(Photo, of champion 3-year-old Noteworthy Peach, by The Racing Biz.)
From a Maryland Horse Breeders Association release
Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s multiple Grade 1 stakes performer The Big Beast was named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year in the annual poll conducted by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association. The son of Yes It’s True, bred by Ron and Carolyn Green’s Green Willow Farm, also took top honors as champion older male and champion sprinter.
The richest Maryland-bred runner of 2015, The Big Beast had an abbreviated four-start 4-year-old season. His sole win was a six-furlong allowance at Oaklawn Park on March 1 after a nearly seven-month layoff, his first start since his Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes score at Saratoga the previous August. Trainer Tony Dutrow mapped out a Grade 1 schedule for the rest of the year and, after just failing to hit the board when fourth in the Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct in April, The Big Beast returned to Saratoga. He battled Rock Fall in the six-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap-G1, missing by a nose, and followed with a runner-up effort 28 days later to Private Zone in the Grade 1 Forego at seven furlongs. He earned $260,800 for the year, pushing his career total to $676,300 from nine lifetime starts. The 2014 Maryland-bred champion 3-year-old, he is the only champion in the class of 2015 to have earned a previous title.
Foaled at Green Willow Farm near Westminster, Md., The Big Beast is out of the stakes-placed Deputy Minister mare V V S Flawless. Retired to the breeding shed, he is now standing his first season at Ocala Stud in Ocala, Fla.
Other divisional champions:
- Champion 2-year-old male: Tizzarunner (dk.b./br.g., 2013, Tizway—Piano Bar, by Carson City). Bred by Robert T. Manfuso; owned by John C. Oxley; trained by Mark E. Casse.
- Champion 2-year-old filly: Cathryn Sophia (b.f., 2013, Street Boss—Sheave, by Mineshaft). Bred by Robert T. Manfuso; owned by Cash is King LLC; trained by John C. Servis.
- Champion 3-year-old male: Noteworthy Peach (b.g., 2012, Read the Footnotes—One Green Peach, by In Case). Bred by William M. Steinbuch Jr.; owned by Non Stop Stable; trained by Gary Capuano.
- Champion 3-year-old filly: Mayla (b.f., 2012, Sharp Humor—Fifteen Moons, by Malibu Moon). Bred by Country Life Farm and Fifteen Moons LLC; owned by Carl R. Moore Management and Brad Grady; trained by W. Bret Calhoun.
- Champion older female: Kiss to Remember (ch.m., 2011, Big Brown—Taft Lil Queen, by Irish Open). Bred by Big Brown Syndicate and Mr. and Mrs. Charles McGinnes; owned by Miller Racing LLC; trained by Martin D. Wolfson.
- Champion turf runner: Phlash Phelps (b.g., 2011, Great Notion—Love Me Twice, by Not For Love). Bred by Carol A. Kaye; owned by Hillwood Stable; trained by Rodney Jenkins.
- Champion steeplechaser: Grinding Speed (gr./ro.g., 2006, Grindstone—Cozelia, by Cozzene). Bred by Alan S. Kline, Mark T. Kline, Mitchell A. Kline and Madeline R. Kline; owned by Michael Wharton; trained by Alicia Murphy.