Book'em Danno Named 2023 New Jersey-bred Horse of the Year

Atlantic Six Racing LLC’s Book’em Danno has been named the 2023 New Jersey-bred Horse of the Year, champion sprinter, and champion 2-year-old by the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey.

Book’em Danno immediately showed his promise with a 9 ½ length win against New Jersey-breds in his first career start on August 12 at Monmouth Park.  The son of Bucchero out of the Ghostzapper mare, Adorabella, came back three weeks later to win the $100,000 Smoke Glacken Stakes by two lengths in another impressive score against open company.  Book’em Danno traveled to New York for his next start, a resounding win in the $150,000 Futurity Stakes at Aqueduct by 6 /2 lengths.  The Derek Ryan trainee ended his two-year-old campaign with a ¾ length defeat in the Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct.

Bred in New Jersey by Gregory Kilka and Bright View Farm, Book’em Danno finished 2023 with 3 wins and 1 second in four starts and earnings of $230,625. 

Smith Farm & Stables homebred Precious Avary is the champion 3-year-old filly and champion turf runner after winning four starts, including two stake races, during her championship campaign.  The daughter of Diving Rod won three consecutive races, concluding with a win in the Jersey Girl Handicap at Monmouth Park against older horses in her first start on the turf.  Precious Avary won her second stake race in the $125,000 Maryland Million Ladies Stakes on the Maryland Million Card at Laurel Park in gate-to-wire fashion. 

Precious Avary has career earnings of $274,448 and is trained by Timothy J. Shaw.

Holly Crest Farms homebred Great Navigator is the champion three-year-old male after hitting the board in seven of his eight starts and earning $199,407.  The son of Sea Wizard followed up on his champion two-year-old campaign by winning the $125,000 Charles J. Hesse III Handicap by 10 lengths and finishing third in the Vosburgh (Grade 2) at Belmont Park.  The 3-year-old champion male, trained by Eddie Owens, Jr., has earnings of $284,207. 

After another successful stakes-winning campaign, John Bowers, Jr’s homebred He’spuregold repeated as champion older male.   The 5-year-old son of Vancouver, out of the Smart Strike mare, Smart N Classy, started his championship campaign, winning over the Gulfstream Park turf course on January 1.  He’spuregold showed his affinity for the Monmouth Park turf course winning the Irish War Cry Handicap at one mile on the turf at Monmouth Park for the third consecutive year.  Kelly J. Breen trains He’spuregold and has earnings of $463,370.

He’spuregold dam, Smart N Classy, was a graded stakes-winning New Jersey-bred for John Bowers, Jr., earning $466,209.  As a broodmare, Smart N Classy also produced the multiple stakes winner Valedictorian ($761,115) and stakes winner Stay Smart ($266.080). 

Mia’s Crusade’s three stake wins earned her the honor of New Jersey-bred champion older mare.  The daughter of Greenpointcrusader out of the Mo Mon mare, Mini Moneigh, was campaigned by Joseph and Gayle Ioia and is trained by Chuck Spina.  Mia’s Crusade began her championship campaign with a 1 ¼ length win in the $85,000 Spruce Fir Handicap at Monmouth Park.  Mia's Crusade's next win was in the $100,000 Eleven North Handicap, going six furlongs on the dirt during the New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival against a full field of New Jersey-bred fillies and mares.  Mia’s Crusade ended her championship campaign, showing her versatility, winning the Pinot Grigio Handicap at 5 furlongs over the Meadowlands turf course. 

Mia’s Crusade was bred in New Jersey by Dianne Boyken and has career earnings of $350,781.

Adorabella was honored as Broodmare of the Year for the second consecutive year.  Tracy Farmer bred the 8-year-old mare by Ghostzapper out of Alydorable, by Arch.  Gregory Kilka purchased her out of the Keeneland January 2020 Horse of All Ages Sale in foal to Fast Anna.  The resulting foal was the 2022 New Jersey-bred Champion two-year-old filly, Girl Trouble ($283,890).  Adorabella also produced the 2023 New Jersey-bred Horse of the Year, champion sprinter, and champion 2-year-old, Book’em Danno.

Sea Wizard is the New Jersey Stallion of the Year after his progeny earned over $796,000 in 2023.  Sea Wizard’s second crop of runners includes New Jersey-bred champion 3-year-old male Great Navigator, and he sired five two-year-old winners in 2023, including stakes-placed runners Sea Streak and Ship to Shore.  Sea Wizard stands the 2024 season at Pegasus Farm in Colts Neck, New Jersey.

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