Stellar Wind named Top Midlantic-bred of 2017
For the second time in three years, Stellar Wind has been chosen as the top horse bred in the mid-Atlantic region in the final Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll.
One year after narrowly losing out to Maryland-bred Cathryn Sophia for Top Midlantic-bred honors, Stellar Wind, a Virginia-bred, edged Mor Spirit to take the 2017 laurels. She is the first horse to win the honor twice.
The Mid-Atlanic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll is comprised of nearly 30 media members and other participants in mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred racing. The top seven horses combined to win six Grade 1 events among their 16 graded victories.
“Some of the most exciting runners in the country this year were Midlantic-breds,” said The Racing Biz founder and publisher Frank Vespe. “It was a thrill for regional racing fans to see so many runners of such quality thriving in major races around the country.”
During the season, Stellar Wind won three of four starts, all in Grade 1 company. Among her wins were the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn in April, the Beholder Mile at Santa Anita in June, and the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar in July. She concluded her season with a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
For her career, Stellar Wind has won 10 of 16 career starts, and the $800,000 in earnings she piled up in 2017 brought her career mark to more than $2.2 million.
Stellar Wind was bred in Virginia by Peggy Augustus’ Keswick Stables & Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC. She is a daughter of Curlin out of the winning Malibu Moon mare Evening Star.
Sold twice as a yearling, she was purchased the second time, for $86,000, by Barbara Houck at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearling sale. She began her career in Houck’s colors, with Donald Barr training her at Laurel Park. She broke her maiden – by nearly nine lengths – in her second start and was sold privately to Hronis Racing, LLC, for whom she campaigned through the 2015, 2016, and 2017 seasons, going on to win nine graded races, six of them Grade 1 events. All of that work came under the tutelage of trainer John Sadler.
She earned Top Midlantic-bred honors in 2015 following a season in which she won four graded events, including the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks, and earned an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly. That year she finished a near-miss second in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, which would turn out to be the best of her three results in that event.
Following her 2017 campaign, Hronis Racing sold her at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale for a staggering $6 million. But plans to breed her are – temporarily – on hold. Coolmore, which bought her, has sent her to trainer Chad Brown’s Palm Meadows operation, where he is prepping her for the $16 million Pegasus World Cup later in January at Gulfstream Park.
“Stellar Wind has been one of the most effective and consistent Midlantic-bred runners of recent vintage,” said Cricket Goodall, executive director of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, which publishes Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred. “With plenty of tough company, she has once again earned the nod as the region’s best.”
The monthly Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred is the only publication devoted to Thoroughbred breeding and racing in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Racing Biz, an online publication, is the independent voice for mid-Atlantic racing and breeding.
The poll was restricted to horses that have run in 2017 and were bred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Carolinas.
2017 TOP MIDLANTIC-BREDS
- Stellar Wind (VA) — 5yo* mare by Curlin-Evening Star, by Malibu Moon; bred by Keswick Stables & Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC; trained by John Sadler for Hronis Racing LLC; won G1 Apple Blossom, G1 Beholder Mile, G1 Clement L. Hirsch
- Mor Spirit (PA) — 4yo ridgling by Eskendereya-Im a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union; bred by Elkstone Group LLC; trained by Bob Baffert for Michael Lund Peterson; won G1 Met Mile, G3 Steve Sexton Mile, second G2 San Antonio S., won Essex H.
- Unique Bella (PA) — by Tapit-Unrivaled Belle, by Unbridled’s Song; bred by Brushwood Stable; trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for Don Alberto Stable; in 2017 won G1 La Brea, G2 Santa Ynez, G2 Las Virgenes, G3 Santa Ysabel, G3 L. A. Woman
- Irish War Cry (NJ) — by Curlin-Irish Sovereign, by Polish Numbers; trained by Graham Motion for owner-breeder Isabelle de Tomaso; won G2 Holy Bull, G2 Wood Memorial, 2nd G1 Belmont S.
- Finest City (PA) — 5yo mare by City Zip-Be Envied, by Lemon Drop Kid; bred by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing, LLC; trained by Ian Kruljac for Seltzer Thoroughbreds; won G2 Santa Monica, second G1 Santa Margarita, G1 Humana Distaff, 3rd G1 Beholder Mile, G2 Great Lady M S.
- Tom’s Ready (PA) — 4yo horse by More Than Ready-Goodbye Stranger, by Broad Brush; bred by Blackstone Farm LLC; trained by Dallas Stewart for GMB Racing; won G3 Bold Ruler, third G1 Forego, G2 Kelso
- Green Gratto (NJ) — 7yo horse by Here’s Zealous-Starship Smokester, by Smokester; bred by Kaz Hill Farm; trained by Gaston Grant for himself and Anthony Grant; won G1 Carter H., G3 Toboggan S.
Also receiving votes: Fast and Accurate, Page McKenney, Prince Lucky, All the Way Jose, Long On Value, Bonus Points, Crabcakes, American Dubai, Daisy
Note: Ages as of conclusion of 2017 season.