Partners Have Ties to Several Ohio-Bred Champions

The team of George Smith and Dr. Wilbur Johnston, owners of Woodburn Farm in Centerville, Ohio, were among the big winners March 27 at the Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners awards banquet in Columbus.

Horse of the year and handicap horse honors went to Brad Anderson's Devil Time, who was bred by Smith, Johnston, and Margaux Stallions. Devil Time was a multiple stakes winner in Ohio last season.

Cat Singer, owned by Joe Sugar and Gene Daniels, was named champion 3-year-old colt. Smith, Johnston, and John Berry bred Cat Singer, who lost by a nose to Devil Time in the Governor's Buckeye Cup, a 1 1/4-mile stakes held at Thistledown on Labor Day.

Smith and Johnston also received the broodmare of the year award for Vivid Concert, dam of Devil Time. Smith, Chase Stable, and Gary Oliver received accredited male champion award for Woodburner, who was bred by Smith and Johnston.

Smith and Johnston, named top owner of 2003, also were lauded as the breeders of the Florida-bred filly Spoken Fur, who earned more than $500,000 last year.

Floater, owned and bred by Elisabeth Alexander of Eutrophia Farm, was named champion 2-year-old colt or gelding.

Ding's Thing and Oh So Easy were named champion 2-year-old filly and 3-year-old filly, respectively. Destiny Farm and Blazing Meadows Farm, a family operation based in Ohio and Florida, own the two winners. Trainer Tim Hamm heads the operation.

Ben's Reflection, owned by Ron McKay of MY Stables and South River Ranch, was named champion sprinter of 2003. McKay also received an award as owner/breeder of Just Michel, the accredited female champion.

Ashwood C C, owned by Virginia Stepath of Ashwood Thoroughbreds, was named champion mare of 2003. It marks the third consecutive year Ashwood C C was honored; in 2002, she was champion mare, and in 2001, champion 3-year-old filly.

Stallion of the year was Noble Cat, who stood at Kim and Lori Williams' Fair Winds Farm. Leading freshman sire was Winthrop, owned by Larry Byer.

Harlan's Holiday, owned by Starlight Stable and Jack and Laurie Wolf, received the special recognition award. Double D Farm took home the breeder's award for Harlan's Holiday, an Ohio-bred who has earned more than $3.5 million.

The "Here's to the Winners" film shown during the banquet was dedicated in memory of jockey Michael Rowland, who died in February from injuries suffered in a racing accident at Turfway Park, and Kevin Goemmer, the former River Downs announcer who died in late January.

The OTBO also held its election for trustees at a membership meeting. Elected for three-year terms were Gary Aiken, Jeff Jarvis, Ed Crothers, Kris Nemann, and Mark Warner. Officers are Dennis Heebink, president; Tom McCann, vice president; Aiken, secretary; and Alexander, treasurer.