Pennsylvania-bred Mixed Up earned the Eclipse Award as the nation’s top steeplechaser, becoming Maryland sire Carnivalay’s first champion. In his 10-year-old season, Mixed Up won two Grade 1 stakes, the A.P. Smithwick Memorial and Colonial Cup, and led all jumpers in earnings. Co-bred by his owner William L. Pape and trainer Jonathan E. Sheppard, Mixed Up could alternately “delight and madden” his connections with his antics. It was the 11th steeplechase Eclipse Award for a Sheppard-trained runner.
- After a decade of huge numbers – 4,130 races won (and more than 17,775 starts), trainer Scott Lake’s operation was taking on a new look. Ranked sixth on the all-time wins list, just behind Steve Asmussen, Lake had peaked with 287 horses in training in 2007. The 44-year-old’s operation was more manageable with 70 horses at two tracks: Philadelphia Park and Delaware Park. He reflected on the changes with writer Sean Clancy: “You’re just doing your job. Then the next thing you know, it grows into this mind-boggling thing.” Lake won 1,282 races over the next 10 years and became the sixth trainer with 6,000 wins, reaching the milestone last April at Parx with first-time starter I’m the Talent.
- Richard’s Kid was named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year, the sixth time a horse bred by Robert E. Meyerhoff was awarded the highest honor (following two-time winner Broad Brush, Valley Crossing, Concern and Include). The top Maryland-bred earner of 2009, Richard’s Kid amassed $732,840 in a year highlighted by a Pacific Classic-G1 win. The previous two Maryland-bred Horses of the Year added to their laurels: Heros Reward (2007), earned his seventh state-bred title when named champion turf runner for a third year in a row; and Good Night Shirt (2008) was champion steeplechaser for a fourth time. Also earning a championship was For Royalty, a daughter of Not For Love and Taft Lil Queen bred by Charles and Cynthia McGinnes. She was the fourth juvenile state-bred champion for the couple in the 2000s, joining fillies Touch Love and Ask the Moon, and half-brother El Viento.
- Edward Evans’ Virginia homebred Quality Road kicked off his 4-year-old season by pushing his career earnings over the $1 million mark with two wins at Gulfstream – the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope in January and Grade 1 Donn in February, the latter in track record time.
- Hal C.B. Clagett, a distinguished member of Maryland’s Thoroughbred industry for nearly 60 years, and three-term president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Assocation, died at age 93. His most enduring contribution to the state’s industry was his role in authoring the legislation that created the Maryland-bred Fund in 1962, the first breeding incentive program of its kind in the nation. Clagett also bred and raised five Maryland-bred champions, including millionaire Little Bold John.
- Not For Love, standing at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, Md., continued his reign as the leading sire outside of Kentucky for the seventh year in a row. Topping $6 million in progeny earnings for the second consecutive season, Not For Love was represented by 214 starters, 125 winners, 16 stakes winners, and the earners of $6,117,580.