Paul Saylor's 2006 Eclipse Award winner Fleet Indian was named 2006 New York-bred Horse of the Year and Champion Older Female by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders at its annual awards banquet held May 14 at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, NY with veteran New York Racing Association track announcer Tom Durkin serving as the event’s master of ceremonies.
Grade 1-winning mare Behaving Badly, owned by Patti and Hal Earnhardt III and foaled on the same farm as Fleet Indian during the spring of 2001, was honored as Champion Female Sprinter -- a newly-created division that featured graded stakes winners on both coasts. Also winning multiple New York Thoroughbred Breeders championships was Anstu Stables' 2006 TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) runner-up Friendly Island, who beat out four graded winners for Champion Older Male and Champion Male Sprinter honors.
Capturing the competitive turf titles were Double S Stable's Certifiably Crazy, who edged graded or listed stakes winners on two continents to repeat as Champion Turf Male, and Jay Lieberman's graded-winning Sabellina, who won her second Turf Female championship despite more formidable divisional rivals than she had faced in 2004.
Purdedel Stable's and WinStar Farm's 2006 Grade 2 winner Sharp Humor missed Male Sprinter honors but was named Champion Three-Year-Old Male -- earned by giving Barbaro the most competitive race in that Eclipse Award winner’s career with a half-length second-place finish in the Florida Derby (gr. I).
Winter Park Partners' No Reason won four stakes at three different tracks from seven furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth in 2006, which elevated her to Champion Three-Year-Old Filly honors. Lawrence Roman's homebred namesake Lawrence The Roman was unchallenged in all three of his 2006 juvenile outings, generating one of the year's top Beyer figures (96) for a two-year-old while winning Aqueduct's Damon Runyon Stakes by 11 lengths and sealing his claim to Champion Two-Year-Old Male honors. Zayat Stables' Chief Officer won three of four starts in 2006 -- twice in stakes -- and was graded-placed at Saratoga, capturing the Champion Two-Year-Old Filly title in a division that featured four other stakes winners.
Repeating as Champion Steeplechaser was Hounds Cry Farm's I'm Hit Sarge, who last year won the Regions Bank Imperial Cup at Aiken, South Carolina for his fifth career victory over jumps. Also honored was Becky Thomas' and Lewis Lakin's Timeleighness, dam of Behaving Badly, as Broodmare of the Year.
Human honorees were Eibar Coa (Jockey of the Year), Gary Contessa (Trainer of the Year), Richard Simon's Sez Who Thoroughbreds (Breeder of the Year), and recently-retired New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund Deputy executive director Joseph Spadaro (Lifetime Achievement Award).