Dickinson honored as 2017 Aiken-trained Horse of the Year
Before the Sunday’s ceremony to honor the 2017 Aiken-Trained Horse of the Year, Tim Jones talked about his memories of the winner, Dickinson.
The 6-year-old bay mare arrived in Aiken as a yearling in the fall of 2013 and left in May of 2014.
While Dickinson was here, Jones was her trainer, and he and his staff prepared her for her career as a racehorse.
“She was a little high-strung, but she did everything that we asked of her and she did it professionally,” Jones said. “We couldn’t tell at that time that she was going to become a grade I winner, but we did like her quite a bit.”
During the ceremony, which was held at the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum, Jones spoke briefly. He also accepted Dickinson’s award on behalf Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum from Jack Wetzel, who was representing the Aiken Training Track’s board of directors.
Sheikh Mohammed, who is the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Dubai, bred Dickinson in the name of Darley and campaigned her in the name of Godolphin Racing.
“She was a very good-looking filly, just put together in the right way,” Jones said. “She wasn’t too big and she wasn’t too small, but she had some leg and scope to her.”
Jones was in charge of Sheikh Mohammed’s local horse training operation until it closed in 2015.
That year, Dickinson won two races, and the following season, she added two more victories.
But it wasn’t until 2017 that Dickinson became a force to be reckoned with in the Sport of Kings while competing on turf.
In Florida, she captured the grade III Suwannee River Stakes at Gulfstream Park in February and the grade II Hillsborough Stakes in March at Tampa Bay Downs.
Then, in April, she defeated highly-regarded Lady Eli by a head in the grade I Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland in Kentucky.
Lady Eli rebounded from that setback and went on to win a 2017 Eclipse Award as North America’s champion female thoroughbred on grass.
Dickinson, meanwhile, went to New York, where her efforts included a third-place finish in the grade I Longines Just a Game Stakes at Belmont Park and a second in the grade II Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa Stakes, which Lady Eli won, at Saratoga Race Course.
In what turned out to be the final race of her career, Dickinson finished fifth in the grade I First Lady Stakes at Keeneland in October.
“She is getting ready to begin her broodmare career at Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Kentucky,” said Lisa Hall, coordinator of the Hall of Fame and Museum.
During 2017, Dickinson won three of her eight races and earned $603,630. Her career totals are seven victories in 18 starts and earnings of $781,316.
Dickinson’s sire (father) is Medaglia d’Oro and her dam (mother) is Little Belle.
Jones, who worked for Robert and Janice McNair’s Stonerside Stable before training horses for Sheikh Mohammed, has had close ties to six other Aiken-Trained Horses of the Year – Congaree (2002), Bob and John (2006), Country Star (2007), Midshipman (2008), It’s Tricky (2011) and Alpha (2012).
“Anytime you have a grade I winner, it’s nice to be associated with them, no matter who they are,” Jones said.