Veteran trainer Thomas H. Voss, known for both his success in the steeplechase world and with runners on the flat, died Jan. 21 of an apparent heart attack at his home in Monkton, Md. He was 63.
The National Steeplechase Association confirmed the passing of Voss, who won five National Steeplechase championship titles as leading trainer (1997, 2000-2002, 2011). Beginning his career as an amateur rider, he took out his training license in 1973 and was represented in 1975 by his first steeplechase winner, Aruhapy.
Voss was the mastermind behind Slip Away's Eclipse Award-winning steeplechase campaign in 2010, and won the 2012 National Hunt Cup at the Radnor Hunt Races with Ballet Boy in addition to his American Grand National titles with Quel Senor (2001) and Your Sum Man (2009), along with two Maryland Hunt Cup victories with Florida Law and Welter Weight (1998-99)
The Maryland native was best known to the flat racing world for his success with John's Call, who became North America's oldest Grade 1 winner when he won the Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga Race Course for Trillium Stable in 2000 at age 9. The Lord at War gelding went on to win the Turf Classic Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park before running third in the Breeders' Cup Turf that year. Among other stakes winners trained by Voss on the flat were Always First, Dreadnaught, and Royal Bench.
Although Voss conditioned Thoroughbreds both over fences and on the flat, he stated no preference for one or the other.
"There is more action in steeplechase races," he told the Baltimore Sun in 2008. "But there are more chances to race in flat races. I get the same kick out of both."
Voss played an active role as a land preservationist in Maryland, where his family built an equine legacy beginning in the late 1930s. He served as joint master of the Elkridge-Harford Hunt and every year hosted the Elkridge-Harford Point-to-Point at Atlanta Hall, a tradition started at the family farm in the 1940s by his grandfather, Edward, who served as master of the Elkridge-Harford Hunt for a record 31 years. His great uncle, Franklin Voss, was considered one of the best American equine artists of his time.
Voss is survived by wife Mimi and other members of his family. Funeral arrangements are pending.