Virginia Steeplechasing: The History and Future of the Sport in the Piedmont

NSLM is proud to partner with The Mosby Heritage Area Association to present Virginia Steeplechasing: The History and Future of the Sport in the Piedmont, a roundtable event featuring a panel of local experts. This panel of four speakers, moderated by Robert Banner, President of Great Meadow Foundation, will discuss the history and the future of this region’s beloved steeplechasing and equine sports. The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists and a discussion will follow.


Dr. William Allison, Ex-MFH: President and Race Chairman, Virginia Gold Cup Races Dr. Allison began hunting with the Warrenton Hunt in 1964. Dr. Allison was appointed Honorary Secretary in 1980 and he served in that position until he was named Joint Master in 1985, serving with Mrs. Maximilian “Sally” Tufts.  He continued as Joint Master for 15 years until his retirement in 2000. Dr. Allison, a native of Warrenton and a longtime member of the Virginia Gold Cup Association, was elected its President in 1995 and continues in that position.  Dr. Allison was elected chairman of the Virginia Gold Cup Association Spring and Fall Race committees in 2000 and continues in those positions as well.  He is also on the Board of Directors of the National Steeplechase Association and is currently President of the Virginia Steeplechase Association. 

Dr. Alfred Griffin, Ex-MFH: Director of Racing, Virginia Gold Cup Dr. Griffin serves on the Board of Directors of the National Steeplechase Association, as well as acting as Chairman of the Growth and Promotion Committee of the National Steeplechase Association. He is Former Race Chairman of the Warrenton Point to Point Races, and also served as MFH of Warrenton Hunt for 18 years. Dr. Griffin has been a steeplechase horse owner for the last 25 years at the point-to-point and sanctioned levels.

Will O’Keefe: Race Director, Virginia Fall Races Mr. O’Keefe is most familiar to many as the radio announcer of Virginia steeplechasing. He graduated from the University of Virginia with a history degree and went on to teach briefly before returning to his native Warrenton to manage Pine Brook, his family’s farm. In 1993, Mr. O’Keefe became Executive Director of the Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation at Morven Park and became Race Director for their annual race. He hunted with the Casanova Hunt, served as Race Secretary of the Virginia Point-to-Point and Steeplechase Associations, served as President of Virginia Steeplechase Assocation, and was named the 1986 Virginia Point-to-Point Man of the Year. Mr. O’Keefe also received the Virginia Steeplechase Association’s Francis Thornton Green Award in 1990. He also served as chairman of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association’s Steeplechase Committee. Mr. O’Keefe was the creator of the Central Entry Office. He received the Loudoun Preservation Society’s Preservationist of the Year in 2011. He has served for the last two years as Race Director of the Virginia Fall Races.

Don Yovanovich: President, Virginia Point-to-Point: Mr. Yovanovich graduated from Villanova University with a BS in Biology and MS in Cellular Physiology. Mr. Yovanovich started in 1973 with Betty Bird as an assistant trainer and rider, and then went on to ride and train with Douglas R. Small, Jr. and William “Bill” Walsh. In 1978, he won the Virginia Gold Cup on Navy Davy. In 1979 Mr. Yovanovich moved to Middleburg where he opened the Middleburg Equine Swim Center. He has six riding titles, 17 training titles, and has trained over 4 dozen Horse of the Year winners. He won two BMW Horseman of the Year Awards, two Yves Henry Memorial Awards, two Master's awards, and the Francis Greene Award. Mr. Yovanovich served for twenty-nine years as the Director of Racing at the International and Virginia Gold Cup Races, served 4 terms as Chairman of the Race Committee National Steeplechasing Association, and as Executive Director of Amateur Riders Club of America. He served on the Board of Fegentri – the first and only American to serve on this International Board. 

$30 for MHAA or NSLM members, $35 for nonmembers

To register, contact Jennifer Moore at 540-687-6681 or

Photo by Douglas Lees



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