South Carolina  Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association

The first stride to the finish line begins in SC

February  3, 2020

On the Horizon

February 8
SCTOBA Annual Mtg
Keynote Speaker
John Phillips
Darby Dan Farm
National Steeplechase Museum
Camden, SC

March 14
Aiken Trials
Aiken, SC

March 21
Elloree Trials
Elloree, SC

March 21
Aiken Spring Steeplechase
Aiken, SC

March 28
Carolina Cup
Camden, SC

April 11
Block House Steeplechase
Tryon, NC

October 24
Aiken Fall Steeplechase
Aiken, SC

November 15
Steeplechase of Charleston
Hollywood, SC

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President's Message
February is a special time for SCTOBA as we honor the breeders of the 2019 leading money earners in several categories. Our Annual Awards dinner is a great time for SCTOBA members and more to get together for good fellowship at an excellent venue, the National Steeplechase Museum.
Also, just around the corner is March, a month filled with equine events in South Carolina.

Jack Sadler, President

John Phillips to Speak at Annual Meeting
The South Carolina Owners and Breeders Association will hold its Annual Banquet on February 8, 2020 at the National Steeplechase Museum in Camden at 6:00 PM. We will be honored to have John Phillips, owner of Darby Dan Farm in Kentucky as our guest speaker.
John Phillips purchased the current Darby Dan Farm in Lexington in 1992 from family members. Noted standouts for the Phillips Racing Partnership include Memories of Silver and the 1999 Breeders; Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Soaring Softly. Phillips is the grandson of John W. Galbreath, the founder of Darby Dan Farm in Ohio in 1935.
Darby Dan Farm is also a stallion station standing nine stallions.
Phillips was elected President of The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance for 2020 by the board of directors. He has been a member of the board since 2016 and also served as President in 2018.

South Carolina Stands Proud
The 2019 Eclipse Award winners were announced on January 23 and British Idiom was named Champion 2-Year-Old Filly. Stuart Grant, owner of the Camden Training Center, is a member of the partnership group. Grant races under The Elkstone Group banner. British Idiom won all three starts in 2019 including the Darley Alcibiades-GI at Keeneland on October 4 along with the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 1 at Santa Anita.

British Idiom
Photo credit:  Debra A. Roma 

Grant commented, "What a fantastic year she had! She is not only fast, but mentally tough and she is one of the sweetest you could possibly imagine."
Two other Eclipse finalists, Sharing and Structor, have South Carolina connections. Sharing was a finalist in the 2-Year-Old Filly division and Structor was a finalist in the 2-Year-Old Male division. Sharing is campaigned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gainsway Farm. Eclipse has management staff who maintain an office in Aiken, SC. She also has been unanimously voted as the Midlantic-bred Horse of the Year.
Structor is a member of the first crop of the Dogwood Stable-campaigned Palace Malice.

Aiken Trials Just Around the Corner
The Aiken Trials, first run in 1942, will hold its 78th Renewal on March 14 at the Aiken Training Track. This event gives young horses in training the enlightening opportunity to experience every aspect of live racing. The Aiken Trials has become a time-honored tradition as the first leg of Aiken's Triple Crown events, held annually for three consecutive Saturdays in March.
A mixture of Thoroughbred and pony races will be held. The Thoroughbred two-year-olds will cover a quarter mile and older horses go 4 ½ furlongs.
Gates open at 10:00 A.M. with the first race scheduled for 1:00 P.M.
Parking and ticketing is available on the website.
Photo credit:  Barry Bornstein

Elloree Trials Renewal on March 21
The 58th Renewal of the Elloree Trials will be held at Franklin "Goree" Smith's Elloree Training Center on Saturday, March 21.  This event always draws a large crowd and historically has been a great experience for horses preparing to launch their racing careers.
Each year 10-12 races are carded.  There is a mixture of Quarter Horse and Thoroughbreds.
Hall of Fame jockey Chris Antley is a graduate of the Elloree Training Center.  He was the winning rider on Strike the Gold in the 1991 Kentucky Derby.  Antley rode Charismatic to victory in the 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
Weston Hamilton, the recipient of the Eclipse Award for the 2018 Apprentice Jockey, also advanced his craft under the watchful eye of Goree.
Gates open at 8:00 A.M.
For more information, please call (803) 897-2626

Aiken Steeplechase Kicks Off 2020 Jump Season
The National Steeplechase and Hunt Association's 2020 campaign kicks off in Aiken, SC on Saturday, March 21. This will be the 54th Renewal of the Aiken Spring Steeplechase. It is held at the Aiken Horse Park.
There will be five races with the first going to the post at 1:00 P.M.. The gates officially open at 9:00 A.M. The feature is The Budweiser Imperial Cup with a purse of $30,000.
Like the Aiken Trials, it is a day filled with racing, tailgating and fun. Please visit the website for parking and ticketing information.

Carolina Cup Takes Place March 28
The 88th renewal of The Carolina Cup Steeplechase will take place at the Springdale Race Course in Camden, SC on March 28. This event has been known to attract over 70,000 spectators.
Six races will take place with the feature being The Carolina Cup with a $50,000 purse. Post time for the first race is 1:30. Tickets and parking can be obtained by calling (803) 432-6513 or visiting the website -

Racing Across the Nation
Two graduates of South Carolina farms and training centers crossed the finish line first following stakes, Firenze Fire on December 22 and She's My Type on January 4.
In the Gravesend Stakes on December 22, 2019 at Aqueduct, Firenze Fire sat right off the flank of the leader while between horses for the opening half mile. At the top of the stretch, Firenze Fire was asked the question and in a hard fought effort, proved best winning by a head.
This now five-year-old has nine career victories including eight stakes wins. His total earnings have reached $1,691,750. Firenze Fire is a product of Travis Durr's program at the Webb Carroll Training Center in St. Matthews, SC.
She's My Type, a former student of Kip Elser at his Kirkwood Stables in Camden, SC, recorded her second win in two lifetime starts capturing the Ginger Brew Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 4. She broke her maiden in her career debut at Gulfstream on December 7. In the Ginger Brew, She's My Type was off a step slow and a bit rank early on before settling down. She launched her bid inside the ½ mile pole and reached the wire a neck in front. This is a filly with a bright future ahead of her.

A Special Time for the Smith Brothers

Hammy Smith, Jerry Romans and Goree Smith talking horses.
Photo credit: Maggie Kimmitt

Between December 20 and January 10, South Carolina's leading breeder, Franklin "Goree" Smith saw five of his homebreds win seven races at Laurel Park. Three of the winners, Walk Away Joe, Still I Wonder and Sweet Home Dixie are still owned by Smith and trained by his brother, Hamilton Smith. These three along with Nana's Shoes, are sired by Done Talking who stands at Goree's Elloree Training Center in Elloree, SC. Smith's fifth SC-bred winner, My T Talk, is by Straight Talking who also has been a stallion at the training center.
Sweet Home Dixie's latest win on January 10 was very special for the Smith brothers as it marked Hamilton's 2,000 win as a trainer.


Our mission is to promote the thoroughbred industry in our state and throughout the region. SCTOBA works to create awareness of the tremendous economic impact the thoroughbred industry has in South Carolina.  Our organization is an advocate for the positive aspects of the thoroughbred business --breeding, training and racing.  We also provide leadership and solutions to the challenges presented by the thoroughbred business.