The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association recognized their Florida-bred champions for 2018 at their annual Awards Banquet and Gala held at the Circle Square Cultural Center Ballroom in Ocala, Fla., Monday night.
The star of the night was Imperial Hint, who was named the FTBOA Florida-bred Horse of the Year, champion older male and champion sprinter.
Owned by Raymond Mamone of Somerville, N.J., and trained by Luis Carvajal Jr., Imperial Hint was a multiple-Grade 1 winner in 2018 having won the $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga in July and the $350,000 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 29. He also won the Grade 2 True North Stakes at Belmont in June and the Horse Races Now Sprint Stakes on Florida Cup Day at Tampa Bay Downs on Mar. 25. He was also third in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint and sixth in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes presented by Twinspires.com on the Kentucky Derby undercard and was a finalist for the Eclipse Award as North America's champion sprinter.
By Imperialism out of Royal Hint by Lahint, Imperial Hint finished 2018 with four wins from six starts with earnings of $767,500. He was bred by Bert and Martha Pilcher's Shade Tree Thoroughbreds located in Reddick, Fla.
The road to the 2018 2-year-old Florida-bred championships went through the rich FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream Park as both Garter and Tie and Cookie Dough had victories in the series.
A homebred product of Fred Brei's Jacks or Better Farm Inc. located in Reddick, Fla., Garter and Tie was named the Florida-bred champion 2-year-old colt or gelding based on his multiple-stakes-winning year. Under the training of Ralph Nicks, Garter and Tie won the $200,000 FTBOA FSS Affirmed on Sept. 1 and the $75,000 Smooth Air at Gulfstream on Dec. 8. He was also second in both the $400,000 FTBOA FSS In Reality on Sept. 29 and in the $100,000 FTBOA FSS Dr. Fager on Aug. 4.
Garter and Tie is by Brei's stallion Brooks 'n Down, who stands at Ocala Stud, and is out of Garter Belt, by Anasheed. He won two of six starts during the year with a bankroll of $273,570.
Arindel's homebred Cookie Dough took home honors as the Florida-bred champion 2-year-old filly. She was dual FSS winner in 2018 as she won the $200,000 FTBOA FSS Susan's Girl and the $400,000 FTBOA FSS My Dear Girl to finish her year. Trained by Stanley I. Gold, Cookie Dough started the year with two third-place finishes against maiden special weight company before she finished sixth in the FTBOA FSS Desert Vixen on Aug. 4 in her stakes debut.
In 2018, Cookie Dough won two of five starts with earnings of $372,500. She is by Arindel's stallion Brethren out of the Fusaichi Pegasus mare Brooke's Valentine.
Both of the sophomore champions were also named the champion turf horses of their respective sex as World of Trouble was named the FTBOA Florida-bred champion 3-year-old colt or gelding and the FTBOA Florida-bred champion male turf horse; and FTBOA Florida-bred champion 3-year-old filly Miz Mayhem was also named the FTBOA Florida-bred champion female turf horse.
Trained by Jason Servis for Michael Dubb of Long Island, N.Y., Sol Kumin's Madaket Stables of New York City and Michael Caruso's Bethlehem Stables of Bethlehem, Pa., World of Trouble started the year by winning the $125,000 Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in January before he finished third in the Grade 2 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on Mar. 10. After finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens S. Presented by Mohegan Sun (G2), World of Trouble won the $100,000 Quick Call Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 8 and the $100,000 Allied Forces Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 8. He then finished second in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) before he came back to win the FTBOA FSS Marion County at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 15.
World of Trouble finished his 2018 campaign with four wins from seven starts and earned $524,000. He is by Kantharos out of Meets Expectations, by Valid Expectations and was bred by Daryl and Sandy Clark's Darsan Inc. of Plantation, Fla.
He was also presented by Daily Racing Form the DRF Mint Julep Cup for the best Beyer Speed Figure by a Florida-bred during the year. World of Trouble also recorded the third highest Beyer of all horses in 2018 with his 118 achieved in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1), behind only Gun Runner's Pegasus World Cup (G1) 119 and Stormy Liberal's 119 in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.
Miz Mayhem started the year in the starter optional claiming ranks but finished 2018 as a multiple-stakes winner having taken the $75,000 Cedar Key Stakes on April 27 and the $75,000 Nicole's Dream Stakes on June 10, both at Gulfstream Park. She then traveled to Laurel Park in Maryland to win the $100,000 Stormy Blues Stakes on July 7 and won the Lightning City Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 1 for her fourth added-money tally of 2018.
Owned and bred in Florida by Laurie Plesa of Plantation, Fla., and trained by her husband Edward Plesa Jr., Miz Mayhem won six of 10 starts in 2018 while picking up $275,705 in earnings. She is by Bridlewood Farm stallion Yesbyjimminy out of Forest Retreat, by Forest Camp.
Dr. Matt and Lona Vuskovich's Matalona Thoroughbreds of Gainseville, Fla., saw their Florida-homebred Stormy Embrace become a multiple FTBOA titlist as she was named the champion older female and champion female sprinter.
The chestnut mare started the year winning four of five races including victories in an overnight handicap at Tampa Bay Downs in March, the Musical Romance Stakes at Gulfstream on May 19 and the Grade 2 Princess Rooney Stakes, also at Gulfstream, on June 30.
During the year, the Kathleen O'Connell-trained daughter of Circular Quay out of Stormy Allure, by Stormy Atlantic won four of eight starts with earnings of $300,020.
The 2018 Florida Stallion of the Year was First Dude, who stands at Donald R. Dizney's Double Diamond Farm in Ocala. He was the leading active Florida sire by total progeny earnings with $4,918,031. He was represented by 88 winners, eight blacktype-stakes winners, one non-blacktype stakes winner and two blacktype-stakes-placed runners. Among his progeny in 2018 were champion 2-year-old filly Shamrock Rose, who also won the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs; and Grade 3 stakes-winners Mom's On Strike and Skye Diamonds.
Other stallions recognized at the gala were Uncaptured as the leading Florida freshman sire and Brethren, the leading Florida juvenile sire.
Uncaptured had progeny earnings of $584,829 and was represented by 26 runners, eight winners and three blacktype-stakes winners, including Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes winner Catherinethegreat and FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Desert Vixen winner Capture Your Dream. Uncaptured is the property of John C. Oxley and stands at Ocala Stud.
Brethren finished the year with progeny earnings of $1,520,553 and was represented by 43 juvenile runners, 18 juvenile winners, two blacktype-stakes winners and three blacktype-stakes-placed horses. His best runner was FTBOA FSS Susan's Girl and FTBOA FSS My Dear Girl winner Cookie Dough. Brethren stands at Arindel.
The Joe O'Farrell Memorial Award was presented by the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company and went to Ocala Stud, the original consignor of Grade 1 stakes-winner Patternrecognition, who was also bred by the Ocala nursery. He was consigned to the 2015 OBS April Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training where the son of Ocala stud resident Adios Charlie sold for $420,000 to L.R.K. Patternrecognition races for Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence. The honor had additional meaning as it was named decades ago in honor of the farm's patriarch who was one of the original creators of the sales concept. The farm is now run by the second and third generations with Michael O'Farrell and his sons David and Joseph.
Stanley I. Gold was recognized as the leading Florida trainer of Florida-breds by earnings with $2,133,034. It was the third time he has been honored in that category.
David Fawkes was honored as the leading Florida trainer of Florida-breds by blacktype stakes wins with eight. It was the first time Fawkes was so honored.
For the 11th time and 10th consecutive year, Kathleen O'Connell was the leading Florida trainer of Florida-breds by wins with 62.
The Florida Broodmare of the year as named by the FTBOA board of directors was Almost a Valentine, the dam of three 2018 Florida-bred blacktype-stakes winners including Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap and Grade 2 Kelso Handicap winner Patternrecognition, double stakes-winner Florida Fuego and Juvenile Fillies Sprint Stakes winner Lovesick. Accepting the award was Ocala Stud, owner of Almost a Valentine.
Chad and Courtney Meagher of Citra, Fla., were presented the Needles Award as the state's small breeders of the year. The Meaghers recorded $333,531 in Florida-bred earnings during the year and as breeders were represented by 30 starters who posted three wins, three seconds and four thirds. Leading the way for the Meaghers was Florida-bred graded-stakes-winner Mom's On Strike. It was the first time the Meaghers have been presented with the Needles Award.
The Florida Owner of the Year was Arindel, who led all owners by Florida-bred earnings with $2,430,499. Arindel's runners posted 40 wins, 41 seconds and 56 thirds in 308 starts led by champion 2-year-old filly Cookie Dough. It was the first time Arindel, which is located in Ocala, Fla., was recognized as the Florida Owner of the Year.
The 2018 Florida Breeder of the Year was Ocala Stud, who took home the trophy in this category for the fifth time in nine years.
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