Welcome Back to Texas Ya'll
27 March 2019, Houston, Texas, USA ~ The annual Arabian Racing Cup (ARC) Darley Awards, celebrating the Champions of the past year’s Arabian Racing, hosted it’s 32nd year on 23 March 2019, the first year back in Houston, Texas, following a five year relocation to Hollywood, California.
The Awards were held in the ballroom of the St. Regis, Houston, Texas, where a gourmet dinner was impeccably served prior to a video presentation in recognition of the winning nominees for the 2018 year.
Announcer Jonathon Horowitz kept the evening light and lively while welcoming the ARC presenters and award winners to the dramatically lit stage.
The Stallion Auction, offering nine top international Arabian stallions, and the Silent Auction, which presented many fun opportunities including trips, travel, dining experiences, jewelry and chic clothing to the winners, brought forth the competitive spirit of the group. The auctions are the major fundraising opportuntiy for the year which support ARC Breeder’s programs. Entertainment was provided by Canadian Opera Singer, David Collins.
The coveted Horse of the Year (HOTY) was awarded to Quick Sand AA, a fitting tribute to one-half of the Gillis ranch Championship team for the season. Joe and Betty Gillis have been strong supporters of Arabian racing for many years and this is the fourth year in a row that they have earned both Breeder and Owner Darley Champion Awards, helping to establish their trainer, Jerenesto Torrez for the past two years as Darley Champion Trainer.
The Arabian Jockey Club award, the Racing Hall of Fame, was presented to KA Czubuthan and received by owners Michael and Vicki Economopoulus. Denise Gault, one of the founders of the ARC, was presented with the Tent of Honor Award. Both awards recognized their contribution and participation to the sport of Arabian Racing. Deb Mihaloff will also receive the 2018 Tent of Honor Award which will be presented as part of the September Delaware Champion races.
At the end of the evening, Michelle Morgan, the outgoing Arabian Racing Cup Chief Steward, passed the gavel to Jon Henningsgard as incoming Chief Steward.
Michell Morgan, outgoing ARC Chief Steward said: “It has been a privilege serving as Chief Steward for the past three years. I am handing over the reins to Jon Henningsgard, who will now lead us for the next three years. The Darley Weekend was a reunion in Houston, Texas, with old and new friends gathered together to celebrate the Darley winners of 2018. We all enjoyed the two exciting races on Friday night and thank sponsor Lufthansia Cargo for their support. Saturday night was the highlight of the year, and we were happy to see so many of our friends who contribute to the sport we love.”
ARC Chief Steward, Jon Henningsgard said: “It was so nice to see everyone from across the country on Friday for the two Darley races at Sam Houston, and what a great event the following night where we celebrated the horses and their accomplishments. ARC and it’s Stewards along with many volunteers work very hard to put on this event to showcase the Arabian race horse, it’s owners, trainers and jockeys, and most importantly, the lifeblood of our sport, the breeding. We auctioned off some fabulous stallions this year and look forward to seeing them running in the next few years.”
Celebrations for the weekend began on Friday night, 22 March, as the Sam Houston Race track kicked off the party at the Finish Line Suite hosted by the Arabian Racing Cup, the Texas Arabian Racing Association, and Centurion Logistics. Lufthansa Cargo, the sponsor of the two Arabian races, was present and had transported a 3-horse shipping cargo box for a hands-on experience in horse travel luxury accommodations.
A star filled night began with the Darley Sprint of 7 Furlongs which resulted in a down the stretch all-out battle between jockeys Carol Cedeno on Easter Man and Quick Sand AA under Sasha Risenhoover. Easter Man prevailed by a nostril. Both horses are owned by Joe and Betty Gillis and trained by Jerenesto Torrez.
The Darley Distaff of the same distance provided Uptown Sandy Girl another chance to show her heels to the competition with the win under Jose Angel Garcia. The filly is owned by Jon and Krista Henningsgard and trained by Glen Rottweller. The owners enjoyed a full weekend on Saturday when the filly received the Darley Award for 4-Year Old Filly.
The event was live streamed by the Arabian Jockey Club.
~ Pamela Burton