The first stride to the finish line begins in SC

February 6, 2023

Board Of Directors:
Jack Sadler, Pres.
Debby McCutchen, VP
Wylie Perkins, Sec.
Susan Sadler, Treas.
Dr. Doug Berry
Kip Elser
Marsha Hewitt
Ted Hoover
Dean Keller
Wilhelmina McEwan
Mary Quarles
Rich Scelfo
Franklin G. (Goree) Smith
Madelon Wallace
President's Message

Happy New Year!!

I thank all who were able to attend the Banquet on January 20. It was the largest group we have

had in recent years in spite of the cold weather.

As we work our way through February, we have a lot of racing action to look forward to in March. I hope you will be able to attend and support these events.

Jack Sadler, President



[email protected]

Upcoming Events

Mar 16, 2024

Aiken Trials

Aiken, SC

Mar 23, 2024

Elloree Trials

Elloree, SC

Mar 23, 2024

Aiken Spring Steeplechase

Aiken, SC

Nov 10, 2024

Steeplechase of Charleston

Hollywood, SC

Nov 17, 2024

Colonial Cup Steeplechase

Camden, SC

Nov 23, 2024

Aiken Fall Steeplechase

Aiken, SC

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Racing Across the Nation

Five horses that went through the breaking process at South Carolina training centers visited the winner’s circle at the end of Stakes races between December 23 and January 3. 

Double Crown received his highest lifetime Equibase speed figure – 110 – winning the Robert T. Manfuso Stakes at Laurel Park on December 23 in the 44th start of his career. A graduate of Cary Frommer’s breaking program in Aiken, Double Crown stayed within three lengths of the lead approaching the 1/8th pole. At that point he joined the leader. They went head-to-head to the finish line with Double Crown getting his nose down on the wire defeating the 3-5 favorite by a nose. This was his ninth victory. Double Crown has finished in the top three in over half of his lifetime starts earning $838,185.

Like Double Crown, Night Time as been a sturdy campaigner starting his racing career in 2019. In his 26th lifetime start, Night Time stalked the leaders in the Holiday Cheer Stakes at Turfway Park on December 30. At the quarter pole, Night Time took the lead and proved best winning by a neck. A graduate of Franklin “Goree” Smith’s Elloree Training Center, this was Night Time’s first Stakes victory. He has earned $576,722 during his career.

Ship to Shore, who learned his early lessons at the Travis Durr Training Center, broke on top and never looked back in the Limehouse Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 6. He steadily increased his lead and proved much the best galloping home an 8 length winner. Limehouse, whom this Stakes was named after, was campaigned throughout his career by Aiken-based Dogwood Stable.

Opus Forty Two, developed by Brad Stauffer and Ron Stevens’ Legacy Stable for longtime client Mark Grier, whose parents were Aiken residents, earned her second Stakes victory in the Wayward Lass Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on January 13. 

Opus Forty Two raced along the inside before moving out in upper stretch to launch her bid. She wore down the leaders and crossed the finish line ¾’s of a length in front.

The three-year-old colt Book’em Danno has won three Stakes in only five lifetime starts, the latest being the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on January 3. In the Pasco, Book’em Danno came from off the pace while racing in tight quarters at times. In the stretch, he took the lead and ran away from the field winning by an astounding 12 ½ lengths. Book’em Danno will point for the Group 3 Saudi Derby that will take place in Saudi Arabia on February 24. Book’em Danno is a graduate of Randy and Kala Rentz’s training center in Erhardt, SC.

Dan Pride Speaks at SCTOBA Annual Awards Banquet

Dan Pride makes a point.  Photo credit Don Clippenger

Keynote speaker Dan Pride makes a point. Photo credit: Don Clippinger

Libbie Johnson and Wilhelmina McEwan presents Breeders Award to Wylie Perkins, standing in for Goree Smith. Photo credit: Don Clippinger

The South Carolina Owners and Breeders Association Annual Awards Banquet was held at the National Steeplechase Museum in Camden on January 20. The turnout was strong and all who attended very much appreciated our guest speaker Dan Pride, managing director of Godolphin USA. Dan gave us a “rest of the story” rendition of the relationship between Cody Dorman and Cody’s Wish.

Franklin “Goree” Smith made a clean sweep of the individual horse awards for 2023 and thus was Breeder of the Year. Dixie Drawl was the Older Male of the Year for the second time in a row. Swayin to and Fro became South Carolina’s first Graded Stakes winner capturing the Barbara Fritchie-G3 last year and was Older Female of the Year. On the Three-Year-Old of the Year front, Penny Loafer was the leading money earner in the colt/gelding category and Haint Blue earned that honor in the filly category. Sippin’ Time was named Two-Year-Old of the Year. Goree Smith’s stallion Done Talking sired Dixie Drawl, Penny Loafer and Haint BlueStraight Talking, who stood at the Elloree Training Center before his death, sired Swayin to and Fro.

For the twelfth time in the past fourteen years, Goree Smith has earned the title as South Carolina’s leading breeder. The Smith family has been a major player in the state of South Carolina’s breeding and racing scene since the 1940s. At his Elloree Training Center, he prepares both horses and jockeys for their future careers. During 2023, Goree’s SC-breds earned $681,453. We congratulate Goree, his family and the whole crew at the Elloree Training Center on a job well done. 

A special thanks goes to Kip Elser, Libbie Johnson, Rich Scelfo who provided the wine, Wilhelmina and Fred McEwan who donated the Breeders award and Jack Brantley, Beth Warnock and the crew from Aberdeen Catery.

Merry Maker Eclipse Award Winner


On January 25, Merry Maker was named Eclipse Award 2023 Champion Steeplechaser. Merry Maker is owned by SCTOBA member Pierre Manigault who lives in Charleston and trained by SCTOBA member Arch Kingsley who has his training operation in Camden. 

A foal of 2017, Merry Maker (Malinas (GER) – Sparkling Gem (IRE) by Revoque) ran five times in 2023 earning $180,000. He won an Allowance race in May at Great Meadow in Virginia before finishing third in the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes and fourth in the Jonathan Sheppard Handicap-GI at Saratoga in August. In September at Aqueduct, Merry Maker won the Grade I Lonesome Glory Handicap. In his final 2023 start, Merry Maker finished second in the Grand National Hurdle Stakes-GI at Far Hills in October. His regular exercise rider is Arch’s daughter, Taylor Kingsley.

Pierre Manigault is the driving force behind the Steeplechase of Charleston held in Hollywood, SC held every November.

Private Creed Named 2023 Aiken-trained Horse of the Year

Private Creed (Jimmy Creed – South Andros by Sky Mesa) has been named the 2023 Aiken-trained Horse of the Year. This is the second year in a row, having received this honor for 2022. 

To qualify for this award, a thoroughbred must win a Graded Stakes and/or exceed $500,000 in career earnings. In 2023, Private Creed won the Franklin-Simpson Stakes-G2 at Kentucky Downs in September. He also had second place finishes in the Bob Bork Texas Turf Mile Stakes at Sam Houston in January and the Mahony Stakes at Saratoga in August of last year. In 2023, Private Creed recorded two wins and two seconds in seven starts earning $729,853.

This colt was purchased by Marcus and Crystal Ryan in the name of Mason Springs for $45,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. After being trained in Aiken, he was acquired by his current owner, Mike McCarty , at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Old in Training Sale at Timonium for $155,000. Private Creed has been trained throughout his career by Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.

Private Creed will be honored at a ceremony at the Aiken Racing Hall of Fame on March 17. The public is invited.

Aiken Trials on March 16

The month of March 2024 brings racing action to South Carolina. The 81st Running of the Aiken Trials will take place on March 16. A day filled with Thoroughbred races mixed in with some pony races, it is considered by Aiken residents as the first day of Spring. Over the years, this has been a popular opportunity for 2-year-olds preparing for Keeneland to gain racing experience before a crowd.

Ticketing and parking information can be found at

Elloree Trials Returns March 23

On Saturday, March 23, the Elloree Trials will return after taking 2023 off. The Elloree Trials were first run in 1963 at the Elloree Training Center owned and operated by Franklin “Goree” Smith. The day is a mixture of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races.

Tickets will be available at the gate on race day, cash only. Tickets are $25 per person (Children under 12 admitted for free). To reserve a parking spot please call 803-395-9068.

Aiken Spring Steeplechase Begins 2024 National Steeplechase Association Season

March 23 also marks the beginning of the 2024 National Steeplechase Association season with the running of the Aiken Spring Steeplechase. The day will begin with one training flat race followed by five hurdle races.

Ticketing and parking information can be found at

Carolina Cup Races March 30

On March 30, The Carolina Cup Races will be held at the Springdale Race Course in Camden.  There will be four hurdle events and the final race will be a training flat race.

Ticketing and parking information can be found at

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.
Mr. Jack Sadler, President
 101 Ellenton Street SE
 Aiken, SC 29803
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