Nearly $300,000 in bonus monies was awarded to owners of Virginia-bred and sired horses in 2020 courtesy of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association’s (VTA) Mid-Atlantic Incentive program. A total of 57 owners, whose horses won at tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region, shared $299,574.75.
The initiative is just one of three offered annually by the VTA.Almost $1.8 million was awarded in the popular Certified Residency program while another $1 million was doled out to breeders in the Commonwealth via the Virginia Breeders Fund program.
“These are exciting times to do business in Virginia,” said VTA Executive Director Debbie Easter. “Even though Colonial Downs will offer seven weeks of racing this summer, these three incentive programs offer year-round bonus opportunities for breeders and owners. The 2020 monies awarded are all very positive developments. Historical horse racing revenues have just started kicking in so there is lots of growth still to come. We anticipate awarding $3.1 million this year in the Certified program alone. Doing business in Virginia really pays right now.”
Top award of $30,000 went to Chester & Mary Broman, whose Virginia-sired homebred Mr. Buff — with career earnings of $1,295,786 — had a trio of stakes victories in 2020. The 7-year-old New York-bred prevailed in the Empire Classic Handicap, Haynesfield and Jazil Stakes, all at Aqueduct or Belmont. The 7-year-old gelding is by Friend of Foe, who stands at Robin Mellen’s Smallwood Farm in Crozet. Mr. Buff kept right on winning as 2021 kicked off with a dominant seven-length triumph in the Jazil again, on January 23.
Louis Ulman and Neil Glasser’s Kenny Had a Notion’s three wins translated into a $16,000 reward, second among the 57 recipient owners. The 3-year-old Great Notion gelding had victories in a maiden special weight at Delaware and in the Maryland Million Nursery and Jamestown Stakes at Laurel. Bred by Althea Richards, Kenny Had a Notion started out the new year — just like Mr. Buff — with a stakes win in the Spectacular Bid Stakes.
Sir Rockport’s six wins, as an 8-year-old, provided the Sola Dei Gloria Stable with $14,100 in reward monies. The ageless Rockport Harbor gelding won four at Penn National and one each at Monmouth and Laurel. Bred by Legacy Farm and Larry Johnson, Sir Rockport also kicked off 2021 with a victory — an impressive four length, gate-to-wire effort at Penn National. That was his 12th win in just over 24 months.
New Farm in Marlton, New Jersey had two nice wins with their 4-year-old Summer Front gelding, Reconvene, which triggered a $13,762 bonus. Both victories came at Monmouth and were maiden special weight and allowance scores. Reconvene was bred by Lazy Lane Farms.
Rounding out the top five was Gillian Gordon-Moore and a trio of co-owners who earned $11,835 in awards courtesy of Great Camanoe’s two wins last year. The 4-year-old Tonalist gelding, bred by Corner Farm and Patrick Lawley Wakelin, won a maiden special weight at Delaware and an allowance at Laurel.
Paul Hirsimaki’s 8-year-old gelding, Divine Interventio, earned over $62,000 in purse monies and a $9,832 incentive bonus last year from three claiming wins at Laurel. The son of Malibu Moon was bred by the William Backer Revocable Estate. His career bankroll of $376,000 has come from 30 “top three” finishes.
Michael Overfelt’s Goodluckchuck had a pair of claiming wins at Laurel which spearheaded $9,712 in bonus earnings. The 5-year-old Big Picture gelding was bred by Heidi Overfelt and ushered in the new year with a wire-to-wire allowance victory at Charles Town at 16-1 odds.
My Meadowview Farms was 8th in bonus monies with $9,625 courtesy of Lenstar’s win in a $70,000 allowance optional claimer at Belmont. The 7-year-old Shackleford gelding is trained by Nick Zito and was bred by Lazy Lane Farms.
Reiley McDonald’s Passion Play was best in a $66,178 allowance at Delaware Park, which led to a $9,450 reward. The 5-year-old Hold Me back gelding was bred by Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III.
Finishing out the top ten in bonus awards is eFive Racing Thoroughbreds, whose Tan and Tight prevailed in a maiden special weight at Aqueduct last January. The 5-year-old Uncle Mo mare was bred by Jim and Katie FitzGerald. She followed up that success with runner-ups in a Monmouth allowance and the Camptown Stakes at Colonial Downs.
For specific details on any of the VTA’s incentive programs, visit vabred.org.