LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 19) If Merriebelle Stable’s Renown (GB) wins Thursday’s Sycamore (G3), he will become an interesting footnote in Keeneland history. The 5-year-old gelding is trained by Elizabeth Voss, whose late father, Thomas, won the 2008 Sycamore with Always First (GB). A triumph would make the Vosses the first father-daughter duo to win the same Keeneland stakes.
But it would not be the first time. The younger Voss accomplished the feat in July when Renown took Delaware Park’s Cape Henlopen, a race her father won with millionaire John’s Call in 2001. She said she has won the same steeplechase races as her father on several occasions.
“It’s always nice to run in the same races my dad ran in,” Elizabeth Voss said after watching Renown get acquainted with Keeneland’s track and Saddling Paddock Wednesday morning.
She was not present when Always First won the Sycamore, but Voss is no stranger to the Lexington area. She worked on the administrative side of Three Chimneys Farm in nearby Midway for eight years before returning to her family’s Elkton, Md., training facility following the death of her father at age 63 in 2014. The farm has an indoor dirt track, six-furlong all-weather track and several options for turf gallops.
The Voss name is synonymous with top-shelf steeplechases, but the family has had plenty of success in flat racing. Elizabeth Voss currently trains about 20 steeplechase runners and six flat horses. With the exception of their summer sojourn at Saratoga Race Course, her trainees are at a race meeting only for the few days before and after their scheduled starts.
“It is great to be at Keeneland, especially in the mornings,” said Voss, whose recent Keeneland starter, Paris Vegas, was beaten a nose in an allowance race two years ago.
Renown comes to the Sycamore following his one-length victory in the Laurel Turf Cup at the Sycamore distance of 1½ miles on turf. The son of Champ Elysees (GB) will be ridden by Maryland-based Angel Cruz, who won Keeneland’s Darley Alcibiades (G1) aboard Dancing Rags on Oct. 7.