The 2020 Darley Awards will go down in history as the first Darley Awards ceremony to be delivered virtually in the 33 years of the event’s heralded existence. Originally scheduled to be held in Houston on 21 March, the event was cancelled just eight days prior as COVID-19 concerns escalated and a worldwide pandemic was declared. Arabian Racing Cup (ARC) event team members pivoted to a new plan: creating the first-ever Virtual Darley Awards event using social media technology to bring the Arabian racing community together.
The annual ARC Stallion Auction – a mainstay event of the Darley Awards each year – also pivoted from a live auction to an online auction for the first time in its near 30-year history. A total of $18,950 was raised from eight leading Arabian racehorse sires:
- AF Albahar (Amer x Al Hanouf), donated by Al Jeryan Stud – sold to Abdallah Naili
- Gazwan (Amer x Arc de Ciel), donated by Al Shahania Stud – sold to Abdallah Naili
- Grilla (Kong x Dixie Darlene), donated by Love ‘N War Arabians – sold to Uptown Arabians
- Hilal Al Zaman (Mencour x Amal al Thania), donated by Al Nujaifi Racing – sold to Rita DeLeon
- Majd Al Arab (Amer x Djelmila), donated by Haras du Grand Courgeon – sold to Uptown Arabians
- RB Nash (Nashwan al Khalediah x RB Sand Storm), donated by RoseBrook Farms – sold to Rita DeLeon
- Seraphin du Paon (Akbar x Bint el Bedia), donated by Al Asayl Racing – sold to Abdallah Naili
- Sir Bani Yas (Amer x Naseem el Bajer), donated by Al Asayl Racing – sold to Abdallah Naili
The highest lot was claimed by Madj Al Arab for $4,500. All proceeds benefit the ARC Breeders Incentive Program, which pays out additional monies (between $18,000 and $20,000) each year to breeders in every USA state.
“We’d like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to each stallion owner who donated a breeding once again this year,” said Jon Henningsgard, ARC Chief Steward. “Even when COVID-19 forced us to pivot to an online format one week before the auction, we appreciated not only the owners’ willingness to be flexible, but also the winning bidders who participated from around the world to make this year’s auction successful, thereby contributing to the health of breeding in the United States through funds benefitting the ARC Breeders Incentive Program.”
The Darley Awards, along with the ARC Stallion Auction, will return to Houston, Texas in 2021.