Good Night Shirt, Voss reach Hall of Fame

- -

Good Night Shirt, the Eclipse Award winner for champion steeplechase horse in 2007 and 2008, and the late Tom Voss, a five-time National Steeplechase Association leader in wins and a three-time leader in earnings, have been elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame by the Museum’s Steeplechase Review Committee.

Good Night Shirt and Voss will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday, Aug. 4 at 10:30 a.m. in a ceremony that is open to the public and free to attend at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion. The Hall of Fame’s 2017 contemporary inductees and Pillars of the Turf selections will be announced at a later date. The Steeplechase Review Committee meets once every four years to consider candidates. In 2013, the horses McDynamo and Tuscalee were inducted via the Steeplechase Review Committee.

Bred in Maryland by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Good Night Shirt (Concern—Hot Story, Two Punch) was owned for the majority of his career by Harold A. “Sonny” Via, Jr., and trained by Jack Fisher. Good Night Shirt joined Fisher’s barn in 2005 after beginning his career on the flat, with trainer Lizzie Merryman and Riverdee Stable. The chestnut gelding won back-to-back flat races at Pimlico in 2004, and was sold to Via and Fisher as a steeplechase prospect. He went on to win 10 graded stakes races, including eight Grade 1s.

In 2007, Good Night Shirt won the Iroquois, Lonesome Glory and Colonial Cup — all Grade 1 events — to earn the first of his consecutive Eclipse Awards. He defeated three-time champion and future Hall of Famer McDynamo twice that season. As a 7-year-old the following year, Good Night Shirt raced exclusively in Grade 1 company. He won each of his five starts, taking in succession the Georgia Cup, Iroquois, Lonesome Glory, Grand National and Colonial Cup. Good Night Shirt’s 2008 earnings of $485,520 set a single-season record, surpassing the previous mark of $314,163, which he set in 2007.

As an 8-year-old, Good Night Shirt began his 2009 season with a victory in the Grade 2 Carolina Cup — securing his 10th career graded stakes win — before finishing second in the Iroquois. He was then retired because of an ankle injury with a career record of 14-5-3 from 33 starts and earnings of $1,041,083. Ridden through most of his career by Willie Dowling, Good Night Shirt won half of his 24 starts over jumps and earned $1,006,493, joining McDynamo and Lonesome Glory as only the third American steeplechaser to surpass $1 million in career earnings.

Voss (1950-2014) led all NSA trainers in wins in 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2011 and in earnings in 1997, 2002 and 2009. In a career that spanned from 1974 through 2013, Voss won 706 total races and had purse earnings of more than $17 million. He won 394 steeplechase races and his jump earnings of $8,868,201 rank third all time.

VossTomGrade 1 steeplechase victories for Voss include the Colonial Cup (2010), Grand National (2009), Supreme Hurdle (2007), Joe Aitcheson Hurdle (2002), Breeders’ Cup Steeplechase (2001), Atlanta Cup (1998), Appleton Hurdle (1998) and the New York Turf Writers Cup (1996). Other graded steeplechase wins for Voss include the Temple Gwathmey (2010), Marcellus Frost Hurdle (2009), Appleton Hurdle (2006, 2007), Crown Royal Hurdle (2005, 2007), A.P. Smithwick Memorial (1997, 2003), David L. Zeke Ferguson Memorial (2003), National Hunt Cup Hurdle Handicap (1996, 1998) and the Noel Laing Hurdle (1996, 1997). Voss also won the Maryland Hunt Cup in 1998 and 1999 and the National Hunt Cup when it was an ungraded event in 2008 and 2012.

Also successful in flat racing, Voss won the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational and the Grade 1 Turf Classic with 9-year-old John’s Call in 2000. John’s Call also finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf that year and added another graded win for Voss in the Grade 3 Laurel Turf Cup. Other flat victories for Voss included the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap and the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight Handicap with Dreadnaught, as well as the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes and Grade 3 Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap with Always First.

Voss trained 2010 Eclipse Award winner Slip Away, winner of the Colonial Cup and Temple Gwathmey that year for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Slip Away sealed his championship with a powerful performance in the Grade 1 Colonial Cup, winning by nearly 26 lengths.

In his youth, Voss rode over timber fences and subsequently launched his career as a trainer in his native Maryland. He won his first steeplechase race as a trainer in 1975 with Aruhapy at Monkton, also riding the winner.

Along with Eclipse winner Slip Away, Voss trained NSA divisional champions Left Unsaid (2009 novice), Guelph (2005 and 2008 filly/mare and 2005 novice), Planets Aligned (2007 novice), Ginz (2005 3-year-old), Ironfist (2000 timber), Approaching Squall (1998 novice) and Soaringoverseattle (1997 novice). Voss won two Maryland Hunt Cups as a trainer, with Florida Law and Welter Weight in 1998 and 1999, respectively.

Voss won 10 Grade 1 races in his career and 30 overall graded stakes. He died in 2014 at the age of 63.

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame’s Steeplechase Review Committee is comprised of Beverly R. Steinman (chair), Edward L. Bowen, Charlsie Cantey, Joe Clancy, Don Clippinger, Charles Colgan, Bill Gallo, Leonard Hale, Mike Mullaney, William Pape, Stanley D. Petter and John von Stade. 

Tom Voss Photo Slide Show.

Good Night Shirt Photo Slide Show.

Good Night Shirt Equibase Profile.

Tom Voss Equibase Profile.