Finest City was recently named Pennsylvania's Horse of the Year, champion older female, and champion female sprinter at the 38th annual Iroquois Awards Banquet held by the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association.
The daughter of City Zip—Be Envied, by Lemon Drop Kid , was the richest state-bred runner of 2016, earning $823,200 in eight starts, with five graded stakes wins or placings.
In addition to taking the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1), which sealed an Eclipse Award as champion female sprinter, she set a Los Alamitos record of 1:14.48 for 6 1/2 furlongs in the Great Lady M Stakes (G2).
Never worse than fourth during the year, she hit the board in Santa Anita Park's Vanity Mile Stakes (G1), finishing third behind champions Beholder and Stellar Wind, missed by a head in Del Mar's John C. Mabee Stakes (G2), and kicked off the year with a victory in Santa Anita's Santa Monica Stakes (G2).
Finest City was bred by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing. She was bought for $85,000 by Seltzer Thoroughbreds out of the 2013 Keeneland September sale out of the Bluewater Sales consignment.
The following are other 2016 PBHA champions honored:
2-Year-Old Filly: Rose Tree
B. f., 2014, by Harlan's Holiday—Amusing, by Distorted Humor . Bred by Rod and Alice Moorhead. Undefeated at 2 in two starts, the filly won Penn National's Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies Stakes by 3 3/4 lengths for the Moorheads. Named in honor of Alice Moorhead's father, James R. Kerr, who was Master of Foxhounds of the Rose Tree Hunt, Rose Tree is a member of the first full crop bred by the Moorheads at their Buttonwood Farm near Unionville.
2-Year-Old Male: Downhill Racer
B. c., 2014, by Jump Start —Encore Saritta, by Consolidator. Bred by Rod and Alice Moorhead. The Jump Start colt won both his starts at 2, including the Pennsylvania Nursery, and in doing so completed a unique double for the Moorheads and trainer Jonathan Sheppard as the first to ever win both the Blue Mountain Juvenile (with Rose Tree) and Pennsylvania Nursery in the same season. Downhill Racer is out of the first broodmare the Moorheads ever purchased, and is the second foal bred by the couple.
3-Year-Old Filly: Lucy N Ethel
Dk.b./br. f., 2013, by During—Kid Silver, by Silver Ghost. Bred by Jettany Thoroughbred Corp and J.A.G. Racing. J A G Racing and Jettany Thoroughbred homebred filly made her first two outings of 2016 memorable to remain undefeated in her first four career starts. In her 3-year-old debut, the sensational sprinter won Gulfstream Park's Old Hat Stakes (G3) at six furlongs by nearly four lengths in January. Upon her return after being sidelined by a bone chip, she captured the Prioress Stakes (G2) in September, getting the six furlongs in 1:09.33. In just three starts for the year, she earned $242,094 for boyhood friends James Stevenson and Stephen Perry.
3-Year-Old Male & Male Sprinter: Tom's Ready
Dk.b./br. c., 2013, by More Than Ready —Goodbye Stranger, by Broad Brush. Bred by Blackstone Farm. The richest PA-Bred 3-year-old of the year, the Blackstone Farm-bred son of More Than Ready, sold for $145,000 as a yearling at Saratoga, earned $612,047 in eight starts and won two graded stakes at a mile or less, the Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) going seven furlongs and Churchill Downs' Ack Ack Stakes (G3) against older runners at a mile. Shortly after his impressive score at Belmont, Spendthrift Farm announced an agreement had been reached with owner GMB Racing to acquire the breeding rights to the colt.
Older Male: Page McKenney
Ch. g., 2010, Eavesdropper—Winning Grace, by Yarrow Brae. Bred by Dr. James E. Bryant and Linda P. Davis. The only champion to repeat in 2016, Adam Staple and Jalin Stable's veteran gelding became a millionaire in an abbreviated campaign when winning the 1 1/16-mile Native Dancer Stakes at Laurel Park in January. The son of former PA stallion Eavesdropper trained by Mary Eppler won twice in three starts, highlighted by Laurel Park's General George Stakes (G3) at seven furlongs, and finished second in the $1.25 million Charles Town Classic (G2) at 1 1/8 miles in his final start of the year. Those three starts yielded the chestnut gelding $429,000, the highest earnings for an older PA-bred male runner in 2016.
Female Turf Horse: Al's Gal
B. m., 2011, by English Channel —Dans La Ville (Chi), by Winning. Bred by Malone Racing. The richest PA-bred turf runner of the year, the first foal bred by Alex Malone's Malone Racing in Kennett Square did it running long on the grass at seven different tracks, with wins in three stakes, topped by the E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1T) going 1 1/4 miles at Woodbine. Campaigned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, she also captured the 1 5/16-mile Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon Stakes in 2:12.16, less than a second off the course record, and Churchill Downs' 1 1/2-mile Keertana Stakes. Three times she finished second in graded stakes: in the grade 1 Beverly D. and grade 3 Modesty Handicap, and Keeneland's Bewitch Stakes (G3T). A $50,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sales weanling, the mare brought $800,000 at the same sale five years later.
Male Turf Horse: Granny's Kitten
B. h., 2012, by Kitten's Joy —Granny Franny, by Grand Slam. Bred by Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Ramsey's homebred hit the board in five stakes out of six attempts in 2016, scoring his first career stakes win in Parx's Alphabet Soup Handicap at Parx. He just missed in the Leemat Stakes and placed in stakes from Canterbury Park to Penn National to the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Also a two-time allowance winner at Keeneland, the graded stakes-placed runner finished in the top three in six consecutive outings at 3 and earned $186,800 with a record of 3-2-2 from nine starts for the year.
Broodmare of the Year: Be Envied
Ch. m., 2002, by Lemon Drop Kid—While Rome Burns, by Overskate. Owned by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing. Purchased by Hank Nothhaft in the fall of 2011, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid produced three PA-bred foals, all starters in 2016: Breeders' Cup and Eclipse Award winner and 2016 PA-bred Horse of the Year Finest City, stakes-placed 2016 juvenile filly Grand Prix, and 3-year-old Silver Train filly Move, who hit the board in four of seven starts.
Stallion of the Year: Jump Start
For the second year in a row, Jump Start led all Pennsylvania stallions in Stallion awards, his total in 2016 was $237,697. The now 18-year-old son of A.P. Indy moved to Pennsylvania in 2010 and two years later took up residence at Northview PA near Peach Bottom, where he is standing his sixth season in 2017. In 2016, he was the sire of seven stakes winners, including PA-bred 2-year-old champion male Downhill Racer, and 18 stakes-placed, and the earners of more than $5.8 million.
PA Preferred: PA-Sired, PA-Bred Female: Disco Chick
B. m., 2011, by Jump Start—Disco Flirt, by Disco Rico. Bred by Y. Jerry Kolybabiuk.
PA-Sired, PA-Bred Male & Leading Breeding Fund Recipient (Horse):
Roxbury N Overton
Dk.b./br. h., 2012, by Andiron—Centennial Cat, by Tale of the Cat. Bred and owned by J A G Racing and Jettany Thoroughbred.
Leading Total Breeding Fund Recipient: Northview Stallion Station
$374,048 in Breeder and Stallion Awards
Leading Breeder Award Earner: Thomas G. McClay
$215,786 in Breeder Awards
Leading Overall Breeder of Pennsylvania-Breds: Blackstone Farm
$1,587,775 in purses earned