The board of directors of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders (KTOB) honored the breeders of the 2007 Kentucky-bred champions and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) leaders at its annual luncheon April 23 at Keeneland. Also honored were the recipients of the P.A.B. Widener Award, the Charles W. Engelhard Award, and the Hardboot Breeders Award.
The 2007 Broodmare of the Year is Better Than Honour. Bred in Kentucky by Carl Icahn’s Foxfield, Better Than Honour was purchased by trainer John Kimmel for $750,000 at the 1997 Keeneland July yearling sale. Trained by Kimmel for owner Robert Waxman, Better Than Honour won or placed in all eight starts, winning the Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) and placing in the Acorn (gr. I), Mother Goose (gr. I), and Comely (gr. III) Stakes. While Better Than Honour was a top race filly, it is as a broodmare where she has excelled, producing consecutive winners of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The first was Jazil, a son of Seeking the Gold who won the Belmont after a runner-up finish in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) and a game fourth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Her next foal, the A.P. Indy filly Rags to Riches, scored an impressive win over subsequent Horse of the Year Curlin in the Belmont. Named champion 3-year-old filly of 2007, Rags to Riches has four grade I wins to her credit. A daughter of Deputy Minister, Better Than Honour is out of the top racemare and broodmare Blush With Pride, whose dam, Best in Show, was honored as 1982 Broodmare of the Year.
Stonerside Stable received the P.A.B. Widener Award Trophy for 2007, which is the KTOB’s highest award bestowed for breeding. Consisting of nearly 2,000 acres in Bourbon County, Stonerside is the racing and breeding entity of Robert and Janice McNair. Robert McNair is chairman and CEO of the McNair Group and owns the Houston Texans franchise in the NFL. The couple is actively involved in community projects, particularly those involving education. The McNair Foundation made a $100-million donation to Baylor University for research on breast and pancreatic cancer, juvenile diabetes, and the neurosciences. Robert McNair is founder of the Cotswold Project to revitalize downtown Houston and a member of the Texas Business Hall of Fame. Elected to The Jockey Club in 2004, McNair is on the board of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. Stonerside has bred 58 stakes winners and co-bred 17 other stakes winners since 1994. Horses bred by the outfit have earned more than $29 million, chief among them millionaire Congaree , group II winner Van Nistelrooy (a $6.4 million yearling), and other graded stakes winners Texas Fever, Bob and John, and Sahara Heat. Stonerside owned Eclipse Award winner Chilukki and co-bred 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus . As a breeder in 2007, Stonerside was represented by 16 stakes winners and led all breeders by number of horses on the Experimental Free Handicap, with four.
The champion Kentucky-breds of 2007 are: Horse of the Year and 3-year-old colt Curlin, bred by Fares Farm; 2-year-old filly Indian Blessing, bred by Hal J. and Patti Earnhardt; 2-year-old male War Pass, bred by Cherry Valley Farm; 3-year-old filly Rags to Riches, bred by Skara Glen Stables; older male Lawyer Ron, bred by the late James T. Hines Jr.; older female Hystericalady, bred by Abbott Properties; turf female Precious Kitten, bred by Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey; turf male English Channel , bred by Keene Ridge Farm; sprinter Midnight Lute, bred by Macon Wilmil Equines, Marjac Farm, and Tom Evans; racing abroad runner Peeping Fawn, bred by Barnett Enterprises; steeplechase runner McDynamo, bred by Nathan Fox, Richard Fox, and Richard Kaster.
The Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund Award winners honored for 2007 are Storm Catas leading sire, owned by Overbrook Farm; leading earner Save Big Money, owned by Tomisue Hilbert and John Menard; leading trainer Steve Asmussen; and breeder of the year Overbrook Farm. The Ramseys were voted owners of the year.
Randy Moss received the Charles W. Engelhard Award, which is given to a member of the media in recognition of his/her outstanding service to the Thoroughbred industry.
Selected as the 2007 Hardboot Breeder is William O’Neill. Created in 1999, this award recognizes the success of small breeders and their dedication to the industry.