Americans were among those honored Mar. 4 at the sixth edition of HH Sheikh Mohammed Horse Racing Excellence Awards at Meydan Racecourse. The ceremony commemorates some of the leading connections who participated at the Dubai World Cup meeting, as well as a pair that were decided by public vote.
“The HH Sheikh Mohammed Horse Racing Excellence Awards were founded in 2017 as an expression of His Highness’ love for racing and passion for horses,” said Major General Dr Mohammed Essa Al Adhab, General Manager of Dubai Racing Club. “They recognize the best in the industry, with a nod towards those who have supported our Dubai World Cup meeting, as well as giving racing fans a chance to vote on their favorites through the People’s Choice and Best Local Jockey awards.”
French trainer Andre Fabre was given this year’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award,’ while the popular vote went to Baaeed (GB) for ‘People’s Choice’ and Bernardo Pinheiro for ‘Best Local Jockey.’
Here are the American winners:
Best Horse – LIFE IS GOOD
Bred by Gary and May West, the son of Into Mischief sold for $525,000 dollars to China Horse Club at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Life Is Good went on to earn more than $4.5 million throughout his career, which saw him win eight of his 11 starts, including four Grade I races. He finished fourth behind Country Grammar in the G1 Dubai World Cup.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for most of his career, Life Is Good returned to the U.S. and won the GI Whitney H. at Saratoga, which earned him an international rating of 125. That made him the highest-rated horse to come out of the 2022 Dubai World Cup meeting.
Best Owner – WINSTAR FARM and CHINA HORSE CLUB
Winstar Farm and China Horse Club (CHC) combined for joint-ownership of Life Is Good with CHC’s Eden Harrington and Morgan Harries representing the partnership.
“These awards acknowledge the exceptionalism of Life Is Good and the phenomenal journey he continues to take China Horse Club and WinStar Farm on,” said Vice President Harrington. “We also congratulate WinStar Farm, with whom we have shared a succession of life changing moments, Todd Pletcher, Irad Ortiz and the entire team involved with Life Is Good. We also look forward to continuing to support horse racing in Dubai in years to come.”
Best Jockey – IRAD ORTIZ
The Eclipse Award winner, Irad Ortiz continues to be one of the most successful in North America over the past decade, and he led all jockeys in Grade I event wins since the 2022 Dubai World Cup meeting.
Best Trainer – TODD PLETCHER
Also the reigning Eclipse Award winner, Todd Pletcher collected 15 Grade I races, making him the most successful to compete at the 2022 Dubai World Cup meeting.