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Washington Champions of 2023

Slew's Tiz Whiz, winning the Governor's Stakes at Emerald Downs. Wayne Nagai Photo.

Slew’s Tiz Whiz Earns Second
Horse of the Year Title

A complete list of winners and photos follow below

Slew’s Crew Racing’s multiple stakes winner Slew’s Tiz Whiz was named Washington’s top racehorse for the second year in a row at the 2023 Washington Thoroughbred Annual Awards dinner, held Saturday, February 24 at Emerald Downs.

A crowd of over 200 Thoroughbred horsemen and fans gathered for a festive and celebratory evening which also featured spirited live and dessert auctions, a silent auction and a raffle where the top prize was a big screen television.

In addition, Slew’s Tiz Whiz, a now six-year-old gelding by Slew’s Tiznow bred by the late Karl Krieg, earned titles of Champion Sprinter and Handicap Horse. He is trained by Tom Wenzel.

Earning her third state title was Petra Lewin (Rainbow Meadows Farm) and trainer Charles Essex’s homebred star Blazingbellablu. Crowned Washington Horse of Year as a three-year-old in 2021, the now six-year-old daughter of Grazen has earned Champion Older Filly or Mare titles in 2022 and 2023.

Gold Coast Racing III’s Freightline was named Champion Two-year-old Colt or Gelding and overall champion juvenile runner. The son of Coast Guard out of 2009 Washington champion juvenile filly Knight Raider was bred by Nina Hagen and Holly Sturgeon and is trained by Steve Bullock.

Jeff Cissell’s Special Diva earned the juvenile filly title. The daughter of Misremembered was bred in partnership by Connie Belshay and Mel and Lori Mellick. She was one of two 2023 state champions trained by Vince Gibson.

Three-year-old honors were divided between champion gelding Company’s Dream, a son of Jersey Town also trained by Gibson, owned by Gary and Deborah Lusk and bred by Joseph DiPietro; and 2022 Washington Two-year-old Filly Champion Miss Dynamic, a daughter of Dynamic Impact who races for her owner/breeder Antonio Mendoza and is trained by Rigoberto Velasquez.

2020 Horse of the Year Bodenheimer earned his second Champion Turf Horse title for Kristin Boice and Marylou Holden. The now six-year-old Atta Boy Roy gelding was bred by Larry Romaine and is trained by Valorie Lund, who also conditioned his sire Atta Boy Roy to a trio of Washington champion titles.

Plater of the Year honors went to California-based Angela M. Aquino’s Holyjazz with Gary Alsquith and America’s Pastime Stables’ My Harbors Dream being named Most Improved Plater after finishing his racing career in New York and now being turned out before starting his second career as an Off-The-Track Thoroughbred (OTTB).

Nowlookatme, who competes under the name of Skyloh, was named the top OTTB by points earned through The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.). Ridden and owned by 16-year-old Emily Bigham, the 15-year-old Delineator gelding was bred by Jerry and Peggy Woods. Bigham, who has owned Skyloh for just over a year, competes in the junior  jumpers division.

Special Racetrack Achievement Awards were given to rider Jose Zunino, trainer Justin Evans and Emerald Downs race starter Mark Gibson.

Also acknowledged with a Special Recognition Award were Wes Petree and Cy Labar, who have ably served in the Emerald Downs Television Department for over 20 years.

The Mark Kaufman Media Award went to retiring Daily Racing Form correspondent Randy Goulding.

For the third year in a row. Blue Ribbon Farm’s Conveyance was named Sire of the Year, while Ron and Nina Hagen’s Moscow Symphony, a first and second generation multiple stakes producer, was named Broodmare of the Year.

The Hagens (El Dorado Farms) were also named Breeders  of the Year for the seventh time and John Parker, who was the state’s TOBA Award winner in 2022 and has led the Emerald Downs’ owner standings for six years (by wins), was honored as Owner of the Year.

Parker proved very competitive in all the evening auctions, including taking back the opportunity – in a heated battle with Debbie Pabst – to regain “ownership” of the Super Table for next year’s celebratory banquet.

Also on the evening’s agenda was the announcement of the 2024 Washington Racing Hall of Fame inductees. This year’s inductees are: Flag de Lune (Filly or Mare), Basil Frazier (Jockey), Jon White (Media) and Junior Coffey (Lifetime Achievement). The induction ceremonies will be held next August at Emerald Downs.

The 2023 Stallion Season Auction drawings for those seasons generously donated (and purchased) were won by Mo Forza (Rancho San Miguel, California) and Tapwrit (Gainesway Farm, Kentucky).

Mention must also be made of Zabracadabra’s accomplishments last year, The now seven-year-old Harbor the Gold gelding, who races on the East Coast for Frank Sample and was among the older horse finalists, was Washington-bred top earner with $160,150 of his $367,348 total earned in 2023. The WTBOA Sales graduate, who was bred in partnership by Ken Miles and Sheridan Jones, also earned the highest Beyer figure (100) of any Washington-bred runner in 2023.

A huge thank you and kudos go to all the many category sponsors, those who donated and bid for items in the raffles and auctions, and all the many others who worked to make this celebration of Washington horse racing so successful.

And again, congratulations to all the evening’s winners and nominees.

Richard Wright Memorial
2023 Horse of the Year

Wayne Nagai Photo

Scatter Creek Training Center
2023 Champion Older Horse or Gelding

Duane Weber Insurance 2023 Champion Sprinter

(5YO G., Slew’s Tiznow—Ros’s Girl, by Rosberg)
Owner: Slew’s Crew Racing (Roy & Tammy Brewer,
Terry & Mary Lou Griffin, Jodee Snyder
and Tom & Melissa Wenzel)
Breeder: Karl Krieg (K D Thoroughbreds)
Trainer: Tom Wenzel
2023 Race Record  4 2-1-1  $83,000
Stakes: Governor’s S. (EmD), Muckleshoot Tribal Classic S.-R, 2nd Budweiser S. (EmD).

Wayne Nagai Photo

Castlegate Farm 2023 Champion Older Filly or Mare
(5YO,  Grazen—Bellomesa, by Sky Mesa)
Owners and breeders: Rainbow Meadows Farm (Petra Lewin) & Charles Essex
Trainer: Charles Essex
2023 Race Record  6 2-2-1  $82,950
Stakes: WA Cup Filly and Mare S.-R (EmD); 2nd Hastings S. (EmD).

Wayne Nagai Photo

Blue Ribbon Farm 2023 Champion Turf Horse
(5YO G. Atta Boy Roy—Beautiful Daniele, by A. P. Indy)
Owners: Kristin Boice & Marylou Holden
Breeder: Larry Romaine
Trainer: Valorie Lund
2023 Turf Record  7 4-1-0  $87,171
WTBOA Sale Graduate

Wayne Nagai Photo

Clay Ward Agency LLC
2023 Champion Three-year-old Colt or Gelding
(G., Jersey Town—Double Dip, by French Envoy)
Owner: Lusk Racing (Gary & Deborah Lusk)
Breeder: Joseph DiPietro (DiPietro Thoroughbreds)
Trainer: Vince Gibson
2023 Race Record  5 3-0-1  $45,825
Stakes: 3rd Auburn S. (EmD).
WTBOA Sale Graduate

Wayne Nagai Photo

Pegasus Training & Rehabilitation
2023 Champion Three-year-old Filly
(Dynamic Impact—Miss Salome, by Harbor the Gold)
Owner and breeder: Antonio C. Mendoza
Trainer: Rigoberto Velasquez
2023 Record  5 1-2-0  $31,220
Stakes: 2nd Seattle S. (EmD).

Wayne Nagai Photo

Freight NW
2023 Champion Two-year-old
Freight NW 2023
Champion Two-year-old Colt or Gelding
(C., Coast Guard—Knight Raider, by Tribunal)
Owner: Gold Coast Racing III (Nina & Ron Hagen,
David Israel, Joe Withee, Steve Bullock, Steve Opacich,
Dick Clark and Ron Bohlman)
Breeders: Nina M. Hagen (El Dorado Farms) & Holly Sturgeon
Trainer: Steve Bullock
2023 Race Record  4 2-1-1  $64,940
Stakes: WTBOA Lads S. (EmD), 2nd King County Express S. (EmD).
WTBOA Sale Graduate

Wayne Nagai Photo

Freight NW 2023 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly
(Misremembered—Special Holiday, by Private Gold)
Owner: Jeff Cissell
Breeders: Connie Belshay (Only Me Thoroughbreds) and
Mel & Lori Mellick (Sporting Green Thoroughbreds)
Trainer: Vince Gibson
2023 Race Record  4 2-0-0  $38,780
Stakes: WA Cup Juvenile Filly S.-R (EmD).
WTBOA Sale Graduate

Wayne Nagai Photo

K-V Racing 2023 Plater of the Year
(5YO, G., Abraaj—Holy Mama, by Holy Bull)
Owner and trainer: Angela M. Aquino
Breeder: Horseplayers Racing Club (Scott & Debra Gruender)
2023 Race Record  20 5-3-5  $38,410

Wayne Nagai Photo

K-V Racing 2023 Most Improved Plater
(5YO, G., Harbor the Gold—Bamboo Dream, by Finality)
Owners: Gary Alsquith and
America’s Pastime Stables (Brian Spagnola)
Breeder: Danielle Auger
Trainer: Rick E. Dutrow Jr.
2023 Race Record  12 4-1-2  $171,649
Also raced for Michael McMillan, trainer Val Brinker Hoff;
and owner/trainer David Jacobson

Wayne Nagai Photo

El Dorado Farms 2023 Leading Sire Award
(2007, Indian Charlie—Emptythetill, by Holy Bull)
Deceased 2023
Stood property of Mr. & Mrs. Frederick L. Pabst
at Blue Ribbon Farm
2023 Earnings of $968,654

Wayne Nagai Photo

Griffin Place 2023 Broodmare of the Year
(1998, Moscow Ballet—Margaret Booth, by Well Decorated)
Owned by El Dorado Farms LLC (Nina & Ron Hagen)
Mare deceased. Unraced.
Half-sister to SP Lucky C. H. and SP Baccarat, 13 Washington-bred foals, 11 starters, 10 winners, 2 SWs – IRENE’S BONUS BABY ($72,709) & GRACE BAY ($55,338), 2 SP Russian ($32,601) & Moscow Lady ($44,361, to 2023). Total progeny wins & earnings: 33 wins, $457,663. Granddam of 30 known foals of racing age. 21 Washington-bred winners, 1 Washington champion – DUTTON (SW, $77,632 & $39,881 mixed earnings), & 4 other SWs: Most Improved Plater EXIT SIXTY SLEW ($111.293), CENTURY UNION ($71,405), FOR YOU ONLY ($82.873) & SHOW ME THE MINTS ($26,965); & 3 SP Private Boss ($128,709), Bullet Drill ($75,126) & Coastal Girl (at 2, 2023 $16,760).

Wayne Nagai Photo

One Horse Will Do Corporation
2023 Top Washington-bred OTTB
(show name Skyloh)
Owner and Rider: Emily Bingham
Breeders: Jerry D. & Peggy F. Woods
By points recorded through The Jockey Club
Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) Performance Awards
(total points unavailable as of 2/20/24).

Freight NW 2023 Special Training Achievement Award
For excellence as a trainer, where in his first season at Emerald Downs, he led by wins with 49 (28%) and money ($558,850) and was also the meet’s leading owner by wins and earnings.

Wayne Nagai Photo

John & Joyce Loftus
2023 Special Riding Achievement Award
For his outstanding Emerald Downs season where he was the co-leader by stakes wins & as the regular rider of now two-time Emerald Downs Horse of the Meet Slew’s Tiz Whiz.

Wayne Nagai Photo

Clemans View Farm
2023 Special Racetrack Achievement Award
For a tenure of outstanding judgment and valued leadership as the official starter at Emerald Downs, where he has displayed a keen understanding of equine temperament &  a knowledge of the rules & regulations of racing.

Wayne Nagai Photo

Studio SixEight 2023 Special Recognition Award
To Wes Petree and Cy Labar for over 20 years of excellence in telecast coverage, not only of Emerald Downs racing, but for the many special industry projects that they have worked on with diligence & care, including the Washington Annual Awards banquet.

Wayne Nagai Photo

2023 Mark Kaufman Media Award
Daily Racing Form Correspondent & Handicapper
In recognition of his decades of service – in multiple positions –
in the Pacific Northwest Thoroughbred racing industry,
including outstanding press coverage of Emerald Downs in the Daily Racing Form.

Rainbow Meadows Farm & Van Dorm Realty Inc.
2023 Leading Breeder
(El Dorado Farms LLC)
Awarded on the basis of 2023 Washington-bred earnings of $401,295.

Wayne Nagai Photo

NTRA 2023 Leading Owner
Awarded on the basis of 2023 Washington-bred earnings of $217,514.

2023 WTBOA Sales Accomplishments

Highest Priced WTBOA-sold Yearling Colt/Gelding in 2023
Consigned by El Dorado Farms LLC (Nina & Ron Hagen)
Purchased by SmilingTigerStallion.com for $55,000

Highest Priced WTBOA-sold Yearling Filly in 2023
Consigned by Critter Creek Farm, agent
for Carnation Racing Stables (Robin Mason)
Purchased by SmilingTigerStallion.com for $32,000

Best WTBOA-sold Two-year-old Performer in 2023
(C., Midshipman—Bella Mia, by Harbor the Gold)
Owners: Paradise Farms Corp. (Peter Proscia), David Staudacher, Kevin Haynes & John Huber
Breeders: Mr. & Mrs. William T. Griffin (Griffin Place) (KY)
Trainer: Michael J. Maker
2023 Race Record  4 2-2-0  $182,000
Stakes: Skidmore S. (Sar); 2nd Tremont S. (Bel), Tyro S. (Mth).

Best WTBOA-sold Three-year-old Performer in 2023
(F., Lea—Courting Delilah, by Flower Alley)
Owner: Primo Posto Racing (Michael Pagliarini)
Breeder: Dr. Rodney Orr (KY)
Trainer: Kay Penney Cooper
2023 Race Record  5 1-1-1  $28,450
Stakes: 2nd Washington Oaks (EmD).

 Best WTBOA-sold Older Performer in 2023
(6YO, G., Harbor the Gold—Athina Lee, by English Channel)
Owner: Frank Sample
Breeders: Ken W. Miles & Sheridan Jones
Trainer: Gary Capuano
2023 Race Record  7 3-2-0  $160,150