Seth Klarman’s Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence were named Owners of the Year for 2016 at the 32nd Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s national awards dinner Sept. 9. The event took place at historic Calumet Farm just west of Lexington.
The winning combo earlier was named Southern Region Owner of the Year and won the top prize over Juddmonte Farms (Eastern Owner), John Oxley (Midwest Owner), and B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm (Western Owner).
Small Breeder of the Year went to Bob Manfuso, who operates Chanceland Farm in Maryland with Katy Voss. The national Breeder of the Year award went to WinStar Farm. Earlier Manfuso (Maryland) and WinStar (Kentucky) were named to state honors.
"I don’t know how to say it. ... It’s a big deal," said Lawrence, who was on hand to collect the night’s top prize. "It’s a tremendous accomplishment. When we won the (2017) Preakness (G1, with Cloud Computing) … Seth and I have had a lot of other accomplishments in our life, but we said, 'They’ll never take this away from us.' This is like that.
"I’m equally thankful for Seth. He’s been in the game longer. He’s been in 25 years. I joined in 2004. He has quietly been a huge backer of the sport. We used to talk a lot about, 'Hey, we’ve spent a lot of money … we’re doing OK, we should have more fun.'
"I’m really happy for Seth. He doesn’t do a lot of functions or talk to the press much. This will mean a lot to him. For a guy who isn’t a sheikh or owns a lot of oil, he’s put a lot of money in quietly. It is very tough to lose 75% of the time ... and people say you are very successful."
WinStar’s award was accepted by general manager David Hanley.
Manfuso, the breeder of 2016 Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Cathryn Sophia, seemed surprised to win his prize. He gave credit to the rise of breeding and racing incentives in Maryland.
"The program has evolved in Maryland, and the job by the new guys operating the racetracks has encouraged the people to move the product up and breed better horses," Manfuso said. "It’s as easy as that. I may have been a day or two in front of the curve … because I’ve been on the trackside and I understand—when they start to create an environment, when they understand the value of racing and entertainment value of the races … that’s what we have in Maryland right now. Don’t listen to what I say, look at the stats.
"To those of us who have commercial or quasi-commercial breeding operations in Maryland, it’s a wonderful place to foal mares."
Also honored were Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association Claiming Crown Horse of the Year Royal Posse, Rood & Riddle Thoroughbred Sport Horse of the Year Zine Dine, Robert Clay Award recognizing land conservation to the Heubeck family, and Leslie's Lady, Broodmare of the Year.