In the end, it was an easy decision.
The voters in the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll were unanimous in naming Stellar Wind the top 2015 runner bred in the mid-Atlantic.
It was quite a season for Stellar Wind. The three-year-old began 2015 a Maryland-based horse with just a maiden win to her credit.
By year’s end, she was a California-based Grade 1 winner who fell four feet short of a win in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, in which she finished second, and was just $87,000 shy of becoming a millionaire.[su_box title=”2015 TOP MIDLANTIC-BREDS” style=”glass”]
- Stellar Wind (VA) — 63 points
- Dame Dorothy (PA) — 45
- Page McKenney (PA) — 38
- Favorite Tale (PA) — 28
- Valid (VA) — 27
- Kitten’s Point (PA) — 15
- Green Gratto (NJ) — 14
Others receiving votes: Sunny Ridge (8), The Big Beast (5), Charitable Annuity (4), Saham (2), Flying Officer (2), Middleburg (1)[/su_box]
“It was exciting to see Stellar Wind develop over the course of the year,” said Frank Vespe of the poll’s co-sponsor, The Racing Biz. “We watched her grow from a filly with promise to one of the best runners of her generation.”
Stellar Wind was bred in Virginia by Keswick Stables & Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC. They sold her at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale in 2013 to Vernan Lee Stables, who pinhooked her weeks later in the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearlings Sale, when Barbara Houck bought her for $86,000.
She made two starts in Houck’s colors, under the tutelage of trainer Donald Barr. She finished third in a maiden race at Laurel Park in November 2014 and then broke her maiden by nearly nine lengths a month later.
Houck then sold her Hronis Racing LLC, via bloodstock agent David Ingordo; Hronis put her in the barn of trainer John Sadler. For those connections, she won four of six 2015 starts, among them the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks, the Grade 2 Summertime Oaks, and a pair of Grade 3 events.
Stellar Wind is by Curlin out of the Malibu Moon mare Evening Star.
“The quality of horses bred in the mid-Atlantic is already high and continues to improve,” said Cricket Goodall of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, which publishes Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazine. “And now, with Maryland’s breeding industry resurgent, we expect even better things in the future.”
Grade 1 Humana Distaff winner Dame Dorothy, a Pennsylvania-bred, finished second in the year-end poll.
She was followed by Page McKenney (PA), Favorite Tale (PA), Valid (VA), Kitten’s Point (PA), and Green Gratto (NJ) to round out the top seven.
Also receiving votes were Sunny Ridge (NJ), The Big Beast (MD), Charitable Annuity (WV), Saham (PA), Flying Officer (PA), and Middleburg (VA).
The top seven in the final poll included four horses bred in Pennsylvania, two bred in Virginia, and one bred in New Jersey. Three are female, and four are male.
The final poll included racing through December 14.
“We are looking forward to 2016,” Goodall added. “With promising two-year-olds like Mor Spirit, Sunny Ridge, Cathryn Sophia, Behrnik’s Bank, Tonasah, and Ruby Notion all bred in the region and coming up, we expect plenty of exciting stakes action next year.”
Popular Maryland-bred Ben’s Cat topped the 2014 Top Midlantic-bred Poll.
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 is restricted to horses that have run in 2015 and were bred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Carolinas.
|1||Stellar Wind||3||F||VA||Curlin-Evening Star, by Malibu Moon||Keswick Stables & Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC||Hronis Racing LLC||John Sadler||2nd G1 Breeders' Cup Distaff||Multiple graded winner won G1 Santa Anita Oaks in April||6-4-1-0, $886,000|
|2||Dame Dorothy||4||F||PA||Bernardini-Vole Vole Monamour, by Woodman||Derry Meeting Farm||Bobby Flay||Todd Pletcher||11th in G1 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint||Multiple graded winner won G1 Humana Distaff in May||7-3-1-1, $477,840|
|3||Page McKenney||5||G||PA||Eavesdropper-Winning Grace, by Yarrow Brae||Dr. James E. Bryant & Linda P. Davis||Adam Staple and Jalin Stable||Mary Eppler||Won Swatara Stakes 11/25||Former claimer has placed in 3 graded races this year||10-5-3-2, $589,900|
|4||Favorite Tale||4||G||PA||Tale of the Cat-Tricky Elaine, by Grindstone||Paul Conaway||PJG Stable||Guadalupe Preciado||Won Fabulous Strike H. 11/25||G2 winner, 3rd in G1 BC Sprint||7-3-1-2, $510,700|
|5||Valid||5||G||VA||Medaglia d'Oro-Grand Prayer, by Grand Slam||Edward P. Evans||Crossed Sabres Farm||Marcus Vitali||Won Harlan's Holiday S. 12/12||2 time G3 winner in '15||12-4-3-2, $403,660|
|6||Kitten's Point||5||M||PA||Kitten's Joy-Rendezvous Point, by Kingmambo||George Strawbridge Jr.||Augustin Stable||Graham Motion||Won G3 Dowager Stakes||4 stakes wins in '15 include two G3 scores||8-4-0-2, $316,600|
|7||Green Gratto||5||H||NJ||Here's Zealous-Starship Smokester, by Smokester||Kaz Hill Farm||Gaston Grant and Anthony Grant||Gaston Grant||Won G3 Fall Highweight H.||Won/placed in 3 graded stakes||15-2-4-4, $420,550|
LINKS TO MONTHLY TOP MIDLANTIC-BRED POLLS
Participating Voters: Ted Black (freelance writer), Michael Campbell (Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey), Joe Clancy (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred), 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.