Courtesy of AQHA.com
A winner from January 3 to December 31, Jessies First Down is the 2016 World Champion Racing American Quarter Horse.
Bred and raced by Ted G. Abrams of Houston, the 2011 gelding is by FDD Dynasty and out of Abrams’ homebred Mr Jess Perry mare Jess A Classy Lassy. Jessies First Down is also the champion aged gelding and champion aged horse.
During his championship season, Jessies First Down won eight of 11 starts – tying for the most wins on the year – and won five stakes, three of which were Grade 1s. Competing at six tracks during the year, he won the Grade 1 Refrigerator Handicap, Zia Park Championship and Championship at Sunland Park.
He earned $430,042 during the year under the care of trainer Judd Kearl.
Gregorio Garza’s Moonin The Eagle made only three starts during the year, but they were enough to get him aged stallion honors. The 2012 son of One Famous Eagle out of the First Down Dash mare Your First Moon was bred by Vessels Stallion Farm LLC, and won two stakes at Hialeah Park before getting first-place money in the Remington Park Invitational Championship (G1). He earned $325,432 on the year.
The champion aged mare is the 2012 mare Sass Me Blue. Owned by Lucky Seven Ranch of Prescott Valley, Arizona, and bred by Lance Robinson and Max Anderson of Spanish Fork, Utah, she won the Mildred N. Vessels Memorial Handicap (G1), and was second in the Charger Bar Handicap (G1) to earn $95,920 on the year. Sass Me Blue is by Valiant Hero and out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Jess Sass Me.
The gray Imperial Eagle’s superb year has led to him being the champion 2-year-old and champion 2-year-old gelding. Raced by Charles Robinson of Southern Pines, North Carolina, the horse raced nine times, winning six of those races and earning $1,721,507. He won the All American Futurity (G1), Southwest Juvenile Championship (G1) and Sunland Park Winter Juvenile. Bred by Fredda Draper, the gelding is by One Famous Eagle and out of the Genuine Strawfly mare Jenuine Joy.
A Revenant is the champion 2-year-old colt. The son of Mr Jess Perry out of the Mr Eye Opener mare Thewayouwantmetoo won the Rainbow Futurity (G1) and was second by a nose in the Ruidoso Futurity (G1) during his four-race season. He was bred by Julianna Hawn Holt, and earned $604,800 for owners
Hubbard/Southway/Cope/Rafter W of Tularosa, New Mexico.
Coronas First Diva follows in the footprints of her champion mama, as in her freshman season she won or placed in five of six starts and earned $495,773 to earn champion 2-year-old filly honors. She is by Corona Cartel and out of champion Spit Curl Diva, a daughter of Spit Curl Jess, bred by the Lepic-Mixer Partnership and raced by Sara Leann Morgan. Coronas First Diva is now owned by Julianna Hawn Holt of Blanco, Texas. The filly won the Oklahoma Futurity (G3) and was third in the All American Futurity (G1).
It’s hard to argue with perfection, and in 2016, that’s what champion 3-year-old EC Jet One was. Winning all five starts, including the All American Derby (G1), Hialeah Derby and South Florida Derby, the Enrique Carrion homebred earned $1,251,209. He is also the champion 3-year-old colt. The bay is by The Louisiana Cartel and out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Pretty Girl Perry.
Volcom Bay is the champion 3-year-old filly after a seven-start season that saw her finish second in the Ruidoso Derby (G1) and fourth in the All American Derby (G1), earning $392,744. She races for Bennie and Terri Jeter of Alvarado, Texas, and was bred by P.K. Thomas. She is by Volcom and out of the Chicks Beduino mare Miss Lethal.
Jim Walker’s homebred Zoomin For Spuds took arguably the most influential race of the year – the Champion of Champions (G1) – and thus secured the champion 3-year-old gelding title. The winner of six of nine starts earned $352,581 and also won five other stakes races during the year. The gelding is by Zoomin For Bux and is out of the Corona Cocktail mare A Perfect Cocktail.
Victor Diaz’s homebred Coronas Boy was the champion distance horse after winning three of five starts and earning $133,100 on the year. The 2009 gelding is by Mr Houston and out of the Corona Cartel mare My First Corona.
Valentino Mystery, a homebred racing for Alejandro Arenas Badillo, is the Mexican champion. The 2014 black gelding, who is by Mr Queens Mystery and out of the Brimmerton mare Valentina High, won five of eight starts, including two stakes, and earned $233,719.
Pete Schoeler of Mile Ranch, British Columbia, bred and races Canadian champion Poutn On The Wagon, a 2014 brown gelding by PYC Paint Your Wagon out of the Okey Dokey Dale mare Poutnlori. The horse was undefeated in six starts during the year and won three stakes, and earned $59,910.
Bobby D. Cox earns his very first award as champion breeder after a year that saw horses such as Grade 1 winners Duponte and Chazaq pull in earnings of $3,098,274. Cox, a resident of Fort Worth, Texas, was the sport’s champion owner in 2010.
Russell Stooks’ Lucky Seven Ranch of Prescott Valley, Arizona, is the champion owner. Lucky Seven’s horses won at a 28 percent clip and brought home $994,683, and include champion Sass Me Blue and homebred Grade 1 winner Lotta Blues Man.
Judd Kearl breaks Paul Jones’ historic 14-year hold on the Blane Schvaneveldt champion trainer award, and becomes only the seventh trainer to earn the award in its 32-year history. Kearl’s trainees earned more than twice his closest competitor, with more than $4.6 million banked, and included world champion Jessies First Down and champions EC Jet One and Volcom Bay.
Esgar Ramirez had a tremendous year in which he earns the champion jockey award for the first time. The rider’s mounts topped the jockey category with $4.4 million and included champions EC Jet One, Imperial Eagle and Moonin The Eagle.