Wednesday, 16 January 2013

AQHA Racing Championship Titles Announced

The AQHA Racing Championship Awards were held tonight at Heritage Place in Oklahoma City. Quarter Horse Racing's best were recognized for the racing triumphs that made 2012 a great year.
     There weren't many big surprise winners, but it was a good way to go back and remember some of the great races of the year. A few of my personal favorite horses were recognized tonight, and I'm going to take a stroll down the memory lane of 2012 Quarter Horse Racing.

Distance Champion: All About Larry
All About Larry in his track record setting Lone Star  Distance Challenge
He may not quite be Gone to the Mountain, but All About Larry was dominate in the 870 yards division this year. He won 6 of 8 starts, ending the year with a romp in the Red Cell Distance Challenge Championship at Prairie Meadows. He set back to back track records in his final two starts of the year, winning the Lone Star Distance Challenge by 9 lengths in 44.206 and the Red Cell Distance Challenge Championship in 44.581. He was also only 0.165 short of setting the track record for 1000 yards at Turf Paradise back in January. All in all, All About Larry was a fun horse to follow, and I'm looking forward to his 6 year old campaign.

Aged Stallion Champion: Prospect to the Top
Prospect to the Top wins the Zia Park Quarter Horse Championship
Prospect to the Top only raced 5 times this year, beginning his campaign in August, but he showed his class. He secured 3 victories, 2 of which were Grade Is. In the Grade I Zia Park Quarter Horse Championship, he was an impressive 1 3/4 length winner in a field full of classy runners. He re-asserted his dominance in the Grade I Championship at Sunland Park, winning by 1 1/2 lengths, and bumping his 2012 earnings to $275,500. Not bad for a horse who raced 5 times, and 1 of his 3 wins was in the $40,000 All American Gold Cup, not exactly a big purse. All in all he showed that he's one of the classiest older runners right now and should have a great 2013 campaign, assuming he's not retired to stud.

Canadian Champion: Zoomin After Six
Zoomin After Six wins the Maple Leaf Derby at Ajax Downs
Even though Ajax Downs, or the Alberta tracks for that matter, isn't exactly the great quality racing, I'm a Canadian and I have to give some love to the Canadian Champion. Zoomin After Six won 6 of his 8 starts this year, winning 2 of Ajax's Derby races, the $59,200 Maple Leaf Derby and the $60,000 Ontario Bred Derby. He was also only beaten a neck in $95,400 All Candian Derby. Sure, he's nowhere near a horse like Ochoa on the scale of 3 year olds, but he was a force to be reckoned with at Ajax, and as a 'patriot,' I had to talk about him here.

Aged Champion: Rylees Boy
Rylees Boy rallies to grab the Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos
He may not have gotten World Champion, but Rylees Boy is the Champion to me. This is his 2nd consecutive Aged Champion title, and he definitely deserved it. He won 4 of 7 starts this year, including a 2 Grade Is and a Grade II. He ended the year with wins in the 2 biggest Invitationals of the year, the Grade I Bank of America Challenge Championship at Prairie Meadows, and then came back to take the $750,000 Grade I Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos. He's a monster at the classic distance of 440 yards, earned over $600,000 in 2012, and he really showed his class this year, proving two years in a row that he is the force to be reckoned with among older runners.

World Champion: One Dashing Eagle
World Champion One Dashing Eagle in his All American Futurity victory
 I'm a little sad about the retirement of this monster. One Dashing Eagle was a superstar, only being defeated in his Maiden debut, and winning 3 Grade Is, the Ed Burke Million Futurity & Golden State Million Futurity at Los Alamitos, and most importantly the $2.4 million All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. You don't see many 2 year olds earn over $2 million, and especially when 3 of their victories were in trial races worth $3,500 or $4,000. Not only did he win the races, but he won them in fast times, and he won them dominantly. There was no stopping him, he broke fast and just cruised. Everybody who followed this horse was looking forward to his 3 year old campaign, I was especially anticipating him running in the All American Derby. But the racing career for this freak is over, and it's time for him to move on to stud. Maybe one day we'll see another monster by this tremendous horse, but one thing's for sure; One Dashing Eagle will be a name that will be remembered fondly by Quarter Horse fans everywhere.

Complete list of winners
One Dashing Eagle: World Champion, Champion 2 year old, Champion 2 year old colt
PJ Chick in Black: Champion 2 year old filly
El Duero: Champion 2 year old gelding
Ochoa: Champion 3 year old, Champion 3 year old gelding
Hez Our Secret: Champion 3 year old colt
Flame N Flash: Champion 3 year old filly
Rylees Boy: Champion Aged Horse, Champion Aged Gelding
Prospect to the Top: Champion Aged Stallion
Fredaville: Champion Aged Mare
All About Larry, Champion Distance Horse
Zoomin After Six: Champion Canadian Horse
SJ Banko Aguerrido: Champion Mexican Horse
Dash Glory Ease: Champion South American Horse
Jose and Gustavo De La Torre & San Gregorio Racing Stable: Champion Owner
Allred Bros.: Champion Breeder
Paul C. Jones: Champion Trainer
G. R. Carter Jr.: Champion Jockey

Congratulations to all the winners for a great 2012, and good luck to every horse, trainer, owner, breeder, jockey, and bettor in 2013!

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