Top 'Chase Rider Aitcheson Dies at Age 85

Top 'Chase Rider Aitcheson Dies at Age 85
Photo: NYRA
Joseph L. Aitcheson running in the 1978 Turf Writers Cup aboard Happy Intellectual.

Hall of Fame rider Joe Aitcheson, among the all-time leading steeplechase riders, died May 24 in Westminster, Md., at age 85.

According to the National Steeplechase Association, Aitcheson rode from 1956 through 1979 and accumulated an NSA record 440 victories over fences. He was the sport's champion jockey a record seven times and had a record 40 wins in 1964.

After becoming a professional rider at age 28, Aitcheson won all of the steeplechasing's leading races, including eight editions of the Virginia Gold Cup, seven Carolina Cups, six International Gold Cups, and five Temple Gwathmeys.

In addition to three-time champion Bon Nouvel (1964, 1965, and 1968) and all-time leading winner Tuscalee (1966), he rode champions Peal (1961), Amber Diver (1963), Top Bid (1970), and Soothsayer (1972).

He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 1978, a year before his retirement.

The son of the late trainer Joseph L., Sr. and Lillian Roby Aitcheson, Aitcheson served in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1952. He attended the University of Maryland where he played football.

Survivors include his daughter and son-in-law, Jody A. and Thomas Davis of Sykesville, Md., and his sister and brother-in-law, Jane and Ronald Cartwright of Laurel, Md.

The family will receive friends on Friday, June 6, one hour prior to the start of the memorial service at 11 a.m. at Pritts Funeral Home and Chapel, 412 Washington Rd., Westminster, Md.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Maryland Horseman's Assistance Fund, 500 Redland Ct., Suite 105, Owings Mills, Md. 21117 or to Carroll Hospice Dove House, 292 Stoner Ave., Westminster, Md. 21157.

 

Joe Aitcheson aboard Bon Nouvel in the 1968 Beverwyck Steeplechase.
Photo: Bob Coglianese
Joe Aitcheson aboard Bon Nouvel in the 1968 Beverwyck Steeplechase.
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