Renaissance Champions Awards Winners Announced

Larry Johnson, Brittany Russell and Jevian Toledo were voted the top owner, trainer and jockey in the 2022 Renaissance Champions Awards, which were announced from Feb. 27-March 4 in advance of the April 14 awards dinner. On the equine side, Laurel Park-based Fille d’Esprit took down three Maryland-bred championships for older mare, sprinter and Horse of the Year.

The Renaissance Champions Awards were created to recognize the best of Maryland racing and breeding from the previous year. This year, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association added five equine awards to recognize top performers based in Maryland but not necessarily bred in the state. The MTHA earlier announced its Grooms of the Year for 2023: Martin Haiber at Laurel and Ricardo Martinez at Pimlico Race Course.

 JHA5256Johnson, an owner and breeder, won 28 races last year, and his runners earned $1.55 million. His homebred mare Spun Glass won back-to-back stakes at Laurel and Colonial Downs and earned more than $172,000 in 2022. Her season earned her a 2022 championship.

Russell was the Trainer of the Year in Maryland in 2021. Overall, she won 100 races, more than 70 of them at Maryland tracks and trained two 2022 champions, Post Time and Whereshetoldmetogo.

Toledo, who Jockey of the Year in 2017 and 2021, won 145 races in Maryland last year and topped the Laurel winter meet and Pimlico spring meet by victories. His horses in Maryland alone earned $5.66 million.

The MTHA this year added five equine Horse of the Year Awards for horses based in Maryland that may not be bred in the state.

Male Dirt Horse: Cordmaker, owned by Hillwood Stable, trained by Rodney Jenkins and bred by Robert Manfuso and Katherine Voss

Female Dirt Horse: Luna Belle, owned by Deborah Greene and Hamilton Smith, trained by Hamilton Smith and bred by Fred Greene Jr., Deborah Greene and Hamilton Smith

Male Turf Horse: English Tavern, owned by Jerry Romans Jr. and Hamilton Smith, trained by Hamilton Smith and bred by Dr. Charles Huber and English Channel Co-Owners

Female Turf Horse: Spun Glass, owned by Larry Johnson, trained by Mike Trombetta and bred by Larry Johnson

Claimer: Eastern Bay, owned by Built Wright Stable, trained by Norman Cash and bred by Nancy Lee Farms

The following are the Maryland-bred champions.

Horse of the Year, older mare and sprinter: Fille d’Esprit, owned by CJI Phoenix Group and No Guts No Glory Farm, trained by John Robb and (bred by Sweet Spirits Stables. Fille d’Esprit in her 6-year-old season won five races—all of them stakes at three different tracks—and earned $420,055.

2-year-old male: Post Time, owned by Hillwood Stable, trained by Brittany Russell and bred by Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Dr. Brooke Bowman and Milton P. Higgins III

2-year-old filly: Malibu Moonshine, owned by Happy Face Racing Stable, trained by Charlton Baker and bred by Dr. Ronald Harris Parker

3-year-old male: Joe, owned and bred by The Elkstone Group and trained by Mike Trombetta

3-year-old filly: Luna Belle

Older male: Whereshetoldmetogo, owned by Madaket Stables, Ten Strike Racing, Michael E. Kisber and BTR Racing, trained by Brittany Russell and bred by David H. Wade

Turf runner: Field Pass, owned by Three Diamonds Farm, trained by Mike Maker and bred by Mark Brown Grier

Steeplechaser: Who’s Counting, bred and owned by South Branch Equine and trained by Sean McDermott

Breeder: Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman

Stallion: Great Notion (Northview Stallion Station)

Broodmare: Slow and Steady


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