November 29 — Marcus and Crystal Ryan knew from the start that they had a young horse with a lot of potential in their care, and Private Creed delivered on that promise.
the 2-year-old colt is the 2022 Aiken-trained Horse of the Year.
“We’re excited,” Marcus said during a recent phone interview.
The Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum Advisory Board chose Private Creed for the honor.
To be eligible for Horse of the Year recognition, a thoroughbred must win at least one graded stakes during the selected year or exceed $500,000 in career earnings.
In his first year of competition in 2022, Private Creed earned $599,313 while capturing three of his five races, all of which were run on grass.
The bay colt’s efforts included a third-place finish in the $920,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, a Grade I race, in November at Keeneland in Kentucky.
On behalf of their Mason Springs training facility near Windsor, the Ryans purchased Private Creed for $45,000 from his breeder, Sierra Farm, at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
“He was a big, strong, fast-looking horse,” Marcus said.
And upon Private Creed’s arrival at Mason Springs, the colt did not disappoint.
“My wife and I, we really loved it from the beginning,” Marcus said. “He was a gentleman of a horse because everything I asked him to do, he went and did it. He galloped better than most other horses I had.”
This spring, Private Creed spent a little more than two weeks at the Aiken Training Track while preparing for the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale of 2-year-olds in training in Maryland.
“He was such an effortless biter, you probably wouldn’t think he was going as fast as he was,” Marcus said. “My expectation was that we would make a profit.”
At the Fasig-Tipton auction in May, the Ryans sold Private Creed to Mike McCarty for $155,000.
Based on the number of people who looked at the colt before the sale, Private Creed “was our second busiest horse, so (the price) wasn’t a total surprise,” Marcus said.
Thoroughbred Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen became Private Creed’s trainer, and the colt thrived in his stable.
Private Creed earned his biggest wins this year in the $500,000 Global Tote Juvenile Sprint Stakes at Kentucky Downs and the $244,688 Indian Summer Stakes presented by Keeneland Select at Keeneland.
the colt beat Sharp Aza Tack by three-quarters of a length in the Global Tote Juvenile Sprint in September, covering 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:18.19.
Then in the Indian summer in October, Private Creed won again by three-quarters of a length.
Mo Stash was second.
Private Creed’s time for the 5 1/2 furlongs was 1:02.30, a stakes record.
Even though Mischief Magic was the one-length winner of Dramatized in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, Private Creed proved a solid threat.
At the wire, he was only a neck behind the runner-up.
Joel Rosario rode Private Creed in the Global Tote, Indian Summer and Breeders’ Cup.
Also in 2022, while being guided by other jockeys, the colt captured a $58,980 race in July at Ellis Park in Kentucky and finished third in the $150,000 Skidmore Stakes in August at Saratoga Race Course in New York.
“It’s really special,” said Marcus of Private Creed, the Aiken-trained Horse of the Year honoree. “I just want to thank the good Lord. We feel truly blessed.”
Previous Aiken-trained Horse of the Year winners include Congaree (2002), Wando (2003), Limehouse (2005), Bob and John (2006), Country Star (2007), Midshipman (2008) and Quality Road (2009 and 2010). ).
The others are It’s Tricky (2011), Alpha (2012), Palace Malice (2013 and 2014), Curalina (2015 and 2016), Dickinson (2017), Still Having Fun (2018), Concrete Rose (2019) and Madone (2021) . ). There was no winner in 2020.