Powered by Breeders' Cup Challenge victories from Hydrangea, Rhododendron, and 2-year-old filly Happily, Coolmore Stud earned the John Deere Award as the outstanding breeder of the 2017 Breeders' Cup Challenge Series and the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
The 2017 honor is the second straight John Deere Award for Coolmore.
The 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.
"We are honored to again win this prestigious award from John Deere as the outstanding breeders of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series and the Breeders' Cup World Championships," said Coolmore representative Dermot Ryan. "We are equally proud of the winning performances by Happily, Hydrangea, Nelson, and Rhododendron, horses which we have bred and raced against top-flight competition in this series."
The John Deere award winner is determined by the breeder who received the highest number of graded/group stakes first-place finishes in this year's 81 Breeders' Cup Challenge races and 13 Breeders' Cup World Championships races. Coolmore-bred runners earned 44 points by winning four grade/group 1 races, and capturing one group 3 race.
Besilu Stables, breeder of Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner Gun Runner , who also won the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs and Whitney Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course, finished tied for second with Godolphin, which bred Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) winner Wuheida and Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) winner Talismanic. Both Besilu and Godolphin earned 30 points.
"We congratulate Coolmore for repeating as winners of the John Deere Award, highlighted by the strength of their outstanding runners in the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series in Ireland and France," said Breeders' Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel. "In addition to Coolmore, we would like to recognize all of the breeding programs who participated in the competition, and thank John Deere and NTRA Advantage for their sponsorship of this award."