Back in December, she was a Virginia-bred maiden racing at Laurel Park.
Today, she is the California-based morning line favorite for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
“She” is Stellar Wind, and the speedy Curlin filly is, for the second straight time, the unanimous choice of voters as the top three-year-old in the second Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll of 2015. Stellar Wind received every first-place vote from participating media and others in the racing industry to lead the list of three-year-olds. Pennsylvania-bred Page McKenney, a two-time stake winner this season who most recently ran third in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic, earned the top spot among older horses.
Stellar Wind has won three of four starts in her career, including the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel and Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks, both at Santa Anita Park. She was bred in Virginia by Keswick Stables and Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC and is out of the winning Malibu Moon mare Evening Star. She is the last foal out of the last mare bred by Keswick.
Barbara Houck bought Stellar Wind out of the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Eastern Fall Yearling Sale at Timonium for $86,000 from consignor Marshall Silverman. Stellar Wind then delivered a flashy maiden-breaking score in her second start and soon was sold privately to Hronis Racing LLC. She is now based at Santa Anita with trainer John Sadler.While everyone could agree on the obvious merits of Stellar Wind, voters had a tougher time determining which runner would head the list of older horses, finally settling on Page McKenney, who narrowly edged the last poll’s leader, Dame Dorothy. Bred in Pennsylvania by Dr. Jim Bryant and Linda Davis, Page McKenney has gone from modest claiming horse to stakes star over the last 18 months.
Owned by Adam Staple, who claimed the horse for $16,000 in late 2013, and his breeders, racing as Jalin Stable, Page McKenney won a pair of stakes and earned over $300,000 last year. He’s already well on the way to bettering those marks in 2015, with two stakes wins (in the John B. Campbell and Harrison Johnson at Laurel), a graded placing, and already $262,000 in earnings.
The two groups of five runners include at least one from four of the five major breeding states in the mid-Atlantic — Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia — with New Jersey-bred Green Gratto just missing the top five among older horses. Pennsylvania (five representatives) and Virginia (three) headed the lists. Six of the top 10 are males, while four are females.
The list is restricted to horses that have run in 2015 and were bred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Carolinas.
TOP MIDLANTIC-BRED OLDER HORSES
- Page McKenney (54) — Pennsylvania
- Dame Dorothy (47) — Pennsylvania
- Long On Value (34) — Virginia
- Valid (33) — Virginia
- Kitten’s Point (15) — Pennsylvania
Others receiving votes: Green Gratto, Awesome Flower, The Big Beast, Talk Show Man, Nellie Cashman, Eddy Gourmet, Patrioticandproud
TOP MIDLANTIC-BRED THREE-YEAR-OLDS
- Stellar Wind (75) — Virginia
- She’s a Big Winner (47) — Pennsylvania
- Bridget’s Big Luvy (41) — Maryland
- Nasa (27) — Pennsylvania
- Golden Years (6) — West Virginia
Others receiving votes: Saham, Hear the Chatter, Moon River, Noteworthy Peach, Nay’s Back, Get the Sensation, Combat Diver
Participating Voters: Ted Black (freelance writer), Michael Campbell (Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey), Cindy Deubler (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred), Linda Dougherty (freelance), Debbie Easter (Virginia Thoroughbred Association), Anne Frederick (Maryland Horse Breeders Association), Cricket Goodall (Maryland Horse Breeders Association), Jim Hague (freelance), Nick Hahn (freelance), Carol Holden (West Virginia Breeders Classics), Jeff Nations (freelance), Kate Painter (West Virginia Thoroughbred Breeders Association), Vinnie Perrone (freelance), Frank Petramalo (Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association), David Richardson (Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association), Brian Sanfratello (Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association), John Scheinman (freelance), Dan Tordjman (freelance), Frank Vespe (The Racing Biz), Bill Watson (freelance), Lydia Williams (freelance), Bobby Zen (freelance).
Note — Not all participating voters will vote in every poll.
- Stellar Wind — 5/1/15, Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, Churchill Down, 7-2 morning line
- She’s a Big Winner — 5/1/15, Ultrafleet Stakes, Santa Anita, 9-5 morning line
- Dame Dorothy — 5/2/15 — Grade 1 Humana Distaff, Churchill Downs, 9-2 morning line
- Valid — 5/2/15 — Allowance, Parx Racing, 2-1 morning line