Michigan Thoroughbred of the Decade (2000-2010)

Another year is quickly coming to a close.

Year-end honors are being awarded or debated, while racing fans and participants alike are reflecting on the 2010 racing calendar.

The end of 2010 also allows for the opportunity to reflect on a much bigger scale. Depending on one’s guidelines for defining the decades, we are either wrapping up the current ten-year stretch or we are in the midst of the ’10s.

Either way, enough time has elapsed to discuss the last decade in Michigan Thoroughbred racing – the highs, the lows and all points in between. For the purposes of this post, we will focus on the highs.

Over the last 11 years (to account for both schools of thought and avoid confusion we’ll include 2010), Michigan has produced solid runners on the local, regional and national levels. Michigan has proven it can produce a Thoroughbred that compete anywhere.

This state has had some good ones in the ’00s, and it is time to decide who is the Michigan-bred Thoroughbred of the decade?

Behind the jump are ten horses whose careers have put them head and shoulders above the rest of their Michigan-bred counterparts. Some have exemplified dominance at Michigan’s Thoroughbred ovals, Great Lakes Downs and Pinnacle Race Course. Others have competed, and won, at some of the most prestigious racetracks in the world.

Each horse on the list has a reasonable claim to the title. The resumes for each candidate are included to display that claim and help voters make their decisions.

Does the flash of brilliance Cashier’s Dream showed in her tragically short career put her over the top? Tenpins’ graded stakes coups? Secret Romeo’s regional dominance? Valley Loot’s success in the latter half of the decade? Meadow Vespers’ near-invincibility in the Sire Stakes? That Gift’s transition from a stakes-level competitor to a hard knocker? Rockem Sockem’s staying power in the middle of the decade? Sefa’s Rose’s ownership of her division? Weatherstorm’s quick start? The early-decade success of Born to Dance?

To make your selection, just go to the poll on the left side of the page and click on the horse you feel is the most deserving of the title “Michigan Thoroughbred of the Decade”. Feel free to back up your vote or campaign for a horse in the comments. I look forward to hearing some constructive debate on the subject and reminiscence on the careers of the state’s best.

And the nominees are…

NOTE: All divisional awards are based on the Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association year-end awards.

Born To Dance
Dark Bay or Brown Mare, 1999
Service Stripe – Guard Dance, by Fools Dance
Breeder: Sher Singh & Shirley Johnson Singh

Racing Career: 2001 – 2006
Record: 38 (11-8-8)
Earnings: $577,519

Career Highlights

Michigan Older Female of the Year, 2003
Michigan Two-Year-Old Filly of the Year, 2001
Michigan’s #10 all-time leading earner

Winner
Temptress S. – GLD ’01
Sickle’s Image S. – GLD ’01
Michigan Sire S. – GLD ’01
Michigan Juvenile Fillies S. – GLD ’01
Regret S. – GLD ’02
Plymouth S. – GLD ’02
Larkspur H. – GLD ’03, ’05
West Virginia Secretary Of State H. – MNR ’03

2nd
Dixie Belle S. – OP ’02
Larkspur H. – GLD ’02

3rd
Michigan Oaks – GLD ’02
HBPA H. – ELP ’03
Weekend Delight S. – TP ’03, ’05
Thoroughbred Club of America S. (G3) – KEE ’03
Churchill Downs Distaff H. (G2) – CD ’03
New Year’s Eve S – MNR ’03
Winning Colors S. – CD ’05

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Cashier’s Dream
Chestnut Mare, 1999
Service Stripe – Jerry’s Sister, by Monetary Gift
Breeder: James Jackson & Laura Jackson

Racing Career: 2001 – 2002
Record: 7 (5-2-0)
Earnings: $423,042

Career Highlights

Michigan Horse of the Year, 2001
Finished fourth in 2001 two-year-old filly Eclipse Award voting
Died of complications from colic during three-year-old campaign in 2002

Winner
Debutante S. (G3) – CD ’01
Spinaway S. (G1) – SAR ’01
La Troienne S. (G3) – CD ’02

2nd
Adriondack S. (G2) – SAR ’01
Frizette S. (G1) – SAR ’01

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Meadow Vespers
Chestnut Gelding, 2002
Meadow Prayer – Bar U Halo, by Sunny’s Halo
Breeder: James Arnold, Marcia Arnold & Deborah Miley

Racing Career: 2004 – Present
Record: 42 (13-8-10)
Earnings: $489,066

Career Highlights

Michigan Older Male of the Year, 2008
Michigan Three-Year-Old Male of the Year, 2005
Four consecutive Michigan Sire Stakes victories

Winner
Michigan Sire S. – GLD ’05, ’06, ’07, PNL ’08
Michigan Breeders’ Cup H. – PNL ’09

2nd
Dowling S. – GLD ’05
Frontier H. – PNL ’08, ’10

3rd
Spartan S. – GLD ’05
Michigan Breeders’ H. – GLD ’06, PNL ’08
Frontier H. – GLD ’06, PNL ’09
Wolverine S. – PNL ’08

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Rockem Sockem
Bay Gelding, 2001
Ulises – Royalty In Motion, by Silver Deputy
Breeder: Ed Pass & Connie Pass

Racing Career: 2003 – Present
Record: 55 (13-14-5)
Earnings: $582,265

Career Highlights

Michigan Horse of the Year, 2004
Michigan Older Male of the Year, 2005, 2007
Michigan Three-Year-Old Male of the Year, 2004
Michigan Two-Year-Old Male of the Year, 2003
Michigan’s #7 all-time leading earner

Winner
Patrick Wood S. – GLD ’03
Michigan Sire S. – GLD ’03, ’05
Michigan Futurity – GLD ’03
Lansing S. – GLD ’04
Spartan S. – GLD ’04
Michigan Breeders’ H. – GLD ’04, ’07
Dowling S. – GLD ’04
Wolverine S. – GLD ’05
Frontier H. – GLD ’07, PNL ’08

2nd
Little Ones S. – GLD ’03
Wolverine S. – GLD ’04
Michigan Breeders’ H. – GLD ’05, ’06
Frontier H. – GLD ’05
Michigan Sire S. – GLD ’07

3rd
Michigan Sire S. – GLD ’06, PNL ’08

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Secret Romeo
Dark Bay or Brown Horse, 1998
Service Stripe – Berry Point, by Romeo
Breeder: James Jackson & Laura Jackson

Racing Career: 2000 – 2004
Record: 55 (23-16-3)
Earnings: $865,790

Career Highlights

Co-Michigan Older Male of the Year, 2002
Three-Year-Old Male of the Year, 2001
Michigan’s #2 all-time leading earner

Winner
Patrick Wood S. – GLD ’00
Michigan Futurity – GLD ’00
Shamrock S. – SPT ’01
Lansing S. – GLD ’01
Spartan H – GLD ’01
Dowling S. – GLD ’01
Wink Novotny Memorial S. – GLD ’01
Mackinac H. – GLD ’01
Super S. – TAM ’02
Lost Code H. – SPT ’02
Wolverine S. – GLD ’02
Isi Newborn Memorial S. – TDN ’02
Harvey Arneault Memorial H. – MNR ’02, ’03
Frontier H. – GLD ’02
Michigan Sire S. – GLD ’02
Pelican S. – TAM ’02

2nd
Little Ones S. – GLD ’00
Muskegon Classic H. – GLD ’01
Michigan Sire S. – GLD ’01, ’03
Arlington Sprint H – AP ’02
Wolverine S. – GLD ’03
Isi Newborn Memorial S. – TDN ’03
Pelican S. – TAM ’03
Frontier H – GLD ’04

3rd
Michigan Sire S. – GLD ’00
Waterford Park H. – MNR ’04

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Sefa’s Rose
Dark Bay or Brown Mare, 1997
Sefapiano – Double Derby, by Whitesburg
Breeder: Farid Sefa & Pat Sefa

Racing Career: 2000-2004
Record: 32 (13-9-3)
Earnings: $488,815

Career Highlights

Michigan Older Female of the Year, 2002
Three straight Sire Stakes victories

Winner
Ann Arbor S. – GLD ’00
Larkspur H. – GLD ’01, ’02
Michigan Sire S. – GLD ’01, ’02, ’03
Moonbeam H. – GLD ’03

2nd
Great Lakes H. – GLD ’01
Farer Belle Lee H. – GLD ’01, ’02, ’03
Larkspur H – GLD ’03

3rd
Michigan Oaks – GLD ’00

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Tenpins
Chestnut Horse, 1999
Smart Strike – Maid’s Broom, by Deputy Minister
Breeder: Joseph Vitello

Racing Career: 2001-2004
Record: 17 (9-3-2)
Earnings: $1,133,449

Career Highlights

Michigan Horse of the Year, 2002, 2003
Michigan Older Male of the Year, 2003
Co-Michigan Older Male of the Year, 2002
Michigan’s all-time leading earner

Winner
William Donald Schaefer H. (G3) – PIM ’02
Washington Park H. (G2) – AP ’02
Fayette S. (G3) – KEE ’02
Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Breeders’ Cup H. (G3) – PRM ’03
Philip H. Iselin Breeders’ Cup H. (G3) – MTH ’03

2nd
Hawthorne Gold Cup H. (G2) – HAW ’03
Fayette S. (G3) – KEE ’03
Louisiana H. – FG ’04

3rd
Stephen Foster H. (G1) – CD ’02

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

That Gift
Gray or Roan Gelding, 1997
Monetary Gift – That’s My Gal by Banderilla
Breeder: Robert Miller & Delphine Miller

Racing Career: 1999 – 2007
Record: 74 (20-14-13)
Earnings: $485,869

Career Highlights
(Note: Wins and awards from 1999 season will not be considered in this poll)

Michigan Three-Year-Old Male of the Year, 2000

Winner
Grand Rapids S. – GLD, ’00
Lansing S. – GLD ’00
Spartan H. – GLD ’00
Michigan Sire S. – GLD ‘oo

2nd
Dowling S. – GLD ’00
Michigan Breeders’ Governor’s Cup H. – GLD ’01, ’02
Frontier H. – GLD ’01, ’02

3rd
Wolverine S. – GLD ’01, ’02, ’03

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Valley Loot
Dark Bay or Brown Mare, 2004
Demaloot Demashoot – In The Valley, by In Reality
Breeder: Marilyn McMaster

Racing Career: 2006 – Present
Record: 32 (24-6-6)
Earnings: $584,885

Career Highlights

Michigan Horse of the Year, 2007, 2008, 2009
Michigan Older Female of the Year, 2008, 2009
Michigan Three-Year-Old Female of the Year, 2007
Four straight Sire Stakes victories
Michigan’s #8 all-time leading earner

Winner
Temptress S. – GLD ’06
Michigan Juvenile Fillies S. – GLD ’06
Regret S. – GLD ’07
Plymouth S. – GLD ’07
Michigan Oaks – GLD ’07
Michigan Sire S. – GLD ’07, PNL ’08, ’09, ’10
Larkspur H. – PNL ’08
Farer Belle Lee H. – PNL ’08
Golden Sylvia H. – MNR ’09

2nd
Michigan Sire S. – GLD ’06
Moonbeam H. – PNL ’08
Farer Belle Lee H. – PNL ’09
Larkspur H. – PNL ’10

3rd
Sickle’s Image S. – GLD ’06
Larkspur H. – PNL ’09
Windward S. – PID ’09
Autumn Leaves S. – MNR ’09

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Weatherstorm
Chestnut Gelding, 2003
Island Storm – Trick Bag Baby, by I’m A Lyre
Breeder: Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Jan Sturgeon

Racing Career: 2005 – Present
Record: 37 (14-5-3)
Earnings: $413,028

Career Highlights

Michigan Horse of the Year, 2006
Michigan Three-Year-Old Male of the Year, 2006
Michigan Two-Year-Old Male of the Year, 2005

Winner
Michigan Sire S. – GLD ’05, ’06
Lansing S. – GLD ’06
Spartan S. – GLD ’06
Dowling S. – GLD ’06
Mackinac H. – GLD ’06
Wolverine S. – GLD ’07

2nd
Wolverine S. – PNL ’08

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Other
Is there another horse you feel is more deserving of the title? Just fill in his or her name next to the “Other” box and back it up in the comments. Some worthy horses on the outside looking in include 2000 horse of the year Schmoopy, 2003 award winner Goldinrunner and 2005 champ Creative Miss.

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2 Comments

Filed under Great Lakes Downs, Pinnacle Race Course, Polls

2 responses to “Michigan Thoroughbred of the Decade (2000-2010)

  1. I enjoyed reading the accomplishments of these horses. I never would have guessed Michigan breds were capable of doing the things Cashier’s Dream and Tenpins did. I’ll give the nod to Tenpins.

  2. mibredclaimer

    Thanks!

    Fun fact about Tenpins – He made only one start in Michigan, his maiden debut at Great Lakes Downs, and finished third. The horse that went on to win all those stakes races and make a million dollars couldn’t get past a field of Michigan-breds.

    Another fun fact – The two horses that beat Tenpins in that race went on to win a combined five races in their careers and never entered stakes competition.

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