04/04/2003 12:00AM

Three state honors for Carson Hollow


A fleet-footed filly by the name of Carson Hollow stole the show last Tuesday night in Albany, N.Y.

At an awards dinner hosted by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Carson Hollow was named the 2002 horse of the year and champion 3-year-old filly and sprinter. Carson Hollow's breeder, Patricia Purdy, and her trainer, Richard Dutrow Jr., also were honored. The filly's regular rider, John Velazquez, won NYTB's inaugural award for champion jockey.

Owned in partnership by Frank Stronach, Hemlock Hills Farm, Gabrielle Farm, Justine Zimmerman, and Sanford Goldfarb, Carson Hollow joins a distinguished list of females who have won the New York-bred horse of the year title, including Circle of Life (1999), Dancin' Renee (1997), Perfect Arc (1995), and Saratoga Dew (1992).

A daughter of Carson City and the Hold Your Peace mare Lizeality, Carson Hollow had a near-flawless campaign last year. She won her first three races, including the Bouwerie Stakes, by a combined margin of 25 1/2 lengths. In her fourth start, Carson Hollow was an easy winner of the Grade 1 Prioress at Belmont Park in July.

It was Carson Hollow's race after the Prioress that stamped her as a fierce competitor. In a sensational stretch battle that will not be soon forgotten, Carson Hollow went head to head with You in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga. Carson Hollow, who set scorching early fractions, lost a nose decision to You.

Carson Hollow rebounded to win her next start, the Grade 3 Floral Park at Belmont in September, but ended the year on a downer by finishing last in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Arlington Park. Dutrow said she came out of the race with a respiratory infection.

Carson Hollow is already off to a fast start this year, winning last Saturday's Grade 2 Distaff Breeders' Cup at Aqueduct.

The other 2002 New York-bred champions are:

Older Male: Gander, the 2000 horse of the year and son of the pensioned New York sire Cormorant, finished second in the Grade 1 Woodward and won the most important New York-bred race of the year, the Empire Classic. Bred by Angela Rugnetta, Gander is owned by brothers Mike and Ted Gatsas and trained by John Terranova.

Older Female: Dat You Miz Blue, a daughter of the late New York sire Cure the Blues, was bred by Landon Knight and campaigned by his wife, Cynthia. The mare was retired in December after winning the Garland of Roses over Eclipse Award champion Xtra Heat. Dat You Miz Blue, who was trained by Jimmy Jerkens, also won the Iroquois Handicap.

Three-year-old Male: Private Emblem's earnings of $550,940 were the highest among New York-breds in 2002. After winning the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby, Private Emblem was made the favorite in all three of the Big Apple Triple races over the summer, but won only the last leg of the series, the Albany. A son of Our Emblem, Private Emblem was bred by Doug Koch's Berkshire Stud and Tom Tatham's Oak Cliff Stable. He is trained by Steve Asmussen and owned by Bob Zollars and James Cassels.

Two-year-old Male: Funny Cide, scheduled to run in Saturday's Grade 1 Wood Memorial, was undefeated in three starts. Bred by the Kentucky-based WinStar Farm, Funny Cide is a son of Distorted Humor. Funny Cide, who is owned by several friends who run under the name Sackatoga Stable, won the restricted Bertram F. Bongard in stakes-record time and the Sleepy Hollow. He is trained by Barclay Tagg.

Two-year-old Filly: Beautiful America, a daughter of deceased New York sire Dixie Brass, was bred by Thomas Ryba and is owned by Chester and Mary Broman. Beautiful America, who is being prepared for a 2003 campaign by trainer Mike Hernandez, won the Joseph Gimma, Maid of the Mist, and a division of the New York Stallion Stakes.

Turf Male: Finality, owned by Dogwood Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher, set a stakes record in the Grade 2 Jamaica and was narrowly defeated in the Grade 3 Lexington. Bred by Albert Fried Jr., Finality is a son of Dehere.

Turf Female: Rhum, a half-sister to Private Emblem, and Shopping for Love shared the championship. Rhum, bred by Private Emblem's breeders, Berkshire Stud and Oak Cliff Stable, defeated Shopping for Love in the Ticonderoga. Owned by Leonard Green, Rhum is trained by John Servis. Shopping for Love, a daughter of Not for Love, won a division of the Mt. Vernon and the Maryland Million Ladies for trainer Ken Nesky and owners Donald George and Dennis D'Arcangelo. She was bred by New River Stable Partnership.

Steeplechase: Hendler, bred by Richard Bomze, is son of late New York sire Compliance. A former flat runner, Hendler won his first jump race in April 2002 and by the end of the year was a stakes-placed jumper for trainer Donald Yovanovich and Berkley Stable.

Broodmare: Critical Crew, the dam of Grade 1 winner and millionaire Critical Eye, is owned by Herbert Schwartz, who was honored as the New York breeder and small breeder of 2001 by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.