Two Maryland-based Arabian racing horses received prestigious honors during the 2012 Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival Darley Awards, which are considered “the Oscars” of purebred Arabian racing in the United States. The ceremony was held in Houston, Texas on March 4. Both horses are headquartered, trained and stabled at Rigbie Farm in Harford County.
Maryland-bred Golden Odessy was named Champion Three-Year-Old Filly of the Year.
Dixies Valentine, a 7-year-old mare, received the World Champion Mare Award during the Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Awards, which were awarded for the first time this year to recognize women in Arabian racing and presented along with the Darley Awards. Dixies Valentine was also nominated for a Darley Award for Horse of the Year and has twice before been named a Champion Arabian Filly of the Year.
Rigbie Farm is owned by Sharon Clark (pictured above). Both Dixies Valentine and Golden Odessy, who will continue to race in the season ahead, are owned by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, brother of the current president of the United Arab Emirates. Sheikh Tahnoon has boarded and trained his world class Arabian horses at Rigbie Farm for 20 years.
Dixies Valentine was originally scheduled to run in the inaugural running of the H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak IFAHR Cup, the first all-woman race for Arabians, which was held in Houston on March 3. A pre-race favorite to win, Dixies Valentine was unfortunately pulled from the race the night before due to a mild case of colic.
The Darley Awards were founded in 1987 to honor outstanding racehorses, jockeys, owners, trainers and breeders in Arabian horse racing. The 2012 awards were presented as part of the H.H. Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, a global race started in 2009 with legs throughout the world.
Both horses will also be honored by the Maryland Horse Industry Board with the Touch of Class Award at a Night of Maryland Horse Racing Champions on March 20 in Baltimore. These two Arabians will be honored that night along with Thoroughbred champion Rapid Redux and Harness Racing champions Roll With Joe and Googoo Gaagaa. The event is free and open to the public but you must RSVP by today! RSVP to Ross Peddicord at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-841-5798.