Good Night Shirt named head of state

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"Image"Good Night Shirt, two-time Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s leading steeplechaser, was named 2008 Maryland-bred Horse of the Year, as well as champion steeplechaser, in the annual poll conducted by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.

The son of former Maryland sire Concern dominated his division last year at age 7, going undefeated in five Grade 1 steeplechase stakes and setting a steeplechase single-season earnings record of $485,520, which topped all Marylandbred starters for the year. He launched 2008 by taking the Georgia Cup at Atlanta in April and concluded with a stirring victory in the Colonial Cup at Camden in November. In between were scores in the Iroquois, Lonesome Glory and Grand National.

Owned by Sonny and Ann Via and trained in Maryland by Jack Fisher, Good Night Shirt pushed his career earnings to $969,083, ranking him 18th on the all-time Maryland-bred money winners list. He is the first jumper to be named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year.

Good Night Shirt was one of four 2008 stakes winners bred solely or in partnership by Tom and Chris Bowman of Chestertown, Md. All were named divisional champions, the others being 2-year-old male Peace Town, 3-year-old male Willsboro Point and older female Smart and Fancy.

Good Night Shirt is a third-generation Maryland-bred Horse of the Year, following Breeders’ Cup Classic-Grade I winner Concern, who took the title in 1994, and Concern’s sire Broad Brush, horse of the year in 1986 and 1987.

Five of the seven champions were sired in Maryland (Good Night Shirt, Miss Charm City, Sweet Goodbye, Smart and Fancy and Heros Reward) and four were out of daughters of Maryland stallions – Two Punch (Good Night Shirt), Thirty Eight Paces (Sweet Goodbye), Shelter Half (Smart and Fancy) and Caveat (Heros Reward).

Horse of the year, champion steeplechaser: Good Night Shirt (ch .g. 2001, Concern—Hot Story, by Two Punch). Bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman; owned by Sonny and Ann Via; trained by Jack Fisher.

Champion 2-year-old male:
Peace Town (ch.c., 2006, by Peace Rules—Darnestown, by Williamstown). Bred by Bowman & Higgins Stable; owned by Vinery Stables LLC and Singer Stables; trained by Michael J. Trombetta.

Champion 2-year-old filly:
Miss Charm City (ch.f., 2006, by Bowman’s Band—Pam’ssummerwind, by Rodeo). Bred by James Glenn; owned by Estate of James Glenn; trained by Carlos A. Garcia.

Champion 3-year-old male:
Willsboro Point (b.g., 2005, by Point Given—Petrouchka, by Red Ransom). Bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Dr. Jason Layfield and The Thoroughbred Corporation; owned by Bonnie J. Wooster; trained by Scott M. Schwartz.

Champion 3-year-old filly:
Sweet Goodbye (b.f., 2005, by Louis Quatorze—Thirty Eight Steps, by Thirty Eight Paces). Bred and owned by William R. Harris; trained by Christopher W. Grove.

Champion older female: Smart and Fancy (dk.b./br.m., 2003, by Not For Love—Substitute Teacher, by Shelter Half). Bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman; owned by Park Avenue Racing Stable; trained by Anthony W. Dutrow.

Champion older male, sprinter and turf runner:
Heros Reward (dk.b./br.g., 2002, by Partner’s Hero—Lifes Passage, by Caveat). Bred by Gretchen Mobberley; owned by Rob Ry Farm and Jayne Marie Slysz; trained by Dale Capuano.

Voting for this year’s champions were the MHBA board of directors, MHBA members (combined as one vote), Mid- Atlantic Thoroughbred editors Lucy Acton and Cindy Deubler, Maryland Jockey Club racing secretary Georganne Hale and communications director Mike Gathagan, as well as seven Maryland racing writers.