Horse with local ties up for top honors

By David Fong

A horse with local ties is doing big things in the American Quarter Horse Association.

Keen Liason, owned by James and Connie Black of Piqua and trained by Erin Thompson of Covington, is a contender for the three-year-old Filly Racing Champion award at the 2017 AQHA Champions Ceremony today at Heritage Place in Oklahoma City.

The 2014 bay filly, by Sixes Liaison and out of Keens Cat, was bred by Gary Hess of Pennsylvania and ridden by Ronald Hisby of Peru.

Champions will receive a specially designed trophy and belt buckle, courtesy of Awards Recognition Concepts. The award will also appear on the American Quarter Horse’s official records.

In addition to the AQHA nomination, Keen Liaison received the following awards Saturday at the Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana banquet: QHRAI High Point 3-year-old Filly Champion, QHRAI 3-year-old Filly Champion and Indiana Breed Development 3-year-old Filly Racing Champion.

Each year, AQHA awards the top American Quarter Horses in the racing industry at the AQHA Racing Champions Ceremony. The Champions ballots for each equine category are determined by a collection of criteria.

Some automatically make the ballot based on earnings. Others are nominated and voted onto the ballot by the AQHA Racing Committee. Members of the Champions Selection Subcommittee then meet to review the finalists and cast their ballots to determine each champion.

Ballots for Breeder, Owner, Trainer and Jockey of the Year consist of the individuals with the best overall placing according to money earned, races won and performance in graded stakes. Winners are likewise chosen by the Champions Selection Subcommittee.

Individual voting results will be made public today at the AQHA Racing Champions Ceremony.

Contact David Fong at; follow him on Twitter @thefong