Jim Jorgensen’s homebred Wildatlanticstorm earned double honors from the Iowa Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association for his accomplishments in 2022. The late-blooming son of Stormy Atlantic – Imsortaspecial (Big Brown) is honored as the 2022 ITBOA Horse of the Year and the Champion ITBOA 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding.
Wildatlanticstorm earned $366,568 in total purse money last year, winning four of his six starts for his owner and trainer H. Ray Ashford, Jr. under three jockeys: Leandro Goncalves, Alex Birzer, and David Cabrera.
His 2022 season included just one start at Prairie Meadows, a maiden special weight victory under Birzer on Aug. 6.
Wildatlanticstorm sat third early in the 5-1/2 furlong sprint race before making a three-wide bid approaching the quarter pole and pulling clear late to score by two lengths over a fast surface.
The colt had signaled his readiness to win late in his debut, a four-furlong turf sprint at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas on July 8, when he chased two-wide from an outside post and finished well under Goncalves.
“We really had the Remington Park stakes races on the radar early on,” explained Jorgensen. “That’s the main reason we only ended up running once at Prairie Meadows.”
After his first victory in Altoona, Wildatlanticstorm shipped to Oklahoma, settled in well, and turned in a respectable 1:03.62 five-furlong drill over the Remington Park oval on Aug. 27. He was a dominating winner in his first start there, leading every step of the way under Cabrera to record a six-furlong non-winners of two tally by five lengths on Sept. 8.
Just 17 days later, Wildatlanticstorm tested deeper waters for the first time in the $75,000 Kip DeVille Stakes at six furlongs. With Cabrera back in the saddle, the colt opened up an early lead as the 9-5 favorite, but weakened late, and settled for second.
“We probably ran him back a little too soon after his first start in Oklahoma,” noted Jorgensen. “We knew we had a month to get ready for the Clever Trevor. We gave him a couple of weeks off, then worked him twice, and he was ready to go again.”
The Remington Park track came up sloppy on Oct. 28 for the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes at seven furlongs, so the looming question was how Wildatlanticstorm would handle the off going. He answered with a hard-fought pace-stalking narrow victory under Cabrera, holding off the late charges of race favorite Campfire Creed and Toddchero to win by a nose.
Wildatlanticstorm stretched out to eight furlongs in the season-ending $400,000 Springboard Mile on December 17.
Sent off at 15-1 with Goncalves back aboard, the colt stalked the pace early, came through on the inside, and wrested the lead at the top of the stretch before digging in late to hold off the Brad Cox-trained 4-5 favorite Giant Mischief and win by just over a length.
2-Year-Old Iowa-Bred Filly — My Happiness, bred, owned, and trained by Dr. Christine Hicklin, DVM, won two of her four starts at Prairie Meadows in 2022 to finish her 2-year-old campaign with $99,384 in total earnings.
The daughter of Bee Jersey – Mayfield Road (Yonaguska) earned her first lifetime stakes victory with a smart tally in the $100,000 Iowa Sorority at six furlongs under 2022 Prairie Meadows leading rider Kylee Jordan.
My Happiness broke her maiden with a facile five-length victory over maiden special weight foes under Alex Canchari in her second lifetime start on July 22.
3-Year-Old Iowa-Bred Colt/Gelding — Ain’t Life Grand, the son of Not This Time – Cat D’Oro (Medaglia D’Oro), bred and owned by RPM Thoroughbreds (Peggy and Ray Shattuck) followed up his championship 2-year-old campaign with three wins in his final four starts of 2022 to become the year’s lone repeat winner.
His gallant victory in the $300,000 listed Iowa Derby was arguably the highlight of the 2022 Iowa Festival of Racing. Under regular rider Elvin Gonzalez, Ain’t Life Grand came four-wide into the stretch, grabbed the lead in the final sixteenth, and held off 1-2 favorite Conagher.
Ain’t Life Grand ended his 3-year-old season with a dominating victory in the Iowa Breeders’ Derby on Oct. 1.
3-Year-Old Iowa-Bred Filly — Miss Peach, the daughter of Dominus – Carolina Peach (Giant’s Causeway), recorded three wins, including a pair of stakes victories, from her six starts at Prairie Meadows in 2022.
Running for the partnership of breeder Poindexter Thoroughbreds LLC and Albaugh Family Stables LLC, Miss Peach broke her maiden on June 5 and added stakes victories under regular rider Glenn Corbett in the Iowa Stallion Filly Stakes and the Iowa Breeders’ Oaks to finish the year with $152,867 in total earnings.
Older Iowa-Bred Horse — Basic Chance, the battle-tested son of Yes It’s True – Swede (Yankee Victor) saved his best effort of the season for Iowa Classic night as he posted an 11-1 upset in the $100,000 Dan Johnson Sprint under Alberto Pusac on Oct. 1.
Bred by the late William “Duke” Hobbs and running for Martin Brothers, Inc. and Gene Burkholder, Basic Chance won for the 18th time in 48 starts as he increased his lifetime earnings to $597,662.
Older Iowa-Bred Mare — Angel’s Melody, a daughter Sing Baby Sing – Medical Angel (Blumin Affair) enjoyed a very productive season in 2022, winning four of her nine starts and collecting $151,781 in earnings.
Her tally in the Hawkeyes Handicap on Aug. 12 under Wilmer Garcia for trainer Jon Arnett provided longtime Iowa breeder/owner Larry Hagemeier with his first career stakes victory.
The ITBOA also named champions based on earnings at Prairie Meadows in 2022:
Breeder and Owner of the Year — Poindexter Thoroughbreds LLC/Allen Poindexter, whose Iowa-bred foals –topped by Miss Peach, Bossy Moment ($126,339), and Kayla ($113,224)– earned $1,396,768 and whose Iowa-owned runners earned $986,544.
Stallion of the Year — Native Ruler, owned by Maggi Moss, now pensioned at Unbridled Spirits in Lisbon, IA. His progeny earned $431,133 in 2022. The top earners last season were Peggy Rules ($51,092), Chinlee ($46,862), and Toska’s Ruler ($39,015).
Broodmare of the Year — Cat d’Oro, owned by RPM Thoroughbreds (Peggy and Ray Shattuck), whose offspring earned $397,085 in 2022. Her top earner was Iowa Derby winner Ain’t Life Grand ($323,053)