Champion Trainer: Jack Fisher

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ST profiled the steeplechase champions in its December edition and will re-run those articles here.

 Jack Fisher earned his fifth NSA training championship in 2009. The46-year-old Maryland-based conditioner produced 23 wins from 107 startsto outlast his neighbor Tom Voss by two wins.

Fisher won his first championship in 2003; that was special. He went over the million-dollar mark last year and trained Good Night Shirt to a second Eclipse Award; that was monumental.

This year, well, this year came down to simply winning a title. Good Night Shirt wound up with a broken ankle. Two-time timber champion Bubble Economy managed just one win. Stakes winner Paradise’s Boss managed just one start. Stakes winner Swagger Stick won his only race on the season’s final day. Tricky Me emerged as a potent novice, but broke down at Callaway Gardens.

Fisher shucked and jived to win the title, picking up 11 wins in the spring, just one all summer and 11 more in the fall.

“I thought I was dead in the fall, I just didn’t have the stock, I had a lot of stupid little injuries. I’m shocked I could win it,” Fisher said. “The first year it really means something, after that it lessens, but it’s still nice to be champion trainer.”

Fisher needed 23 wins by 17 horses. Some awed, some shocked and some simply relieved their trainer.

Diva Maria. Filly and mare maiden at Carolina Cup: “Relieved. I thought she was a pretty nice horse and she should win that race.”

Good Night Shirt. The Carolina Cup: “Relieved. He was the best horse in the race, he should have won. He had won seven in a row or whatever, you kind of expect it.”

Rare Bush. Optional claimer at Stoneybrook: “Awed. Because he’s such a (pain) in the morning, what else am I going to do with the horse?”

Bubble Economy. Allowance timber at Middleburg: “Shocked. Because I wanted the other horse to win, Seeyouattheevent did all the donkey work there and deserved to win.”

Rare Bush. Allowance at Atlanta: “Again, shocked. He never works farther than a quarter-mile in the morning, he just runs off for a quarter of a mile and pulls up.”

Mark The Shark. Claimer at Atlanta: “Relieved. Because I had just purchased the horse for $5,000 and I was out.”

Across The Sky. Allowance timber at Queen’s Cup: “Shocked. Viewing the race, we opened up a long, long lead and that usually doesn’t work.”

Perkedinthesand. Filly and mare allowance at Foxfield: “Relieved. Because Willie (Dowling) got heat stroke and I got Jeff Murphy, he didn’t even know who the horse was, minutes before the race.”

Tricky Me. Maiden at Iroquois: “Relieved. Because I knew he was a pretty good horse and it’s nice when a plan works out, to go to Nashville and win the maiden. It was so soft there you didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Duke Of Earl. Claimer at Radnor: “Relieved. Expected it. He’s an expert at Radnor.”

Delta Park. Allowance timber at Fair Hill: “Shocked. Because he’s a big goober and the other horse was better; Major Malibu was the choice.”

Duke Of Earl. Claimer at Saratoga Jump Start: “Relieved. Again, I figured he was the best horse in the race and previously we ran him in the A.P. Smithwick and Turf Writers instead of the claimer at Saratoga.”

Tricky Me. Metcalf Memorial at Monmouth Park: “Relieved. Because at Saratoga he would miss a fence or two fences and get beaten, he put it all together and jumped extremely well.”

Major Malibu. Maiden timber at Virginia Fall: “Relieved. Because Mr. (Henry) Stern had little mishaps, Duke Of Earl breaks his tail, Freeboard pulls a muscle in his forearm, another gets a small fracture in his hind end, all of them weren’t big deals but eight weeks off and you’re done for the fall. This was the last horse I had for him, so it’s nice to give him some fun.”

I know Its Not. Maiden claimer at Virginia Fall: “Shocked. Because he hadn’t done anything up until then. I was shocked by old Knothead. He’s another goober in the barn, like, ‘Hey, what’s up dude? Got a carrot or a mint?’ ”

Prospectors Strike. Maiden timber at Genesee Valley: “Definitely have to be a shocker.”

Seeyouattheevent. The International Gold Cup: “Relieved. Again, same reason as Major Malibu, it’s Mr. (Nick) Arundel’s horse, his race meet and he had some bad luck earlier in the spring, he should have won a couple before that and it’s always nice to win a race for a guy at his course.”

Major Malibu. Steeplethon at International Gold Cup. “Relieved. Because he’s the best horse in the race. The jock’s instructions were, ‘Did you walk the course?’ Yeah. ‘Did you watch videotapes?’ Yeah. ‘Well, do it again.’ ”

Ambersham. Maiden at Far Hills: “Relieved. We had been setting him up for that race, since I got the horse and again for Gil Johnston, everybody was doing better with her horses than I was and I had the better ones.”

Hope For Us All. Gladstone Stakes at Far Hills: “Shocked. Awed. Relieved. Probably awed, it’s the whole thing, buying the horse for not a lot of money and knowing everybody else had a shot at the horse, having him win there was cool.”

Delta Park. Allowance timber at Pennsylvania Hunt Cup: “Did you see the race? Definitely shocked. After watching the videotape, (owner) Andre Brewster’s comment was, ‘The horse almost fell about three times, the rider almost fell off him about four times, I don’t know how they finished.’ ”

Swagger Stick. Allowance at Palm Beach: “That’s a relief. To finally win a race with the horse at the end of the year and he did it very well too. He jumped beautifully and did everything right.”

Seer. Palm Beach Supreme Hurdle at Palm Beach: “That was relief too. He’s a nice horse, we didn’t go to Far Hills because of the ground, but the ground probably wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. He was short at Callaway and then down there on a speed favoring track . . . Irv’s horse goes off course, Paddy Young’s horse blows the second-to-last, that was a relief.”

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