The Annual Virginia Thoroughbred Association Championship Awards, at the Virginia Gold Cup

The Virginia Thoroughbred Alliance (VTA) announced the winners of its annual Championship Awards at the Virginia Gold Cup held over the weekend. The awards recognize the top Virginia-bred horses, trainers, and breeders for their achievements in racing over the past year.

2022 2-year-old Virginia Colt Champion Gigante’s connection Hunter Merek with VTA Executive Director Debbie Easter

The VTA presented the Virginia-bred Horse of the Year award to Green Up, a four-year-old filly by Upstart out of the mare Green Punch. Owned by Team Valour International LLC , Green Up has won four of her seven career starts, including a victory in the Cathryn Sophia Stakes at Parx Racing in August 2022 and the Boiling Springs Stakes at Monmouth Park in July 2022.

Green Up in the 2022 Boiling Springs Stakes at Monmouth Park, Photo by Ryan Denver/ Equi-Photo

The 2022 Breeder of the Year award was given to South Gate Farm, and owner Amy Moore, while unfortunately the Kentucky Derby favorite Forte scratched out of the big race In 2022, he won the Hopeful stakes (Gr. 1), Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (Gr. 1), and the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (Gr. 1). In January he was awarded an Eclipse Award as the 2022 Champion Two-Year-Old Colt.

Amy Moore’s Breeder of the year trophy was accepted by her longtime friends Wayne and Susan Chatfield-Taylors

The Trainer of the Year award was given to Susan Cooney After producing her highest earnings year ever in 2021, Susan topped that milestone by about $30,000 in 2022. This is the third time in six years that Susan has been named the Leading Virginia-based trainer. Not only did she top her earnings record from last year, but her win percentage (10%) and her average earnings per start ($4,186) both increased over last year. She was the 7th leading trainer in starts at Colonial Downs and finished 15th in the trainers’ race. Top horses Fionnbharr ($180,942) and Island Philo ($139,390) powered her to the top half of the trainer list at Colonial.

Jill Byrne and the 2022 Viriginia-Based Trainer of the Year, Susan Cooney

In addition, the VTA recognized the top Virginia-bred horses in various categories. The winners of the 2022 VTA Championship Awards are:

  • Virginia-Certified Horse: Leave No Trace, a 3-year-old filly by Outwork, out of Tanquerray, bred by Red Cloak Farm LLC and owned by WellSpring Stables
  • Virginia-Bred Two-Year-Old Cold Champion: Gigante, a colt by Not This Time, out of Summertime Green, bred by Ann Mudge Backer & Smitten Farm and owned by Lapetus Racing & Smitten Farm
  • Virginia-Bred Two-Year-Old Filly Champion: Whichwaze, a filly by Cross Traffic, out of Deherewego, bred by Old Chapel Farm LLC and owned by Tina Casse
  • Virginia-Bred Three-Year-Old Champion: Determined Kingdom, a gelding by Animal Kingdom, out of Filia, bred by Audley Farm Equine LLC  and owned by D Hartman Thoroughbreds and Kingdom Bloodstock INC
  • Virginia-Bred Older Horse Champion: Repo Rocks, a five-year-old gelding by Tapiture, out of Hawaiian Love, bred by Mrs. C Oliver Iselin III and owned by Double B Racing Stables
  • Virginia-Bred Turf Horse: Largent, a seven-year-old gelding by Into Mischief , out of Life in Seattle, bred by Lazy Lane Farms LLC and owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC
  • Virginia-Bred Turf Mare Champion: Chambeau, is a six-year-old mare by Karakontie (JPN), out of If Not For Lust, bred and owned by Sam E. English II
  • Virginia-Owned Champion: True Valour (IRE), a nine-year-old horse by Kodiac (GB), out of Sutton Veny (IRE), bred by Mr. P. O’Rourke and owned by R. Larry Johnson
The scene at the finish line of the last race of the Virginia Gold Cup

We are thrilled to recognize the outstanding achievements of Virginia-bred horses and breeders at this year’s Virginia Gold Cup, and we congratulate all the winners and look forward to another exciting year of Virginia racing. For more information about the Virginia Thoroughbred Alliance, visit