Austin A. Brown, legendary horseman and gentleman, died peacefully May 4, 2016 on Hilton Head Island.
In 1943, at the age of 16, Austin Brown received his first amateur jockey’s license. He rode in 14 Iroquois steeplechase races, winning three times and joining the Iroquois Steeplechase Hall of Fame in 2008. He rode in three Maryland Hunt Cups but more importantly he began a career that included positions as an owner, trainer, steward, course designer and industry leader. Brown steered the successful Carolina Cup Racing Association for many years, supervised construction of the first Atlanta Steeplechase course, and organized the only jump races ever held at Santa Anita and Bay Meadows racetracks in California.
In 1998 Brown helped found the National Steeplechase Museum on Springdale Race Course in Camden, SC. As a testament to his depth in the sport, Brown served on the NSA Board of Directors from 1962 -1972 and was elected again to the Board in 2007. He also served on the Board of the National Steeplechase Foundation. In addition to his efforts in steeplechasing, Brown worked for Delaware Park racetrack from 1965 -1982 as assistant general manager and eventually executive vice president/general manager. At Delaware, he was a member of the executive committee and promoted simulcast and spurred numerous marketing developments, including the Morning Railbird Club (where Brown narrated morning workouts and interviewed trainers and jockeys) and Ladies Day at The Races.
He considered the National Steeplechase Museum one of his best accomplishments, promoting the concept in 1997 and raising the funds for construction. Austin was honored by the industry in 2007 as the 24th recipient of the F. Ambrose Clark Award. The Clark Award named after F. Ambrose Clark, dominant owner/trainer of the early to mid-1900s, is given periodically to an individual who promotes, improves and encourages the growth and the welfare of American steeplechasing.
Brown is survived by his wife of 68 years, Sally, and nephew, Roger Brown of Holland, Michigan. Memorials can be made to the National Steeplechase Museum, P.O. Box 2424 Camden, SC 29020.