02/05/2015 5:23PM

New Mexico honors Liberty Lover, Proceed

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Proceed, a three-time stakes winner, was named New Mexico's champion 3-year-old of 2014.

Liberty Lover, who won five races last year at 2, and Proceed, winner of the Mine That Bird Derby, were among the New Mexico-breds honored as divisional champions during a Jan. 29 banquet in Albuquerque. The New Mexico Horse Breeders’ Association also recognized Dr. Leonard Blach with a lifetime service award and named Diabolical as the state’s leading general sire in 2014.

Liberty Lover went 5  for 6 during his initial season of racing to be named champion 2-year-old of 2014. He won four stakes, ranging in distances from  six furlongs to a mile. Liberty Lover, a son of Diabolical bred and raced by J. Kirk and Judy Robison, earned $274,361 in 2014.

The NMHBA champions are determined by leading earnings on the year, said Michael Cusortelli, a representative of the organization. The NMHBA announced the 2014 champions in a release. 

Proceed went 3 for 4 last year to be named champion 3-year-old of 2014. He won three stakes and also finished third in the Zia Park Derby. Proceed is a son of Desert God who races for his breeder, Michael Stinson. He earned $235,389 in 2014.

Diabolical had progeny earnings of $1,395,360 in 2014 to be honored as New Mexico’s leading Thoroughbred stallion. Diabolical is a 12-year-old son of Artax who stands at A & A Ranch in Anthony, N.M. He is owned by Fred Alexander and J. Kirk Robison.

The state’s leading freshman sire was Southwestern Heat, an 11-year-old son of Gone West and the champion Xtra Heat. He also stands at A & A Ranch.

Blach, who raced 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in partnership, was recognized for opening the first equine surgical hospital in New Mexico in the 1960s and later overseeing the breeding careers of such top Quarter Horse stallions as Go Man Go, Easy Jet, and Rocket Wrangler before racing Mine That Bird.

Other divisional champions were Little Vidalia, champion older mare; That’s Who, champion older horse; Renewed Vows, champion 3-year-old filly; Twixy Roll, champion 2-year-old filly, and Wildcat Diva, dam of Liberty Lover, champion broodmare.