Friday, 10 April 2015 23:04

Lexie Lou named Canada's 2014 Horse of the Year

Sheena Ryan and Espirituganador at Woodbine Sheena Ryan and Espirituganador at Woodbine Stan Behal, Toronto Sun

— Sheena Ryan wins Outstanding Apprentice Jockey

Toronto, Ontario –The Jockey Club of Canada held its 40th Annual Sovereign Awards event this evening on the elegantly transformed third floor of Woodbine Race Track in Toronto, Ontario Canada.

More than 300 guests were in attendance to celebrate with the finalists and the newly crowned champions of Thoroughbred racing in Canada for 2014.

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 2014 in the 17 race award and 3 media award categories, the voting began January 2, 2015, 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 40 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 2014 Sovereign Award winners in the order in which they were presented.

(Media) Outstanding Photograph – Cindy Pierson Dulay

Photo of Big Bazinga published on and

(Media) Outstanding Writing – David Briggs

Ontario’s Cautionary Tale, article published on’s-cautionary-tale-lessons-every-slots-jurisdiction

(Media) Outstanding Audio/visual and Broadcast – Scott Jagow

Woodbine Diaries - Four-part video series broadcast on

The Jockey Club of Canada Award – the annual award was presented to Jeffrey Sehl at the School of Media Studies and Information Technology, Humber Institute of Advanced Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto on February, 26 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.  Jeff was unable to attend tonight’s awards due to conflicting internship schedule however he will receive a Jockey Club of Canada plaque in recognition of receiving the award.

Outstanding Broodmare – Eye of the Sphynx

(2001) by Smart Strike - Queen of Egypt (Vice Regent)

Breeder /Owner: Sam-Son Farm (ON)

A nominee in this category in 2010, Eye of the Sphynx hails from the powerful breeding program of Sam-Son Farm. Foaled in 2001, the daughter of Smart Strike was the Champion Three-Year-Old Filly in Canada of 2004, winning the Woodbine Oaks, the Selene and Fury Stakes. She earned over $680,000 in her racing career.

As a broodmare, Eye of the Sphynx has surpassed her racing career as she has produced a champion, a graded stakes and another stakes winner from just five foals to race. Her first foal was Eye of the Leopard (A.P. Indy) who won the 2009 Queen’s Plate and was named the Sovereign Award champion. Her next foal was multiple stakes winner Hotep (A.P. Indy) who earned $720,000) and in 2014, her daughter Deceptive Vision was one of the year’s top grass mares and won the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes. Deceptive Vision is a nominee for Champion Turf Female at tonight’s awards. Eye of the Sphynx produced a filly by Bernardini on Feb. 4 at Sam-Son Farm in Milton and has been bred back to that stallion.

Points Results: Eye of the Sphynx (107) Star Guest (48) Cruising Kris (36) Uproar (35)

Outstanding Apprentice Jockey – Sheena Ryan

Apprentice 2014 - 320 starts - 37 wins - 35 seconds - 29 thirds - $1,227,665 in earnings. Sept 7, 2014 Journeyman - 176 starts - 11 wins - 19 seconds - 19 thirds $460,732 in earnings

A two-time nominee in this category, Sheena Ryan put up more big numbers in 2014 before she graduated to journeyman jockey status. The Saskatchewan-born rider had her first full season at Woodbine and won 37 races from 320 mounts, a solid 12% winning rate, before she lost her apprentice ‘bug’ on Sept. 8. Ryan collected purse earnings of over $1.2 million.

Ryan studied to be an accountant but followed her love of horses and a dream to be a rider by joining Alberta’s Olds College jockey program in 2008. Despite being seriously injured and missing most of 2012, Ryan came back and surged into the top 15 Woodbine jockeys in 2014.

Points Results: Sheena Ryan (146) Damario Bynoe (56) Erika Smilovsky (48) Nick Webb (16)

Champion Older Male – Lukes Alley

B. G. 4 by Flower Alley - Vaulcluse (A.P. Indy)
Breeder: Eugene Melnyk (ON)
Owner: Melnyk Racing Stables Inc.
Trainer: Josie Carroll

  • 2014: 4 starts - 3 wins - 1 second - 0 third - $315,760
  • Winner: OC $80K, G3 Durham Cup, G2 Autumn S.
  • Points Results: Lukes Alley (115) Calgary Cat (77) Sky Captain (31) Sharp Sensation (21)

Champion Older Female – Strut the Course

B. F 4 by Strut the Stage - Bold Course (Trajectory)
Breeder / Owner: John Unger (ON)
Trainer: Barbara Minshall

  • 2014: 8 starts - 4 wins - 1 second - 0 third - $359,148
  • Winner: ALW $74K, OC $62K, Classy N’ Smart, G3 Maple Leaf
  • Points Results: Strut the Course (141) Hillaby (92) Spring in the Air (14) Silent Star (10)

Outstanding Trainer – Mark Casse

Canada 2014 - 476 starts - 93 wins - 83 seconds - 76 thirds - $7,114,070 in earnings.  US 2014 - 370 starts - 59 wins - 60 seconds - 44 thirds - $4,576,728 in earnings

The powerful Mark Casse barn continued its reign at Woodbine in 2014 with its eighth consecutive title by wins and ninth title overall. Casse has been named Outstanding Trainer six times in the last eight years including the last three seasons. And Casse achieved a new goal in 2014 when he won his first Queen’s Plate when the filly Lexie Lou beat the boys in the Canadian classic. Owned by Gary Barber, a Sovereign nominee, Lexie Lou was the stable star in a universe of good runners for Casse during the year. The Indianapolis-born Casse sent out the winners of 21 stakes races in Canada, 93 winners from 476 starters and the earners of over $7.1 million. Several of his stakes winners from the year are Sovereign Award nominees this evening as are three of the stables for which he trains.

Points Results: Mark Casse (151) Brian Lynch (33) Josie Carroll (27) Greg Tracy (26)

Champion Turf Male – Dynamic Sky

Dk. B or B G.4 by Sky Mesa - Murani (Distorted Humor)
Breeder: Arosa Farms (ON)
Owner: John C Oxley
Trainer: Mark Casse

  • 2014: 9 starts - 2 wins - 2 second - 2 third - $461,571
  • Winner: ALW $80, G3 Red Smith H.
  • Points Results: Dynamic Sky (139) Heart to Heart (65) Sharp Sensation (24) Excaper (22)

Champion Turf Female – Lexie Lou

B.F. 3 by Sligo Bay (IRE) - Oneexcessivenite (In Excess (IRE)
Breeder: Paradox Farm (ON)
Owner: Gary Barber
Trainer: Mark Casse

  • 2014: 8 starts - 4 wins - 1 second - 1 third - $1,195,400
  • Winner: WO Oaks, Queen’s Plate, Wonder Where, G3 Autumn Miss
  • Points Results: Lexie Lou (122) Deceptive Vision ( 107) Executive Allure (15) Royal Fury (11)

Outstanding Breeder – Sam-Son Farm

2014 - 65 Starters - 38 Winners $3,138,058 in earnings

Sam-Son Farm in Milton, ON has won this award eight times including in 2013 and the famed Canadian farm comes off another strong season with its homebreds. Horses bred by the farm earned over $3.1 million in 2014 which included 38 winners of 62 races. There were 14 stakes horses bred by Sam-Son in 2014 and seven of them were stakes winners.

Sam-Son’s own filly Deceptive Vision, a finalist for Champion Grass Female in 2014 was one of the stable leaders as she won the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes and placed in three other graded races. Sam-Son also won with its colt Up With the Birds, the 2013 Horse of the Year, who won the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes in 2014; Aldous Snow won the Grade 3 Singspiel Stakes; His Race to Win won the Grade 3 Seagram; and Checkered Past and Speightsong also were stakes winners.  Sam-Son is also the breeder of Grade 3 winner Irish Mission.

Points Results: Sam-Son Farm (93) Adena Springs (74) Paradox Farm Inc (64) William Sorokolit (12)

Champion Three-Year-Old Male – Heart to Heart

B.C. 3 by English Channel - Ask the Question (Silver Deputy)
Breeder: Red Hawk Ranch (ON)
Owner: Terry Hamilton
Trainer: Brian Lynch

  • 2014: 8 starts - 4 wins - 0 second - 1 third - $265,118
  • Winner:ALW $55K, Better Talk Now, G3 Jefferson Cup, G3 Commonwealth
  • Points Results: Heart to Heart (108) Ami’s Holiday (93) Coltimus Prime (65) Florida Won (12)

Champion Three-Year-Old Filly – Lexie Lou

B.F. 3 by Sligo Bay (IRE) - Oneexcessivenite (In Excess (IRE)
Breeder: Paradox Farm (ON)
Owner: Gary Barber
Trainer: Mark Casse

  • 2014: 8 starts - 4 wins - 1 second - 1 third - $1,195,400
  • Winner: WO Oaks, Queen’s Plate, Wonder Where, G3 Autumn Miss
  • Points Results: Lexie Lou (157) Executive Allure (35) Paladin Bay (25) Sweater Weather (25)

Outstanding Jockey – Patrick Husbands

Canada 2014 -  677 starts - 170 wins - 123 seconds - 107 thirds - $9,682,029 in earnings. US 2014 - 6 starts - $111,589 in earnings

Patrick Husbands won his seventh Woodbine riding title in 2014, coming back from a serious ankle injury that caused him to miss four months in 2013. The Brampton, ON resident, originally from Barbados, won 170 races from 676 mounts including 21 stakes races. His mounts collected over $10.6 million in earnings, the second-highest total of Husbands’ Canadian career which began in 1998. The crowning moment of Husbands’ 2014 campaign came when he guided the filly Lexie Lou to win the Queen’s Plate. It was the first Plate win for trainer Mark Casse, a longtime friend and client for Husbands.  Other big- name horses ridden by Husbands in 2014 included Kaigun, HIllaby and Sky Captain. Husbands has won the Sovereign Award on seven previous occasions.

Points Results: Patrick Husbands (145) Luis Contreras (48) Eurico Da Silva (42) Rico Walcott (24)

Champion Male Sprinter – Calgary Cat

Ch. G 4 by Cowtown Cat - Big Sink Star (A.P. Indy)
Breeder: WinStar Farm LLC (ON)
Owner: Stephen Chesney & Cory S. Hoffman
Trainer: Kevin Attard

  • 2014: 7 starts - 5 wins - 1 second - 1 third - $348,880
  • Winner: OC $40K, Alw$67K, OC $62K, G3 Bold Venture, G2 Kennedy Road
  • Points Results: Clagary Cat (153) Sharp Sensation (54) Phil’s Dream (25) Excaper (20)

Champion Female Sprinter – Hillaby

B. F 4 by Distorted Humor - Sealy Hill (Point Given)
Breeder: Eugene Melnyk (ON)
Owner: Stonestreet Stables LLC
Trainer: Mark Casse

  • 2014: 5 starts - 4 wins - 0 second - 0 third - $272,520
  • Winner: MSW $67K, ALW $67K, OC $62K, G2 Bessarabian
  • Points Results: Hillaby (145) Executive Allure (75) Spring in the Air (31) Cactus Kris (14)

Outstanding Owner – John C. Oxley

2014 - 151 starts - 30 wins - 28 seconds - 18 thirds - $2,442,683 in earnings

Oklahoma oilman John C. Oxley will be seeking his third consecutive Outstanding Owner Sovereign Award following another finish atop the Woodbine owner’s standings. Oxley won 30 races from 151 starts and his horses earned over $1.5 million. Among the stable stars of 2014 were Sky Captain who won the Grade 3 Dominion Day Handicap and Spring in the Air, winner of the Grade 3 Hendrie Stakes and a finalist for Champion Female Sprinter. Oxley also won stakes events with Northern Passion, Wild Catomine and the juvenile filly Dixie Twist. Mark Casse trains the Oxley runners.

Points Results: John C. Oxley (93) Gary Barber (61) Sam-Son Farm (51) Conquest Stables, LLC (50)

Champion Two-Year-Old Male – Conquest Typhoon

B C 2 by Stormy Atlantic - Swanky Bubbles (Ascot Knight)
Breeder: Josham Farms Limited (ON)
Owner: Conquest Stables LLC
Trainer: Mark Casse

  • 2014: 6 starts - 2 wins - 3 second - 0 third - $373,420
  • Winner: G2 Summer, G3 Cecil B. DeMille
  • Points Results: Conquest Typhoon (138) Conquest Tsunami (84) Decision Day (24) Phil’s Cocktail (13)

Champion Two-Year-Old Filly – Conquest Harlanate

B F 2 by Harlan’s Holiday - Allison’s Pride (Dixieland Band)
Breeder: Windhaven Farm Limited (ON)
Owner: Conquest Stables LLC
Trainer: Mark Casse

  • 2014: 5 starts - 3 wins - 0 second - 1 third - $299,641
  • Winner: MSW $67K, G2 Natalma, G3 Mazarine
  • Points Results: Conquest Harlanate (164) Brooklyns Way (72) London Tower (21) Mississippi Delta (11)

Horse of the Year Finalists:

  • Calgary Cat
  • Deceptive Vision
  • Lexie Lou

2014 Horse of the Year – Lexie Lou

B.F. 3 by Sligo Bay (IRE) - Oneexcessivenite (In Excess (IRE)
Breeder: Paradox Farm (ON)
Owner: Gary Barber
Trainer: Mark Casse

  • 2014: 8 starts - 4 wins - 1 second - 1 third - $1,195,400
  • Winner: WO Oaks, Queen’s Plate, Wonder Where, G3 Autumn Miss
  • 2014 Horse of the Year Points Results:
  • Lexie Lou (156) Calgary Cat (30) Deceptive Vision (21)

You don’t have to be a finalist to join the party so mark your calendars for April 2016 when the Jockey Club of Canada will be celebrating the 41st Annual Sovereign Awards.

Make the Sovereign Awards your social event of the year.


For more information and photographs please contact The Jockey Club of Canada

Stacie Roberts, Executive Director

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read 4278 times Last modified on Saturday, 11 April 2015 09:49