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On this Memorial Day weekend, we're usually celebrating races at the NSA's home track at Fair Hill. Instead today we're celebrating an NSA Legend.
What's Her Secret?
Discover the easy -- and enduring -- style of steeplechasing maven Beverly 'Peggy' Steinman, a leading lady of the turf
By Betsy Burke Parker
Through almost six decades of steeplechase involvement, Peggy Steinman herself has hardly changed. Tod Marks ) But the longtime National Steeplechase Association board member and executive officer has spearheaded many changes into the sport, promoting safety and expansion, with implementation of NSA’s distaff hurdle division as one of the most important developments she helped create.

In the top 20 all-time sport leaders with $1.5 million in earnings since 1970, this year marks the first time since 1977 Steinman isn’t on an NSA committee of some sort. She says it “feels a little weird not to be involved,” directly. Though, to be honest, she is intimately involved, on the board of the Middleburg Spring Races, one of two spring meets hoping to "go" in June in one of the weirdest years on record. For decades she’s provided powerful support – donating money when requested, lending her considerable business savvy where appropriate and jumping in at the boots-on-the-ground level as needed.
All class, a touch of sass
Peggy Steinman was a preppy before that even had a name – her 1960s-registered kelly green-and-pink silks prove it, though she’s long followed the sartorial muse. Steinman operated the Devon Horse Show’s largest clothes and jewelry boutique for more than 20 years, later
opening the Showcase of Fashions in downtown Lancaster. She sold the store three years ago.

With regards to her famously recognizable coif – think Lady Bird Johnson meets Amy Winehouse, years ago Steinman says she “found what works” for her hairstyle, and she’s stuck with the classic ’do. She attributes the trademark look to “a lot of hair spray” and a standing appointment with her hairdresser.

There’s no secret to it, she stresses, though she does credit good genes. “My father had good hair.” (Photo from the Fair Hill Races in the 1970's. ©Douglas Lees)
She was named to the NSA (then NSHA) board in 1977 by president George Strawbridge Sr. Also an accredited steward, Steinman says committees are charged with handling “all the nitty gritty” of rules and regulations, requiring an eagle eye and exhaustive research to dissect the ever-changing issues.

She stepped back from the NSA board this year, but in addition to Middleburg Spring, Steinman stays involved on an advisory committee to the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center.

She had a stable-full of horses with trainer Doug Fout ready to roll this spring season, and her homebred Be Somebody won a race at the Warrenton Point-to-Point before COVID19 shut down horse racing along with the rest of the world. Steinman says she’s hopeful the 100th annual Middleburg Spring Races will run on their rescheduled date of June 13, but that’s pending approval of Virginia’s governor and secretary of agriculture.

“We can only hope,” she says.
Peggy Steinman and Doug Fout in the paddock at Saratoga in August of 2013.
Dauncy’s part in the story wasn’t done: Paul Fout used him as a lead pony when he retired from racing.

“We were in Camden, and Miss Steinman was there and asked if she could come out with us (on horseback) to jog a set. My dad said Dauncy would be perfect. We’d jog three-quarters a mile, and the plan was for her to pull up and go over and stand with my father on the rail while we galloped.

“So, we’re still jogging, and I look over and Dauncy is gone. Peggy’s up there, no helmet, hunt saddle, her hair slicked back in the wind as that horse galloped around like he was in the stretch at the Colonial Cup. She’s pulling and pulling, and that old goat is just a’rolling.

“My dad is over there about to have a heart attack. She gets him pulled up and jogs over with this big smile. ‘I guess we should put him back in training’.

“It’s funny now. It wasn’t funny then.”
Pick(s) of the litter
One of Peggy Steinman’s best was homebred Colstar. Foaled in Kentucky in 1996, Colstar is by Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Opening Verse, out of Ascend, a daughter of Risen Star purchased by Paul Fout at the Ocala 2-year-olds in training sales.

Colstar won the grade 3 Martha Washington at Laurel, returning at 4 to win the grade 3 Gallorette at Pimlico, the grade 3 Locust Grove Handicap at Churchill and the grade 1 Flower Bowl at Belmont.

She was seventh in the Breeders’ Cup distaff turf back at Churchill that November, just 4 ½ lengths off winner Perfect Sting.

Spring of 2001, Colstar won the Searching Stakes at Pimlico and grade 3 Locust Grove Handicap at Churchill before annexing the All Along at Colonial Downs that summer, another grade 3, in her final start.

Colstar has produced six foals to race, including jump-related Be Somebody, a winner of one of 2020’s only jump races to date – the amateur hurdle at the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point, and Speed Ahead, a winner on the turf last fall at Foxfield.
Doug Fout with Be Somebody after a win in the Amateur Novice Hurdle race at Warrenton this spring.
©Douglas Lees
Phipps-bred Chrisaway , a son of Herbager was a coast-to-coast superstar for Steinman and Fout. He was a graded stakes-placed multiple stakes winner, taking the 1972 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga and a division of the Del Mar Handicap a month later, the only time the west coast classic has been split in its 82-year-history. Chrisaway missed the 1974 season but came back over hurdles in 1975. He won at first asking at Tanglewood that April with Al Quanbeck, with Jerry Fishback aboard winning next out at Virginia Gold Cup and capturing the spring finale, the National Steeplechase at Fair Hill.

Chrisaway was twice-placed that summer in handicap company at Delaware Park and won the Midsummer Handicap at Monmouth in his final start.
Chrisaway and Jerry Fishback on their way to a win at Monmouth.
©Jim Rafferty/Turfotos
French-bred Bel Iman vaulted from maiden to tangling for the Eclipse in 1977. The 4-year-old import was easily identifiable – nearly black, a perfect foil for Steinman’s bright green blinkers. Doug Fout had started the season as a 7-pound bug, but Bel Iman helped erase the apprentice allowance, notching maiden victory at Stoneybrook in April, following up at Tanglewood, Radnor and Monmouth.

Bel Iman put in four uncharacteristically modest efforts at Saratoga but returned to form in the fall. He beat eventual champions Cafe Prince, Leaping Frog and Fire Control in the Gwathmey, then run at Belmont Park. He lost on the nod to Cafe Prince at Far Hills, and gave weight to Laing winner Fire Control at Montpelier.

Bel Iman lost the Eclipse tussle to eventual champion Cafe Prince after leading into the Colonial Cup stretch in November.

He retired to stud, and the Steinman line carried on through daughter Bel Cristal. A modest winner over hurdles out of 1975 ’chase champion Life’s Illusion (trained by Paul Fout,) Bel Cristal produced homebred jump winners Carnival Glass, Corporate King and turf winner Swiss Connection.

Life’s Illusion, the only mare to win the steeplechase Eclipse, never replicated her championship make-up, though she did mother hurdle and timber winner I Chase The Clouds and hurdle winner Mysterious Guide.
1977 Essex Race Meeting (now Far Hills Race Meeting), Martin Memorial. Left to right: Cafe Prince (Jerry Fishback, up) -1st for Augustin Stables; Bel Iman II (Doug Fout, up) - 2nd for Peggy Steinman.
©Douglas Lees
Don Panta was a winner at 3 at the prestigious Valparaiso Sporting Club in his native Chile before imported to the U.S. by Charlie Cushman. The gorgeous gray broke his hurdle maiden for Steinman, trainer Paul Fout and rider Jerry Fishback at Saratoga at 4, back when maidens were allowed to run at the Spa.

He came back at 5 with wins under Doug Fout at Belmont Park and Saratoga, and kicked off a six-race winning streak at Rolling Rock that stretched through to the 1978 Virginia Gold Cup meet.
Don Panta (Doug Fout, up) on his way to winning the 1977 Daniel Sands Cup at the VA Fall Races.
(NSA Archives)
Show trainer M. Edgar ‘Eggie’ Mills
Old-school horseman M. Edgar “Eggie” Mills Jr. was one of Peggy Steinman’s first links to the horse show world.

Mills, who died at age 76 in 2007, was based in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania in the 1950s and ’60s where he trained show horses. Steinman was a client, competing as an amateur.

One of their best was Steinman’s Not Always, a bay thoroughbred hunter that was American Horse Shows Association green and working hunter champion in 1963.
Mills and wife, Sally, moved Steinman’s show horses with them when they relocated to Virginia in the mid-1960s. Mills gave the show ride on Not Always to Orange County horseman Rodney Jenkins and turned his attention to racing. Mills partnered with the late Paul Fout and Lewis Wiley to purchase and operate the Middleburg Training Center (formerly privately owned by Paul Mellon.) It was around this time Mills and Fout suggested that Steinman “might have some fun” owning a racehorse, too.

Mills focused on starting young horses and reconditioning older runners, including stakes winner Palace Ruler, who he later stood at stud. Longtime manager of the Upperville Colt and Horse Show, in 2005 Mills was placed on the show’s Wall of Honor.
Assay assignment
Steinman was appointed to the Assay Commission in 1970, serving on the testing board during the Nixon presidency. From 1792-1980, the commission supervised annual testing of the gold, silver and base metal coins produced by the U.S. mint to ensure that they met specifications.
Although some members were designated by statute, for the most part the commission, which was freshly appointed each year, consisted of prominent Americans, and appointment to the Assay Commission was eagerly sought after, in part because commissioners received a commemorative medal. These medals, different each year, are extremely rare.

The Mint Act of 1792 authorized the commission, and beginning in 1797, it met in most years at the Philadelphia Mint. Members would gather in Philadelphia to ensure the weight and fineness of silver and gold coins issued the previous year were to specifications. In 1971, the mint no longer produced real silver coinage, and Pres. Jimmy Carter abolished the commission in 1980.
The award-winning Steinman
In 1991, Steinman became the 19th recipient of the F. Ambrose Clark Award for her contributions to the sport.

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving … than Peggy Steinman,” then-president Bill Pape wrote in that year’s NSHA yearbook. “When steeplechasing has any need, Peggy has immediately pitched in. Her hard work and sound judgment have played a significant role in steeplechasing’s growth.”

In ’91, Steinman served as association vice-president and chair of the course, fence and safety committee.

The Clark award caught Steinman by surprise. “I never even thought about it,” she characteristically played down her role. “I feel truly honored” to receive the recognition created in 1965 in memory of steeplechase horseman Brose Clark. “I have attempted to figure out the … committee’s selection this year. The best I can come up with is … my willingness to enter horses so others will have competition that they can beat.”
Champion of champions
2019: National Steeplechase Association Filly and Mare Champion with homebred Market Alley Tod Marks )
2018: Virginia Point to Point Foundation - Champion Race Mare over Fences with Bullet Star Tod Marks )
2014: National Steeplechase Association - 3-Year-Old Champion with Perfect Union Tod Marks )
1991: National Steeplechase Association - Ambrose Clark Award (Laurel Scott photo of Steinman at the 1991 ceremony, with 1988 winner of the award, Bill Pape)
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