A total of $712,500 in bonus awards were paid out in 2019 to Virginia breeders courtesy of the Virginia Breeders Fund. A total of 45 different breeders shared in the prize pool which came from 165 state-bred winners who amassed purse earnings of $3,298,412.
The Virginia Breeders fund is generated by 1% of every dollar wagered on live racing and via OTBs and ADW in Virginia. Each year the Virginia Racing Commission approves how the money in the fund is allocated. A large portion of the fund is set aside for payments to breeders of registered Virginia-breds that win races at any race track in North America. There is a $25,000 cap on any single award. In 2019 Breeders awards averaged 22% of each winning purse.
The William Backer Revocable Estate topped the list of bonus earners with $124,335 courtesy of three stakes winners. Out For a Spin won a $25,000 capped award for prevailing in the $300,000, Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. The now 4-year-old filly finished 2019 with $364,610 in purse monies from six starts. Both Tryon Summer and Ferdinanda secured $13,757 awards by winning the Nellie Mae Cox and Brookmeade Stakes respectively at the Colonial Downs summer meet. Bucky’s Pick chipped in with a $9,217 bonus for a $40,000 allowance optional claiming victory at Santa Anita.
Morgan’s Ford Farm was second with $86,800 in awards from 19 winners. They had two stakes champs — Bella Aurora in the Gin Talking at Laurel and River Deep in the Edward P. Evans at Colonial. Both had a purse of $100,000 and the awards were $13,757. Their K P Slickem earned $38,400 in an allowance optional claimer at Del Mar and got a reward of $8,804.
Lazy Lane Farms rode a trio of wins from both Holly Hundy and Lenstar to take third with $72,638 in bonuses. The former won the $100,000 Camptown Stakes in New Kent and earned a $13,757 award while the latter scored allowance wins at Oaklawn in January and again in March and pocketed respective bonus awards of $11,693 and $10,730.
Jim Fitzgerald and Katie Fitzgerald were next with $59,362 from a total of ten wins. They connected with co-breeder Jeff Ackerman for another five, all of which were authored by 5-year-old Graydar gelding, Alphadar. The Fitzgerald’s also bred Meadow Stable Stakes winner Elusive Mischief who earned a $13,757 award. Their Mucho Mas also had a $12,381 bonus payday courtesy of a maiden special weight score at Oaklawn.
Audley Farm Equine had nine victories and bonus winnings of $37,516. Tasting The Stars, a 4-year-old Bodemeister filly, orchestrated three of the nine. The largest bonus came from the Just Jenna Stakes at Monmouth ($10,317) while a pair of wins preceded that at Fair Grounds last winter.
Breeders Nancy Terhune and Ernest Frohboese combined for a four pack of wins including a pair from Embolden, who won the Jamestown Stakes ($13,757) and a maiden special weight ($6,984), both at Colonial Downs.
Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III had a pair of $6,000-plus bonus earning wins among their total of seven. Passion Play earned $6,878 from a maiden special weight win at Colonial while a similar win by Miss Behave at Woodbine brought in $6,643. Mrs. Iselin had another five wins with horses she bred alone.
Sir Rockport’s five wins along with a pair from Greek God and On The Wings Of supplied Larry Johnson with nine of his 11 bonus checks. His $20,788 combined total was eighth best. Quest Realty had eight wins including two each from Drosselmoon, Graceful Request and Stay Out. Rounding out the top ten was Eagle Point Farm who bred M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes winner What The Beep, who returned a $13,757 bonus.
$37,500 in 2019 stallion awards were distributed among four owners. There were a total of 16 winners who earned purse monies of $560,099. Horses sired by Smallwood Farms’ Friend or Foe won 11 of those races, led by Mr. Buff who reached the winners circle five times on the NYRA circuit. The now 6-year-old gelding racked up $23,252 in bonuses from stakes triumphs in the Jazil, Saginaw, Evan Shipman, Empire Classic Handicap and Alex M. Robb Stakes. Largest award from the five came in the $300,000 Empire Classic ($11,599). Chillinwithfriends also scored a win each at Aqueduct and Belmont.
Accountable, sired by Lady Olivia at Northcliff’s Cosa Vera, collected two wins at Great Meadow, good for $2,812 in bonus monies. Susan Halsey Minor’s sire, Fierce Wind, had two offspring win including Makemie Park who prevailed at Colonial on closing weekend. Leanne Hester also had a win with her homebred Storm Struck, whose sire is Gone Clubbing.