Jonathan E. Sheppard

A native of England whose father spent 40 years as a racing official in that country, Jonathan Sheppard was interested in thoroughbreds but began his working career as a stockbroker because British racing rules did not allow family members of officials to train for outside clients.

Inducted

1990

Born

Dec. 2, 1940, Ashwell, England

Career

1965-2020

Wins

3,426

Earnings

$88,679,925

Racing Record

16.31

Win %

Biography

A native of England whose father spent 40 years as a racing official in that country, Jonathan Sheppard was interested in thoroughbreds but began his working career as a stockbroker because British racing rules did not allow family members of officials to train for outside clients.

After working a few years in London, Sheppard came to the United States in 1965 and began his training career. After winning a single flat race in 1965, Sheppard won his first steeplechase race at the Rose Tree Hunt Meet in 1966 with Haffaday. In the 1970s, Sheppard became a dominant force in American steeplechasing. He led all steeplechase trainers in earnings each year from 1973 through 1990 and topped that list 29 times overall. He has also led all steeplechase trainers in wins 26 times.

Sheppard trained Hall of Fame members Café Prince and Flatterer, as well as flat champions and Breeders’ Cup winners Forever Together and Informed Decision. His major victories included 15 editions of the New York Turf Writers Cup, 14 runnings of the Colonial Cup, and nine renewals of the American Grand National.

In 2010, Sheppard became the first trainer to win 1,000 career steeplechase races. The following year, he became the first to surpass $20 million in steeplechase purse earnings. A two-time leading trainer at Saratoga, Sheppard won at least one race at the Spa for 47 consecutive years (1969 through 2015). 

Sheppard announced his retirement in early 2021, concluding his career with 3,426 wins and purse earnings of $86,679,925. He retired as the National Steeplechase Association's all-time leading trainer by wins (1,242) and earnings ($24,902,442).

Achievements

North America's leading steeplechase trainer in earnings — 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2020

North America's leading steeplechase trainer in wins — 1970, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2020

Breeders' Cup Highlights

Won the 2008 Filly and Mare Turf — Forever Together
Won the 2009 Filly and Mare Sprint — Informed Decision 

Other Highlights

Won the New York Turf Writers Cup — 1979, 1983, 1984, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2019
Won the Colonial Cup — 1977, 1979, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1999, 2000, 2009, 2014
Won the American Grand National Steeplechase — 1978, 1982, 1983, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1999, 2013

Media

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