:

  • Irv Naylor, whose stable is headquartered in Glyndon and was 2014 national leading steeplechase owner. This is the fourth Touch of Class Award for Naylor, who has either been the nation’s leading steeplechase owner or timber owner for the last four years. In 2014, his horses won $531,840 from 92 starts. Decoy Daddy was among his stable stars and was considered one of the year’s top five steeplechasers.
  • Jack Fisher, Butler, national leading steeplechase trainer. This is the third Touch of Class Award for Fisher, who has been the leading U.S. steeplechase trainer for the last three years. In 2014 Fisher-trained horses won 23 races from 136 starts and earned $757,550.
  • Mark Beecher, Glyndon, national leading timber jockey. It is the third Touch of Class Award for Beecher, who took the national timber jockey title in 2014, following previous year-end honors as champion apprentice and amateur champion jockey.
  • Armata Stable, Lutherville/Butler, national leading timber steeplechase owner. It is the first time that Armata Stables—a string of horses owned jointly by Perry Bolton of Lutherville and Ben Griswold IV of Butler—have taken the national award for leading timber owner. Their horses, including two-time winner Brother Sy, won $95,200 from 17 starts.

All of the recipients base their operations in Baltimore County.

Since its inception four years ago, the Touch of Class Award has honored 73 people, 29 horses, ponies, mules and donkeys from 14 different Maryland counties and 24 different equestrian disciplines, all national and international prize winners.

For more information about the Touch of Class Award and MHIB contact Ross Peddicord, MHIB executive director at 410-841-5798 or



Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jessica Hackett
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888