Top 2016 Juvenile Performers

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December 27th, 2016

Next month, the Thoroughbred industry honors its stars with the Eclipse Awards. On January 18, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) will hand out awards to the leading horses, trainer, jockey, owner and breeder.

A panel of voters will select equine champions in several age categories with one top performer to be honored as AQHA world champion.  That usually goes to an older horse, but there have been several noted 2-year-olds to receive the award. Heza Dasha Fire was the 2015 honoree following a stellar season as a 3-year-old.

This year’s champion 2-year-old division includes several Grade 1 winners, but a clear front-runner is Imperial Eagle, the son of One Famous Eagle, who won the $3 million All American Futurity (G1) on Labor Day at Ruidoso Downs.  Trained by Tony Sedillo and ridden by Esgar Ramirez, Imperial Eagle won his second grade 1 event of the year at Zia Park, when he captured the $200,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship on December 3.

Imperial Eagle shown winning his second Grade 1 stakes of 2016

The voters should consider performances by other winners of graded stakes and seven-figure futurity finals. Duponte, by American Runaway, captured the $1 million Heritage Place Futurity at Remington Park in June after winning one of the first futurities of the year, the $267,700 Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity (G3) at Louisiana Downs. His campaign continued with a third-place finish at Lone Star Park in the $384,615 Dash For Cash Futurity (G2) on October 8.

A Revenant was a big performer last summer at Ruidoso Downs, winning the $1 million Rainbow Futurity and placing second earlier in the meet in the $1 million Ruidoso Futurity. Over at Los Alamitos, Lotta Blues Man won the $982,000 Golden State Million Futurity with Worth Doing scoring the win in the richest race of the meet, the $1,950,000 Los Alamitos Two Million.

High Plains Perry was victorious in the $1 million Texas Classic Futurity on November 12 at Lone Star Park and TF Racee Runaway scored a big upset in the $1 million LQHBA Breeders Futurity on November 19 at Evangeline Downs. Both will be huge longshots in the voting, but a win in a $1million dollar final deserves recognition.

The AQHA Awards ceremony will take place on January 18 in Oklahoma City. It will be a career-defining evening for each of the honorees!