When earnings were added up at the end of 2009, Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms finished third among North American breeders in earnings with $7,055,634, based on statistics by The Jockey Club Information Systems. But Juddmonte won the race for the Eclipse Award for outstanding breeder for the fifth time, finishing at the head of the pack in the voting because of the quality of its stock.
When voters were marking their Eclipse ballots, they no doubt took into account that horses bred by Juddmonte racked up no fewer than seven 2009 North American grade I wins, a total that was the year’s highest among Thoroughbred producers. In addition, homebred Spanish Moon scored in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I).
One of Juddmonte’s best in 2009 was homebred Ventura, a gritty daughter of Chester House who is an Eclipse Award finalist as outstanding female sprinter and champion female turf runner.
Ventura rolled to a one-length victory in the Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park and took the Woodbine Mile Stakes (Can-IT) by a length. She also finished second in three 2009 races, including the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I).
Ventura’s Hall-of-Fame trainer, Bobby Frankel, died Nov. 16 at the age of 68, and one of his last wishes was for the mare to close out her racing career in the Matriarch Stakes (gr. IT). He told Garrett O’Rourke, the manager of Juddmonte’s Kentucky operation, that the race would be a “cakewalk” for the mare and that she deserved to “go out on top.” Ventura won by 13⁄4 lengths.
Juddmonte’s other standout homebred performers in 2009 included Pattison Canadian International Stakes (Can-IT) winner Champs Elysees, Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) winner Midday, and Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) winner Midships.
“Prince Khalid, from day one, knew exactly what he wanted to do, and he has never deviated from that plan,” said O’Rourke, explaining the reason for Juddmonte’s breeding success. “He loves to breed grade I-caliber horses, and he loves to be at the Breeders’ Cup, Royal Ascot, Epsom, and Newmarket and see his horses competing at the very top level.”
First-place vote totals: Juddmonte Farms, 157; Adena Springs, 44; Dolphus Morrison, 16; Maverick Productions, 3; WinStar Farm, 3; Eugene Melnyk, 2; Darley Stable, 1.