The first stribe to the finish line begins in SC
March 9, 2021
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Carolina Cup Races
Camden, SC
May 22, 2021

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Photo Credit:
Racing Across the Nation
Racing Across the Nation

South Carolina was represented by three stakes winners who went through the breaking process at our training centers and farms.

On January 23, Getridofwhatailesu trailed the field early on by over 11 lengths in the Pippen Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Actually, she was in front of the favorite who did not want to come out of the gate and had no intention of racing. Getridofwhatailesu still trailed after ¾’s of a mile. While advancing through traffic when approaching the stretch, she was able to move to the outside and flew home hitting the wire 1 ½ lengths in front. Getridofwhatailesu learned her early lessons from Donna Freyer at her Custom Care Equine operation in Camden. In 7 career starts, this filly has 4 wins and 2 second place finishes earning $259,197.

Hollis, who was developed at the McCutchen Training Center in Kingstree, SC, finished in an exciting dead heat for the win in the Stonerside Sprint Stakes at Sam Houston Race Track on January 23. Hollis contested a fast pace early on. He was able to shake loose in the stretch until challenged approaching the finish line. Hollis battled to achieve a dead heat at the wire. These two were a length in front of the third place finisher. Hollis has won 7 races during his career.

On February 6, South Carolina graduates finished 1st and 2nd in the Tampa Bay Stakes-G3. Get Smokin proved best over Eons by ¾’s of a length. Get Smokin, also a product of Donna Freyer’s Custom Care Equine program, stalked the leader for the opening ¾’s of a mile. He took control entering the stretch opening up by 3 lengths and coasted home ¾’s of a length in front at the wire. Finishing second was Eons who spends his time in Aiken with Brad Stauffer and Ron Stevens when he is getting a break from the track. Tenth early on, Eons had 8 ¾ lengths to make up with a ½ mile to go. He worked his way through traffic and was 2nd best.

 Carolina Cup on Schedule!
The Carolina Cup refuses to be defeated by the Covid-19 pandemic. While being held at a later date than in past years, it will take place at Springdale Race Course in Camden, SC on Saturday, May 22.

The National Steeplechase Association condition book lists five races scheduled to be run on the flat or over hurdles. All gates will open at 11:00 AM with post time for the first race being 1:00 PM.

Please visit for ticketing information.
2021 Elloree Trials a No Go
“Goree” Smith reports the Elloree Trials has fallen victim to the Covid-19 pandemic and will not be held at his Elloree Training Center this year. This is the second year in a row the event has had to be cancelled but we look forward to its renewal in 2022.
Two Year Old Horses in Training Sales Ready to Begin
The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company will conduct the first two-year-old in training sale at their site in Ocala, FL on May 16-17. The under tack previews will be held on March 11-13 beginning at 8:00 AM. OBS will also conduct sales in April and June. Many of the 2-year-olds that will enter the sales ring were prepared for their racing careers here in South Carolina.
James Smiley, right, is riding Bridlespur, who has the lead while getting ready to land after clearing the water jump, in the HItchcock Steeplechase at Aqueduct in New York, 1944.
Photo courtesy of Aiken Standard
Celebration of Black History Month
In celebration of Black History Month, the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame museum had an exhibit featuring James Smiley, a Black jockey born in Aiken in 1918. He quit school while in the sixth grade to help support his family following the death of his father. Smiley travelled to Hempstead, NY in 1935 to become a steeplechase jockey. He was the regular rider for Oedipus who was named 1950, 1951 and 1952 American Champion Steeplechase Horse.

Admission is free to the Hall of Fame and Museum, which is open from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The Hall of Fame and Museum is in Hopelands Gardens at 135 Dupree Place.

For more information, call 803-642-7631, send an email to or visit

Legislative Bill Continues to Progress
Brandon Dermody of the Southern Group met with Senator Wes Climer last week. The Senator informed him that he intends to introduce our study subcommittee bill in full committee with an amendment that states the study committee may not discuss tax increases or can taxes be a recommendation. Brandon told him we are very fine with that outcome. We believe the Senate will start budget subcommittees in late March. When the bill is received back in the House we will work to concur with the Senate amendment. If the Farm Bureau is successful in sending it to conference committee, we will adopt the Senate version in conference.
From the Desk of….
---- SCTOBA member Virginia “Gigi” Lazenby reports an Irish-bred steeplechaser, Razoul, has been recently purchased and imported to the United States. He will be trained by SCTOBA member Kate Dalton and will point for major Stakes races this summer. Razoul is owned by Del Rio Chasers.

---- Congratulations to Mopo Racing and Dale Capuano, the owner and trainer of Dixie DrawlDixie Drawl was bred in South Carolina by Franklin “Goree” Smith and is a son of Smith’s stallion, Done TalkingDixie Drawl was named South Carolina’s 2020 Older Male Horse of the Year.

----- Please send us pictures of recent foal arrivals –
This filly by Exaggerator out of Absolute Bearing joined the Lee Christian stable on February 9.
 "Everybody says I'm pretty, just like my Mom"

From Walter Downey: Paging Mr. Hughes is one of my broodmares boarding at Chuck Martin's
farm in Oxford, PA. This is her 2021 filly by Hoppertunity, about 10 days old.
And now, some uplifting news....

Wateree's Star Student Followed His Vision to a
New Life
Chris Griffin walked into prison in 2010, he looked at the grim view ahead and winced as the iron door slammed behind him.

    He had been convicted of third-degree burglary, landing him in the Wateree River Correctional Institution in Rembert, South Carolina for four years. From where he stood, he could not see much of a future.
  But then he had a vision.

      Chris learned that the Wateree horses were part of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Second Chances Program, which began in 1983 at the Wallkill Correctional Facility near New Paltz, New York. Presently, there are TRF horses at Second Chances programs in seven states including South Carolina. Second Chances was formed to not only give former racehorses a sanctuary home, but also to teach inmates vocational instruction in how to care for the animals. 
      Chris was serious about his studies in the Second Chances/Groom Elite program at Wateree, which employs a curriculum that began at Thoroughbred racetracks to assure competent and consistent care for racehorses. The lecture and hands-on course is taught to up to 25 inmates every six months. Once participants have completed the course, they are tested in an array of different equine subjects. Graduates receive certification and thus improve their chances for employment when they are released.  

     Chris entered the program knowing little about how to care for horses, but by the time he graduated from the course, he was Wateree’s star pupil, even in the eyes of Groom Elite’s founder, Dr. C. Reid McLellan. Reid even recommended Chris to his friend, Diana McClure.

     Chris worked for two years with McClure, then found another opportunity and went to work at High Point Farm in Watkinsville, GA. The farm taught hunting, jumping, dressage and equitation, and it’s where Chris met Taylor Rae Laney.

    Chris worked at High Point, then had brief stints as an ironworker and as a manager at a farm in Virginia. Two years ago, he got a call from Taylor, who offered him a new job at her Diamond Dressage Farm in Monroe, Georgia. He accepted the offer and has thrived at the farm.
      These days, Chris works five and a half days a week. He oversees 20 acres, 17 horses and has stayed happy by doing what he loves.

     “When you are in prison, you don’t trust a lot of people.” Chris said. “But when you start working with the horses, they start to trust you and you start to trust the horses. That is what helped me the most and got me to where I am now. I consider the horses that I work with to be family. They have always been there for me.”
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