Lemons Forever, winner of the 2006 Kentucky Oaks (G1) and a multiple grade 1 producer, added a new accomplishment to her résumé April 11 when she was named the 2017 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders.
The 15-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid was represented in 2017 by Forever Unbridled, who won all three of her starts in graded stakes and ended the season with a half-length win in the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) over an extraordinarily deep field that included grade 1 winners Abel Tasman, Paradise Woods, Elate, Champagne Room, Romantic Vision, and Stellar Wind. The daughter of Unbridled's Song was named the Eclipse champion older dirt female for 2017.
A homebred raced by Charles Fipke, Forever Unbridled is the second grade 1 winner produced by Lemons Forever, whom Fipke bought for $2.5 million at the 2007 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. The mare is also the dam of Unbridled Forever, a full sister to Forever Unbridled who placed in the 2014 Kentucky Oaks, TVG Acorn Stakes (G1), and TVG Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) before finally achieving grade 1 status in the 2015 Ballerina Stakes.
Lemons Forever has produced four winners from five starters, who have amassed $4,426,585 in purses.
The annual KTOB Kentucky-bred champions awards Luncheon held at Keeneland bestowed state championship honors on 12 other Kentucky-breds, led by Horse of the Year and champion older dirt male Gun Runner , who was bred by Besilu Stables.
The 2017 KTOB Kentucky-bred champions and their breeders:
- Broodmare of the Year: Lemons Forever (Owner: Charles Fipke)
- Horse of the Year, Older Dirt Male: Gun Runner (Besilu Stables)
- Two-Year-Old Male: Bolt d'Oro (WinStar Farm)
- Two-Year-Old Filly: Rushing Fall (Fred W. Hertrich III & John D. Fielding)
- Three-Year-Old Male: West Coast (CFP Thoroughbreds)
- Three-Year-Old Filly: Abel Tasman (Clearsky Farms)
- Older Dirt Female: Forever Unbridled (Charles Fipke)
- Turf Male: Beach Patrol (Nancy C. Shuford)
- Turf Female: Lady Eli (Runnymede Farm Inc. & Catesby W. Clay)
- Sprinter Male: Roy H (Ramona S. Bass)
- Sprinter Female: Lady Aurelia (Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings)
- Racing Abroad: Arrogate (Clearsky Farms)
- Steeplechase Horse: Mr. Hot Stuff (WinStar Farm)
Four merit awards were presented to individuals for their contributions to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Industry.
- P.A.B. Widener Trophy for KTOB Breeder of the Year: Clearsky Farms
- Hardboot Breeders' Award, which pays tribute to distinctive but unsung breeders that help make up the backbone of our industry: Don M. Robinson
- Charles W. Engelhard Award, which acknowledges a member of the media for outstanding coverage of the Thoroughbred industry: Anne Eberhardt Keogh and Enzina Mastrippolito
- William T. Young Humanitarian Award, which distinguishes a person or organization in the Thoroughbred industry "who recognizes and promotes the human endeavor: Central Kentucky Riding for Hope
Also receiving awards were the top Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) money earners in 2017 in five separate categories.
- KTDF Sire of the Year: Kitten's Joy (Ramsey Farm)
- KTDF Earner of the Year: Res Ipsa (Deborah V. Wilson)
- KTDF Owner of the Year: G. Watts Humphrey Jr.
- KTDF Trainer of the Year: Ian Wilkes
- KTDF Breeder of the Year: Calumet Farm
Recipients of the 2017 KTOB Kentucky-bred champion awards were voted on by the full membership of KTA/KTOB. The KTDF category leaders were tabulated using purse money won at Kentucky racetracks in 2017. KTOB merit-award recipients were voted on by the KTA/KTOB board of directors.