Maple Leaf Mel Earns NYTB Top Honors 

May 15, 2024

Maple Leaf Mel winning the Miss Preakness at Pimlico Race Course. (Jim McCue/MJC)

2023 New York-bred Horse of the Year, multiple divisional honors

New York Breeders’ Association Release

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Multiple graded stakes winner Maple Leaf Mel earned New York-bred Horse of the Year, champion 3-year-old filly and champion female sprinter honors during the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc.’s Annual Awards Ceremony Monday night at Sacred Saratoga on the property of GMP Farm in Schuylerville.

Bred by Joe Fafone and campaigned by Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm, Maple Leaf Mel won the East View Stakes at Aqueduct against fellow New York-bred fillies before back-to-back successes in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness at Pimlico and Grade 3 Victory Ride at Belmont Park. The daughter of Cross Traffic suffered a fatal injury in the final strides – while on the lead and headed to a certain victory – of the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Trained by Melanie Giddings and Jeremiah Englehart, Maple Leaf Mel won five of six starts overall and earned $399,650.

New York-bred Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Vivien Malloy with NYTB executive director Najja Thompson. (Skip Dickstein/NYTB)
New York-bred Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Vivien Malloy with NYTB executive director Najja Thompson. (Skip Dickstein/NYTB)

The 2023 New York-bred Horse of the Year and divisional champions were chosen by a vote of New York turf writers, handicappers, photographers and television and radio hosts and analysts conducted by the NYTB.

A Commemorative Awards Dinner Program was written and produced by ST Publishing (the team behind The Saratoga Special and Thisishorseracing.com) for Monday night’s event and includes profiles of all the finalists. The program is available here.

Melanie Giddings, Trainer of Maple Leaf Mel accepts the award for New York-Bred Horse of the Year Maple Leaf Mel with Shaun Bridgmohan. (Skip Dickstein/NYTB)
Melanie Giddings, Trainer of Maple Leaf Mel accepts the award for New York-Bred Horse of the Year Maple Leaf Mel with Shaun Bridgmohan. (Skip Dickstein/NYTB)

New York’s 2023 honorees:
New York-Bred Horse of the Year, Champion Three-Year-Old Filly, Champion Female Sprinter
Maple Leaf Mel (Cross Traffic-City Gift, by City Place)
Breeder: Joe Fafone.
Owner: August Dawn Farm.
Trainers: Melanie Giddings and Jeremiah Englehart.
Foaling farm: Waldorf Farm in Valatie.

Champion Two-Year-Old Male
The Wine Steward (Vino Rosso – Call to Service, by To Honor and Serve)
Breeders: Sequel Thoroughbreds LLC, Lakland Farm and Mark Toothaker
Owner: Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher
Trainer: Mike Maker
Foaling farm: Sequel Stallions in Hudson

Champion Two-Year-Old Filly
Cara’s Time (Not This Time – Zindra, by Macho Uno)
Breeder: Stephen Crestani Jr.
Owner: Richard Greeley
Trainer: Mitch Friedman
Foaling farm: New Hill Farm in Hoosick Falls

Peter Moore, manager of Stonewall Farm, accepts the award for New York Breeder of the Year Stonewall Farm and owner Barry K. Schwartz with NYTB executive director Najja Thompson. (Skip Dickstein/NYTB)
Peter Moore, manager of Stonewall Farm, accepts the award for New York Breeder of the Year Stonewall Farm and owner Barry K. Schwartz with NYTB executive director Najja Thompson. (Skip Dickstein/NYTB)

Champion Three-Year-Old Male
Hejazi (Bernardini – G Note, by Medaglia d’Oro)
Breeder: Chester and Mary Broman
Owner: Zedan Racing Stables Inc.
Trainers: Bob Baffert, Tim Yakteen
Foaling farm: Chestertown Farm in Chestertown

Champion Older Dirt Male
Dr Ardito (Liam’s Map – Delightfully So, by Indian Charlie)
Breeders: Fred Hertrich III and John Fielding
Owners: Michael Dubb and Michael Caruso
Trainer: Chad Brown
Foaling farm: Waldorf Farm in Valatie

Champion Older Dirt Female
Classy Edition (Classic Empire – Newbie, by Bernardini)
Breeders: Chester and Mary Broman
Owners: Robert and Lawana Low
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Foaling farm: Chestertown Farm in Chestertown

Champion Turf Male
Red Knight (Pure Prize – Isabel Away, Skip Away)
Breeder/Owner: Trinity Farm
Trainer: Mike Maker
Foaling farm: Keane Stud in Amenia

Champion Turf Female
Silver Skillet (Liam’s Map – Catcha Rising Star, by Red Giant)
Breeder: Robert Chasanoff
Owners: Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Tango Uniform Racing and Steven Rocco
Trainer: Christophe Clement
Foaling farm: Blue Chip Farms in Wallkill

Champion Male Sprinter
Bold Journey (Hard Spun – Polly Freeze, by Super Saver)
Breeders: Fred Hertrich III and John Fielding.
Owners: Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber
Trainer: Bill Mott
Foaling farm: Waldorf Farm in Valatie

Trainer Janet Elliot accepts the award for New York-Bred Steeplechase Horse of the Year Kiyomori. (Skip Dickstein/NYTB)
Trainer Janet Elliot accepts the award for New York-Bred Steeplechase Horse of the Year Kiyomori. (Skip Dickstein/NYTB)

Steeplechaser
Kiyomori (First Samurai – The Grey Express, by King’s Theatre)
Breeder/Owner: Greg Hawkins
Trainers: Todd Wyatt and Janet Elliot
Foaling farm: River Valley Farm in Gansevoort

Broodmare of the Year: City Gift (City Place – For My Wife, by Not For Love)

New York-Bred Trainer of the Year: Linda Rice

New York-Bred Jockey of the Year: Manuel Franco

New York Breeder of the Year: Stonewall Farm

New York-Bred Lifetime Achievement Award: Vivien Malloy

Click here for the 2023 NYTB Annual Awards Dinner program.



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