Sophia Stillings, granddaughter of Harness Racing Hall of Famer Dick Stillings, has been named the unanimous World Champion of the Western Pleasure class, junior exhibitor, at the 2016 Morgan Grand Nationals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Sophia, 14, is following in the equine footsteps of the Stillings family, longtime staples in the Standardbred industry.
“She’s been out there for the last several years, and it’s been amazing to watch her, said Dick, who continues to race daily at The Meadows in Washington County. “You know our harness racing business, it’s pressure all the time. What she does is also a lot of pressure, but it doesn’t even seem to bother her.”
The daughter of Rick and Kirsten Stillings of Ohio, Sophia has now won 7 World Championships at the Morgan Grand Nationals, all of which have come with her horse Artful Image, better known to the family as “Rose.”
“For me, the most important thing is just the fact that they’re willing to put in the work,” says Kirsten Stillings. “Sophia is very quiet, very humble. As a team, she and Rose have learned together. Both are young, Rose is only 10, and they quietly do their job. This year, it all came together for them again. It’s just so nice to see the effort they put in together.”
To win the title as a unanimous choice by the judges is highly uncommon, and her grandfather knows that more success is in Sophia’s future. “What a nice kid she is,” said her proud grandfather, Dick. “Right now her college of choice is Stanford, and I know she’ll achieve whatever she wants to in life. I’m proud to be her grandfather.”
Dick Stillings, a harness racing world champion in his own right, knows all about success. He has set numerous world records and is a member of the sport’s Hall of Fame.