Friday, 08 April 2016 21:30

Sovereign Awards Winners Announced

Written by Stacie Roberts
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Early Morning Groom Early Morning Groom Chris Young

Toronto, Ontario –The Jockey Club of Canada held its 41st Annual Sovereign Awards event this evening on the elegantly transformed third floor of Woodbine Race Track in Toronto, Ontario Canada.  

More than 270 guests were in attendance to celebrate with the finalists and the newly crowned champions of Thoroughbred racing in Canada for 2015.

The Sovereign Awards are Canada’s premier awards for Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding with both the owner and breeder of each Champion horse being recognized with a Sovereign Award Trophy for first time winners or a Gold Sovereign Coin for those who have won a trophy previously.

In an effort to promote equal opportunity in determining the winners for 2015 in the 17 race award and 3 media award categories, the voting began January 2, 2016, allowing for statistics for the entire year to be considered.  The Jockey Club of Canada announced the top four finalists in each category as determined by the online ballots of 39 knowledgeable voters.  The media category awards were determined by the Professors of Humber School of Media Studies and Information Technology, in Toronto, Ontario.  Three finalists were announced in the three media categories.

The Jockey Club of Canada is pleased to announce the 2015 Sovereign Award winners in the order in which they were presented.

(Media) Outstanding Photograph – Chris Young
Early Morning Groom - published GlobeandMail.com

(Media) Outstanding Writing – Curtis Stock
A Love of Horses - published Edmonton Journal

(Media) Outstanding Audio/visual and Broadcast – Talkin’ Horses
Season 2 Episode 17 - Aired CTV and CTVtwo October 3, 2015

The Jockey Club of Canada Award – the annual award was presented to Nick Beare at the School of Media Studies and Information Technology, Humber Institute of Advanced Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto in November 2015.  This monetary award is presented to a student entering their final year of study, who has exemplified outstanding leadership inside and out of the classroom; who has showcased exceptional knowledge of sport and sport issues with special consideration given to those who have reported on issues relating to Canadian thoroughbred coverage.  Nick received a Jockey Club of Canada plaque in recognition of receiving the award.  

Outstanding Broodmare – Rare Opportunity
(1992) by Danzig Connection - Andora (Conquistador Cielo) Breeders/Owners: Anderson Farms and Rod Ferguson
Purchased for just $5,400 as an unraced 2-year-old, the aptly-named Rare Opportunity has been a superior horse for Rod Ferguson and Anderson Farms. A brilliant racehorse with a limited career, Rare Opportunity was third in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico in only her third career start. In the breeding shed, her foals have sold at auction for more than $1.3 million and they have earned over $1.5 million. Her 2015 star is Tower of Texas, a finalist for Champion Male Sprinter. The son of Street Sense is the 11th foal of his dam and he won the King Edward Stakes (Grade 2) at Woodbine in 2015. Rare Opportunity’s other stakes winning foals were Street Sounds (by Street Cry (Ire)), winner of the Beaumont Stakes (G2) at Keeneland and earner of over $505,000 and Wonder Where Stakes winner Silver Highlight (by Silver Charm).
Points Results:  Rare Opportunity (48), Awesome Lass (40), Star Guest (29),   Uproar (25)

Outstanding Apprentice Jockey – Erika Smilovsky
161 STARTS - 11 WINS - 15 SECONDS - 22 THIRDS $363,793
This is the second nomination for Erika Smilovsky for Outstanding Apprentice rider as she also made the short list at the 2014 Sovereign Awards. Smilovsky rode almost exclusively at Woodbine during 2015 but certainly one of her biggest moments came at Fort Erie in September when she guided Johnny La Rue to victory in the popular Puss n Boots Cup Stakes. Smilovky, who is from Pickering, ON, began her horsebacking career as a top Quarter Horse jockey. With over 40 wins in two years as a Thoroughbred rider, she has certainly made a smooth career change.
Points Results:  Erika Smilovsky (127), Fanny Crausaz (48), Isabelle Wenc (30), Kayla Pizarro (28)

Champion Older Male – Are You Kidding Me
Dk.B H 5 by Run Away and Hide - Sweet Awakening (Street Cry (IRE))
Breeder: John Bates, Ron Kirk, Greg McDonald & Riordan & Shaw (KY)
Owner: Ronald K Kirk, John C. Bates, & Michael Riordan
Trainer: Roger Attfield
2015: 7 starts - 3 wins - 0 second - 3 third - $420,500
Winner: G2 Autumn, G2 Nijinsky, G2 Eclipse
Points Results:  Are You Kidding Me (136), Melmich (44), Stacked Deck (33),  Golden Sabre (21)

Champion Older Female – Miss Mischief
B M5 by Into Mischief - Kid Majic (Lemon Drop Kid)
Breeder: Allen Poindexter (KY)
Owner: Diane Manning
Trainer: Dale Capuano
2015: 9 starts - 3 wins - 2 second - 2 third - $298,600
Winner: G2 Bessarabian, HBPA S, Alw $35K
Points Results: Miss Mischief (132), Cactus Kris (35), Uchenna (Ire) (33),     Touching Promise (30)

Outstanding Trainer – Mark Casse  
434 STARTS - 80 WINS - 78 SECONDS - 73 THIRDS - $4,910,082 IN EARNINGS
There seems to be no stopping the Canadian division of the Mark Casse stable as it won its ninth consecutive training title at Woodbine in 2015, 10th overall, and Casse has won four straight Sovereign awards for Outstanding Trainer. The numbers were big again in 2015 with 14 stakes wins in Canada and remarkably, each one came with a different horse. The stable stars included Natalma Stakes (G2) winner Catch a Glimpse who went on to become Casse’s first Breeders’ Cup winner when she took the Juvenile Filly Turf in November at Keeneland. Casseís other Canadian stakes winners included Summer Stakes (G2) winner Conquest Daddyo, Connaught Cup Stakes (G2) winner Lockout and the ultra-consistent Season Ticket, who won the Wonder Where Stakes. Catch a Glimpse and Conquest Daddyo are Sovereign finalists this evening.
Points Results:  Mark Casse (154), Roger Attfield (59), Josie Carroll (18), Kevin Attard (18)

Champion Turf Male – Interpol
B C4 by English Channel - Adel (Strawberry Road (AUS))
Breeder: Richard Lister (ON)
Owner: JMJ Racing Stables LLC
Trainer: Sid Attard
2015: 7 starts - 4 wins - 0 second - 0 third - $445,768
Winner:G1 Northern Dancer, G2 Sky Classic, OC $62K, OC $25K
Points Results: Interpol (129), Are You Kidding Me (49), Reporting Star (39),   Danish Dynaformer (29)

Champion Turf Female – Catch A Glimpse
Ch. F2 By City Zip - Halo River (Irish River (FR))
Breeder: Branch Equine LLC (KY)
Owner: Gary Barber, Michael Ambler
& Windways Farm
Trainer: Mark Casse
2015: 4 starts - 3 wins - 0 second - 0 third - $717,688
Winner: G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, G2 Natalma, Alw $80K
Points Results:  Catch a Glimpse (115), Strut the Course (113), Button Down (GB) (36), Habibi (NZ) (8)

Outstanding Breeder – Adena Springs  
612 STARTS - 91 WINS - 103 SECONDS - 97 THIRDS - $4,837,101 IN EARNINGS
Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs has won this category nine times and 2015 may have been one of the farms most successful seasons in decades. The farm was represented by Grade 1 winners Private Zone and Judy the Beauty, both hard-knocking American-based performers but it also raced its homebred Shaman Ghost, winner of the Queen’s Plate. Shaman Ghost, a Sovereign award nominee for Champion Three-Year-old Male, was the first Plate winner raced by Stronach since Awesome Again won in 1997. Adena also bred Coronation Futurity winner Shakhimat, an early favourite for the 2016 Plate and bred horses that won or placed in 18 stakes races.
Points Results:  Adena Springs (121), Sam-Son Farm (64), Tall Oaks Farm (33), Eugene Melnyk (25)

E.P. Taylor Award of Merit - R.J. (Russell) and Lois Bennett
The Jockey Club of Canada Board of Stewards was proud to present
R.J. (Russell) and Lois Bennett with the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit for their longtime involvement and commitment to Thoroughbred Racing in Canada.

A Member of The Jockey Club of Canada for close to 40 years, Russell Bennett, along with his wife Lois, has been involved in Thoroughbred racing in Canada since the 1950’s.  

The Bennetts have proven to be the most successful breeders in racing history in British Columbia, topping the Leading Breeder list in that province almost every year since 1982.  They have been honoured nationally and provincially with inductions into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and the British Columbia Horse Racing Hall of Fame.  In 1983 R.J. Bennett was honoured with the Sovereign Award for Outstanding Breeder, the same year his homebred multiple graded stakes winner, Travelling Victor, became the first horse not raced in Ontario to win Horse of the Year honours as well as Champion Older Male.

Most recently, the Bennetts were awarded the Leading Breeder and Leading Owner titles in British Columbia for 2015 along with their homebred mare, Touching Promise, being named Horse of the Year and Champion Older Mare in B.C.  The male division of the older horse category was awarded to another Bennett homebred Brass & Gold while their Catz on Fire shared the 3-year-old B.C. bred male with two other recipients in 2015.  Touching Promise is also a Sovereign Award finalist for Champion Older Female in 2015.

The Bennetts own more than 40 broodmares and maintain a population of more than 100 Thoroughbreds at their Flying Horse Farm on the shores of Okanagan Lake in Westbank, British Columbia.   Producing more than 50 stakes winners, their first stakes winner was Flying Magic, in 1967.  A list of other successful stakes runners include, Brandy Magic, Skovinsky, Historical Devil, Tasty Victory, Travelling Round, Easy Triumph, Hurried Romance, Billy Blue, Lively Lord, Always a Dixie, and Multiple Graded Stakes winner Lord Nelson.

The recipient of the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit is decided by The Jockey Club of Canada Board of Stewards and is not necessarily awarded annually.  Previously called the Man of the Year Award, The E.P. Taylor Award of Merit is earned by those who have positively impacted or contributed to the Thoroughbred Industry in Canada.  Previous recipients of this award include E.P. Taylor, Jack Diamond, George Hendrie, Jim Coleman, George Gardiner, Ernest Samuel, and Charles Taylor.

Champion Three-Year-Old Male – Shaman Ghost
B C3 by Ghostzapper - Getback Time (Gilded Time)
Breeder: Adena Springs (ON)
Owner: Stronach Stables
Trainer: Brian Lynch
2015: 6 starts - 4 wins - 1 second - 0 third - $846,200
Winner: Queen’s Plate, G3 Marine, Alw $54K, MSW $41K
Points Results: Shaman Ghost (158), Danish Dynaformer (62), Lucky Lindy (44), Breaking Lucky (10)

Champion Three-Year-Old Filly – Academic
B F3 By Henny Hughes - Awesome Lass (Awesome Again)
Breeder: Spring Farm (ON)
Owner: Bear Stables Ltd. & Riversedge Racing Stables Ltd.
Trainer: Reade Baker
2015: 6 starts - 4 wins - 1 second - 0 third - $634,160
Winner: G3 BC Derby, G3 Canadian Derby, Woodbine Oaks, MSW $67K
Points Results:  Academic (160), Don’t Leave Me (34), London Tower (34), Brooklynsway (27)

Outstanding Jockey – Eurico Rosa da Silva   
811 STARTS - 202 WINS - 141 SECONDS - 114 THIRDS - $7,666,388 IN EARNINGS
Two-time Sovereign Award winner Eurico Rosa da Silva won more races in 2015 than he ever has in one season since he came to Woodbine in 2004. Da Silva rode the winners of 202 races to lead all Canadian riders during the season. His 17 stakes victories came aboard stars such as Sovereign Award nominated older horse Melmich and Miss Mischief, a contender for two Sovereigns this evening.
Points Results: Eurico Rosa da Silva (141), Luis Contreras (72), Rico Walcott (24), Patrick Husbands (20)

Champion Male Sprinter – Stacked Deck
Dk.B B G4 by First Samurai - Bel Air Beauty (Smart Strike)
Breeder/Owner: Bruce Lunsford (ON)
Trainer: Barbara Minshall
2015: 9 starts - 4 wins - 0 second - 2 third - $338,440
Winner: G2 Kennedy Rd., G3 Bold Venture, Alw $79K, OC $80K
Points Results: Stacked Deck (144) Calgary Cat (55), Tower of Texas (36), Bye Bye Bernie (18)

Champion Female Sprinter – Miss Mischief
B M5 by Into Mischief - Kid Majic (Lemon Drop Kid)
Breeder: Allen Poindexter (KY)
Owner: Diane Manning
Trainer: Dale Capuano
2015: 9 starts - 3 wins - 2 second - 2 third - $298,600
Winner: G2 Bessarabian, HBPA S, Alw $35K
Points Results:  Miss Mischief (86), Cactus Kris (65), Caren (58), Skylander Girl (17)

Outstanding Owner – Sam-Son Farm
106 STARTS - 26 WINS - 22 SECONDS - 12 THIRDS - $2,270,899 IN EARNINGS
The famed Sam-Son Farm continues to produced top class horses 50 years after the stable was founded by the late Ernie Samuel. Sam-Son has won the Outstanding Owner title 10 times since 1975, the most recent in 2010. The Sam-Son team was the leading owner in Canada with purses over $2.2 million earned by five stakes winners including Grade 3 Durham Cup winner Golden Sabre.
Points Results: Sam-Son Farm (111), Conquest Stables, LLC (68), Ivan Dalos (45), Riversedge Racing Stables Ltd. (22)

Champion Two-Year-Old Male – Riker
Dk.B or B C 2 by Include - Desviacion (Unreal Zeal)
Breeder: Turner Breeders (KY)
New Owner: Team Valor Int., Gary Barber and Tucci Stables / Former Owner: Tucci Stables
New Trainer: Mark Casse / Former Trainer: Nicholas Gonzalez
2015: 5 starts - 4 wins - 0 second - 0 third - $273,540
Winner: G3 Grey, Swnford, Colin, MSW $56K
Points Results:  Riker (127), Amis Gizmo (73), Conquest Daddyo (60), Shakhimat (14)

Champion Two-Year-Old Filly – Catch A Glimpse
Ch. F2 By City Zip - Halo River (Irish River (FR))
Breeder: Branch Equine LLC (KY)
Owner: Gary Barber, Michael Ambler & Windways Farm
Trainer: Mark Casse
2015: 4 starts - 3 wins - 0 second - 0 third - $717,688
Winner: G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, G2 Natalma, Alw $80K
Points Results:  Catch a Glimpse (156), Caren (64), Gamble’s Ghost (36), Ami’s Mesa (14)

Horse of the Year Finalists:
Academic, Catch a Glimpse, Interpol, Shaman Ghost

2015 Horse of the Year – Catch A Glimpse
Ch. F2 By City Zip - Halo River (Irish River (FR))
Breeder: Branch Equine LLC (KY)
Owner: Gary Barber, Michael Ambler & Windways Farm
Trainer: Mark Casse
2015: 4 starts - 3 wins - 0 second - 0 third - $717,688
Winner: G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, G2 Natalma, Alw $80K

2015 Horse of the Year Points Results:
Catch a Glimpse (117), Academic (50), Shaman Ghost (39), Interpol (13)

You don’t have to be a finalist to join the party so mark your calendars for April 2017 when the Jockey Club of Canada will be celebrating the 42nd Annual Sovereign Awards.
Make the Sovereign Awards your social event of the year.

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For more information and photographs please contact The Jockey Club of Canada
Stacie Roberts, Sovereign Awards Committee Chair

416-675-7756
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www.jockeyclubcanada.com

Press Release From:
Stacie Roberts, Executive Director

The Jockey Club of Canada
Sovereign Awards Party
P.O. Box 66, Stn. B
Toronto, ON
M9W 5K9
Phone:  416-675-7756
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jockeyclubcanada.com

 

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