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Jonathan Sheppard

Jonathan Sheppard
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   Jonathan Sheppard has without question earned his place as the leading American steeplechase trainer of all time. Sheppard has led the nation’s steeplechase trainers in earnings 27 times and in wins 24 times through 2012. He has trained nine champions and became the first steeplechase trainer with 1,000 wins and $20 million and purse earnings.

   A native of England and the son of a racing official, Sheppard began training in America because British rules did not permit family members of racing officials to train for outside clients. He won his first steeplechase stakes in 1967 and quickly rose to elite status within the sport.

   Among Sheppard’s many great runners, two stand out: Hall of Famer Café Prince, the two-time Colonial Cup winner and the Eclipse Award winner in 1977 and 1978, and Hall of Famer Flatterer, winner of four consecutive Colonial Cups and the 1986 Radnor National Hunt Cup under a record 176 pounds. Other steeplechase champions trained by Sheppard include Athenian Idol, Martie’s Anger, Jimmy Lorenzo, Highland Bud and Mixed Up.

   Sheppard’s brilliance has not been confined to the jumpers, as he has also trained flat champions Forever Together (2008 Champion Turf Female) and Informed Decision (2009 Champion Female Sprinter).

  Sheppard holds the record for most  victories in Saratoga’s New York Turf Writers Cup, which he won for the 14th time in 2013. He has won two training titles at Saratoga, where he has also won at least one race in every meet since 1969.

  Sheppard has won the Ciolonial cup a record 13 times, has won four Breeders’ Cup Grand National Steeplechases and has two Breeders’ Cup flat victories. Sheppard’s other notable wins on the flat track include the Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (2), the Diana Handicap (3), Man o’ War (2), Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap (2), Chicago Handicap, Northern Dancer Turf Stakes and the Kentucky Cup Turf Stakes.

   Through August 2013, Sheppard has 3,093 wins and purse earnings of $76,553,098 million.

   Jonathan Sheppard was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1990.