Mike Annechino

Belterra Park Kicks Off 2021 Best of Ohio Series

Ohio’s thoroughbred racing program showcases its best stakes caliber state-breds in the first of three Best of Ohio Stakes series at Belterra Park on Friday (May 28th).  Canceled in the wake of COVID-19 slowdowns in 2020, the Best of Ohio is back at Boyd Gaming’s Belterra Park in 2021.   Also paired with the excitement of the Best of Ohio races is the crowning of Ohio’s Champions of the 2020 racing season.  The Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders & Owners Association (OTBO) has partnered with Belterra to present the connections of the 2020 Ohio Champion thoroughbreds with awards as part of special presentations in the winners circle throughout the afternoon.  15 total categories of winners will receive honors for their accomplishments during the 2020 season, including Owner of the Year, Breeder of the Year, and Ohio Champion Horse of the Year, among others.

Five total stakes races with $100,000 in purse money attached to each are carded in the Best of Ohio Series.  The first stake is the Sydney Gendelman Stakes scheduled for 1 mile and 1/16th on the turf course.  Former Ohio Champions Mo Don’t No and Forewarned lead Mobil Solution (2021 Champion Handicap Horse) into the starting gate for this edition of the Gendelman.

The Best of Ohio Babst / Palacios Memorial Stake has a star-studded full field of 10.  Led by former Ohio Horses of the Year, Altissimo and Liberate, the 6 Furlong race over the dirt also drew the 2020 Ohio Champion Sprinter and Champion 3-Year-Old male, Chief Randel.

Ohio’s best crop of 3 Year-Old males squares off in the Best of Ohio Green Carpet Stakes run over the Belterra turf course at 1 mile and 1/16th.  2020 Ohio Champion 2-Year-Old colt Buckeye Magic returns off his win in the 2020 Best of Ohio Juvenile Stakes to take on the 2nd and 3rd place finishers of that race, Morestride and Uptown.  Also entered is Brig, recent winner of the Daryl Parker Memorial Tall Stack Stakes at Belterra earlier in May.

Ohio’s 3-Year-Old fillies take to a 1 mile and 1/16th test on the dirt in the Best of Ohio Norm Barron Queen City Oaks.  The field is led by the talented Alexandria, who ventured outside of Ohio stakes company in 2020 to finish 3rd in the Grade 3 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs.  10 other 3-Year-Old fillies will try to run down Alexandria, including Tivis, winner of the Southern Park Stakes in March at Mahoning Valley.

The final stake is the 4th running of the Best of Of Ohio Diana Stakes, contested at 6 furlongs on the dirt.  Largely celebrated Esplanande, who is not only the 2020 Ohio Champion 2-Year-Old filly but also the 2020 Ohio Horse of the Year, will be the one to catch in this sprint.  Two other 2020 Ohio Champions, Circus Rings (Ohio Champion Handicap Mare) and Star Mabee (2020 Ohio Claiming Horse of the Year) also line up in the full field of 11 fillies and mares.

The OTBO will be hosting a membership drive at the track. OTBO Board Members will be on hand to answer questions and accept membership applications. We encourage everyone to stop by our tables and to join the OTBO!

Good luck to all participants – both two and four legged!


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