Wed | Apr 24, 2024

Atomica wins back-to-back Horse of the Year titles

Published:Wednesday | February 21, 2024 | 12:15 AMGregory Bryce/Staff Reporter
From left: Oakridge Farms and Atomica owner, Don Wehby, race announcer Brian Rickman, and Atomica trainer, Gary Subratie are all smiles at the 2023 Horse of the Year announcement at Caymanas Park yesterday.
From left: Oakridge Farms and Atomica owner, Don Wehby, race announcer Brian Rickman, and Atomica trainer, Gary Subratie are all smiles at the 2023 Horse of the Year announcement at Caymanas Park yesterday.
ATOMICA, ridden by Robert Halledeen, wins the Jamaica Cup over nine-and-half furlongs, a graded stakes for horses three years old and upwards at Caymanas Park on Saturday, November 11, 2023.
ATOMICA, ridden by Robert Halledeen, wins the Jamaica Cup over nine-and-half furlongs, a graded stakes for horses three years old and upwards at Caymanas Park on Saturday, November 11, 2023.
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THE DON Wehby-owned and Gary Subratie-trained filly, Atomica, was named the 2023 Horse of the Year, making this her second title in a row.

The announcement was made at a press briefing yesterday at Caymanas Park.

Atomica won the award after a stellar year that made her the top pick among the nominees.

Atomica won more than $6 million last year, going past the post first in five races from seven starts.

The 2023 Horse of the Year had victories in the Labour Day Trophy over seven furlongs, the Clovis Metcalfe Trophy, over seven and a half, the Legal Light Trophy over nine fulongs and 25 yards, the Menudo, which went for 10 furlongs, and the Jamaica Cup, over nine and a half.

Wehby, owner of Oakridge Farms, says Atomica continues to prove a special member of his family and was the pride of his late father, Donald Wehby Sr.

“I’m extremely proud of my horse and extremely happy,” he said.

“She’s a very special horse to me and my family. My dad, who was the founder of Oakridge Farms, passed away on August 2, 2022 and she won the derby the week after and she has brought so much happiness to my family that I’m almost speechless.”

Wehby said back-to-back Horse of the Year titles has put Atomica in an elite group of horses.

According to Wehby, Atomica has proven herself as possibly the best horse to have come from Jamaica, eclipsing the likes of She’s A Maneater.

“I really believe in terms of Atomica, she is one of the best horses we have produced in Jamaica. She’s A Maneater is one of my favourite horses, I hope I don’t sound too boastful, but I don’t think She’s A Maneater has anything over Atomica at this stage. She’s a very, very special filly.”

Subratie said that the title was extremely special for Atomica, who had struggles throughout the year.

“I’m elated and it’s good to know that you have a horse that repeated horse of the year, only an elite group of horses has ever done that. I’m proud of her and I think we did a lot of work. Last year we went through some tough times with her, but we got through with everything. She’s proven herself last year and she’s going to show herself even stronger this year.”