2017 Arabian Jockey Club Tent of Honor Awards
The Arabian Jockey Club’s Racing Tent of Honor Award –
“The PERSON nominated shall meet the criteria of length of service to the breed, courage to do what is best for the horse, be above reproach, devote to the horse and community and provide service in the areas of leadership, heritage, education, and/or research.”
Award requirements: Fifteen years in the Arabian horse industry having raced 10 years. Owner, Breeder, Doer. The award is not given every year.
HR: Congratulations Kathy Smoke, can you tell us about your life with Arabian horses?
Kathy: “I bred my first Arabian in 1986. I was gifted an unregistered 2 yr old Arabian filly in 1983, At that time I didn’t know Arabians raced and after I had her registered, I bred to a show stallion.
Now I was hooked on the breed (I came from a Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse background) and began looking into racing Arabians and their bloodlines. I gravitated to the Polish lines after doing much pedigree research.
In 1988 the great race stallion Wiking came to live in Michigan with the Budd family.They were original partners on his import to the USA with the Courtelis family of Town and Country Farm, Florida. That was the genesis of my dream of breeding a USA National Champion race horse.
No matter the breed I’ve always been a pedigree person. I was always been interested in performance and breeding. The personality, intelligence, beauty & hardiness of the Arabian moved me over to that breed completely.
Linda Fratianni of Eighteen Sixty Arabians in Indiana was the biggest influence on bloodlines for me. She bred some amazing Polish lines with the prefix ES in front of each name. I have one of hers, ES Ornetta (1994) who is an own Orla granddaughter by Monarch AH. You will see many of her breedings in today’s US bred race lines.
All this lead to my introduction to Jean Streeter (Publisher/Arabian Finish LIne magazine) and Bobbi Patscheider (owner/breeder and subsequent editor/publisher Arabian Finish Line magazine). Both of these women taught me so much about the breed and Arabian racing. I couldn’t have come so far without them in my life.
Our first couple foals were show bred and never raced. Our first race-bred had severe allergy issues and never raced. It wasn’t until Oryxx (1994) ran that we experienced the thrill of winning a race. One thing I learned as a breeder is, like the Arabian horse, an owner/breeder must have stamina to stay in it for the long haul. In racing you can be on top of the world one year and down at the bottom the next. Breeding and racing isn’t for the faint hearted you must have a passion for the sport and the horses.
Kathy and husband Paul breed Arabians on their farm in Michigan. When their first homebred, Smoke House, won a Darley Award as a 3-yr-old in 2013, and again as a 4-yr-old in 2014, they felt it was like catching ‘lighting in a bottle”.
I am a breeder first and foremost, albeit a small one. Having sold my bloodlines in & outside the USA and knowing they will carry on, is something I am truly proud of. Some of my horses never made it to the track yet have gone on to successful careers in other disciplines. Spin Doctor who was a graded stakes placed runner and race winner is making his mark in the Dressage ring now. I am so proud of him.
I served on the AJC Race Committee for four years prior to picking up the mantle of Chairperson of the AJC Race Committee and President of the AJC Board of Directors, in 2007. This ALL VOLUNTEER group of people are owed a debt of gratitude by all who race Arabians. No one person can do what needs to be done for an organization that oversees Arabian racing in North America. I happen to be the “face” of the Arabian Jockey Club (at this time) and while I do travel throughout the USA and worldwide to promote USA Arabian racing and breeding, I could not have accomplished what the AJC has done without all the others. I could happily name many people but I’m not sure there is enough space to do them justice. The AJC website has the names of the volunteers on all the committees. They all deserve recognition.
Arabian racing has weathered some stormy years due to our economy and the loss of some of our largest breeders and owners. I truly believe we are now on the road to recovery. While our numbers diminished, we stayed strong as a group of people who have the passion for our breed and our sport. There is more work to be done but our momentum is forward and positive and I believe we will see our breed thriving, in the sport of racing, in the years to come.”
Kathy Smoke has served as the Arabian Jockey President from 2007-2017.
Susan Meyer – 2018 President AJC
“I have had the privilege of working with Kathy Smoke for her entire 10 year tenure as President of the Arabian Jockey Club.
I have watched as she has brought her considerable energy, enthusiasm, talents, knowledge and integrity to the task of guiding the Arabian racing industry in the US through some very troubled waters as our economy took a long and steep downward spiral.
She reached out to the international community to work together to help sustain Arabian racing around the world through economic downturns that have effected us all.
Kathy has tirelessly championed professionalism, integrity and standards of excellence in the Arabian racing industry.
As a breeder myself I have admired her success as a small breeder in a world of very big players. Her horses have won major races and awards in the US and have been purchased by breeders in other countries and gone on to success for their new owners. Her knowledge of pedigrees and the strengths of her individual horses and her willingness to share this with others is a key component in her reputation as a leading small breeder.”