BALTIMORE, Md.--Crabcakes, trained by Bernie Houghton, won both the Champion 3-year-old Filly and the Champion Sprinter titles in Maryland's inaugural Renaissance Awards on Monday evening, Feb. 12, at the Sagamore Pendry hotel in Baltimore.
Crabcakes won two stakes at Laurel, the Miss Disco Stakes on Aug. 19 and the Maryland Million Distaff Handicap on Oct. 21, and she placed second in two others, the Wide Country Stakes at Laurel on Feb. 18 and the Alma North Stakes on June 17.
Crabcakes, by Great Notion out of Aunt Elaine, by Charismatic, has started 11 times with six wins, three seconds and one third, including also winning the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes as a 2-year-old.
Crabcakes was bred by the late Mrs. Edward (Binnie) Houghton's Buckingham Farm and Houghton left to her present owners, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Chatfield Taylor's Morgan's Ford Farm.
"We've had her since she was a yearling," said Bernie Houghton. "She was foaled at (Mr. & Mrs. Charles McGinnes's) Thornmar Farm, and then we got her as a yearling."
HOUGHTON WAS referring to his parents' Ronnie and Betsy Houghton's Sylmar Farm in Christiana, Pa., which is where Crabcakes was broken as a yearling and was galloped until she was ready to be sent to Bernie at Penn National.
"When she came to Penn National, we knew right off the bat that she was fast," said Bernie.
"She is very nice to do anything with," said Bernie. "She's at the farm now, I gave her a break this winter, but she's back in training and is coming back to me in a couple of weeks."
Crabcakes is going to run as a 4-year-old.
"She'll stay in Maryland for racing," said Bernie. There ar ea few stakes there that are right for her, but I haven't made any definite plans for when she'll start or which stakes we'll aim for. She likes it down in Maryland."
"The awards dinner was very nice," said Bernie. "They know how to do things right down there. She was also up for Horse of the Year, but Graham Motion's colt won that."
MOTION saddled Skeedattle Associates’ Just Howard to win the G3 Commonwealth Derby at Laurel Park as part of a four-race win streak over the summer of 2017.
Just Howard was Maryland-bred Horse of the Year, champion 3-year-old male and champion turf horse.
The inaugural Renaissance Awards were a cooperative effort between the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Jockey Club and were created to recognize excellence in thoroughbred racing and breeding in Maryland in 2017.
Just Howard, a son of champion English Channel, didn’t break his maiden until his sixth career start, a maiden special weight on the turf at Pimlico last May, but after he finally figured out how to win he just kept on doing it.
He returned in July in stakes company, winning the Caveat over the Laurel Park turf as the even-money favorite.
One month later, he added the Find Stakes over older state-bred rivals.
His final win of the season was his biggest, as he set a course record while pulling away in the Commonwealth Derby, getting a mile and an eighth on the turf in 1:45.81.
Bred by the late Howard Bender, who was named 2017 Maryland Breeder of the Year, Just Howard was foaled at Glade Valley Farms in Frederick, Md.
The third foal for the Alphabet Soup mare Aruban Sandwich, he descends from Sondra and Howard Bender’s famed foundation mare Foufa, the dam of five stakes winners, including graded turf winner Foufa’s Warrior.
Skeedattle Associates, a Clarksville, Md.-based three-person partnership, purchased Just Howard as a yearling for $37,000 at Keeneland September out of the dispersal of Bender yearlings and named him in honor of the breeder, said Robert “Willie” White, spokesman for Skeedattle and current president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.
ALSO PRESENTED were the annual breeder, stallion and broodmare of the year awards.
In addition to Bender’s award, Northview Stallion Station’s Great Notion earned his second consecutive stallion title, and Robert T. Manfuso and Katharine M. Voss’ Parlez, the dam of four stakes horses including millionaire International Star, was honored as broodmare.
The champion 2-year-old male, Whirlin Curlin, a chestnut gelding by Curlin out of Lexington Girl, by Storm Cat, was bred and is owned by Marathon Farms Inc., and trained by Gary Capuano.
The champion 2-year-old filly, Limited View. a bay filly by Freedom Chil out of Loves to Glance, by Not For Love. was bred by Barbara G. Smith, is owned by John E. Salzman Jr., Fred Wasserloos and George Greenwalt, and is trained by John E. Salzman Jr.
The champion older male, Struth. a 5-year-old chestnut gelding by Curlin out of Star Number, by Polish Numbers, was bred by Fitzhugh LLC, is owned by Mark Sitlinger and trained by Kieron Magee.
The champion older female, My Magician, a 5-year-old bay mare by Street Magician out of My Rib, by Partner’s Hero, was bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Brooke C. Bowman and R. Larry Johnson, is owned by Euro Stable and trained by Claudio A. Gonzalez.
The champion steeplechaser, Swoop, a 7-year-old bay mare by Louis Quatorze out of Admonish, by Caveat, was bred and is owned by Mrs. Thomas H. Voss and trained by Elizabeth Voss.
Voting for this year’s divisional champions were Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred editors Joe Clancy and Cindy Deubler and senior writers Sean Clancy and Tom Law, Maryland Jockey Club president Sal Sinatra, racing secretary Georganne Hale, stakes coordinator Coleman Blind, track announcer Dave Rodman and racing analyst Ty Ehlis, Bill Brasaemle and Keith Feustle of Equibase, THAracing.com managing editor Tom LaMarra, freelance writers Andy Beyer, Ted Black, Maggie Kimmitt, Vinnie Perrone, John Scheinman and Dan Tordjman, The Racing Biz publisher Frank Vespe, WBAL NewsRadio reporter Scott Wykoff, radio host Stan Salter and photographer Lydia Williams.