LATT’s Casey Laughter’s Top Moments of 2016
By Casey Laughter
1. Belmont Stakes — The Belmont Stakes was the best Triple Crown race this year. The race was set up for the WinStar-owned Creator, who displayed a strong late charge through the stretch, just to catch Destin in the shadow of the wire. Lani, the Japanese-based colt rounded out the trifecta. Tapit sired Creator and Lani.
2. Lady Eli returns to win the Flower Bowl –– coming off a layoff where the filly battled laminitis, Lady Eli was up against it. She finished second in her 2016 comeback, but followed up with an extraordinary finish in the Flower Bowl. Invitational Handicap (GIT). Battling her laminitis and coming back to win at the highest level is amazing in and of itself.
3. Oscar Performance — I watched Oscar Performance all season, and after his win in the Pilgrim, I figured he was of high standing in the 2-year-old ranks. The full brother to Oscar Nominated (Spiral Stakes winner), Oscar Performance put on his best performance, winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GIT) from post 13 by 1 1/4 lengths.
4. Beholder over Songbird in Distaff — In her final start of her racing career, Beholder won the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) for the second time in her career. Beholder had a Hall of Fame career, and in her final start she had to put everything she had on the line to get her nose down first, over a tenacious, younger and incredible Songbird.
5. Spendthrift Farm — I managed to visit Spendthrift Farm twice this year, once during the breeding season, where I got to witness a day in the life on a operational breeding farm. What an experience it was to see. I got to meet many high prolific stallions, while seeing how these horses are bred and cared for. Additionally, I got to expose my fiance to the farm life. His visit was filled with seeing and meeting the top stallions on the farm. He cannot wait to go back to Lexington in the spring.