Leland and Sue Cook Win Top Award in Texas

Leland and Sue Cook, owners of Richland Ranch near Corsicana, Texas, received the top award Saturday night at the Texas Thoroughbred Association's annual banquet in Austin.

The Cooks were presented the T.I. (Pops) Harkins Award for their contributions to Thoroughbred racing in Texas.

The current star of the Cook's stable is Gold Nugget, a stakes winner and grade I stakes placed runner. They also raced Dixieland Heat, who is now off to a good start at stud. Standing at Crestwood Farm near Lexington, he is the sire of Xtra Heat, a finalist in two Eclipse Award categories.

The Allen Bogan Memorial Award, for the member of the year, was presented to Lee Ackerley. Ackerley and his brother were among those responsible for leasing and later purchasing Valid Expectations and Open Forum to stand in Texas. They ranked one-two on the leading freshman sire list of 2001.

The breeder of the year award, presented by The Blood-Horse, was given to Joe McDermott, whose McDermott Ranch bred Texas Horse of the Year Lights on Broadway.

The keynote speaker was D.G. Van Clief Jr., president of Breeders' Cup Ltd. and vice chairman of the NTRA. Among the items Van Clief discussed were two of major importance to Texas, the first Great State Challenge, which will be held at Sam Houston this December, and the 2005 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, which will be run at Lone Star Park near Dallas.