12/13/2010 1:10PM

Senor Rojo named best of year in British Columbia

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Senor Rojo, with Richard Hamel up, wins the Premiers.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Senor Rojo was named the Horse of the Year and top older horse in British Columbia at the annual awards dinner held at Hastings last Friday.

A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding, Senor Rojo closed out his year with wins in the Sir Winston Churchill and Grade 3 Premiers. The only time he went unplaced in nine starts was in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs. Senor Rojo is trained by Dave Forster and owned by the Tres Hombres Stable.

Forster also trains the B.C.-bred Horse of the Year, Wind Storm. Owned and bred by George Gilbert, Wind Storm showed her versatility by winning the 1 1/8-mile B.C. Cup Distaff and the six-furlong Ladies Express.

Majesticality took home the trophy for the top 3-year-old in the province. He won just one stakes race in 2010, but his win came in the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby, and it was enough to give him the edge over a nondescript group of 3-year-olds. He is trained by Barbara Heads. Majesticality is owned and was bred by Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Bennett. who were honored as the leading breeders in the province.

Other winners included: Almost Time, sprinter and older B.C.-bred male; Summer Song, older filly or mare; Dearest Princess, 3-year-old filly, B.C.-bred and open divisions; Outoftheclouds, 2-year-old, both divisions; and Victory with Class, 2-year-old filly, both divisions.

Dave Dahl received the Diamond Award of Excellence and Gord Rumble the Backstretch Award.

Before the dinner, Derek Sturko, Chair of the province’s Horse Racing Industry Management Committee, announced an increase in the provincial governments grant to the horse racing industry to a fixed amount of $10 million annually.

The added money will help fuel a 15 to 20 percent purse increase at Hastings next year.