The first stribe to the finish line begins in SC
January 8, 2021
Upcoming Events
Aiken Trials
Aiken, SC
March 13, 2021

Carolina Cup Races
Camden, SC
May 22, 2021

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Racing Across the Nation
While 2020 has been a very trying year due to Covid -19 and the resulting pandemic, the thoroughbred industry continues to bravely conduct business as close to “normal” as possible. There was a cutback in racing opportunities. In spite of this, horses that went through the breaking process and prepared for their racing careers in South Carolina, were well represented in stakes races far and wide. Between November 20 and December 20, five entered the winner’s circle following black-type events.

On November 27, Arklow went off as the favorite against a full field in the Hollywood Turf Cup-G2 at Del Mar. In the stretch, Arklow showed why he deserved top billing. Stalking the leader, Arklow looked like he was going to take over the lead after a ½ mile. The horse in front dug deep and did not relent until inside the 1/8 pole. Arklow took command and drove to a ½ length victory. This 6-year-old came up through Franklin “Goree” Smith’s program at the Elloree Training Center.

December 5 was a big day at Gulfstream Park for South Carolina grads as two were winners of Claiming Crown stakes. Both were developed for their racing careers by Randy and Kayla Rentz. Jakarta was third along the rail heading towards the top of the stretch in the Claiming Crown Distaff Dash. She then angled to the outside and put her head in front before hitting the 1/16 pole and came to the wire 2 ¼ lengths in front. Ninety minutes later in the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit S., Avant Garde settled in the back half of the field early on. He worked his way past those in front of him and in a steady drive, Avant Garde got up just in time to win by a ½ length.

The Remsen S.-G2 is a major fixture on the New York racing calendar each year. Held at Aqueduct, the connections of the winner start having Kentucky Derby dreams. The winner of the 2020 version held on December 5 was Brooklyn Strong. A graduate of Travis Durr’s Webb Carroll Training Center, Brooklyn Strong had only one beat after the opening ½ mile. In the stretch, Brooklyn Strong was asked the question and in a determined effort, got up to win by a neck.

One more Elloree Training Center student, Logical Myth, captured the Buddy Diliberto Memorial S. at Fair Grounds on December 19. Third at each call until inside the ¼ pole, Logical Myth, while 4 wide, made a desperate rally to win by a hard fought neck.

We are happy to put 2020 behind us and we look forward to having our equine athletes put many smiles on our faces in 2021!
Legislative Update
As we proceed with the legislative subcommittee study on the effect of the equine industry in South Carolina, it is important to have a number of stalls in our state.  We encourage you to provide us with the number of stalls you have, have access to or are aware of in your surrounding area. It also would be helpful to know how many of these stalls are being used for breeding and racing purposes. We appreciate your help –
HISA Bill Becomes Law
The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was signed into law by President Trump on December 27. A non-profit, private company overseen by the Federal Trade Commission will be created. This company will devise policies regarding drug testing and medication enforcement. It will also put together protocols related to safety practices at racetracks.

The implementation of this oversight body is a big step forward for the racing industry but it will not happen overnight. Setting up this regulatory body will occur over a period of 18 months.

Pictured: Sen. Mitch McConnell addresses industry leaders at Keenland in August.
Photo credit: Lexington Herald-Leader
Bailey Bolen
Congratulations to longtime SCTOBA member Bailey Bolen. He is the breeder of Lady’s Island who won the Sugar Swirl S.-G3 at Gulfstream Park on December 12. Now owned by Matties Racing Stable LLC and Averill Racing LLC, Lady’s Island won this stakes for the second year in a row. During her career, this 7-year-old daughter of Greatness out of Broadway Martha by Broad Brush has won 17 races in 34 career starts. She has earned $604,195 during her career. Lady’s Island is a six time stakes winner.
Jonathan Sheppard Announces Retirement
Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard announced his retirement on January 4. Sheppard tightened the saddle on 11 Colonial Cup winners. The Colonial Cup, held each year in Camden, SC over the Springdale Race Course, has often been the race that determined the Eclipse Award winner for steeplechasing.

Sheppard won 26 titles as leading National Steeplechase Trainer. He won the title in 2020. During his career, Jonathan Sheppard trained 15 Eclipse Award winners over jumps and on the flat. Sheppard was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990. Over the years, he has been a strong supporter of steeplechase meets held in South Carolina.
Photo by Eclipse Sportswire
Upcoming Events in Flux
The 86th running of the Carolina Cup Races is scheduled for May 22. Having to be cancelled due to Covid-19 in 2020, the meet, usually held in late March, has been pushed back with the hope the pandemic will be better under control and fans will be safely able to attend. For ticketing and parking, please visit

Unfortunately, on December 6, the announcement was made that the Aiken Spring Steeplechase will not be held in March. A decision regarding the Aiken Fall Steeplechase will be made at a later date.

The Aiken Trials is scheduled for March 13. Planning for it is moving forward at this time. The Trials at “Goree” Smith’s Elloree Training Center usually held in March, are in limbo. An official announcement will be made in the near future.
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