The conventional road to a big check in Pennsylvania’s lucrative incentive program involves entering and winning state-bred stakes races, but there are plenty of horses that have brought in serious money without ever entering the gate in a stakes contest.
There is no better example of this than Li’lbito’charm, who earned her connections $144,546 in 2021 through the end of October racing exclusively below the stakes level. That placed her 11th among Pennsylvania incentive earners through October, and all ten of the horses in front of her reached their spots in part with stakes earnings.
The daughter of Smarty Jones had a career season in 2021, winning six of 15 starts and finishing in the money in five additional starts, all coming at Parx Racing.
That steady campaign of wins and placings meant Li’lbito’charm generated incentive earnings in nearly all of her starts last year.
That included $67,041 for breeder Nick Polydoros. As a Pennsylvania-bred and -sired horse, Li’lbito’charm was eligible for a 40 percent purse bonus for races run in her home state.
Li’lbito’charm is out of the Polydoros-bred stakes-placed Dixieland Heat mare Li’lbito’sunshine, whose seven foals to race are all winners. She is a half-sister to stakes winner Sunshine Included and stakes-placed Sunshine’s Son Bob.
Li’lbito’charm changed hands through the claim box three times in 2021, landing most recently with owner Ylliehus 5 Star and trainer Ralph Riviezzo.
The mare’s multiple owners divided an owner bonus of $30,744 through the end of October, which was the third-biggest payout in that column at that point of the year. For races at Parx, Pennsylvania-breds are eligible for a 40 percent purse bonus, meaning the mare’s frequent wins and top-three finishes saw a significant boost because of where she was born.
Finally, Li’lbito’charm raised $16,760 in stallion awards for Patricia Chapman, the owner of sire Smarty Jones. Registered Pennsylvania-breds by Pennsylvania sires generate a 10 percent bonus on purse earnings for top-three finishes run within the Keystone State.
Smarty Jones, the fan-favorite dual classic winner, will stand the 2022 season at Equistar Training and Breeding in Annville, Pa. He generated $43,774 in stallion awards last year through the end of October, ranking him seventh in that category.
Leading 2021 Pennsylvania Incentive Earners With $0 In State-Bred Stakes Earnings, Through October
|Li’lbito’charm||Smarty Jones x Li’lbito’sunshine||Nick J. Polydoros||$144,546|
|Confirmed Genius||Weigelia x Cryptic Kate||Lynda Furlong||$76,196|
|Inspired Options||Bullsbay x Spunky Sparrow||Cynthia M. Bartkowski||$74,835|
|Vine Jet||Red Vine x Our Girl Friday||E. Marie Morrison||$71,010|
|Geebert||Albert the Great x Gee Pari||Richard Molineaux||$67,548|