William S. Farish’s homebred Direct Dial has been named the 2018 Texas Horse of the Year, the Texas Thoroughbred Association announced today. The Texas-bred colt also received Texas Champion 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding honors for a season in which he hit the board in six of his eight starts while earning two stakes wins and $113,350. The 2018 Texas champions were determined by points earned in stakes performances during the year.
A son of leading Texas sire Too Much Bling, who stands at Valor Farm, Direct Dial won divisions of the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes Series at Sam Houston Race Park and Lone Star Park. The colt also finished third in the $125,000 Gazebo Stakes against open company at Oaklawn and placed in two other stakes for trainer Steve Asmussen.
As the leading Texas-bred money earner for the year, Direct Dial earned his breeder the BloodHorse Breeder of the Year Award, and Farish’s Fast Find, the dam of Direct Dial, took the Texas Broodmare of the Year Award.
Among the human awards, Lee Ackerley will be honored with the T.I. “Pops” Harkins Award for lifetime achievement. Ackerley, who with his brother, Bob, formed Ackerley Brothers Farm, campaigned Valid Expectations, one of the first major stakes winners for Asmussen. Ackerley retained an interest in Valid Expectations as a stallion, and the multiple graded stakes winner went on to become the all-time leading sire in Texas history. Ackerley has also bred and owned numerous other stakes winners, both in Texas and at the national level.
Bart Lang, director of racing at Lone Star Park, will be honored with the Allen Bogan Memorial Award as TTA member of the year. Lang was instrumental in launching the Lone Star Park Racing Club, which enjoyed great success in its first year, including running Texas Champion Claimer Fred’s Lucky Boy.
Valor Farm, which stands or formerly stood stallions represented by four of the divisional champions, will be honored as the leading Accredited Texas-Bred money earner for 2018.
Following is the complete list of the 2018 champion horses:
2-Year-Old Filly: Silver Moon Rising (by Silver City) • Owner: M and M Racing (Mike Sisk) • Breeder: Caroline Dodwell
Co-2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Shotsoft (by Grasshopper) • Owner: M and M Racing (Mike Sisk) • Breeder: W.S. Farish and E.J. Hudson Jr. Irrevocable Trust
Co-2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Wakefield (by Munnings) • Owner: Jerry Namy • Breeder: Nathan Wallis
3-Year-Old Filly: Patrona Margarita (by Special Rate) • Owner/Breeder: Craig D. Upham
Older Filly/Mare: Zippit E (by My Golden Song) • Owner/Breeder: Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch
Older Horse: Ivan Fallunovalot (by Valid Expectations) • Owner: Lewis Mathews Jr. • Breeder: Eileen Hartis
Champion Claimer: Fred’s Lucky Boy (by Wimbledon) • Owners during 2018: End Zone Athletics Inc., Lone Star Park Racing Club, Madelon L. Bradshaw • Breeder: E. Fred Currie
Champion Broodmare: Fast Find (by Mineshaft)
Horse of the Year and 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Direct Dial (by Too Much Bling) • Owner/Breeder: W.S. Farish