April 6, 2015, Los Angeles, CA – Valiant Boy SBFAR topped off an undefeated season in 2014 by winning his second Horse of The Year trophy (he also won it in 2012) as well as one for Older Horse, at the 28th annual Darley Awards sponsored by the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and held at the Dolby Theatre.
Racing in the U.S. for Guy Neivens and trained by Elizabeth Merryman, the handsome grey seven-year-old won 3 graded races (2 grade 1), set a new track record and earned almost $129,000 in 2014. He was bred by HH Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed and imported from France. Racing manager Sharon Clark graciously accepted the golden statute remarking at what an honor it was to be around the horse.
In the other awards, Lazur Hess claimed the 3-Year-Old Colt/Geldings for owner Mark Ashby and Love To Dance took the 3-Year-Old Filly award for owner/trainer Mark Powell. Rosebrook Farm LLC’s RB Champagne Taste was named Champion 4-Year-Old Colt and Cre Run Enterprises LLC’s Our Princess won for 4-Year-Old Filly. Ms Dixie, owned by Quarter Moon Ranch, won her second consecutive Older Mare statue.
Leading jockey Kristen Swan was tremendously excited to win Champion Jockey. “Arabians are so honest. I love them,” she said. Swan regularly rode for Lynn Ashby who won for Outstanding Trainer – the record seventh time she has claimed this title, but the first since 2002. Dianne K. Waldron, who commented that Arabian breeding and racing was her passion, earned her third Darley for Outstanding Breeder, and Valiant Boy SBFAR’s owner, Guy Neivens, was named Outstanding Owner.
The Cup was extremely proud to have Chief Steward Denise Gault recognized with the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her many years of contributing to Arabian racing and her tireless promotion of the industry.
In addition to the Darley trophies, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Awards were also presented. The following international individuals were recognized.
Nadine Frampton, Australia – Best Photographer Catherine de Robert Labarthe, France – Best Breeder Deniz Kurtel, Turkey – Best Owner Karin van den Bos, Netherlands – Best Trainer Stefania Gandola, United Kingdom – Best Jockey Youjiza, Moracco – Best 3-Year-Old Filly Lorra, France – Best 4-Year-Old Filly Djanka Des Forges, France – Best Mare Fanny Hubard-Salmon, France – Best TV Presenter Denise Hearst, United States – Best Journalist Marijke Visser, Netherlands – Best Endurance Rider
The next evening, the 2015 HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Annual Darley Awards Gala Dinner was held at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel. The highlight of this fantastic evening was the 22nd annual Arabian Racing Cup Stallion Breeding Auction, which attracted international attention on the 10 coveted breedings. The bidding was exciting and a total of $71,800 was raised to support the Cup’s racing and breeding incentive projects. The highest bid of the auction was $40,000 for a breeding to top stallion Munjiz, bought by Lara Sawaya.
Denise Gault, Chief Steward, remarked that all of the stewards were “excited to continue the Arabian Racing Cup tradition and we are once again honored by our main sponsor, the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival for their participation in this most prestigious event.”
The Arabian Racing Cup is a nonprofit corporation founded by Dr. Sam Harrison, originally chartered in 1983 and currently run by its Board of Stewards. The Cup is dedicated to the national and international promotion of breeding and racing purebred Arabian horses.
The Darley Awards were founded in 1987 and are the crowning jewel of the Arabian Racing Cup. The event is a solid tradition that has become a foundation of American Arabian Racing. This distinguished annual ceremony recognizes the most outstanding racehorses, jockeys, owners, trainers and breeders of the Arabian horse community. In 2012, the Cup joined together with the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival to further promote the prestigious Darley Awards event on an international level.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers and sponsored by Invest AD, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2015, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Yas Channel, Omeir Travels and Racing Post.
A printable version of this press release is available: 28th Annual Darley Awards