The end of the year is always a time filled with reflection and remembrance of those we lost. In October the world of steeplechasing lost an old school horseman in Dr. John K. Griggs who was successful in many aspects of the game.
Griggs campaigned Eclipse Award winner Warm Spell in the 1990s, sending the Northern Baby gelding out against the powerhouse barns of the time and coming out on top on multiple occasions. Joe Clancy penned a remembrance column in his The Outside Rail blog Oct. 20 looking back at Griggs, Warm Spell and the other top runners campaigned by the Lexington, Ky.-based horseman.
“Purchased privately by Griggs at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 1989, after a French bloodstock agent had second thoughts about some potential issues in the young horse, Warm Spell won his first five starts over jumps in 1991 and 1992, captured the two most important jump races at Saratoga in 1993 and won an Eclipse Award in 1994,” Joe wrote. “He was big, bright, fast and gone too soon after suffering a fatal injury in the Colonial Cup during his championship season.
“And now Griggs is gone as well. The Lexington, Ky., owner/trainer/breeder/veterinarian died Monday. He was 84 and will be remembered as a horsemen with few peers. Griggs did things his way – old school, a little rough around the edges – but successfully. As an owner, his horses earned more than $2 million in jump races (once as high as fourth on the National Steeplechase Association list).”
Those are just two of the first three paragraphs in a piece that covered Warm Spell’s career and what his untimely loss meant to Griggs.
Take a look and don’t forget to check back through New Year’s Eve as we count down the most read stories of 2016.