Not so long ago we read an old editorial where a well-known racehorse trainer publicly stated that anybody who claimed to be able to spot a good racehorse by looking at them as a yearling should be locked up…We surmise he never met Bobby Powell.

Powell has an extraordinary resume, and he can add this feather to his cap. A native Virginian, Powell is a life-long horseman, who has achieved extraordinary success in the show ring, the hunt field and the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry. From early childhood, Powell showed ponies and horses and rode to hounds in the employ of such legendary horsemen and women as Liz Whitney, Dr. and Mrs. A. C. Randolph, and August Busch.

In the 1950’s, Powell moved into the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry, adding to his formidable skills and knowledge under contract to such powerhouses as L. Clay Camp, Lee Eaton, and John Finney of Fasig-Tipton. Most recently Powell managed the Greenberg’s Rutledge Farm, where Rutledge-bred Colonial Affair sold at Saratoga and went on to multiple Grade I wins.  Powell also purchased graded stakes winner Researcher at the MARE Center Yearling Sale for $5,000.

In 2009, Powell judged the Virginia Breeders Fund Yearling Futurity and he much preferred the fillies to the colts.  When the first and second place winners from each class were brought back for the Championship Class, Powell dubbed the two top fillies the Best In Show. 

The Lazy Lane-bred filly, then owned by Pug and Susie Hart, now named Play With Me was pinned the Grand Champ and Susan Cooney’s Embarr was the Reserve Grand Champion.

Part of the allure of the VBF Yearling Futurity is the back-end payout of $5,000 which is paid to the top four entries using their earnings through their sophomore racing seasons.

Turns out, Powell knew exactly what he was looking at as the Grand Champion and the Reserve Grand Champion finished one-two in money won at the end of their three-year-old campaigns.

Play With Me made four starts and never finished out of the money at two and three and had total earning of $46,855, just $2,041 more than Embarr who checked in with $44,814.

Play With Me was sold as a yearling at the Keeneland fall sale for $50,000 and raced for NYKY Thoroughbred Stables. Under the guidance of Kiaran McLaughlin, the filly by Grand Slam, out of Sehra by Silver Hawk, broker her maiden at Delaware after running second in her debut at the same track at age two. In December of her freshman campaign, she was second in the $60,000 Only Queens Stake at Aqueduct prior to her final career start – a third place finish at Gulfstream Park as a three-year-old.

Cooney’s Embarr, by Royal Academy, out of In Too Deep by The Deep (IRE), looks to have gotten the last laugh. Although a bit behind the Grand Champion in both the show ring and as a sophomore, Embarr has added another $70,320 to her payroll as a four-year-old and now has earnings of $115,004 for her breeder/owner/trainer.  She has won the $60,000 Brookmeade Stakes at Colonial Downs two years running.
The other two that rounded out the top four from the 2009 Futurity?  Both fillies as well.

Go Allie a filly by Eavesdropper, out of Alagaroo by Sultry Song, bred by Lady Olivia at North Cliff, LLC was fifth in the filly class and earned $25,155 through year end 2011.

Unplaced in the class, Somone Saweet, by Cactus Ridge, out of Power of Thunder by Thunder Gulch, won $23,893 through year end 2011.  Somone Saweet was bred by Carla Morgan.

Well done, Mr. Powell.