Dance Code #2 with Nik Juarez aboard capture the $100,000 Parx Juvenile for two-year-olds at Parx Racing on December 29, 2021. The son of Honor Code is trained by Juan Vazquez for owner Richie’s World Stables LLC. Photo by Nikki Sherman/EQUI-PHOTO
The proverbial “mailbox money” of breeder’s awards might seem like the easiest check to earn in the Thoroughbred industry, but the reality is those awards are the fruits of incredible time and effort on the part of the people bringing up the horses.
Still, if the time and effort is going to be put in, it’s nice to have it pay off, and Pennsylvania’s lucrative incentive programs for breeders ensure a good breeder is rewarded for supplying a good horse.
In 2021, the breeding operation that saw the greatest rewards for the horses it raised, in terms of Pennsylvania breeder’s awards, was Blackstone Farm in Pine Grove, Pa., which brought in $277,161.
It marked the third consecutive year that Blackstone Farm topped the state’s standings by breeder awards.
Through Pennsylvania’s incentive program, breeders can earn a 50 percent bonus on the purse for horses bred and sired in-state that run in any maiden race. Pennsylvania-breds sired elsewhere are eligible for a 25 percent bonus.
In all other races, horses bred and sired in Pennsylvania can earn a 40 percent bonus on the purse for breeders, while those sired out of state earn a 20 percent bonus.
Leading the way for the Blackstone-bred runners in 2021 was Dance Code, an Honor Code colt who generated $27,156 in breeder’s awards during his 2-year-old season.
Dance Code won on debut at Parx Racing by a neck over For the Dreamers on June 28. He then shipped to Saratoga for the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes on July 17, where he finished third. After running ninth in the G2 Saratoga Special Stakes, Dance Code returned to his home state to finish out his season.
The colt found a second wind once back in the friendly confines of Parx, winning a comeback allowance optional claiming race by a front-running 1 3/4 lengths on Nov. 10.
Dance Code returned to stakes company in December, finishing fourth in the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes on Dec. 7, then ending his season on a high note in the Parx Juvenile Stakes on Dec. 29, where he once again took to the front and drew off to win the seven-furlong race by 1 1/2 lengths.
Dance Code is out of the winning Street Boss mare Dancinginthestreet. He sold for $13,000 from the South Point Sales consignment at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, then owner Richie’s World Stable paid $50,000 for him out of the Coastal Equine consignment at the 2021 OBS March 2-year-olds in training sale.
Other highlights of Blackstone Farm’s breeding program in 2021 included You Look Cold, a Frosted filly who earned her breeder $11,760 in bonuses last year.
Her 2-year-old season featured a debut win in a Monmouth Park maiden special weight on Aug. 7. Two starts later, she traveled home to Presque Isle Downs, where she scored a driving win in the Finest City Stakes on Sept. 13.
You Look Cold is out of the unraced Lookin at Lucky mare Lucky Draw.
Nice Ace, a Noble Mission gelding, made $14,944 in breeder’s awards last year on a campaign that featured three victories and a pair of runner-up efforts in allowance or optional claiming races at Presque Isle Downs. He is out of the unraced First Samurai mare A Lady With An Ace.