The undefeated sprinter Cluster of Stars was named 2013 New York-bred Horse of the Year on Tuesday at the annual awards banquet for the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc.
Owned by Turtle Bird Stables and trained by Steve Asmussen, Cluster of Stars was 6-for-6 last season, including Grade II wins in the Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct and Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park.
The daughter of Greeley’s Galaxy was retired after coming back from a workout with a physical issue in November while training for the Go for Wand at Aqueduct.
Cluster of Stars also won NYTB awards as champion female sprinter and champion older female.
Other multiple winners were Patricia Generazio’s Grade I Del Mar Oaks-winning homebred Discreet Marq, who was voted champion 3-year-old filly and turf female, and Gerald and Susan Kresa’s homebred King Kreesa, who was named champion turf male and older male.
Grade III Poker winner King Kreesa was second to Wise Dan in the Bernard Baruch at Saratoga Race Course.
Discreet Marq and King Kreesa were also finalists for Horse of the Year.
The top New York breeder went to Patricia S. Purdy of Ivy League Farm in Ithaca, who bred London Bridge, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Marathon and the first New York-bred to win a race at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
Wired Bryan, who ran in all three graded stakes for juveniles at Saratoga, was named the top 2-year-old male. He won the Grade II Sanford, was second to Corfu in the Saratoga Special and fifth to Strong Mandate in the Hopeful.
Horse of the Year: Cluster of Stars. 2-year-old male: Wired Bryan. 2-year-old filly: Artemis Agrotera. 3-year-old male: Notacatbutallama. 3-year-old filly: Discreet Marq. Turf male: King Kreesa. Turf female: Discreet Marq. Male sprinter: Palace. Female sprinter: Cluster of Stars. Older male: King Kreesa. Older female: Cluster of Stars. Steeplechase horse: Sunshine Numbers. New York broodmare of the year: Babyurthegreatest (Dam of Cluster of Stars). Trainer: Linda Rice. Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr. Breeder: Patricia S. Purdy.
BACK TO DIRT
After over seven years using Polytrack on its main track, Keeneland announced on Wednesday that it will return to conventional dirt after the spring meet that begins on Friday.
The work will begin on May 19 and is scheduled to be finished on Aug. 15, in time for the fall meet, which opens on Sept. 1.
In a statement released by the Lexington, Ky., track, Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomason said the track will revert to dirt despite a record of lower on-track fatalities compared to the national average.
Keeneland is returning to dirt to stay competitive with other tracks, he said.
“We had hoped that the synthetic surface would become the prevalent and predominant racing surface in America and, for whatever reasons, it just hasn’t,” Thomason said. “So we have to acknowledge that, and in order for us to continue attracting the quality of horse at the highest level of racing — which is what’s expected of Keeneland — we have decided to change back.”
Del Mar recently announced that it will go back to dirt. The remaining major tracks in North America with synthetic tracks are Woodbine, Arlington Park, Turfway Park, Preque Isle Downs and Golden Gate Fields.