Grade I winner Effinex was named 2015 New York-bred Horse of the Year at the annual New York Thoroughbred Breeders awards dinner Monday night.
As a 4-year-old last year, the bay colt became not only a graded-stakes winner, but a Grade I winner. He took the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in his last start of the season in November, four weeks after having finished second to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The Jimmy Jerkens-trained Effinex was bred by Dr. Russell Cohen, a long-time breeder and veterinarian on the New York Racing Association circuit, and is owned by his mother’s Tri-Bone Stables.
Besides the Clark, the son of Mineshaft won the first graded stakes of his career in the Excelsior at Aqueduct in April, and followed that up with a victory by a head over Tonalist in the Grade II Suburban at Belmont Park.
In his only start at Saratoga Race Course, Effinex, who also was named champion older dirt male, was fourth to Liam’s Map in the Woodward.
The other multiple winner was Lady Sheila Stable’s sprint mare La Verdad, winner of four graded stakes, including the Honorable Miss at Saratoga. La Verdad, trained by Linda Rice, was named champion older dirt female and female sprinter.
She was second to Wavell Avenue in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.
La Verdad is in foal to Medaglia d’Oro.
Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth winner Upstart, fourth in the Travers at Saratoga, was named champion 3-year-old male, and the 3-year-old female winner was Hot City Girl, a graded-stakes winner who was second to Birdatthewire in the Grade I LaBrea at Santa Anita.
The 2-year-old champions were Flexibility (male) and Frosty Margarita (female).
In the turf categories, Lubash was a repeat winner as male champion, and Invading Humor was the female champion.
Palace was the male sprint champion for the second year in a row.
Rice, who oversaw the campaigns of La Verdad and Hot City Girl, was named trainer of the year for the third year in a row, and Jose Ortiz was jockey of the year.
Mark Vondrasek’s Eklektikos Stable LLC was named breeder of the year for having produced both La Verdad and Hot City Girl with their broodmare Noble Bird.
KEEN ICE MOVES
Keen Ice, the only horse to beat Horse of the Year American Pharoah during his 3-year-old season, has been transferred from the barn of trainer Dale Romans to Todd Pletcher.
Romans has been Donegal Racing’s primary trainer, although Pletcher has the ownership group’s Kentucky Derby prospect, Donegal Moon, who is running in the Blue Grass on Saturday, in his barn.
Keen Ice beat American Pharoah in the Travers last summer, but otherwise has just a maiden victory to his record from 16 career starts. Keen Ice is coming off an eighth-place finish to California Chrome in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.
Keeneland, which opens its spring meet on Friday, drew the Blue Grass on Tuesday. Fountain of Youth runner-up Zulu is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a full field of 14, plus two also-eligibles entered in the event of scratches.