Alpha isn’t a tall horse, and although he has filled out considerably, his lack of height and diminutive stature never seemed to limit his ability to succeed at the racetrack.


Bred by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Darley Stable, and campaigned by his Godolphin Racing division, the bay son of Bernardini was recognized Sunday as the 2012 Aiken Trained Horse of the Year at the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum.


Alpha was broken and trained in Aiken by Tim Jones.


The Darley trainer accepted a framed picture of Alpha from Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame advisory board member Joe Aulisi, who also served as the event’s master of ceremonies.


Jones thanked the Hall of Fame’s advisory board, on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin Racing, for Alpha’s selection as the Horse of the Year.


“We’re very appreciative and honored,” said Jones. “We really like this community. The climate, weather and the Aiken Training Track’s surface are outstanding.”


However, the horseman recognized Darley’s commitment to excellence and the outstanding staff in Aiken for its role in helping to produce a quality product showcasing the talent of the horses who’ve gone on to achieve optimal results once they’ve reached the racetrack.


“I really appreciate my staff because, without them, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything,” Jones said.


Crystal Ryan, the Darley exercise rider who broke and started Alpha, was in attendance, as was Darley assistant trainer Pierce Buckingham and exercise rider Marcus Ryan.


“I love the City of Aiken,” said Jones. “I’ve lived in many towns during the course of my lifetime, but this has become home.”