Updated on 04/09/2017 6:17PM

Randy Rouse, oldest trainer to win in North America, dies at 100


Randy Rouse, who last year became the oldest trainer to win a Thoroughbred race in North America at age 99, died at 100 on Friday.

Rouse, a former president of the National Steeplechase Association, received the group’s highest honor, the F. Ambrose Clark Award, in January. The award is given to individuals who have promoted, improved, and encouraged the growth and welfare of steeplechase racing in the U.S.

Last April, Rouse broke his own record, set when he was 97 in 2014, when Hishi Soar won the $25,000 feature at the Foxfield spring races in Charlottesville, Va.

Hishi Soar also won for Rouse in November 2014 to eclipse California-based trainer Noble Threewitt, who won his last race at age 95 in 2006. Threewitt died at 99 in September 2010.

Rouse was the owner and trainer of Fields of Omagh, who won the $35,000 International Gold Cup, a 3 1/2-mile race over timber, in 2005 and the $35,000 Chronicle Cup going 3 miles over timber in 2007.

As an amateur steeplechase rider, Rouse won all 11 races he competed in with his mount Cizzano.

Last Dec. 29, one day before he turned 100, Rouse donated the Middleburg Training Track he owned since 2006 to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

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As president of the National Steeplechase Association from 1971-74, Rouse was instrumental in the introduction of National Fences, eliminating the need to maintain natural fences for steeplechase races. He also was a pivotal figure in the sport’s transition from holding events at racetracks to individual one-day meets.

Rouse helped to launch the Fairfax Hunt and served as its Joint Master of Foxhounds for 55 years. He supported steeplechasing through his sponsorship of the Virginia Professional Horseman Benefit races, the Gold Cup races at Great Meadows, and jump races at Colonial Downs.

From 1956-58, Rouse was married to the actress Audrey Meadows, one of the co-stars with Jackie Gleason in the television comedy classic The Honeymooners.

He is survived by his wife, Michele, whom he married in 1983. They resided in Arlington, Va., and have a farm in Aldie. Funeral services are pending.