Strengthened by victories from homebreds Modern Games (IRE), Space Blues (IRE) and Yibir (GB), for the fourth consecutive year Godolphin has won the John Deere Award, honoring the outstanding breeder of the 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships and the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
The John Deere Award, presented by Breeders’ Cup Limited and NTRA Advantage, emphasizes the contributions of breeders to the Breeders’ Cup program. The industry’s breeders and nominators provide funding for the purses of the World Championships through the annual nominations of foals and stallions.
The John Deere Award winner is determined by the breeder who received the highest number of first-place finishes in the 86 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series stakes races held in 10 countries, and in the 14 Breeders’ Cup World Championships races (13 Grade 1 races and 1 Grade 2 race), which was held on Nov. 5-6 at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, Calif. Each Grade/Group 1 win was worth 10 points; Grade/Group 2 wins were worth six points; Grade/Group 3 wins were worth four points; and listed stakes wins were worth two points.
Godolphin-bred runners earned 68 points by breeding winners of three Breeders’ Cup World Championships races and five Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races. Northern Farm, from Japan, finished second in the competition with 40 points, and St. George Stables finished third with 36 points.
In accumulating its 68 points, Godolphin’s three Breeders’ Cup Champions, all sired by Dubawi (IRE), led the way with Modern Games winning the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), Space Blues capturing the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile, and Yibir taking the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). Prior to the World Championships, Godolphin began its march to the 2021 John Deere Award in June with a string of five Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series victories.
First, Maxfield won the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs, and one month later at Ascot, Adayar (IRE) won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes (G1). In September, Godolphin garnered three Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on one weekend.
On Sept. 18 at Belmont Park, Yibir earned an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf when he won the listed Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes. The following day at Woodbine, Godolphin collared two more “Win and You’re In” races, taking the Natalma Stakes (G1) for 2-year-old fillies with Wild Beauty (GB) and the Summer Stakes (G1) for 2-year-olds with Albahr (GB).
“We congratulate Godolphin on their extraordinary group of progeny which led them to their fourth consecutive John Deere Award, and a record three wins by homebreds at the World Championships,” Dora Delgado, Breeders’ Cup executive vice president and chief racing officer, said. “Godolphin’s success is emblematic of their longtime commitment to international breeding and racing. We thank them and all participating breeders for their enormous support, which has been vital to the sustained growth of the Breeders’ Cup program over the past 38 years.”
“We also thank John Deere and NTRA Advantage for joining us in placing the breeding community in the spotlight by sponsoring this award,” added Delgado.
“Godolphin is delighted to once again be the recipient of the Breeders’ Cup/John Deere breeder award,” Michael Banahan, Godolphin director of farm operations said. “The industry is indebted to John Deere for the sponsorship of the Breeders’ Cup for many years and so grateful for their continued support. This award goes to all the Godolphin personnel that work incredibly hard behind the scenes to achieve the fantastic results we have had with our homebreds on the track this year.”
Finishing second in the John Deere Award competition, Northern Farm led Japan’s breakthrough at the 2021 Breeders’ Cup with its progeny winning two races: Loves Only You (JPN) captured the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and Marche Lorraine (JPN) won the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff . Northern Farm also bred Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series winners Gran Alegria (JPN), who claimed the Victoria Mile (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse and Chrono Genesis (JPN), who won the Takarazuka Kinen (G1) at Hanshin.
The outstanding 5-year-old mare Letruska accounted for all 36 points accumulated by third-place finisher St. George Stables. Letruska won four Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races, taking in succession the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, the Fleur de Lis Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs, the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course, and the Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.