Jonathan Sheppard keeps on moving and winning
by Esther Marr
On a blustery day in late February, Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard made a sidetrip to Kentucky, taking a rare break from his demanding schedule to celebrate an old friend’s 30th birthday. The visit wasn’t with a human acquaintance but with a dear Thoroughbred, one that helped shape the trainer’s storied career.
As Sheppard fed the now-pensioned Storm Cat some treats at Overbrook Farm near Lexington, he couldn’t help but reflect on days gone by. It seemed only yesterday Sheppard had trained the son of Storm Bird to a victory in the 1985 Young America Stakes (gr. I) at Meadowlands and a close runner-up finish in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Aqueduct.
Sheppard also recalled how he and his wife of 20 years, Cathy, convinced owner William T. Young to deviate from his business plan and retain Storm Cat as a stallion. At the time, Overbrook typically sold all of its stallion prospects when their running careers were done. The Sheppards’ conviction and persuasiveness resulted in the farm standing one of the most influential sires of modern times.
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