The first stride to the finish line begins in SC

November 7, 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

We are approaching the end of the year. We enjoyed the runnings of the Aiken Trials, Aiken Spring Steeplechase and Carolina Cup. We have the Steeplechase of Charleston this weekend and the Aiken Fall Steeplechase on November 18.

These events will return in 2024 as will the Elloree Trials and possibly the Colonial Cup Steeplechase.

Have a great Thanksgiving!! We have a lot to be thankful for!!

Jack Sadler, President



Upcoming Events

Nov 12

Steeplechase of Charleston

Hollywood, SC

Nov 18

Aiken Steeplechase Fall Championship

Aiken, SC

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Racing Across the Nation

Racing Across the Nation

Between September 22 and October 8, South Carolina training centers saw nine graduates win Stakes races at seven different racetracks across the country.

On September 22, Kettle Kiss, a graduate of Travis Durr’s operation in St. Matthews, won the Miss Southern Ohio Stakes at Belterra Park.  Kettle Kiss, sixth early on, launched her rally with 3 furlongs to go, working her way through the field and proved much the best winning by 3 lengths.  This was her third win in a row.

A day later, Notice of Action made it 2 for 2 in career starts, capturing the Prince Lucky Stakes at PARX.  Notice of Action stalked the leaders while 4 wide early on.  He made the lead in the turn and in a hard fought stretch duel, prevailed by a ½ length.  This colt was developed by Randy and Kala Rentz.

Later that afternoon, the former Rentz student, Nimitz Class, recorded his sixth Stakes victory in the PARX Dirt Mile Stakes.  Nimitz Class was third for the first ¾’s of a mile.  In the stretch, he took the lead and crossed the finish line 1 ¾ lengths in front.  This colt has earned $717,080.

The 2-year-old New York-bred colt, Canyougetaloan, took a narrow advantage at the sixteenth pole and held on to win the Aspirant Stakes at Finger Lakes on September 25 by a head.  He entered the race as a Maiden having finished second two weeks before this Stakes.  Canyougetaloan went through the breaking process at the Travis Durr Training Center.

Another 2-year-old, Air Recruit, broke by Brad Stauffer and Ron Stevens’ Legacy Stable in Aiken, defeated a full field of 12 in the Laurel Futurity on September 30.  Fourth after a ½ mile, Air Recruit took over the lead at the three sixteenths pole and then galloped home a 5 ½ length winner.

Zandon, who has raced in 12 Graded Stakes during his career, hit paydirt in the Woodward Stakes-G2 at Belmont at the Big A meet on October 12.  In an eventful trip, Zandon was involved in a bumping incident, and was forced to race wide.  He was able to make the lead approaching the quarter-pole and then scampered home a 4 ¼ length winner.  In an earlier accomplishment, Zandon won the Blue Grass Stakes-G1 as a 3-year-old.  He has earned $2,140,000 during his career.  Zandon was developed by Travis Durr.

King Ice, who learned his early lessons from “Goree” Smith at his Elloree Training Center, gained his fourth career Stakes victory proving best in the To Much Coffee Handicap at Horseshoe Indianapolis on October 4.  King Ice had only two beat after a ¼ mile, dropping over 11 lengths off the pace.  He was ridden with confidence, working his way past the field taking the lead in mid-stretch and from there, quickly enlarged his advantage to win by 6 1/4 lengths.  King Ice has won 5 of his 10 career starts.

In his 24th career start, Hoist the Gold won a Stakes for the first time, capturing the Phoenix Stakes-G2 at Keeneland on October 6.  Hoist the Gold stalked the leaders into the stretch.  He took control in midstretch  and held off the late closers crossing the finish line ¾ of a length in front.  Hoist the Gold went through the breaking process under the watchful eye of Travis Durr.

Book’em Danno recorded his third win in three career starts proving best in the Futurity Stakes at the Belmont at the Big A meet on October 8.  A former student at Randy and Kala Rentz’ Rentz Farm Training Center, Book’em Danno, a 2-year-old gelding, was 4 of 5 early on while racing 4 wide.  In the stretch, he took command and proved much the best winning by 6 ½ lengths.

South Carolinians Active at Fasig-Tipton Sale

Fasig-Tipton held the Kentucky October Yearlings sale on October 23-26.  Several South Carolinians made their presence felt signing sales slips.

Bob, Jason and Debby McCutchen’s McCutchen Training Center purchased five colts and three fillies.  James Layden signed tickets for two colts and four fillies.  He purchased an Uncle Mo filly for $95,000.

Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Equine Advisory signed sales slips for a colt and a filly.  Marcus and Crystal Ryan’s Mason Springs operation brought a filly back to Aiken and Travis Durr’s brother, Cody, brought a filly back to the Travis Durr Training Center in St. Mattews.  Stuart Grant, owner of the Camden Training Center, along with partners, purchased four fillies.

Breeders Cup 2023

To have a horse enter the starting gate in one of the Breeders’ Cup races is quite an accomplishment.  This year, Zandon, winner of the Blue Grass Stakes-G1 in 2022 and the Woodward Stakes-G2 this year, ran in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  He was developed for his racing career by SCTOBA member Travis Durr.

Air Recruit, a graduate of Brad Stauffer and Ron Stevens’ breaking program in Aiken, ran in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf-G1.  While finishing seventh, he was only beaten 3 ¼ lengths.  Air Recruit is owned by Mark Grier, whose parents were longtime residents of Aiken.

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners had third place finishes with Candied in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes-G1 and with Locked in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G1.  Eclipse formed a merger with Cot Campbell’s Dogwood Stable in 2013 and maintains an office in Aiken.

SC Equine Advancement Act

SCTOBA Vice-President Debby McCutchen authored a commentary article that appeared in the Post and Courier on October 20.  Debbie served on the Equine Industry Support Committee formed in the spring of 2021 along with SCTOBA Vice President Kip Elser and President Jack Sadler.  Please click on this link to see her article.  

Trip to International Gold Cup

A group of S.C. Senators and representatives of the South Carolina equine industry attended the International Gold Cup in The Plains, VA on October 28. Discussions were held with subject matter experts on the ways the Virginia equine business continues to benefit from wagering on horse racing.  Not only was it informational, a good time was had by all.  

The South Carolina Equine Advancement Act will be brought before the Senate side of the state legislature when the 2024 session begins in January.  We have been working tirelessly to raise awareness and move the needle in specific districts across the state.  Now is the time for you to help by contacting Governor Henry McMaster or your local Senator to talk about the S.C. Equine Advancement Act.

Upcoming Events in South Carolina

The National Steeplechase Association has two meets scheduled for our state in November. The Steeplechase of Charleston will be held November 12. For ticketing and parking, please visit

The NSA 2023 season comes to an end in Aiken on November 18 with the running of the Aiken Fall Steeplechase Championship. There is a strong possibility the leading horse, owner and jockey titles for 2023 will be decided on this day. For ticketing and parking, please visit

We are also very happy to announce that after taking a sabbatical this year, the Elloree Trials will be held in March of 2024.

From the Desk of…….

---- Congratulations to Camden-based Kate Dalton who saddled Abaan, winner of The Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at the Far Hills Race Meeting in New Jersey on October 21. This was only the third career start over jumps for Abaan, a multiple Stakes winner on the flat. Ridden in all of his steeplechase starts by Bernie Dalton, Abaan finished second and then first in his previous races at Colonial Downs.       

---- Thank you to Travis Durr who has run full page advertisements for the Travis Durr Training Center in BloodHorse magazine, the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred and other industry publications. Recognizing our state is always a huge benefit!!   

---- Be sure to see the October edition of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred that featured an article on Goree Smith’s brother, Hamilton Smith, who trains a stable of horses in Maryland.

You Haven't Renewed Your SCTOBA Membership Yet?

Please renew your Membership at this link.

Why join?
1.   Networking
This is the most common and most obvious benefit of joining SCTOBA. Our industry group is filled with potential contacts, who can help your racing goals move to the next level and become more prominent.

2.   Recognition
SCTOBA provides recognition for the contributions and accomplishments of our members at our annual SCTOBA Awards Banquet. These recognitions and validations provide a level of prestige and credibility in the minds of clients and customers which is invaluable.

3.   Influence
One of the key benefits of joining SCTOBA is the ability to support the mission of our industry and possibly influence legislation/policy that affects the sector. The combined resources of the members are often used to lobby policy makers and sway public opinion more positively towards the goals of our industry than any one group can hope to achieve, irrespective of its size. The SC Equine Advancement Act, currently under legislative consideration is an example of your membership in action.

4.   Insight
Membership in SCTOBA means immediate access to news or developments that affect your business and the sector as a whole. Your membership gives you MId-Atlantic Racing, one of our trade publications. Outside of the usual communication of members between each other, trade associations also provide newsletters, email updates and informative resources that help members stay on top of recent developments in the field through social media channels.

5.   Exchange of Ideas
Not only do members have access to information. SCTOBA provides a forum for members to share ideas and develop new ways to improve the industry.

6.   Relationships
Aside from all of the professional benefits that are available through membership, membership also provides an opportunity for members to connect to other industry colleagues as well. Strategic alliances provide members with valuable insight and further collaborative opportunities.

7.   Sustainability
SCTOBA can play a vital role in bringing stake holders together to address issues through joint collaboration to ensure the sport has the visibility it needs to help facilitate a sustainable interest to meet future demand.    
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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