Atomica secures second-consecutive Horse of the Year honour

By Sports Desk February 21, 2024
Atomica with customary jockey Dane Dawkins Atomica with customary jockey Dane Dawkins File

After another fairly consistent season, Gary Subratie’s classy mare Atomica secured a second-consecutive Horse of the Year, after she was again named the country’s best performer for the 2023 season.

The Don Wehby-owned charged registered a number of outstanding performances for the season, as her five wins from seven starts included the prestigious Jamaica Cup, which all but etched her name in the minds of the 15 individuals –journalists and members of the promoting company –who cast their ballots.

Atomica, a five-year-old chestnut mare, registered her five victories in Grade 1 trophy races last year, namely the Labour Day Trophy, the Clovis Metcalfe Trophy, the Legal Light Trophy, the Menudo, and the Jamaica Cup. Those pushed her earnings to $6.3 million, some ways off the $14 million she earned won the award for the 2022 season, as her connections did highlight a few issues earlier in the season.

As such, Subratie was delighted at her achievement which he labelled as extremely special.

“I’m elated and it’s good to know that you have a horse that repeated horse of the year, only an elite group of horses has ever done that. I’m proud of her and I think we did a lot of work. Last year we went through some tough times with her, but we got through with everything. She’s proven herself last year and she’s going to show herself even stronger this year,” he said shortly after the announcement at Caymanas Park, on Tuesday.

Wehby, owner of Oakridge Farms, shared similar sentiments about the filly, who is said was the pride of his late father, Donald Wehby Sr.

“I’m extremely proud of my horse and extremely happy. She’s a very, very special filly,” said Wehby.

“She’s a very special horse to me and my family. My dad, who was the founder of Oakridge Farms, passed away on August 2, 2022, and she won the derby the week after and she has brought so much happiness to my family that I’m almost speechless,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mouttet Mile winner Rough Entry and Jamaica Derby winner Ability, were the runners-up to the Horse of the Year. Rough Entry was also named champion middle-distance performer, as well as champion foreign-bred runner.

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    Turning for home he was at the head of affairs and just continued to pull away, jumping the last in isolation and crossing the line four lengths ahead of 9-2 favourite Saint Roi.

    “Every race on the big stage is always going to hit where you want it to – the adrenalin, the focus and the positive nerves before,” Frost said after the win.

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    She added: “The opportunities come when they come, you’re thankful when they do and you try to make it happen.

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