BY DON CLIPPINGER : Courtesy of Nationalsteeplechase.com
Randy Rouse became the oldest American ever to train a Thoroughbred winner when he sent out his Hishi Soar for a half-length victory in the $25,000 Daniel Van Clief Memorial optional allowance hurdle, the featured race of the 39th annual Foxfield Spring Races on Saturday.
Rouse, who celebrated his 99th birthday in December, broke the record he had set in November 2014 when Hishi Soar won a claiming hurdle at the Montpelier Hunt Races. He was 97 at the time and eclipsed the record of California-based trainer Noble Threewit, who won a race at age 95 in 2006. Threewit died at age 99 in September 2010.
A nine-year-old Kentucky-bred by Theatrical (Ire), Hishi Soar was ridden to victory by Gerard Galligan and finished a half-length ahead of Orchestra Leader, the 2015 Van Clief winner. Jamarjo finished third, and Candy Man Can checked in fourth. Hishi Soar ran the Van Clief’s 2 1/8 miles in 4:13.60 on turf rated as good at the Charlottesville, Va., course.
A resident of Arlington, Va., has had a distinguished career in jump racing. He served as the president of the National Steeplechase Association from 1971 to 1974.