Evans, WinStar, Tarras Take Top TOBA Honors
Photo: Virginia Thoroughbred Association Photo
Members of Edward Evans' Spring Hill Farm Team in the Winner's Circle at Colonial Downs, earlier this year.

For the second consecutive year, Edward Evans has been honored as the 2010 national breeder of the year by the Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association. Other top honors for the evening went to Kenny Troutt’s WinStar Farm as national owner of the year and to Rudy and Virginia Tarra, who were the national small breeders of the year.

Evans, who died of acute myeloid leukemia Dec. 31, 2010, built a formidable Virginia breeding operation named Spring Hill Farm. The 2,700-acre nursery produced more than 100 stakes winners since it began operating in 1969.

In 2010 Evans raced four graded stakes-winning homebreds. Leading the pack was multiple grade I winner Quality Road   (Elusive Quality  —Kobla, by Strawberry Road), who won the Donn Handicap (gr. I), Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I), and the Woodward Stakes (gr. I). His fourth win of the year came in the grade III Hal’s Hope Stakes. He also finished second by a head to Blame   in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I). Blame would go on to beat Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). Quality Road entered stud this year at Lane’s End Farm, where he stood for $35,000.

Evans’ other top runners included grade I winner Malibu Prayer (Malibu Moon  —Grand Prayer, by Grand Slam), and grade II winners A Little Warm (Stormin Fever  —Minidar, by Alydar) and Dixie City (Dixie Union—City Sister, by Carson City).

Spring Hill farm manager Chris Baker accepted the honor for Evans, who also was recognized as the Virginia breeder of the year. 

“I’d like to give special thanks to the outstanding staff at the farm and to everyone who contributed to the success,” Baker said. “To win for a second year in row is an outstanding testament to Mr. Evans’ prowess as a breeder.”
 
One of the biggest events of the 2011 Thoroughbred auction season will be the complete dispersal of Evans' stock. Lane’s End will consign the more than 200 horses, which will be divided between Keeneland’s September yearling and November breeding stock sales in Lexington.

Troutt’s WinStar Farm was a dominating force on the Triple Crown trail in 2010, having won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with Super Saver   and won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with Drosselmeyer  . WinStar, which also was honored as the TOBA Eastern owner of the year and won the 2010 Eclipse Award as leading owner, campaigned nine grade stakes winners alone or in partnership.

The 1,700-acre Central Kentucky Farm supports a band of 140 broodmares and some of the industry’s top stallions including Distorted Humor  , Speightstown  , Harlan's Holiday, and Tiznow  , who are among the top 30 sires nationally, and Bellamy Road  , Bluegrass Cat  , and Artie Schiller  , who rank among the top 10 second-crop sires, through Sept. 9. Super Saver entered stud at WinStar in 2011.

WinStar’s other graded stakes winners of 2010 were American Lion  , Blue Laser, Court Vision  , Doubles Partner, Endorsement, Hold Me Back  , and Rule. The farm ranked first on last year’s leading owners list by earnings with 46 winners from 248 starters and total earnings of $5,183,379.

Troutt, founder of the Excel Communications long distance telephone company, created WinStar 11 years ago with former partner Bill Casner. The farm was also represented as the breeder of a 2010 grade I winner, J P's Gusto  .

“What horse racing has done is unbelievable, how it brings families together. It is one of the biggest things in horse racing,” he said. “I want to thank you (all the people attending the dinner) for all the work and money you put into making this a better industry.”

Rudy and Virginia Tarra were honored as national small breeder of the year for the extraordinary success they have had with their blue hen mare Crafty Oak. The 17-year-old daughter of Crafty Prospector has produced a grade I winner, a stakes winner, two stakes placed horses, and four winners out of eight horses of racing age. Her standout in 2010 was grade I winner Giant Oak  , winner of the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.

The son of Giant's Causeway   came back strong in his first race of 2011 and won the Donn Handicap (gr. I). The colt, raced by the Virginia Tarra Trust and trained by Chris Block, now has earnings of over $1.4 million.

The Tarras have been involved in racing in Illinois for six decades. They bought Crafty Oak as a 2-year-old in training in 1996 through the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select sale for $60,000 from Hart Farm. Crafty Oak went on to win the Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne and two other minor stakes.

For 2010, the Tarras were also honored as the TOBA Illinois breeder of the year, they raced the 2010 Illinois Horse of the Year, and had the Illinois broodmare of the year. It was their second consecutive year to the have the state’s leading racehorse and broodmare.

Virginia Tarra accepted the award.

“This is a total shock. It’s awesome,” she said.

Other winners honored at the 26th Annual TOBA Award Dinner, held this year at Gainesway Farm, were:

Regional Owners of the Year:
Claiborne Farm & Adele Dilschneider, Southern Region
Brereton C. Jones, Midwestern Region
Arnold Zetcher, Western Region

State Breeders of the Year:
Flying P Ranch (Bobby Pruitt), Alabama
Dennis Weir, Arizona
Harris Farm (John Harris), California
Dewey and Karen White, Georgia
Robert and Erin Gorham, Indiana
Sandra Rassmussen, Iowa
Roland G. Jordan, Kansas
Claiborne Farm & Adele Dilschneider, Kentucky
Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt, Louisiana
Robert Meyeroff, Maryland
Michael and Jane Fonzo, Massachusetts
Deb Miley, Michigan
Jeff and Deb Hilger, Minnesota
John Petrini, New Jersey
Chris and Tina Hourigan, New Mexico
Vivien Malloy, New York
Tom Hendrickson, North Carolina
Doug Demontigny, North Dakota
Meadow Springs Farm (Pat Buse Jr.), Ohio
C.R. Trout, Oklahoma
Dr. Jack and Margaret Root, Oregon
Franklin G. Smith, South Carolina
Jeff and Doris Harwood, Washington
James Casey, West Virginia

Canadian Breeder of the Year:

Tod Mountain Thoroughbreds (Rae and Ronald Fawcett)

National Broodmare of the Year:

Liable, dam of Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Blame, owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider

Rood & Riddle Thoroughbred Sport Horse of the Year:

Courageous Comet
 

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