TRANE STATION V IS 2023 PCQHRA HORSE OF THE YEAR;
PARSONS FAMILY IS PRESENTED WITH FRANK N. VESSELS MEMORIAL AWARD
Already the AQHA champion 2-year-old colt and last year’s leading money earner, Trane Station V added four more title to his impressive resume after being named the 2023 Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Horse of the Year and champion 2-year-old colt at the PCQHRA Awards Banquet on Friday night.
Hosted by Michael Wrona, the PCQHRA Awards Banquet celebrated the achievements of California’s Quarter Horse breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys, and champion horses of the 2023 season.
Trane Station V was dominant in his California stay last year. From four starts, the colt by Favorite Cartel won the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity while also winning the trials to each of those races. In process of going undefeated in those four starts, Trane Station V became the first runner to win both of those futurities while doing after the posting the fastest qualifying time to each. Owned by Valeriano Racing Stable LLC’s Trane Station V also became the first 2-year-old to be named PCQHRA Horse of the Year since J Fire Up in 2017. Since the awards began in 1977, Trane Station V is only the seventh standout to receive the top award during his juvenile campaign joining J Fire Up, One Dashing Eagle (2012), Tres Passes (2008), Ocean Runaway (2004), Hawkish (2003), and Corona Chick (1991). Bred by Dr. Steve Burns, Trane Station V was also the PCQHRA Cal-Bred Horse of the Year by money earned and Cal-Bred champion 2-year-old colt by money earned. His sire Favorite Cartel won the Three Bars Award for top stallion for the seventh time and his dam, Attack The Cartel, won the James V.A. Carter Award for top broodmare for the first time in her career. Heath Taylor trains the California-bred, who was ridden throughout his Los Alamitos campaign by AQHA champion jockey Francisco Calderon.
Burns was named PCQHRA champion breeder for the sixth consecutive year. He was also the AQHA champion breeder after leading the nation in earnings with over $4.7 million.
The Parsons Family, whose Quarter Horse racing history dates back to the 1940s with Jay and Polly Parsons, received the 2023 Frank Vessels, Sr. Memorial Award. The Parsons Family was recognized for outstanding contributions to the sport of Quarter Horse racing as owners and breeders for the past nine decades. Horses that they’ve campaigned include AQHA champion First Sovereign plus homebreds and AQHA champions Mini Rock and A Political Lady. Jay Parsons also bred multiple AQHA distance champion Sign Of Lanty. Recent stars include Terrific Energy, Thermonuclear Energy, Terrific First Down and many more.
Johnny Trotter’s Famous Shining Star, the AQHA champion aged mare, won the equivalent title on PCQHRA Awards night. The PCQHRA champion aged mare won the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap plus two other stakes races during her outstanding campaign.
For the second consecutive year, Steve Holt and Jeff Jones’ Empressum was named the PCQHRA champion aged gelding. The son of Apollitical Jess finished first or second in each of his eight starts in 2023, all of them coming against Grade 1 caliber rivals. He won Grade 1 Vessels Maturity and Grade 1 Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship and was the runner-up in three other Grade 1 races at Los Alamitos last year.
The champion 2-year-old gelding award went to Keith Nellesen’s Political Rivalry, the winner of the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million and Grade 2 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity. Taos River Ranch and Randy Young’s Double Down 123, winner of the Grade 2 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity, was named the champion 2-year-old filly.
Jeryl Hartley’s Hes Chickless, winner of the Grade 2 El Primero Del Ano Derby and the A Ransom Handicap, was named champion 3-year-old colt. With 12 starts on his 2023 resume, the son of Hes Relentless also won the Moonist Award for his year-long high level of excellence. Also excellent in winning the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby, Jeriko was named the champion 3-year-old gelding. The son of One Famous Eagle also ran a strong fourth in the Grade 1 Champion of Champions.
David Hinkins’ Budder Off Friends, winner of the Go Josie Go Handicap against older foes, was named the champion 3-year-old filly on the strength of her 12 solid races last year. She was second in the Check Her Twice Handicap and was part of the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Oaks.
Jorge Carmona’s Five Bar Supreme was named the Intermountain Horse of the Year at Los Alamitos after winning the Wild West Futurity before running second to Trane Station V in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. EG High Desert Farms’ Letty Cartel was named the Most Improved Horse of the Year. She won the $100,000 Abigail Kawananakoa and the Matron Stakes in 2023. The daughter of the late sire Fast Prize Cartel won just once in six starts in 2022.
Ron Martin received the Sam Thompson Memorial Award for exhibiting leadership within the racing community at Los Alamitos Race Course. Since 2016, Martin has been an integral part in organizing the Online Stallion Service Auction to benefit the Los Alamitos division of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America. This year’s auction has already raised a record $39,000 with all the proceeds benefiting those that work with the horses at Los Alamitos Race Course. Martin is a council member of the Los Alamitos RTCA.
Ed Allred was recognized as the Owner of the Year, while Nellesen won the Owner Special Achievement Award. Jose Flores was the Trainer of the Year for the second consecutive time, while Lindolfo Diaz received the Trainer Special Achievement Award. Diaz campaigned Two Million finalists Five Bar Supreme and Checkn Cartel plus stakes winner Good Wagon SA, El Aventurero and Hez Lonesome from less than 90 total starters for the year.
Cruz Mendez was the Jockey of the Year, while Armando Cervantes, who led all jockeys in stakes wins, won the Jockey Special Achievement Award. Mike Casselman was awarded the Breeder Special Achievement Award. Casselman bred Governor’s Cup Futurity winner You See That.
The Val Tonks Award presented to an up-and-coming young rider went to Armando Viramontes, whose 2023 included his first stakes win at Los Alamitos.
In the Mixed-Breed division at Los Alamitos, trainer Jesus Uranga and jockey Ricardo Ramirez defended their respective titles. Uranga also won second consecutive owner award, but this time he shared the title with Nick Hines’ Battle Born Racing. In the Thoroughbred ranks, Angela Aquino was the champion owner and trainer. Edgar Payeras was the champion jockey. Battle Born Racing’s track record holder Tizlightning was named the 1000-Yard Horse of the Year at Los Alamitos after winning both the Summer and Winter Finals.
The leading money winning Cal-Breds in various divisional categories were presented awards during the banquet. FanDuel/TVG and Pegasus Communications drone pilots received special recognition awards.
The complete list of award winners follows below:
2023 P.C.Q.H.R.A. AWARDS
HORSE OF THE YEAR
TRANE STATION V
Owner: Valeriano Racing Stables, LLC
Breeder: Steve D. Burns, DVM
FRANK VESSELS, SR.
Presented by P.C.Q.H.R.A. to
In Recognition of an Outstanding Contribution to the Sport of Quarter Horse Racing
Owner: Keith W. Nellesen
Breeder: McColee Land & Livestock, LLC
double down 123
Owner: Taos River Ranch, LLC and Randy Young
Breeder: Bob and/or Jerry Gaston
Owner: Jeryl Hartley
Breeder: Ronald or Jeryl Hartley
Owner/Breeder: Bobby D. Cox
budder off friends
Owner: David Hinkins
Breeder: Double Bar S Ranch, LLC
Owner/Breeder: Jeff D. Jones and Steve A. Holt
famous shining star
Owner: Johnny Trotter
Breeder: Julianna Hawn Holt
MOST IMPROVED HORSE AWARD
Owner/Breeder: EG High Desert Farms
INTERMOUNTAIN HORSE OF THE YEAR
five bar supreme
Owner: Jorge L. Carmona
Breeder: Ugo De La Torre
1000 YARD CHAMPION HORSE OF THE YEAR
Owner: Battle Born Racing Stable
Breeder: Lori Gallegos
JAMES V.A. CARTER AWARD
attack the cartel
Owner/Breeder: Steve D. Burns, DVM
THREE BARS AWARD
Owner: Steve D. Burns, DVM and Bobby Cox
Breeder: Paul C. Jones and Thompson Racing, Inc.
OWNER OF THE YEAR
Edward C. Allred
BREEDER OF THE YEAR
Steve d. burns, dvm
TRAINER OF THE YEAR
JOSE A. FLORES
Owner - SPECIAL recognition
Keith W. Nellesen
Breeder - SPECIAL recognition
michael v. casselman
trainer - SPECIAL Recognition
JOCKEY OF THE YEAR
JOckey - SPECIAL Recognition
armando r. cervantes
VAL TONKS MEMORIAL AWARD
sam thompson memorial award
For an Individual who displays leadership within the Los Alamitos racing community
THOROUGHBRED OWNER OF THE YEAR
THOROUGHBRED TRAINER OF THE YEAR
THOROUGHBRED JOCKEY OF THE YEAR
MIXED-BREED JOCKEY OF THE YEAR
RICARDO S. RAMIREZ
MIXED-BREED TRAINER OF THE YEAR
jesus j. uranga
MIXED-BREED OWNERS OF THE YEAR (TIE)
MIXED-BREED OWNER OF THE YEAR (TIE)
battle born racing Stable
For its Contribution to Quarter Horse Racing
JIM POREP AND CY GARRETT
DRONE PILOTS PEGASUS COMMUNICATIONS
For Contribution to Quarter Horse Racing
CAL-BRED HORSE OF THE YEAR
Cal-Bred Breeder: Steve D. Burns, DVM
TWO-YEAR-OLD CAL-BRED COLT
TWO-YEAR-OLD CAL-BRED GELDING
Cal-Bred Breeder: Edward C. Allred
TWO-YEAR-OLD CAL-BRED FILLY
Cal-Bred Breeder: J Francisco Diaz
THREE-YEAR-OLD CAL-BRED COLT
Cal-Bred Breeder: George/Ruben Villalobos
THREE-YEAR-OLD CAL-BRED GELDING
THREE-YEAR-OLD CAL-BRED FILLY
Cal-Bred Breeder: Edward C. Allred
AGED CAL-BRED GELDING
AGED CAL-BRED MARE
Cal-Bred Breeder: EG High Desert Farms