Sippin Fire Named 2018 Washington Horse of the Year

    The glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards shown throughout the evening as the 2018 Washington Thoroughbred honorees stepped forward on the “red carpet” to receive their awards. The annual celebration of the best of the best in Washington racing and breeding held on February 23, 2019, at Emerald Downs.

    The crowd of over 250 attendees, many who dressed up for the special occasion in Hollywood glam, applauded the deserving winners as they enjoyed the savory banquet and enthusiastically participated in the live, silent and delectable dessert auctions.

    Capping the night was the crowning of How We Roll #4’s Sippin Fire as Washington horse of the year, champion three-year-old and champion three-year-old colt or gelding. Last summer the son of Harbor the Gold rolled to four consecutive stakes victories at Emerald Downs. He is the third state champion out of Neal and Pam Christopherson and Melodie Bultena and Doak Walker’s stellar broodmare Bahati (by Horse Chestnut [SAf]), joining his full brothers Del Rio Harbor and Couldabenthewhisky. Another full brother topped the 2018 WTBOA Yearling Sale.

    Sippin Fire is trained by Steve Bullock, who was acknowledged with a special racetrack achievement award, not only for his skills with Sippin Fire, but also for conditioning Emerald Downs 2018 champion two-year-old filly Northwest Factor, who took two stakes for How We Roll #4, including the Kentucky-bred’s win in the Gottstein Futurity.

    Northern Californian Scott Herbertson’s Pyscho Sister (by Freud) took the titles as champion older filly or mare and turf horse. Her $122,070 earnings, which she won after Herbertson claimed her in January 2018, also led him to the title of leading owner in Washington-bred earnings.

    Pyscho Sister was bred by Rick and Debbie Pabst, who were named Washington’s leading breeder for the fifth time. The $185,790 earner is the second state champion the Buckley couple have bred from their stakes-winning Cahill Road mare Melba Jewel, following 2017 champion juvenile Elliott Bay. The Pabsts also stand 2018 Washington leading sire Atta Boy Roy at their Blue Ribbon Farm.

    Ed Zenker, Richard Larson and trainer H. R. “Pat” Mullen’s Hit the Beach, also a son of Harbor the Gold, was named champion older horse. Mullens, who just turned 92 on Thursday, was also given an award to acknowledge his consummate training skills as a nonagenarian.

    Hit the Beach’s breeders, Jeffrey and Doris Harwood, who bred the runner out of their stakes-winning Intimam mare Hit a Star, were the recipients of a new award given by the Daily Racing Form to the breeder of the statebred with the highest Beyer Speed Figure of the year, which happened to be the 90 Beyer that Hit the Beach earned when he won the 6 1/2-furlong Pete Pedersen Overnight stakes last September.

    Baja Sur was one of two 2018 champions campaigned by John and Janene Maryanski in partnership with Gerry and Gail Schneider’s Riverbend Farm. The unbeaten juvenile son of Smiling Tiger is the second state champion and third stakes winner produced out of John Roche’s stakes-winning Supremo mare Premo Copy, who was named Washington broodmare of the year for 2018.

    The two Auburn-based couples also race sprint champion Invested Prospect, a daughter of Abraaj and state champion racemare and broodmare No Constraints, by Katowice. Bred by Charles Dunn, Invested Prospect is now a three-time Washington champion.

    The Maryanskis also campaign champion filly Bella Mia, a daughter of Harbor the Gold—Bella Campana, by Slewdledo, bred by Mary Lou and Terry Griffin, who added a champion three-year-old title to her champion two-year-old distaffer honor in 2017.

    Money Inthe Starrs earned the juvenile filly title for owner Mark Dedomenico. The daughter of Abraaj—Our Monstarr, by Demons Begone, was one of two juvenile stakes winners bred by Connie Belshay (from her broodmare band of two), for which Belshay was acknowledged with a special breeder achievement award.

    Influential and dedicated horsewomen Jan Baze (WHBPA/WTBOA Special Achievement Award) and Lanna Allen (WHBPA Willing Hearts Award) were enthusiastically applauded and thanked for their longtime and gracious service to the Washington Thoroughbred community.

    Other award winners of the evening were: Mark Kaufman Media winners Michelle Ludtke of KCPQ TV and Paul Beattie of; jockey Rocco Bowen (special racetrack achievement); Party for One (plater of the year), Fly Far Away (most improved plater); Back to Wine (OTTB of the Year for the third consecutive time); and Bartolo Villa (Backstretch Chapel Faithful Servant of the Year).

    The WTBOA also wants to thanks the many award sponsors and those who both donated and purchased auction items that helped to make this an Academy Award-winning event.