Torsilieri named NSA president

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The National Steeplechase Association Board of Directors named Guy J. Torsilieri as President for 2009 and approved a slate of officers for 2009 at a board meeting Thursday, Jan. 15, in Baltimore.

A New Jersey resident, Torsilieri is a Thoroughbred owner and breeder (under the name Coppertree Farm) and co-chairs the Far Hills Races, the richest race meet on the NSA calendar with more than $500,000 in purses. He rejoins the board in 2009 after a one-year absence, and previously held the positions of vice president and treasurer. Torsilieri succeeds Francis H. Abbott Jr., NSA president since 2007, whose term as a director expired at the end of 2008.
 
"I am honored to be named as the new NSA president," said Torsilieri, 52, of the unpaid position. "It's an important job, but one that takes input from all sides of the industry. I look forward to working with steeplechase race meets, horsemen and our host racetracks."

Torsilieri is best known for his connection to Far Hills, the October meet which includes the season's richest individual race, the $250,000 Grand National, plus five other stakes. Attendance usually surpasses 50,000 each year and the race meet has generated in excess of $17 million for its beneficiary Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, N.J. Torsilieri serves on the hospital's board of directors and chairs the finance committee.

Professionally, Torsilieri and his family own the Gladstone, N.J., landscaping firm Torsilieri, Inc. – best known for selecting, delivering and setting up the world-renowned Christmas tree in New York's Rockefeller Center.

Joining Torsilieri as officers for 2009 are Austin A. Brown, chairman; P. Douglas Fout, vice president; Peter R. Fenwick, secretary; and Charles W. Strittmatter, treasurer. All serve one-year terms as officers. Directors are elected for three-year terms and the full board now includes (in addition to the officers) Dr. William Allison, Edgar T. Cato, Dwight Hall, John K. Luke, H. Turney McKnight, Frank Petramalo Jr., Sarah Jeffords Radcliffe, Samuel Slater, Beverly R. Steinman, and Thomas H. Voss.

The volunteer board oversees the business of American steeplechase racing – licensing participants, enforcing rules and sanctioning Thoroughbred racing over jumps in 12 states. Based in Fair Hill, Md., the NSA has a five-person staff headed by CEO Lou Raffetto and including Director of Racing Bill Gallo, General Manager Peter McGivney, Horsemen's Liaison Mary Guessford and Executive Secretary Nancy Dougherty. The 2009 NSA season begins March 21 in Aiken, S.C.