The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders’ Association presented their annual Iroquois Awards June 26 via Zoom. The virtual event hosted top Pennsylvania breeders in celebration of the 2019 stakes winners and champions, led by Horse of the Year Mirth, who also was named champion older female and champion turf female.

Bred by Barlar out of the French Deputy mare Di’s Delight, Mirth didn’t make her stakes debut until June of her 4-year-old season in her 13th start. Three months later the daughter of Colonel John became a grade 1 winner for Little Red Feather Racing and trainer Phil D’Amato with a victory in the Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1T) at Santa Anita Park. She wrapped up the year with a score in the Robert J. Frankel Stakes (G3T), and in between set the pace in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1T) before giving way late to finish sixth, beaten less than six lengths. She won or placed in seven of 11 starts for the year and earned $347,281.

Mirth’s success catapulted Di’s Delight to a broodmare of the year award. Purchased by Barlar for $55,000 from Hill ‘n’ Dale’s consignment to the 2011 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, she has six Pennsylvania-bred foals of racing age, five winners, and three stakes performers. Two were stakes winners in 2019—Mirth and the Jump Start filly Vault, who won or placed in seven of eight starts last year.

The champion older male title went to Prince Lucky, the richest Pennsylvania-bred runner of 2019. Bred by Daniel McConnell Sr. out of the Great Notion mare Lucky Notion and raced by McConnell, the Corinthian gelding kicked off his 4-year-old season for trainer Todd Pletcher with dominating back-to-back scores in the Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3) and the Gulfstream Park Mile Stakes (G2). He added a win in the State Dinner Stakes at Belmont Park in July and turned in a game performance when second in the Kelso Handicap (G2). His 2019 earnings stand at $375,880, with three wins and a second from eight starts.

Al and Bill Ulwelling’s veteran Pumpkin Rumble was honored as champion turf male. Bred by Smart Angle out of the Storm Cat mare Clarins, the English Channel  gelding made his first start of his 8-year-old season for trainer Kevin Attard in late June last year. He went on to run five times, four in graded stakes company, and won twice, defending his title in the Valedictory Stakes (G3) at Woodbine by more than five lengths. He won his only start away from his Woodbine base, the Alphabet Soup Handicap at Parx Racing, and finished third in the Nijinsky (G2) and Dominion Day Stakes (G3) for 2019 earnings of $152,397.

Reddam Racing’s Los Alamitos Derby (G3) runner-up Parsimony was named champion 3-year-old colt. Bred by Maria Montez Haire out of the Lil E. Tee mare Lil Cora Tee, the Dominus  colt started at least once a month for trainer Doug O’Neill through November in 2019. He made starts at Santa Anita Park, Oaklawn ParkKeenelandLos Alamitos Race Course, and Del Mar, and was sent out in graded stakes four times. He was also second in the Cinema Stakes and finished in the top three in nine of his 16 starts.

Gotta Be Strong, campaigned by Gap View Stables and Jagger, took home the champion 3-year-old filly award. Bred by Scott Naylor out of the Wild Rush mare Gotta Rush, the bay Strong Mandate  filly won or placed in 11 of 14 starts in 2019. Top among her five wins was the New Start Stakes at Penn National, in which she rallied from last to win in the final strides. She also finished third in the Alma North Stakes at Laurel Park.

The Uptowncharlybrown  runner Midtowncharlybrown, bred by Godric out of the Speightstown  mare Torchwood and campaigned by Godrick in partnership with Uptowncharlybrown Stud, was named champion male sprinter. The Ed Coletti Jr. trainee won the Chocolate Town Sprint Stakes at Penn National and followed with a gutsy performance in the Banjo Picker Sprint Stakes.

The champion female sprinter title went to Bronx Beauty. Bred by Blackstone Farm—which was honored as the leading overall breeder of Pennsylvania-breds with earnings of $2,151,160—the daughter of Liaison  and the Rockport Harbor mare Forever Sunshine made six starts in 2019, all in stakes, and landed three wins at three different tracks. She flew home for 2W Stables and trainer Anthony Margotta Jr. in the Penn Ladies Dash Stakes at Penn National, battled to win the Dashing Beauty Stakes at Delaware Park, and proved tough when taking the Regret Stakes at Monmouth Park. She was also third in the Roamin Rachel Stakes at Parx.

Newstome, bred by Equivine Farm, was named champion 2-year-old colt, while the Triple Threat Stables-bred Weed Wacker was named champion 2-year-old filly. Champion steeplechaser was Senior Senator, bred by Charles McGill. The PA-preferred male was Midnightcharly, while the PA-preferred female was Imply. Imply also led the leading breeding fund recipient (horse) category, while Northview Stallion Station was the leading total breeding fund recipient.

The late Jump Start, who was euthanized at age 20 in May of 2019, was the leading stallion.

A lifetime achievement award was presented to the late Bettina Jenney, who died Dec. 22, 2019 at 86 after a battle with cancer.

Champion off-track Thoroughbred was Fairly Obvious, bred by Ghost Ridge Farm.

An award of merit was presented to Touch of Kindness Sanctuary.


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