Grand Old Race

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From Morris Park to Far Hills

To get a sense of the Grand National's history, consider that the first racetrack to host it, Morris Park, shuttered more than a century ago. Since its inception in 1899, American steeplechasing's premier event has tested the best jumpers of the each generation.

A Grand National victory is almost a prerequisite to enter in the Hall of Fame. Of the 15 steeplechasers inducted, 11 – from Good And Plenty to Flatterer – have won the race at least once. And don't forget about the greatest horse of our time, McDynamo, who captured five consecutive runnings from 2003-2007.

The Grand National is a proving ground for riders as well. While many illustrious names (Robert Crawford, Paddy Smithwick and Joe Aitcheson, to name a few) have booted home multiple winners, none can top Tommy Walsh. The Hall of Fame jock not only won the race an unmatched six times – including five in a row from 1959-63 – he accomplished the feat in just seven years, aboard five horses.

The history of the venerable race encompasses seven courses and four states. New Yorkers witnessed more than 70 renewals of the Grand National, from its beginnings at Morris Park (in what is now The Bronx) through a more than five-decade run at Belmont Park, not to mention seven-odd years at Aqueduct and even a turn at Saratoga. The stakes ventured south in the 1970s, spending time at Fair Hill, Md., and Charlottesville, Va., before settling in at its present home, New Jersey's Far Hills Races, in 1994.

Hall Of Famers to win the Grand National
Good And Plenty (1906)
Jolly Roger (1927, 1928)
Battleship (1934)
Bushranger (1936)
Elkridge (1946)
Oedipus (1951)
Neji (1955, 1957, 1958)
Bon Nouvel (1964
Cafe Prince (1978)
Zaccio (1981)
Flatterer (1983)

Multiple winners of the Grand National
5 – McDynamo (2003-2007)
3 – Neji (1955, 1957, 1958)
2 – Jolly Roger (1927, 1928)
Tourist II (1930, 1932)
Cottesmore (1940, 1942)
His Boots (1949, 1953)
Shipboard (1954, 1956)
Sun Dog (1959, 1960)
Bampton Castle (1966, 1968)
Gran Kan (1972, 1974)
Rowdy Irishman (1995, 1997)
Flat Top (1998, 2002)