Owner J. Paul Reddam and breeders Ocala Stud and Morton Fink received top honors Sept. 6 at the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association's National Awards dinner held in Lexington.
On the strength of a campaign that took him to the edge of Triple Crown glory, Reddam was honored as the national owner of the year. In 2012 Reddam reveled in the performances of I'll Have Another , a son of Flower Alley—Arch's Gal Edith, by Arch, that Reddam bought for $35,000 as a 2-year-old at the Ocala Breeders' Sale April sale. I'll Have Another, trained by Doug O'Neill, went on to win the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), and the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). He was scratched one day before the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) due to a tendon tear.
I'll Have Another retired with five wins and seconds out of seven starts and earned $2,693,600. He now stands at stud in Japan at Shigeyuki Okada's Big Red Farm on the island of Hokkaido.
Reddam also raced three other graded stakes winners in 2012. His other stars included Handsome Mike (Scat Daddy—Classic Strike, by Smart Strike), winner of the grade II Pennsylvania Derby; Know More (Lion Heart—Seattle Qui, by Seattle Slew), who won the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar, and Irish-bred Quiet Oasis (Oasis Dream—Silent Heir, by Sunday Silence), who won the Royal Heroine Mile Stakes (gr. IIT) and the Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT). She also finished second in the grade I Gamely Stakes.
Unfortunately, Reddam could not attend the dinner because of a minor health issue that prevents him from being able to fly, according to Jamie McCalmont, Reddam's racing manager for the past 10 years.
"When you're offered an award like this, you really want to be there to accept it," McCalmont said. "It was a last minute thing and he was disappointed."
J. Michael O'Farrell's Ocala Stud was named the national breeder of the year.
Ocala Stud has been a Florida breeding institution since Joe O'Farrell, the founder of Thoroughbred breeding in state, sold his first crop of 2-year-olds in 1958. His son, Mike, has carried on the family tradition with class and success, and 2012 proved to be yet another tour de force season for the operation.
"I really never thought we would be the Florida state breeder because there are a lot of good operations," O'Farrell said. "I certainly never thought we'd be the national breeder. But now that we've won it, I assure you no one appreciates it more than me."
When accepting the award as Florida breeder of the year, O'Farrell gave recognition to all other state-bred winners.
"It has been a very exciting time for us for over the last few years, but we all know things change," he said and mentioned the dispersal in November of E. Paul Robsham Stables. Ocala Stud raised and trained many of Paul and Joyce Robsham's horses. "This is a tough business, as you all know. We'll keep trying, and keep grinding, and try to get on another run."
Ocala Stud bred both Musical Romance and Turbulent Descent, who faced one another in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I). Turbulent Descent won the Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga in 2012 and earned more than $1.2 million for her career. Musical Romance, the 2011 Eclipse Award winner for champion female sprinter, banked nearly $1.7 million at the racetrack. She won the Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) and Inside Information Stakes (gr. II) in 2012. Musical Romance won the 2011 Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
While the farm sold Musical Romance for $22,000 and Turbulent Descent for $160,000 at 2-year-old sales, it hit a home run with Unlimited Budget, who was purchased at auction for $475,000, and who won the Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) in 2012. Unlimited Budget has gone on to win a pair of graded stakes in 2013 as well and to date has earned more than $700,000.
Musical Romance is by the late Concorde's Tune, who stood at Ocala Stud until his death in 2001, and out of the Slew Gin Fizz mare Candlelightdinner. Concorde's Tune has sired 28 stakes winners and picked up two new added-money winners this year. Candlelightdinner has also produced grade II winner Vuelve Ruben M. for Ocala Stud. The mare has a yearling this year by Circular Quay and a 2013 foal by Uncle Mo .
Turbulent Descent is by Congrats out of the Forestry daughter Roger's Sue, who O'Farrell bought for $105,000 out of the 2004 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Roger's Sue has produced three other winners.
Ocala Stud also bred the hard-knocking Shadowbdancing (by longtime Ocala Stud stallion Montbrook), whom it sold at auction for $200,000 and who has gone on to earn a million dollars, including a pair of stakes victories in 2012. Vuelve Ruben M. is a four-time group winner in Puerto Rico, including three added-money wins in 2012. In addition, Gourmet Dinner, co-bred by Ocala Stud, took the Majestic Light Stakes at Monmouth Park in 2012.
Small breeder of the year honors went to 83-year-old Morton Fink, who is living the owner/breeder's dream with homebred 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan. The now 6-year-old gelding and his owner rode the crest of fame last year with four straight stakes wins, three of them in grade I events. Wise Dan's year ended with a record-setting Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) victory at Santa Anita Park. The son of Wiseman's Ferry—Lisa Danielle, by Wolf Power, has since extended that winning streak to eight graded stakes.
Fink, a resident of Northbrook, Ill., has owned racehorses for more than four decades. His Carelaine Farm with Roy Gottlieb enjoyed a highly successful partnership before disbanding in 1993, campaigning runners such as group I winner Producer and millionaire Annoconnor. Fink also raced multiple graded stakes winner Guided Tour.
The owner's greatest success, however, came in the twilight season with Kentucky broodmare of the Year Lisa Danielle, who was also named 2012 national broodmare of the year. She produced Wise Dan, his grade II-winning half brother Successful Dan, stakes winner Our Royal Dancer, and five additional winners.
"This really could not have happened to a nicer bunch of people," said Barry Ezrine with Patchen Wilkes Farm, for which the Finks have been friends and clients for around 29 years. Regarding the small breeder of the year honor, Ezrine said they were all quite surprised.
"I guess he is a small breeder with only one mare, but with this one mare that's all you need," he said.
TOBA's Industry Service Award was given to owner/breeder Gary Biszantz for his service to the industry, which included four years as chairman of TOBA, terms on the Breeders' Cup board of directors, and as chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California. Besides working for uniformity of medication rules and toward sustainable growth in Central Kentucky, Biszantz also established a home for retired Thoroughbreds 15 years ago, which he called Tranquility Farm. He was involved in the initial stage of development of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
Other award winners:
Eastern Region, Godolphin
Southern Region, Brereton C. Jones
Midwestern Region, John and Debby Oxley
Western Region, Reddam Racing
Arizona, Triple AAA Ranch
California, Terry Lovingier
Florida, Ocala Stud
Illinois, Team Block
Indiana, Mike and Penny Lauer
Iowa, Allen Poindexter
Kentucky, Morton Fink
Louisiana, Coteau Grove Farms
Maryland, Dr. Tom and Chris Bowman
Massachusetts, Patricia Moseley
Michigan, Jerry and Felicia Campbell
Minnesota, Rick Bremer and Cheryl Sprick
New Jersey, Gunsmith Stables
New Mexico, Triple AAA Ranch
New York, Barry K. Schwartz
North Carolina, Nancy C. Shuford
North Dakota, Leon and Karen Glasser
Oregon, Dr. Jack and Margaret Root
South Carolina, Franklin G. Smith
Virginia, Audley Farm Equine
Washington, Karl and Darlyne Kreig
Canada, William D. Graham
2012 Rood & Riddle Thoroughbred Sport Horse of the Year: Thomas Edison, owners Alex and Linda Jayne of Elgin, Ill.