Dominating the division in Southern California and a tough-as-nails defeat against the older Stopchargingmaria in the Breeders’ Cup was enough for Hronis Racing’s Stellar Wind to be named the Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old filly of 2015.
The champion was bred in Virginia by Peggy Augustus’ Keswick Stables and Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings. She is out of theMalibu Moon mare Evening Star. A $40,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling purchase by Vernan Lee Stables in 2013, Stellar Wind was pinhooked to the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale by Marshall Silverman, agent. There she was a $86,000 buy by Barbara Houck. Stellar Wind made two starts for Houck at 2 and then was sold to Kosta Hronis’ Hronis Racing.
“To our surprise, when we got her out to Southern California, she was better than advertised,” Hronis said. “She ‘wowed’ us right off the bat.”
With trainer John Sadler she advanced quickly, winning the Feb. 28 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) and the April 4 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I). Sent off at 3-1 in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, she toiled near the back of the back before rallying to finish fourth behindLovely Maria, Shook Up, and I’m a Chatterbox.
A little more than a month later she surfaced in Santa Anita‘s Summertime Oaks (gr. II), prevailing by a nose. She prepped for the Breeders’ Cup in Del Mar‘s one-mile Torrey Pines Stakes (gr. III) in which she was an easy winner.
She fared much better in her second foray to Kentucky for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) and she fought hard in the lane but came up a neck shy of collaring the 4-year-old Stopchargingmaria.
Four graded stakes wins and a photo loss in the Breeders’ Cup put her over the top to win the Eclipse, which more often than not has been awarded to a filly based on the East Coast. Stellar Wind joinsBeholder (2013) and Blind Luck (2010) as West Coast-based fillies to bring home the hardware in recent years.
Kosta Hronis accepting the award… It’s an honor and a privilege for the Hronis family to accept this award on behalf of Stellar Wind. We thank all of the voters who had a difficult task in this very competitive division. And because I think very well, I’d like to thank my wife Stephanie for allowing me to live my lifetime dream. … Special thanks to my brother Pete, he couldn’t be here tonight, but I could not, I would not, be able to do this without him. Thanks to David Ingordo who brought us Stellar Wind and brought her to California. Special thanks to Larry Benavidez, John’s assistant trainer. Back in 2010, we decided to get in the horse racing business and we were blessed to get introduced to John Sadler. He does a brilliant job and has a brilliant vision. He not only trains, but he also purchases, he does everything for us.
John Sadler…This means the world to me. I want to thank my family for putting up with my bizarre hours, my staff for working hard every day and I’d especially like to thank Hronis Racing, Pete and Kosta, these are really terrific owners. These are the kind of owners that, when you are down, they lift you up.