Longtime steeplechase owner Calvin Houghland, a fixture at the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville, Tenn. since the 1930s, died Tuesday afternoon at 93. Houghland owned numerous steeplechase greats including 2009 Grade I winner Pierrot Lunaire.
Houghland rode in the first Iroquois Steeplechase in 1941 and won the third running in 1943. As an owner, he scored victories in 1958 and 1961 (with Local Run), 1964 (Hidden Chance) and, after many years of trying, 2002 with All Gong. The owner added another Iroquois crown this year when Pierrot Lunaire scored in the $150,000 Grade I steeplechase. In addition, Houghland served as the meet’s chairman for many years and spearheaded the steeplechase’s relationship with the Vanderbilt University children’s hospital.
All Gong won an Eclipse Award as Champion Steeplechaser in 2002. Houghland’s other stars include top mare Sweet Shani. Bruce Miller, Jonathan Sheppard and Ted and Dabney Thompson trained most of the horses over the past several years. His 2009 earnings of $251,316 place him third in the standings and gave him more than $2.1 million in lifetime steeplechase earnings. Houghland lived on his Bright Hour Farm in Brentwood, Tenn. near Nashville and also owned the 45,000-acre Bright Hour Ranch in Florida. A commercial cattle operation, citrus farm and game preserve, Bright Hour was recognized for Wildlife Protection in Florida’s Ag Environmental Leadership Awards for 1995.
The family will receive friends on Friday, Oct. 30 from 9 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. in the Cheek House of First Presbyterian Church located at 4815 Franklin Rd in Nashville. Dr. Todd B. Jones will officiate the services at 11 a.m. in the sanctuary. A private family interment will be at Woodlawn Memorial Park.