02/14/2012 2:49PM

Mignon Smith, steeplechase owner, dies at 81

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Mignon Comer Smith, the Washington, D.C., horsewoman who owned Mede Cahaba Stable and was a prominent steeplechase owner, died Feb. 10 in Washington of a heart attack. She was 81.

Smith was a member of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association’s board and recently had been lobbying Breeders’ Cup to consider Virginia’s Colonial Downs as a venue, according to the VTA website. She campaigned horses both on the flat and over fences, and some of her runners, such as her stakes-winning homebreds Class Yankee and Class Concern, won both kinds of races. But some of her most notable racehorses were best known for their jumping exploits. Class Bopper and Class Vantage earned honors as Virginia-bred champion over fences in 2010 and 2006, respectively, and other top performers from her jumping stable included Complete Zen, Class Shadow, and Class Skip. Her noteworthy flat runners included stakes performers Class Chief, Clear Potomac, Conga Tempo, and Complete Number.

An Alabama native, Smith was heiress to the Avondale Mills estate and founded the largest private foundation for scholarships in Alabama, the Smith Scholarship Foundation. Funeral arrangements were not available Tuesday.