Open Letter to all OTBO members…and those soon to be new Members!
It has been my pleasure to serve as the new Executive Director of the OTBO since October of 2020. I started my first horse in Ohio in 1983 and have watched the program grow and develop into one of the premier racing venues in the United States. We are one of the few states that offer year round racing providing horsemen and horsewomen with the opportunity to achieve financial success in the racing business. Our Ohio Bred Stakes program is second to none in the US offering 40+ stakes and over $3.5 million in total purses.
Horsepeople in Ohio are fortunate to have a strong HBPA, an engaged State Racing Commission, and three excellent race tracks (Thistledown, Belterra, and Mahoning) that are committed to doing all they can to make Ohio racing sustainable and viable for years to come. These people and groups perform many functions both visible and behind the scenes that benefit all of us. I have enjoyed working with them and appreciate the efforts they are making on our behalf.
The OTBO is the specific organization in the state that is dedicated to supporting both the Breeders and the Owners. Our entire Board works very hard to see that both breeders and owners have a chance to be successful as well as providing a forum for their voices to be heard. We hold an annual Mixed Sale (permanently set up now in mid-October) that serves as the premier marketplace for Breeders to sell their young stock. Our annual Stallion Season Auction (permanently set up in early December going forward) offers outstanding values on leading regional sires both in and out of Ohio. In 2020 over 140 horses were offered the quality of which led to our best sale ever. This is the leading money raising event for our not for profit organization and we look forward to continuing to increase the number and quality of the Stallions represented.
In 2021 we are looking at new initiatives to strengthen programs for both breeders and owners in many different areas. We will also be looking at adding benefits that add value to the OTBO membership itself. Please keep checking back on our web site to see what progress we have made and what new opportunities exist.
We will definitely be hosting events for all members at our race tracks in 2021 (Covid permitting). Look for notices on our website, in the racing programs, and in the HBPA offices on track for what, where, and when these will occur. In 2020 we added Breeders awards to the Mahoning Best of Ohio Day and we will look to make this a permanent addition. In 2021, in conjunction with the Jockey Club, we will be supporting a program within Ohio that encourages the retraining of Thoroughbreds into other disciplines upon completion of careers in racing or breeding.
This brings me to my next point – we cannot do this without all of your support. The best way you can show this is to become a member of the OTBO. There is definitely strength in numbers and the more members we have the louder our voices will be heard. I strongly encourage you to download the membership application on our site and join ASAP. Thank you in advance for doing that.
Lastly – please feel free to reach out to me anytime with any ideas, thoughts, or comments you might have. I am always interested to hear what you have to say. You can reach me at 330 356 8350, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the apron at one of our racetracks. (I’ll be the guy in shorts and a t-shirt!)
I am looking forward to meeting and working with each and every one of you in 2021 with a goal of making Ohio Breeding and Racing the Best in the Business!
Happy New Year to you all.
Executive Director, OTBO
Bobby Bricker Memorial Handicap
Grizabella (by Lunarpal out of Chic Cat by Tiger Ridge) closed out her 6-year-old campaign with a decisive victory in the Bobby Bricker Memorial Handicap at Mahoning Valley, crossing the wire a length in front of runner up Mobil Lady.
Shortly after the start in the 2-turn event, jockey Luis Rivera steered Grizabella over to rail to save ground heading into the first turn. Diva Power, as expected, set a reasonable uncontested pace, getting the first half mile in 49 and 1/5th, with favored Edge of Night and her stablemate Ting Tang sitting just in behind the leader. Mobil Lady was out in the 3-path, with stakes veteran Leona’s Reward widest of all. When the group hit the far turn, jockey Luis Rivera still had Grizabella on the rail, awaiting room after navigating around the tiring Ting Tang. He moved the 6yo mare through an opening on the rail in the final furlong, and then drew away to win by an increasing length. Mobil Lady (owned and trained by Shane Meyers) rallied up for second. Edge of Night held 3rd after a long stretch drive over 4th place finisher and Ohio-bred new millionaire Leona’s Reward.
Grizabella, who won her second stakes race in 2020 for Mahoning Valley’s meet leading trainer, Jeff Radosevich, also won the Miss Southern Ohio Stakes over Belterra’s turf course in September. Radosevich knows his way around the stakes conditions in Ohio, as Grizabella was his 7th Ohio stakes score of 2020.
Owned by long-time Ohio owner Michael Annechino, Grizabella ends her 2020 campaign with an overall record of 8 wins, 12 seconds and 10 thirds from 54 career starts. Since coming over to the connections of Annechino and Radosevich in April 2019, Grizabella has made 20 starts, with 5 wins (3 stakes), 6 seconds (3 stakes) and 4 thirds (2 stakes). “Hats off to team Radosevich on keeping Grizabella sharp all year,” said Annechino. “That she won stakes on both turf and dirt is a tribute to her courage and a testament to Jeff’s training,” he added. “In a difficult year for everyone, it was a wonderful early Christmas present that’s for sure!” closed Annechino.
Grizabella is by Lunarpal (now pensioned) out of Chic Cat, a stakes placed earner of over $160K by Tiger Ridge. Bred by Dr. George Sikora of Mapleton Thoroughbred Farm, Grizabella is the only winner thus far out of Chic Cat, with two siblings (a 2yo and 3yo by Mobil) placing in 2020 in Ohio company. Sikora has another ½ sister to Grizabella coming, with a weanling by Mobil born this past April.
Joshua Radosevich Memorial
Larry Smith’s Big Truck (by Birdrun out of Small Secret by Minister’s Wildcat) pulled away in the final 1/16th of a mile after a stretch dual with First Song to earn his first stakes victory in the Joshua Radosevich Memorial Stakes for 2-year-old accredited Ohio-breds. In only his 4th start, Big Truck broke through to gain the stakes win in his first attempt, against a field of competition where many had placed in stakes before.
Big Truck broke within 2 and ½ lengths of the front-running First Song (trained by Tim Hamm and racing under his Blazing Meadows Farm colors), but rider Sonny Leon chose to back off the pace and drop over to the rail rather than chasing wide on the turn. He then drew up alongside First Song in the final furlong, and the two went on to race neck and neck. They appeared to exchange bumps in the lane, not only causing the stewards to take a look at the replay, but also First Song’s rider (Erik Barbaran) to lodge a claim of foul. The stewards did not find enough evidence to change the order of finish, and Big Truck headed to the winner’s circle, with First Song second and Weekend Buzz finishing the trifecta.
Trained by Larry Smith and racing under his Smith’s Red Gate Farm LLC, Big Truck closed out his 2-year-old campaign with a record of 2 wins and 2 seconds from 4 starts with earnings of $73,120. Smith splits his time in the winters between his string in the north at Mahoning Valley and one just south of the Ohio border at Turfway Park. Larry was able to be present to saddle Big Truck for the victory and said after the race; “he jumped up and ran very well…he may as well be the real deal!” and he cannot wait for his 3yo campaign.
Big Truck was bred by Hal Snowden Jr., who was also the breeder of 2 other starters in the Joshua Radosevich Memorial, Run Bubba Run (5th) and You’re My Boy Blue (8th). Snowden, a regular breeder of between 3 to 6 Ohio foals each spring, enjoyed his very first Ohio stakes win with Big Truck. It was even more special given he bred and raced Big Truck’s dam (Small Secret) and was part of her sire’s stud career (Ministers Wild Cat) as well.
The Joshua Radosevich Memorial closed out the Ohio stakes schedule for 2020.
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