first published in the March 2020 Equiery
On February 11, the third annual Renaissance Awards were presented through a collaborative effort between the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Jockey Club.
Sharing, owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gainesway Stable, was named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year, Champion 2-Year-Old Filly and Champion Turf Runner. Trained by H. Graham Motion out of the Fair Hill Training Center, Sharing made her mark becoming only the fourth Maryland-bred to win a Breeders’ Cup race when she won the $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf-Grade 1 this past year.
Sagamore Farm bred Sharing and earned the Maryland Breeder of the Year award. Sagamore led all breeders of Maryland-bred horses in earnings for the 2019 season. In addition to Sharing, Sagamore also bred stakes winners Blamed and Where Paradise Lay. In 2019, Sagamore-bred runners made 219 starts to earn more than $2 million.
The late Taft Lil Queen was named Maryland Broodmare of the year, four years after her death. Owned by Charles and Cynthia McGinnes for her entire broodmare career, she was represented in 2019 by her last foal, stakes winner Pete’s Plav Call.
Great Notion, standing at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, earned the Maryland Stallion of the Year honors. The 20-year-old stallion sired 94 runners in 2019 for earnings of over $3 million. His 55 winners won 103 races during the 2019 season. Great Notion’s biggest Maryland-bred winner for 2019 was Lewisfeld, owned and bred by Linda Zang. The 2014 gelding won the Champion Sprinter title.
Mike Trombetta was named Trainer of the Year. Based at both Laurel and Fair Hill, Trombetta trained horses to 62 races in Maryland alone during the 2019 season. He also had runners in 40 races outside of Maryland.
Trevor McCarthy won 170 races at Maryland tracks in 2019, earning him the Jockey of the Year title. He notched 253 wins overall for 2019 including 14 Maryland stakes races.
Ellen Charles’ Hillwood Stable had 75 starts in 2019 with 92% of these being in Maryland. Hillwood Stable was named Owner of the Year with $765,528 in earnings. Two of their horses earned titles as well with Cordmaker being named Champion Older Horse and Majestic Reason earning the Champion Older Female title for 2019. Hillwood Stables also bred the 2019 Champion 2-Year-Old Male winner Laddie Liam, who is owned by Joseph Besecker.
Runnymore Racing owns the 2019 Champion 3-Year-Old Male winner Alwaysmining. The gelding was bred by Avla Pitts and is trained by Kelly Rubley.
Las Setas earned the Champion 3-Year-Old Filly title for owners Wayne Harrison, Robert Manfuso and Katharine Voss. The filly was bred by Manfuso and Voss and trained by Voss.
Urizar “Uri” Velazquez, who works for trainer Brandon McFarlane, earned the Backstretch Employee of the Year for Pimlico. The 27-year-old native of Mexico is enrolled in Howard Community College where he is taking courses in English, Grammar and History. Velazquez is known for his passion for horses and assisting any colleague in need.
Troy Singh earned the Backstretch Employee of the Year for Laurel. He is the primary assistant for Claudio Gonzalez and is a native of Guyana and started in the industry as an owner. He decided he wanted a more hands-on position with horses and now oversees the grooms who work for Gonzalez’s 60-horse stable at Laurel.