James Wessel’s homebred Redatory has been named the 2020 Texas Horse of the Year by the Texas Thoroughbred Association. In a year with some very close races for many of the divisional awards, Redatory and Sunlit Song tied for the most points earned in 2020 based on the TTA’s system of awarding points based on stakes performances. Because both are in the same category, they will be co-winners of the Texas Champion Older Horse award, and Redatory won the tiebreaker with the most money earned in 2020 to win Horse of the Year honors.
Redatory is a 6-year-old gelding by the late stallion Oratory, who formerly stood at Eureka Thoroughbred Farm in Fredericksburg, Texas, and out of My Silver Song, a daughter of Texas stallion My Golden Song. In seven starts last year, Redatory won three stakes—the Houston Turf Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park and Richard King Turf Stakes and Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Lone Star Park—while earning $135,878. Redatory was also the 2019 Texas Champion Older Horse.
Sunlit Song, bred by Carolyn Barnett and owned by Barnett and Becky Harding, had an eight-race campaign with two wins, three seconds and three thirds and earnings of $126,383. The 6-year-old gelding defeated fellow Texas-breds in the Highlander Training Center Assault Stakes at Lone Star Park and beat open company in the Remington Green Stakes in Oklahoma. Sunlit Song is by My Golden Song, giving the Valor Farm stallion the unique distinction of being the sire and broodmare sire of the top two point earners in 2020.
“We applaud the success of these Texas-breds last year, both within our state and around North America,” said Mary Ruyle, executive director of the TTA. “At this time, we haven’t determined plans for our annual awards banquet, but we hope to be able to honor these champions with an in-person event later this year.”
As the leading Texas-bred money earner for the year, Redatory earned his breeder James Wessel the BloodHorse Breeder of the Year Award. The Texas Broodmare of the Year Award goes to Redatory’s dam, My Silver Song.
The leading Accredited Texas-Bred money earner for 2020 was Equestris Ltd Inc. dba W. S. Farish, which topped the list at more than $108,000.
The human awards—the T.I. “Pops” Harkins Award for lifetime achievement and Allen Bogan Memorial Award for TTA member of the year—will be announced at a later date.
Following is the complete list of the 2020 champion horses:
2-Year-Old Filly: Con Lima (by Commissioner) • Owner: Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Graffeo, Joseph F., Del Toro, Eric Nikolaus and Johnson, Troy • Breeder: Lisa Kuhlmann
2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Hulen (by Tapiture) • Owner: L. William and Corinne Heiligbrodt, Madaket Stables LLC and Spendthrift Farm LLC • Breeder: Keith Asmussen
3-Year-Old Filly: Boerne (by Fed Biz) • Owner: De Luca and Sons Stable • Breeder: Randi and Eric Moreau-Sipiere
3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Gold Pilot (by My Golden Song) • Owner: Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch • Breeder: Ronald and Margaret Ellerbee
Older Filly/Mare: Ima Discreet Lady (by Discreet Cat) • Owner: Duane Coker and Raymond Todd White • Breeder: Larry S. Huntsinger
Co-Champion Older Horse: Sunlit Song (by My Golden Song) • Owner: Carolyn Barnett and Becky Harding • Breeder: Carolyn Barnett
Texas Champion Claimer: Meme Jo (by Too Much Bling) • Owner: John L. Pierce II • Breeder: Jeanne Bruce
Champion Broodmare: My Silver Song (by My Golden Song)
Horse of the Year and Co-Champion Older Horse: Redatory (by Oratory) • Owner/Breeder: James Wessel