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Winners of the seventh annual Renaissance Champion Awards, a collaborative effort between the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association which recognizes excellence in Thoroughbred racing and breeding in Maryland in the past year, were announced the week of Feb. 26 on the MHBA’s social media accounts. 

Those receiving awards are the breeders and owners of the champion Maryland-breds, owners of the Maryland-based runners, as well as top Maryland owner, trainer, jockey, breeder, broodmare and stallion, and the MTHA Backstretch Workers of the Year – one for Pimlico Race Course and one for Laurel Park.

Maryland-bred champions of 2023—

Intrepid Daydream named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year 

Though she didn’t pick up her first stakes win until Sept. 16, Intrepid Daydream more than made up for lost time in 2023. She won three stakes races in a 70-day stretch, plus the Tax Free Shopping Distaff allowance at Delaware Park (previously run under stakes conditions), an concluded her 4-year-old season with a second in graded company en route to being named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year, champion older female and champion sprinter.

After starting her season with three second- or third-place efforts, including a third the July 15 Caesar’s Wish Stakes at Laurel, Intrepid Daydream began to turn it on. She swept her way through the Shine Again, Tax Free Shopping, Maryland Million Distaff and Politely Stakes, winning by an average margin of more than three lengths. Not long after her Politely score in late November, she was purchased privately by Miller Racing LLC, who sent her to Florida and the barn of trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. The daughter of Jess’s Dream wrapped up her year with a second, missing by a half length, in Gulfstream Park’s Sugar Swirl Stakes-G3 on Dec. 23. Her record for 2023 was 4-3-1 in eight starts, for earnings of $272,350.

She’s the 17th different filly or mare to win the Maryland-bred Horse of the Year title, joining Miss Spin (1965), Politely (1967-68), Alma North (1971), Twixt (1973-74), What a Summer (1977), Jameela (1981-82), Squan Song (1985), Safely Kept (1989-1990), Wide Country (1991), Brilliant Brass (1992), Tenski (1998), Gin Talking (2000), Shine Again (2003), Cathryn Sophia (2016), Sharing (2019), and Fille d’Esprit (2022). Much like Fille d’Esprit, she won the Maryland Million Distaff and Politely Stakes decisively to help secure the honors. 

Other divisional champions:

Champion 2-year-old male: Catahoula Moon (dk.b./br.c., 2021, Golden Lad—Access to the Moon, by Malibu Moon). Bred by Angela Coombs; owned by Super C Racing Inc.; trained by John Robb. 

Champion 2-year-old filly: Kissedbyanangel (dk.b./br.f., 2021, Golden Lad—Angelinthemorning, by Street Sense). Bred by Super C Racing Inc.; owned and trained by Joanne Shankle.

Champion 3-year-old male: Seven’s Eleven (gr./ro.g., 2020, Bandbox—Senorita Siete, by Senor Swinger). Bred and owned by Cottonwood Stable LLC; trained by Carlos Mancilla.

Champion 3-year-old filly: Bosserati (dk.b./br.f., 2020, Holy Boss—Candy Striper, by Twirling Candy). Bred and owned by Joel Politi; trained by Brittany Russell.

Champion older male: Double Crown (b.g., 2017, Bourbon Courage—Two Columbus, by Two Punch). Bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman and Rebecca Davis; owned by Built Wright Stables LLC; trained by Raymond Ginter Jr.

Champion turf runner: Wet My Beak (dk.b./br.m., 2019, by Union Rags—Who’s in Town, by Speightstown). Bred by Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds; owned by Thelma & Louise Stable; trained by Vladimir Cerin.

Awards for Breeder, Broodmare, and Stallion of the Year go to Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Maryland Breeders of the Year (their 11th award); Otherwise Perfect, dam of stakes winner Alwaysinahurry and stakes-placed six-time winner Clubman in 2023; and Great Notion, his eighth consecutive as Maryland Stallion of the Year.

Also named 2023 award winners by the MTHA are The Elkstone Group LLC, Maryland Owner of the Year; Brittany Russell, Maryland Trainer of the Year; Jaime Rodriguez, Maryland Jockey of the Year; Seven’s Eleven, Maryland Male Dirt Horse of the Year; Intrepid Daydream, Maryland Female Dirt Horse of the Year; Witty, Maryland Male Turf Horse of the Year; Bosserati, Maryland Female Turf Horse of the Year; and Brother Conway, Maryland Claimer of the Year. In addition, Damon Gladden was recognized as the Pimlico Backstretch Employee of the Year, while Jenile Tapscott was named Laurel Backstretch Employee of the Year. 

To watch the video announcements for each champion and award winner, visit Maryland Thoroughbred’s YouTube page.