George Strawbridge Jr.'s Augustin Stable and Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms were the big winners at the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association National Awards Dinner Sept. 11, taking home the National Owner of the Year and National Breeder of the Year awards, respectively, at B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm near Lexington.
Strawbridge, also recognized as the Eastern Region Owner of the Year, campaigned Forever Together, who captured the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) as part of her champion grass mare season. Strawbridge, the third leading owner last year by earnings, raced nine homebred stakes winners in 2008, including Rainbow View, England’s champion juvenile filly.
A 71-year-old resident of Cochranville, Pa., Strawbridge is the all-time leading money-winning steeplechase owner in history with more than $8 million.
“This is indeed a huge honor,” said Strawbridge, an heir to the Campbell Soup fortune. “Being owner of the year is extraordinary. Most of these horses were by Kentucky studs and that is very, very significant.”
In addition to Strawbridge, the other regional owner awards went to Pin Oak Stable for Midwest Region Owner of the Year, Jerry and Ann Moss for Western Owner of the Year, and WinStar Farm for Southern Region Owner of the Year. Bill Casner accepted the award for WinStar.
“I had a bit of déjà vu when I drove into this magnificent farm tonight,” said Casner, who co-owns WinStar with Kenny Troutt. “When me and Kenny came here in 1976 as a couple of country boys, neither of us in our wildest dream imagined we’d be at Spendthrift accepting this award.”
The Racing Game’s 2008 New Owner of the Year award went to Margaret Burlingham of Palmyra, Wisc. Burlington decided to get into the racing game in 2004 after visiting Robert N. Clay’s Three Chimneys Farm near Lexington.
“This is totally unexpected," Burlingham said. "To be honored with so many respected owners and breeders is very special."
Juddmonte was named National Breeder of the Year after sending out 11 Kentucky-bred stakes winners and several others abroad. The international operation owns farms in Kentucky, England, and Ireland, and has won numerous top awards, including two Eclipse Awards for owner and four for breeder. The U.S. operation is under the direction of president John Chandler and farm manager Garrett O'Rourke.
Also speaking at the dinner was TOBA president Dan Metzger, TOBA chairman Reynolds Bell Jr., and Hughes, Spendthrift’s owner. Hughes took a moment to recognize the significance of the date, which was eight years to the day after the 9/11 terrorists attacks.
Country music star Danielle Peck performed at the dinner, which was hosted by TVG’s Matt Carothers.