(Edited press release)
Dixie Meister, a grade II stakes winner who earned $287,210 last year, will be honored as the 2006 Texas Horse of the Year and champion older horse by the Texas Thoroughbred Association.
Five other Texas-bred runners will also be recognized as divisional champions for their achievements in 2006, as well as broodmare of the year. The winners will be honored at the TTA annual conference and awards banquet set for Jan. 19-20 at the Doubletree Hotel in Austin.
The 2006 Texas divisional champions are:
Horse of the Year, older horse: Dixie Meister
2-year-old male: Datrick
2-year-old female: Wrenice
3-year-old male: Upstream
3-year-old female: Open Meadows
Older female: I. B.’s Halo
Broodmare: Dixity Do Dah
In 2006, Dixie Meister, a now 5-year-old gelding by Holzmeister, kicked off the year by finishing second in the $435,600 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II). After that performance, owner Ro Parra sold Dixie Meister to Gary Tanaka, for whom the gelding placed in two stakes in California, including the grade II Mervyn LeRoy Handicap. Dixie Meister then stormed home to take Hollywood Park’s $250,000 Californian Stakes (gr. II) and wrapped up the year with a fourth-place finish to the undefeated Discreet Cat in the Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct. Bred by Drs. Ken and Linda Quirk, Dixie Meister was trained through much of the year by Julio Canani. The gelding captured the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita in his first start of 2007.
Datrick, who earned $200,509 during his juvenile campaign for Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt's Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, scored his major win in the $184,250 Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs last May. Steve Asmussen and Scott Blasi shared the training duties of the son of Favorite Trick.
In the 2-year-old filly division, Wrenice, trained by Randy Mayfield, experienced a five-race win streak last year which included victories in the $125,000 Pan Zareta division and the $125,000 Darby’s Daughter division of the Texas Stallion Stakes. The daughter of Uncle Abbie had 2006 earnings of $244,346, a record total for a Texas-bred juvenile filly.
Upstream, a son of Open Forum, earned the title of 3-year-old male with a stakes win and two six-figure stakes placings last year. Owned and bred by William S. Farish, Upstream earned $109,150 for the year from eight starts.
Open Meadows, another offspring of Open Forumand a homebred runner for Tom Durant, took the 3-year-old female title. Trained by Jack Bruner, the versatile filly won four stakes during 2006, earning $173,500 in nine trips to the post.
The older female title went to the now 7-year-old I. B.’s Halo, a daughter of the late Sunny’s Halo. Bred by Dana Dean and campaigned by World War IV Racing, Alan Simpson, Warren McFatter, and John Christmann IV, I. B.’s Halo won the Golden Triangle Stakes at Delta Downs and was twice a runner-up in two other black-type contests. Trained by Pamela Simpson, the mare earned $78,625.
Dixity Do Dah, the dam of Dixie Meister, was named broodmare of the year. The 21-year-old daughter of Dixieland Bandalso produced stakes-placed Quantum Silver and Woodmeister, a full brother to Dixie Meister. Her runners have earned $702,799.
Annual title holders are determined by the Classic Chevrolet Texas-Bred Champions Point System, a process that assigns numeric value to performances in stakes races. The system allots graduated points for victories and placings in graded, open, and restricted stakes company, with the number of points being dependent upon the size of the purse. In the case of a tie in any division final, year-end money earnings are calculated to determine the winner.