Powered by victories from Highland Reel in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I), and by four other stars in Breeders' Cup Challenge series races, Coolmore Stud, one of the world's most prominent racing and breeding establishments, has won the John Deere Award as outstanding breeders of the 2016 Breeders' Cup Challenge Series and Breeders' Cup World Championships.
This is the first John Deere Award for Coolmore, which finished as runners-up to Ken and Sarah Ramsey in last year's competition.
The John Deere Award, presented by Breeders' Cup and NTRA Advantage, emphasizes the contributions of breeders to the Breeders' Cup program. The industry's breeders provide funding for the purses for the World Championships through the annual nominations of foals and stallions.
NTRA Advantage and John Deere will award a John Deere TS Gator Utility Vehicle to Coolmore.
The John Deere award winner is determined by the breeder who receives the highest number of graded/group first-place finishes in the 81 Breeders' Cup Challenge races and the 13 Breeders' Cup World Championships races held this year. Coolmore-bred runners won six grade/group 1 races, while Darley bred runners won four grade/group 1 races to finish second in the competition.
Highland Reel, one of the world's most prolific international runners with grade 1 wins on three continents in his career, captured this year's 1 1/2-mile Breeders' Cup Turf wire-to-wire at Santa Anita Park. The 4-year-old bay son of Galileo also won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, in which he qualified for the Turf through the Breeders' Cup Challenge series.
In addition to Highland Reel, Coolmore-breds won four other Breeders' Cup Challenge series races, and Galileo's pedigree shows up in all of them, including in two of his 3-year-old daughters, Seventh Heaven, who won the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) at York and Alice Springs, winner of the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Stakes (Ire-I) at Leopardstown, and a 3-year-old son, The Gurkha, who was victorious in the Qatar Sussex Stakes (Eng-I) at Goodwood. Coolmore's fourth winner was the 2-year-old filly Intricately, by Fastnet Rock out of the Galileo mare Inner Realm, who won the Moyglare Stud Stakes (Ire-I) at The Curragh.
"We congratulate Coolmore on the remarkable performances of their progeny during the summer and fall in our Challenge series and with Highland Reel in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf to win the John Deere Award," said Breeders' Cup president Craig Fravel. "We also thank John Deere and NTRA Advantage for their commitment to this award, and in recognition of the vital contributions that breeders have brought to the Breeders' Cup program since our inception."
"We are very proud to have bred these magnificent horses who have gone on to win group I races in the Breeders' Cup Challenge races here in Ireland and England, and then with Highland Reel in the Championships at Santa Anita," said Christy Grassick, general manager of Coolmore Ireland. "We also salute John Deere for their sponsorship of the award and their tribute to breeders of Thoroughbred racehorses."
"We're extremely pleased to recognize Coolmore Stud as an Outstanding Breeder. Their passion and enthusiasm for great horses and breeding are demonstrated in their success and we congratulate them on winning this award," said Tom Elliott, product marketing manager at John Deere.
In its runner-up performance, Darley-bred runners won four Breeders' Cup Challenge races this year, led by the 4-year-old Frosted , by Tapit , who won both the Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park and the Whitney Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course; and for Joking, the 7-year-old Distorted Humor gelding, who won the Vosburgh (gr. I) at Belmont and for the 2-year-old filly Wuheida (GB), by Dubawi (IRE), winner of the Total Prix Marcel Boussac (Fr-I) at Chantilly.