Pictured above: Joe Clancy recieves his February 2015 Touch of Class Award from Jim Steele, Chairman of the Maryland Horse Industry Board
The MHIB established the Touch of Class Award in September 2011 to honor Maryland horses, individuals, teams, organizations or events that demonstrate the highest standards of excellence in the Maryland Horse Industry. The award is named after Touch of Class, a Maryland-bred mare who won two Olympic show jumping gold medals and currently holds the Olympic record for number of clean jumping rounds in an Olympic competition.
Below are the Touch of Class Award recipients, to date. Read our Touch of Class brochure which features the first year of winners.
2015 Touch of Class Award Recipients
December 2015 - Three Maryland horse trainers who earned top honors at the 2015 Thoroughbred Makeover competition in Lexington, Kentucky. The are: Michelle Warro from Davidsonville (Anne Arundel County), Rebecca Walters from Fallston (Harford County) and Neil Agate from Germantown (Montgomery County). For more information.
October and November 2015 - Marilyn Little, a double gold medal winner in 3-Day Eventing at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto Canada, and Ben Stevick, a double gold medal winner in dressage at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. For more information
August and Sept 2015 - Pat Oliva and Julio Mendoza, two remarkable Maryland equestrians who have distinguished themselves in national and international competition, were honored during festivities at the My Maryland Horse Festival. For more information.
June and July 2015 - Maryland-based women’s and men’s high school polo teams that recently won the 2015 national interscholastic polo championships will be honored with Touch of Class Awards. For more information.
May 2015 - Management of the 350-acre Fair Hill Training Center — which has become one of the premier U.S. and international racehorse training facilities during its 33 year history and is home base to two current North American champion racehorses — received the May Touch of Class Award. For more information.
April 2015 - Buddy Wooters, a six-time U.S. jousting champion from Denton (Caroline County) and a member of the National Jousting Association (NJA) Hall of Fame, is among the four national reigning jousting champions, all from Maryland, who were named the April Touch of Class Award. For more information.
March 2015 - Maryland-based stables, trainers and riders from the state’s large steeplechasing community swept leading national honors in 2014 and were honored for their achievements with Touch of Class Awards. For more information.
February 2015 - February Touch of Class Award was presented to Joe Clancy, editor of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Magazine and recent recipient of Thoroughbred racing’s Eclipse Award. Clancy is the author of a national, prize-winning story about the Preakness exploits of Horse of the Year California Chrome. For more information
January 2015 - Two youth regional riding teams that won national championships at the 2014 U.S. Pony Club Championships in Lexington, KY received the January Touch of Class Award from the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) last week at the Horse World Expo in Timonium. The two teams represent two different equestrian disciplines—Mounted Games and Show Jumping. For more information
2014 Touch of Class Award Recipients
November 2014 - Barbara Smith, a horsewoman from Lothian (Anne Arundel County) who was among the Top 10 finishers in the grueling 2014 Mongol Derby in Mongolia. For more information.
September and October 2014 - Grace Fulton of Carroll County and Kc van Aarem of Montgomery County, two teenage riders who were members of winning teams at the 2014 Adequan FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) in Lexington, Kentucky. For more information.
August 2014 - Hope Birsh, Cockeysville, for her involvement in the equine community since 1985 and leadership for the industry as current President-Elect of the American Equine Trade Association. For information.
July 2014 - Marissa Wells, who was recently named 2014 Interscholastic Female Player of the Year by the U.S. Polo Association, and her three teammates: Maddie Grant, Abbie Grant and Stephanie Schultz - winners of the U.S. national girls interscholastic team chamionship. Additionally, Marissa's mother Kelly Wells was honored as team coach. For more information.
June 2014 - Don Principe, a 15-year-old Hanoverian stallion who stands at stud at Hilltop
Farm in Cecil County, is currently ranked as the nation’s leading sire of
dressage horses by the U.S. Equestrian Federation. For more information.
May 2014 - The May
Award was presented to Spellbound, one of the nation’s leading show ponies, who
is headquartered and trained by Kimberly Stewart at her Glenwillow Farm in
Jefferson (Frederick County). The award was accepted by his owner and rider Bernadette Chungunco, 14, from Fairfax, VA. For more information.
April 2014 - The April Touch of Class Award was presented to Marilyn
Little and her mare Demeter from Frederick (Frederick County); and Tayler
Stewart and her gelding Fugitive from Damascus (Montgomery County) -- two
reigning 2013 champions in the U.S. Eventing Association (USEA) national
rankings. The award was presented to Little at the 2014 Rolex Kentucky
Three-Day Event in Lexington, Kentucky by MHIB Board Member Karen Fulton. The
award was presented to Stewart at the Maryland Combined Training Association
Horse Trials at Shawan Downs in Cockeysville May 3-4. For more information.
March 2014 - MHIB recognized five National Steeplechase Champions: Mark Beecher, U.S. champion amateur steeplechase jockey (Baltimore County); Foyle, U.S. champion timber horse that is owned by Merriefield Farm (Charles Noell) and trained by Bruce Fenwick (Baltimore County); Irv Naylor, U.S. champion timber owner (Baltimore County); Tuscalee, Maryland-bred and owned steeplechase champion recently inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (Prince George’s County); and Jack Fisher, U.S. champion steeplechase trainer (Baltimore County). For more information.
February 2014 - Victor Carrasco, the Maryland-based jockey who was recently named Thoroughbred racing’s leading apprentice rider, was presented with the February Touch of Class Award during the President’s Day races at Laurel Park. For more information.
January 2014 - Chic With Chex, a 10 year-old sorrel Quarter Horse mare — owned by Don Burgy of Howard County and trained by Dutch Chapman of Carroll County — received the Janaury 2014 Touch of Class Award. For more information.
2013 Touch of Class Award Recipents
December 2013 The December Touch of Class Award was presented to Madison and Miranda Iager, two teenage sisters from Woodbine (Carroll County), and their national champion mules. Awards were presented by MHIB Chair Jim Steele at The Equiery Holiday Open House in Lisbon (Howard County). - For more information
November 2013 - Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance presented the November Touch of Class Award to Spencer Bramble, a 17 year-old senior at Queen Anne’s County High School and a World Champion rodeo rider during a special “Evening at the Harness Races” program at Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George’s County. For more information.
October 2013 - Stuart S. Janney III, the Baltimore County resident whose horse, Orb, won the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Jenn Patterson, Orb’s exercise rider and chief caretaker, accepted the award on Janney’s behalf, which was presented during the 2013 Maryland Million on Oct. 19. Patterson manages a string of horses, including Orb, who are stabled at Fair Hill Training Center in Cecil County and are owned by Janney and his cousin, Ogden Phipps. For more information.
September 2013 - Ashley Foster, a 17 year-old college freshmen, and her horse Charade, a 12 year-old Warmblood gelding, show jumpers who trains at Rolling Acres Farm in Brookeville in Montgomery County. For more information.
August 2013 - A family of champion Standardbred racehorses and breeding stock, owned by Joe Thomson of Winbak Farm in Chesapeake City (Cecil County) received the August Award. They are:
For more information
July 2013 - Four Marylanders who swept all four divisions at the 2012 National Jousting Finals received the July Award. The four were Corey Minnick of Washington County, Malcolm Macy of Harford County, Lily Fisher-Flaherty and her younger brother, Ian Flaherty of Calvert County. Read the release.
June 2013 - Linda Zang, an internationally renowned dressage rider and judge from Anne Arundel County, and Qredit, a 5-year-old Oldenburg stallion owned by Hilltop Farm in Cecil County. The award was presented during the Dancing Horse Challenge at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center. Read the release.
May 2013 - This month was the 40th Anniverary of Secretariat's Triple Crown. MHIB celebrated the anniversary by presenting Touch of Class Awards to three outstanding Maryland equestrians during a VIP reception at the American Film Institute in Silver Spring yesterday. More than 200 people attended the reception, which was sponsored by the Maryland Jockey Club and MHIB. The three were:
Read the full release
April 2013 - Tracey Morgan and her pony, Fuego 88, who won the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s National Combined Driving Single Pony Championships in Southern Pines, N.C. and will now represent the United States at the World Combined Driving Championships in France in October. Read the full release.
March 2013recipients include owners, trainers, jockeys and horses from Maryland who dominated the national steeplechase scene in 2012. They are listed below. Read the complete release here. (Note that February and March awards were presented together.)
February 2013 recipients are breeders of national champion Welsh ponies. They are listed below. Read the complete release here. (Note that February and March awards were presented together.)
January 2013 - Kristen Wilson of Eldersburg (Carroll County) and her multi-national champion 4-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse, The Midnight Ride, who is the National Walking Horse Association Overall High Point Champion of 2012. Read the full release.
2012 Touch of Class Award Recipents
December 2012 - Officer Megan Lau of the Maryland National Capital Park Police, Montgomery County division. She was the overall winner of the National Mounted Police Equitation Championship at the North American Police Equestrian Championships.
November 2012 - Jacob Pope, an 18 year-old senior at McDonogh School who is from Columbia (Howard County). Jacob won the ASPCA Maclay National Championship in equitation at the National Horse Show in Kentucky.
October 2012 - Mackenzie Taylor, 16, from Damascus (Montgomery County) and her pony, Inkspot. Taylor won the Individual World Mounted Games Championship in international competition in Wales, United Kingdom (a first for a Marylander). A total of 56 competitors from 17 countries participated in the event, which took place over two days. Inkspot was adopted from the Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Lisbon (Howard County) and was also on hand to help Taylor accept the award.
September 2012 - Suzanne Stettinius, 24, from Parkton (Baltimore County). She is one of the world’s top 36 woman competitors in the Modern Pentathlon Event, winning the Silver Medal at the 2012 North and Central America and Caribbean Open event, and representing the United States at the recent London Olympic Games. Stettinius is also a licensed steeplechase jockey and trainer.
August 2012 - Two Maryland-born polocrosse players, Dori Johnson and Caroline Gardiner compete at the national and international level. Both represented the United States in a series of test match competitions in the United Kingdom.
July 2012 – Two Maryland teenagers who are newcomers to national competition, and one veteran national title holder were honored for earning national titles in Jousting, the official state sport of Maryland. Corey Minnick, 30, of Hagerstown (Washington County) won his third national title in the “Professional” division; Mikayla Miller, 13, of St. Leonard (Calvert County) won the national title in the “Amateur” division; and Anthony Reinhold, 17, of Denton (Caroline County) won his title in the “Novice” division.
June 2012 - Three gold medalists, a national coach and one horse who have helped propel Maryland’s dressage community into the national spotlight were honored. The five award recipients were Maryland's three 2011 U.S. Dressage Federation’s Gold Medalists (1) Susanne Hassler of Chesapeake City; (2) Christine Betz of Thurmont; and (3) Jaralyn Finn of Poolesville. Also honored were, (4) Scott Hassler, National Coach for the U.S. Dressage Federation; and (5) Royal Prince, the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s Breeding Sire of the Year who is stabled at Hilltop Farm in Cecil County.
May 2012 - Merlin, a therapy horse who has helped hundreds of special needs children and adults deal with emotional issues and trauma, was honored in May. The 32-year old gelding, who is still in active use at Rose of Sharon Equestrian School in Glen Arm (Baltimore County), was also honored as the American Morgan Horse Association's "National Therapy Horse of the Year".
April 2012- Dixies Valentine, a 7-year-old mare, received the 2012 World Champion Mare Award during the Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Awards, which were awarded for the first time this year to recognize women in Arabian racing and presented along with the Darley Awards. Dixies Valentine was also nominated for a Darley Award for Horse of the Year and has twice before been named a Champion Arabian Filly of the Year.
April 2012 - Golden Odessy, a Maryland-bred filly raised in Harford County, was named Champion Three Year Old Filly of the Year during the 2012 Darley Awards, which are considered “the Oscars” of purebred Arabian racing in the United States. She also won the Delaware Park Arabian Juvenile Championship Stakes and the Dr. Sam Harrison Juvenile Filly Stakes.
March 2012 - Bon Caddo, champion U.S. timber horse. After being winless in 2010, Bon Caddo came back with a vengeance in 2011, winning the My Lady’s Manor Steeplechase and the Virginia Gold Cup. He also finished second in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup, earning $73,500 for the year. He is owned by Charles and Barbara Noell’s Merriefield Farm in Monkton and is trained by Dawn Williams.
March 2012 - Tom Voss, champion U.S. steeplechase trainer. Mr. Voss operates Atlanta Hall Farm in Monkton and has been the nation’s leading steeplechase trainer four times. Over the years, his horses have earned nearly $20 million and have included champions on the flat as well as over fences. He added a fifth national steeplechasing title this year, winning 16 races.
March 2012 - Irvin S. Naylor, champion U.S. steeplechase owner. A Marylander native who now lives in York, Pa., Mr. Naylor maintains his impressive racing operation at Still Water Farm and Training Center in Baltimore County. In 2011, Mr. Naylor’s stable led all U.S. owners, winning 16 races. His horses earned $719,725. The stable included national Eclipse-winning champion jumper Black Jack Blues and Tax Ruling, runner-up as Steeplechaser of the Year.
February 2012 - Standardbred colt Googoo Gaagaa set a new world’s record for a mile by a trotter at a half mile track when he clipped four-tenths of a second off the previous mark in the Hubert Jackson Memorial Maryland Sire Stakes Final Stakes at Ocean Downs on Aug. 25, 2011. He sped the distance in 1 minute 56 seconds and won the race by 41 lengths. GooGoo GaaGaa is undefeated in six lifetime starts, winning his races by a combined total of 130 lengths. He finished fourth in votes as USHWA Two Year-Old Trotter of the Year.
February 2012 - Standardbred colt Roll With Joe was named the United States Harness Writers Association Dan Patch Award winner as the U.S. Three Year-old Pacer of the Year and was runner-up for Horse of the Year honors. He was bred and raised at Winbak Farm in Chesapeake City and is still partly owned by Winbak’s owners Joe and JoAnn Thomson. In 2011, Roll With Joe won the $1Million Meadowlands Pace, the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine, and the $401,000 Messenger Stakes and earned $1,649,725.
February 2012 - Thoroughbred gelding Rapid Redux and his owner Robert Cole, Jr., a Baltimore County native. Rapid Redux has won 22 consecutive races, including a perfect 19-for-19 season in 2011. His winning streak included winning races at seven different tracks at distances of five furlongs to 1-1/8 miles, using seven riders. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters honored Rapid Redux with the Special Eclipse Award.
January 2012 - Blue Rain, the U.S. Equestrian Foundation’s National Champion Pony Sire from 2004 to 2011, who is now 23 years old and lives at Springdale Pony Stud in Frederick County. He is owned by Allyson Coluccio and Lisa Gordon Carr.
2011 Touch of Class Award Recipients
December 2011 - Tiffany McClure, the International Professional Rodeo Association's 2010 World Champion Barrel Racer, who grew up in Prince George's County and graduated from Anne Arundel Community College.
November 2011 - John Crandell II and his horse Heraldic, who won two silver medals in endurance riding at the 2011 Pan American Games held in Chile. Heraldic is the only horse in history to win the triple crown of endurance racing. The Crandells live and train their horses in Anne Arundel County.
October 2011 - Colleen Rutledge and her horse Shiraz, who were the third highest-placed U.S. horse and rider combination at the prestigious Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in England and are under the consideration for a berth on the 2012 U.S. Olympic 3-Day Team. Ms. Rutledge lives in Frederick and operates Turnabout Farm in Howard County.
September 2011 - Graham Motion, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom and ranks as one of the nation's leading trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses. Motion trains his horses at Fair Hill in Cecil County. This was the first ever Touch of Class Award presented.
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