F. Ambrose Clark was an accomplished equestrian, one time owner of Habersham House on Grace Avenue, and a steeplechase horse owner.
The National Steeplechase Association paid homage to the horseman by naming an award in his honor.
The award is given to those individuals who have done their part to promote and improve the sport of American steeplechase racing. So, it seems fitting that one of the sport’s most recognizable names should be bestowed with the honor. Hall of Fame trainer and North American steeplechase racing’s all time leader in number of wins and purse earnings, Jonathan Sheppard, has been selected as the 2013 F. Ambrose Clark Award recipient.
The horseman will receive the award on Nov. 22 at the National Steeplechase Museum in Camden, S.C.
“It’s very humbling.” said Sheppard, in a phone interview Thursday afternoon. “I’m very proud to have been named the recipient because of the history associated with the award, and the fact that it’s not presented annually.”
The late Stephen P. Groat, who resided in Aiken, won the award in 2004.
The award itself means a great deal to Shepaprd, who saddled his first winner, Haffaday, at the Rosetree Hunt meet in 1966.
“Mr. Clark was still alive when I first came to this country,” said Sheppard. “I didn’t meet him, but he was still alive.”
Sheppard’s influence in Thoroughbred racing continues to resonate, with many of those who’ve worked under him, going onto achieve success at the highest level of the sport.
“Steeplechasing has been great to me,” said Shepaprd. “I hope I’ve contributed something back. I’ve had a lot of help. I’d like to share the award on behalf of the owners who’ve supported me, and for the riders who’ve ridden for me.”