Friday, January 25, 2013
The New Mexico Horse Breeders' Association honored its 2012 Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse champions during its Zia Awards Banquet at the Marriott Uptown Hotel in Albuquerque on January 24.
During the banquet, which was emceed by Chris Kotulak, a total of 20 awards were presented. Longtime breeder Triple AAA Ranch of Glendale, Arizona, was honored with the 2012 Julep Cup by The Blood-Horse Magazine. Owned and operated by Richard Owens, whose family owned Turf Paradise Racetrack in Phoenix through the 1980s, Triple AAA Ranch was the breeder of Our Choice, an 8-year-old gelding by Desert God and one-time $25,000 claim who won four stakes and earned $284,411 while racing at New Mexico tracks last season.
Our Choice, who races for Stable HMA of Tempe, Arizona, and is trained by Justin Evans, was honored as the top New Mexico-bred older Thoroughbred colt/stallion or gelding for 2012.
Our Choice's dam, the First Draft Choice mare Neat Choice, was honored as last year's top Thoroughbred broodmare.
Other NMHBA Thoroughbred awards went to Rose's Desert (top older mare, owned and bred by Joe R. Peacock Sr. and trained by Todd Fincher), Hennessy Smash (top 3-year-old filly, owned and bred by Barbara M. Coleman, trained by Fincher), That's Who (top 3-year-old colt or gelding, owned by Sam E. and Latane Stevens, bred by Sam E. Stevens, trained by Joel Marr), Back Seat Roll (top 2-year-old filly, owned and bred by J. Kirk and Judy Robison, trained by Henry Dominguez), and Kiss My Hennessy (top 2-year-old colt or gelding, owned by Joe Dee Brooks and Scott Bryant, trained by Fincher).
For the third consecutive year, Desert God was honored as the top Thoroughbred stallion for 2012. Owned by H. Joe Allen of Abilene, Texas, Desert God's runners earned $2,055,901 last year and included Rose's Desert and Our Choice. Desert God stands at Fred and Linda Alexander's A & A Ranch in Anthony, New Mexico.
Rocket Included, a winning and stakes-placed 8-year-old son of the Broad Brush stallion Include, was last year's top freshman Thoroughbred stallion. The sire of Jenson's Miracle, the winner of last year's New Mexico Eddy County Stakes (R) at Zia Park, Rocket Included is owned by Henry Dominguez and stands at Johnnie Nall's Lucky Six Farm in Sunland Park, New Mexico.
PJ Chick In Black, a Grade 1 winner against open company, was last year's top New Mexico-bred 2-year-old Quarter Horse filly. PJ Chick In Black earned $523,339 from six starts for her owners, Dennis Bowen, Susan Taylor, and Jack Smith Farms, and her five victories included a neck win as the fastest qualifier in the $600,000 Ruidoso Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs, and a one-length score against state-breds in the $251,359 New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) at Sunland Park. Fredda Draper of Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico, bred the brown daughter of the Strawfly Special stallion Desirio.
Fredda Draper's Eddie Jym, a 9-year-old daughter of Corona Cocktail and dam of PJ Chick In Black, was the 2012 Quarter Horse Broodmare of the Year.
The following Quarter Horses were also honored: Little Bit Southern (top older mare, owned by Edilberto Estrada, bred by Richard and Patricia Shearer, trained by Victor Rodriguez), Rollickin Red (top older stallion or gelding, owned by Rollickin Red Partners, bred by MJ Farms, trained by Todd Fincher), Call Me A Blazn Chic (top 3-year-old filly, owned by J & M Racing and Farm, bred by Mike C. Abraham, trained by Alex Sanchez and Jaime Dominguez), First Blazin Love (top 3-year-old colt or gelding, owned by Lisa Saumell, Dwayne Johnson, and Johnny C. Martinez, bred by Mike C. Abraham, trained by Paul Jones), and Gonna Cha Cha (top 2-year-old colt or gelding, owned by Norma Alvarez, Brenda Alvarez, and Debra J. Laney, bred by Dosi and Norma Alvarez, trained by Juan M. Gonzalez).
Jesse James Jr was the top Quarter Horse stallion for 2011, as the stakes-winning 12-year-old son of Mr Jess Perry sired the earners of $1,425,626. Jesse James Jr is owned by and stands at Mac and Janis Spencer Murray's MJ Farms in Veguita, New Mexico.
Coronas Blackdiamond, a winning 8-year-old son of the First Down Dash stallion Count Corona, was honored as last year's top freshman Quarter Horse stallion. Coronas Blackdiamond is owned by a partnership and stands at Sarah Donaldson's Born Running Ranch in Deming, New Mexico.
Also, a Distinguished Service Award was presented to Equine Encore Foundation of Tucson, Arizona. Owned by former racehorse trainer Patti Shirley, Equine Encore Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation whose mission is to provide a retirement home for racehorses, both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse. New Mexico-bred racehorses currently residing at the farm include 13-time winner B.G. Tiger, 11-time winner Areallyniceguy, and the stakes-placed Bob's Banjo.