Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms took center stage at the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' Association "Night of Stars" 2002 National Awards Dinner on Sept. 6 at WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky. Although Abdullah was not at the annual event, Juddmonte president Dr. John Chandler was more than happy to accept both the national owner and breeder awards for 2001 on behalf of the operation.
"Last year was a great year," he said on his first trip to the stage. "I'd like to do it every year." Chandler said Prince Abdullah considers breeding awards "the ultimate achievement."
Among Juddmonte's standouts last year were homebred grade I winners Aptitude (Hollywood Gold Cup, Jockey Club Gold Cup), Flute (Kentucky Oaks), Mizzen Mast (Malibu Stakes), Senure (United Nationsl Handicap), and Skimming (Pacific Classic Stakes).
Also prominent on the stage was Jockey Club Chairman Ogden Phipps, who was honored with the Industry Service Award. Phipps, whose family has multiple generations of horsemen, attended with his son, Ogden Phipps III. In introducing Phipps, TOBA chairman Gary Biszantz said the award honors Phipps' "behind the scene efforts, and they are huge."
Phipps's comments focused on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and what he cited as its positive impact on racing. Phipps directly attributed the organizations efforts, along with the Breeders' Cup, for increased ratings for horse racing broadcasts. Phipps gave a call to give the NTRA even more power, and further encouraged those present to foster a spirit of cooperation.
"Working together we can achieve more than working separately," he said.
He also touched on the issue of medication in the industry and lauded Biszantz for a speech he gave in Saratoga Springs on the topic. Phipps said with increased use of medication "we are breeding horses which are softer and more fragile."
Phipps admitted while he has been frustrated with various segments of the industry throughout his years of involvement, racing has provided him "some of the happiest days of my life."
Others honored throughout the evening were the top breeders from 24 states in the U.S., plus Canada, four regional owners, and a new category, the top small breeder of the year. That award went to Herbert Schwartz who was visibly surprised, and as a result, had few words of acceptance.
The four regional owners recognized were Eugene and Laura Melnyk, Juddmonte Farms, Theresa McArthur, and John and Jerry Amerman.