Jack Fisher

During his time training Hall of Fame steeplechaser Good Night Shirt, Jack Fisher made quite the impression on the horse’s regular jockey, William Dowling.

“Jack is crazy, and all of his horses are crazy like him,” Dowling said during a 2009 interview. “If you go to the races, you can pick out the Jack Fisher horses straight away. They’re crazy in the paddock, ready to go, and they always look good.”

And the results have been extraordinary.

Inducted

2021

Born

June 18, 1963, Unionville, Pennsylvania

Career

1987-

Wins

646

Earnings

$19,635,361

Racing Record

17.74

Win %

Biography

During his time training Hall of Fame steeplechaser Good Night Shirt, Jack Fisher made quite the impression on the horse’s regular jockey, William Dowling.

“Jack is crazy, and all of his horses are crazy like him,” Dowling said during a 2009 interview. “If you go to the races, you can pick out the Jack Fisher horses straight away. They’re crazy in the paddock, ready to go, and they always look good.”

And the results have been extraordinary.

Since saddling his first starter in 1987 at the age of 24, Fisher has developed into one of the most successful steeplechase trainers in American history. A native of Unionville, Pennsylvania, Fisher has led the National Steeplechase Association standings in wins 14 times and earnings eight times. Consistently at or near the top of the game, he has ranked in the top five in both categories for 21 consecutive years. Through early November 2021, Fisher has won 646 races and ranks second all time in steeplechase purse earnings with more than $18 million, trailing only iconic Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard.

Fisher is the only trainer to surpass $1 million in steeplechase purse earnings in a year, something he has achieved five times. To date, his most accomplished horse has been Good Night Shirt, one of only three horses to earn $1 million in steeplechase racing (along with Hall of Famers Lonesome Glory and McDynamo). A two-time Eclipse Award winner, Good Night Shirt won a total of 10 graded stakes, including eight Grade 1 events, and twice set the single-season earnings record. Fisher also trained Eclipse Award winners Scorpiancer (2017) and Moscato (2020). He has conditioned 18 horses that have won NSA division championships: timber champions Bubble Economy, Call Louis, Charlie’s Dewan, Doc Cebu, Gus’s Boy, Saluter, and Two’s Company; novice champions All Together, Paradise’s Boss, Moscato, and Snap Decision; filly and mare champions Footlights and Ivy Mills; and 3-year-old champions Hope For Us All, Ice It, Machete Road, Schoodic, and South Of Java.

“I’ve always loved being around horses. It’s been my life,” Fisher said. “I was terrible in school and didn’t want to be there. I loved riding and I love training. I learned a lot from my father (trainer John Fisher) and from guys like (Hall of Fame trainers) Mikey Smithwick and Tommy Voss. They were examples to me of the work it takes to be successful and also how they built a good team. You can’t do it alone.”

A fourth-generation horseman, Fisher considers himself blessed to be having great success in a profession he is passionate about.

“Steeplechasing is great fun. I love the environment, the competition, the people … it’s true sport and not all about the money,” he said. “It’s certainly hard work every day and very consuming, but it’s what I love to do. I’m not someone who could work in an office.”

Fisher has won the Temple Gwathmey six times (including 2021 with Snap Decision), five editions of the Iroquois, four runnings of the A. P. Smithwick, three renewals of the Lonesome Glory, and both the Colonial Cup and Grand National twice. With timber champion Saluter, Fisher won six consecutive Virginia Gold Cups and four runnings of the Virginia Hunt Cup. Fisher has won the Virginia Gold Cup 12 times as a trainer and nine times as a rider — both records. Fisher rode Saluter to each of his Gold Cup victories. According to Equibase, Fisher won 57 races as a jockey with earnings of $953,243, including $394,189 as Saluter’s pilot.

“Jack is simply an exceptional horseman with great work ethic, attention to detail, and adaptability,” said Sean Clancy, who was Fisher’s first-call rider from 1994 through 2000 and now operates the Riverdee Stable racing partnership and a successful bloodstock business. “He really has been a huge influence in my career and a great friend. Jack gave me great encouragement and support to get into the bloodstock aspect of the game and it was just a natural fit to have him train for the stable. I never have to worry about anything with him. He’s a great communicator and nobody will ever outwork Jack.”

Fisher won his first race as a trainer in 1988 at Middleburg, Virginia, with Call Louis, who went on to win several allowance races, as well as the 1989 Virginia Gold Cup.

“I’ll never forget horses like Call Louis and Woody Boy Would and Saluter. They made my career at the beginning and I’ll always be grateful for that,” Fisher said. “Saluter was really the one. My license plate says Saluter on it. He meant everything. I’ve had some wonderful and patient owners and great talent in the barn. To have horses like Good Night Shirt, Scorpiancer, Moscato, and Snap Decision has been incredible beyond words. I’m pretty darn lucky.”
Joining the immortals in the Hall of Fame was something Fisher never imagined.

"It’s hard to put in perspective. This is something that’s the pinnacle of a career,” Fisher said. “To say it’s a tremendous honor is an understatement when you look at who has come before me. It’s very special and humbling and I never would have expected it.”

Clancy believes Fisher has the potential to break every significant record in steeplechasing if he so desires.

“Obviously, the big targets are all the Jonathan Sheppard records. Jack certainly has an opportunity to make a run at that stuff if it’s what he wants to do,” Clancy said. “He certainly doesn’t need to prove anything at this point. Jack’s unquestionably among the all-time greats and has left an indelible mark on the game.”

Achievements

National Steeplechase Association leading trainer in wins — 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013 (tie), 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021
National Steeplechase Association leading trainer in earnings — 2004, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

Trained Hall of Fame member and two-time Eclipse Award winner Good Night Shirt (2007, 2008) and additional Eclipse Award winners Scorpiancer (2017) and Moscato (2020)

Has surpassed $1 million in seasonal earnings five times (the only seven-figure seasons in NSA history), including a record of $1,590,550 in 2019

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