Crompton "Tommy" Smith Jr., an accomplished steeplechase rider who won the Maryland Hunt Cup five times, died Tuesday at his Upperco home from complications of a riding accident suffered more than a decade ago. He was 75.
The son and grandson of noted steeplechase riders, Crompton Smith Jr., who was known as Tommy, was born and raised in the horse country of Middleburg, Va., where as a child he began riding in fox hunts and steeplechases, and competing in horse shows.
He was a 1955 graduate of the Taft School in Watertown, Conn. While studying at Princeton University, he entered many steeplechase races, and eventually withdrew from college to pursue the sport full time.
Mr. Smith won the Maryland Hunt Cup in 1959 onboard Fluctuate, and two years later, riding Simple Samson. His next three victories — 1963, 1964 and 1966 — were onboard Jay Trump, owned by Mary Stevenson.
In 1964, he won My Lady's Manor, Grand National and the Maryland Hunt Cup with Jay Trump.
A year later, he became the first U.S. rider on an American horse, Jay Trump, to win the Grand National at Aintree, England, and also won the Grand Steeplechase de Paris at Auteuil, France, with the same horse.
Mr. Smith was awarded the S. Bryce Wing Award in 2008 from the Maryland Hunt Cup Association.
He retired from riding in 1966 and moved to Minnesota, where he was the founder and CEO of Professional Systems for Medicine, which owned and managed institutes for low-back care at hospitals in five states.
In 1988, he moved to Boston, where he was principal executive officer of Datatree, a developer of health care information systems.
After retiring in 1995, he built a 68-foot aluminum schooner, Star Light, which he sailed from Maine to the Virgin Islands, and then moved to his home in Upperco, where he began training timber racers.
In 2001, Mr. Smith suffered a riding accident that left him a quadriplegic for the remainder of his life.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 232 St. Thomas Lane, Owings Mills.
Surviving are his wife of 49 years, the former Frances Cochran; a son, William Smith of Carlisle, Mass.; a daughter, Alexandra Smith of Upperco; a sister, Kitty Smith of Delaplane, Va.; and two grandchildren.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun