American Grand National Fun Facts For Far Hill Races 2023

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far hills

Far Hills race meeting is getting ready for their biggest day on the US jumps horse racing calendar this Saturday (Oct 21, 2023), as the New Jersey track stages their one-day American Grand National fixture.

So, to get horse racing fans in the mood, here are some fun facts about the Far Hills race meeting and also their big race – the American Grand National.

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American Grand National 2023: When Is The Race?

Staged at the Far Hills race meeting, the American Grand National is run over a trip of 2 5/8m over 14 fixed hurdles, while the $250,000 contest is a Grade 1 event for 4+ year-olds.

📅Date: Saturday, October 21, 2023 (4:32pm)
🏇Racetrack: Far Hills race meeting, New Jersey
💰 Purse: $250,000
📺 TV: FOX Sports

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Learn More About The Far Hills Race Meeting

Yes, steeplechase racing in the US plays second-fiddle to the more popular flat action and with the Breeders’ Cup fixture at Keeneland less than a month away, then this Saturday’s jumping card at Far Hills, New Jersey can often get overlooked.

However, the New Jersey horse racing powers have given the Far Hills race meeting a shot in the arm in recent years by halting any action at near-by Monmouth Park and Meadowlands to give the Far Hills action, that also includes the American Grand National, the full attention of thoroughbred racing enthusiasts.

With the Far Hills race meeting also only a short ride from New York City too, then getting to the New Jersey track isn’t hard and the course can expect another bumper crowd of 50,000+ descending on them – oh, and considering the population of the Far Hills area just around 1,000, then it’s a big payday for the community.

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American Grand National: Far Hill Fun Facts

1. The 2023 Far Hills Race Meeting Will Be Run For The 102nd Time

Believe it, or not, jumps racing in the US has been around a while. The Far Hills race meet is now in its 102nd year and run on the same site during that time. The only times the fixture hasn’t been staged was in 2020 due to Covid and back during World War II, but other than that the residents of New Jersey have hosted the event for over 100 years.

2. Trainer Cyril Murphy Has Won Two Of The Last 7 American Grand Nationals

In recent times, the US barn to look out for when it comes to the American Grand National is Cyril Murphy. The yard landed the race in 2015 and 2016 when Dawalan and Rawnaq (watch below) took the gold medals, with jockeys Ross Geraghty and Ruby Walsh doing the steering. This year, Cyril Murphy will run Scorpion’s Revenge in the race as he eyes up win number three.

3. McDynamo Landed The American Grand National 5 Times

The most prolific horse in the American Grand National hall-of-fame is McDynamo. Trained by Sanna Hendriks, this talented jumper mopped-up a staggering five American Grand National wins between 2003 and 2007.

Jockeys Craig Thornton (2) and Jody Petty (3) shared the success on McDynamo during his winning spree. The horse also won the Eclipse Award for champion steeplechaser three times (2003, 2005 and 2006) and entered the US racing hall of fame in 2013 after retiring with just over $1,300,000 banked in total prize money.

4. The American Grand National Has Produced Winners Aged Between 5 and 12

There is no real age trend when it come to the American Grand National. In recent years, back to 1998, the race has produced winners aged between 5 and 12!

Last year’s winner Hewick was a 7 year-old, while The Mean Queen took the spoils as a 5 year-old in 2021, while in 2017 Mr Hot Stuff was 11 and back in 1999 Ninepins was a 12 year-old hero. This all suggests both the young and old are worth considering ahead of the 2023 American Grand National.

5. The American Grand National Was Once Called The Breeders’ Cup Steeplechase

Not so long ago the American Grand National was actually known at the Breeders’ Cup Steeplechase. This version of the race dates back to 1986 when staged at a similar-named track – Fair Hill Race Course in Cecil County.

Being staged close to the annual Breeders’ Cup fixture each year, the race was also once considered to be a part of that meeting, but not on the main program.

Then up till 1993, the race was staged at Belmont Park on Breeders’ Cup preview Saturday.

6. UK and Irish-trained Horses Have Won 3 Of The Last 4 American Grand Nationals

It’s not just the home-grown US horses that have targeted the race, as word has spread across the Atlantic to England and Ireland, where jump racing is much more popular.

In the last four years, we’ve seen winners for the powerful UK yard of Nicky Henderson when his Brain Power won in 2019, while a year prior the three-time English Grand National winning yard of Gordon Elliott took the first prize with Jury Duty.

This run was added to in 2022 when the Shark Hanlon-trained Hewick gave Ireland another win.

7. American Grand National Now Shown On Fox Sports

The race has also been given a boost and a higher profile in 2022 with Fox Sports agreeing to show the race live on their channels.

8. American Grand National Prize Money Had Increased

At this year’s Far Hills race meeting the total prize money on offer totals around $575,000, but the American Grand National purse was increased by the Far Hills Race Meeting Association this year by $100,000 – up from $150,000 to $250,000.

The American Grand National is one of five Grade 1 jumps races on the schedule this year.

American Grand National Recent Winners

  • 2022: HEWICK
  • 2021: THE MEAN QUEEN
  • 2020: NO RACE
  • 2019: BRAIN POWER
  • 2018: JURY DUTY
  • 2017: MR HOT STUFF
  • 2016: RAWNAQ


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