Over 200 horsemen and racing enthusiasts were dressed in their “Run for the Roses” finest for the 2019 Washington Annual Awards Dinner and Horsemen Stimulus Auctions on Saturday, February 22, 2020, held at Emerald Downs, Auburn, Washington.
John and Janene Maryanski and Gerald and Gail Schneider’s Baja Sur (Palmer Photography) brought home titles as horse of the year, champion sprinter and champion three-year-old to add to his 2018 state champion juvenile title. Bred by the late John Roche and trained by Blaine Wright, the gelded son of Smiling Tiger─Premo Copy, by Supremo, won three stakes (two at Emerald Downs and one at Golden Gate Fields) and was a close second in another in his four 2019 outings.
In addition, the Maryanski/Schneider partnership was also named the leading owner of Washington-bred earners in 2019 and Wright received one of two special training achievement awards handed out during the festive celebrations. Among Wright’s 2019 accomplishments were his close seconds in two Grade 1 races with juvenile Anneau d’Or, nine stakes wins at Emerald Downs and having his first Preakness Stakes starter.
Sophomore filly honors went to Warlock Stables (Tim Floyd), Kelly Dougan and Ya Killing Me LLC (Stephani Loffredo) raced Alittlelesstalk (Demon Warlock—Trainingat the Bar, by Valid Wager), who is trained by Roddina Barrett. Bred by Warlock Stables, the late Allen Floyd, Dougan, Melvin Hudson and Horseplayers Racing Club (Scott Gruender), Alittlelesstalk won two Emerald Downs stakes and was runner-up in two others, including in her challenge against the males in the Muckleshoot Derby. Alittlelesstalk is one of three stakes winners and four stakes horses from the first four foals out of Trainingat the Bar, who was named 2019 Washington broodmare of the year.
The top older filly or mare award went to One Horse Will Do Corporation (Jody Petz) and Steve Shimizu’s No Talking Back. The five-year-old daughter of Flatter, who hails from Chris Stenslie’s barn, won a trio of Emerald Downs stakes last year. In taking the title, No Talking Back became a fourth generation Washington champion. Her dam Talk to My Lawyer, by Lawyer Ron, won the juvenile filly title in 2011, which came eight years after her dam, Infernal McGoon, by Wekiva Springs, had scored the older filly or mare title. Infernal McGoon is out of 1987 Washington champion two-year-old filly Flame McGoon, by Staff Writer.
2019 older horse or gelding champion Grinder Sparksaglo (Grindstone─Cule Flyer, by Matricule) races for Richard Sena, who bred the seven-time stakes winner along with the late Marvin Lynd. Through his eight-year-old season Grinder Sparksaglo, who is trained by Robbie Baze, has placed in an additional eight stakes, including last year’s Governor’s Stakes at Emerald Downs.
Two-year-old colt or gelding honors were taken by Tawnja Elison’s Unmachable (Macho Uno─Point of Reference, by Benchmark) who placed in a stakes in each of his three starts – led by a victory in the WA Cup Juvenile Colts and Geldings Stakes – for trainer Jack McCartney. The new champion was bred by brothers Jack and Ivor Jones, who also raced his Washington champion dam. Point of Reference’s granddam Run Away State was a multiple state champion for Jones Farm.
Juvenile champion Windy Point (Coast Guard─Windy Sails, by Private Gold) races for her breeders Clemans View Farm (Jean and her son Jeff Harris) and veterinarian Michelle Beaunaux. The Jose Navarro trainee won the WA Cup Juvenile Filly Stakes and was runner-up in two other Emerald Downs stakes last season.
Other horse awards were given to: Atta Boy Roy (leading Washington sire for the second straight year), Lode the Gold (plater of the year) and Brilliant Bird (most improved plater). Also, for an impressive fourth year in a row, owner-rider Christina Klein’s Back to Wine earned the title of top Washington-bred OTTB by points recorded through The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) while being shown in a multitude of equestrian disciplines.
The lauded S. J. Agnew Special Achievement Award was given to Yakima attorney, horseman and former WTBOA President David Thorner.
Nina and Ron Hagen (El Dorado Farms) were Washington’s leading breeder for the fifth time.
Frank Lucarelli earned the second special training achievement award after a season in which he won an Emerald Downs track record 81 races and was the leading trainer at the Auburn oval for the sixth time.
Probably the most emotional tribute of the evening came with the presentation of the WHBPA Willing Heart Award to longtime racetrack veterinarian Gerald Bergsma for his “unabating compassion for horses and horsemen and steadfast dedication to the Washington horse racing industry.”
The WTBOA extends heartfelt thanks the many category sponsors, auction and raffle donors, bidders and buyers for their help and enthusiasm. Thanks also go out to auction chairman Karen Proffitt and her helpers for a job well done.