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The O'Brien Awards

Dateline: 02/02/2003

Real Desire was named Canada's Horse of the Year as Standardbred Canada hosted the annual O'Brien Awards which recognize Canada's best in harness racing over the past season. The awards are named in honour of the late Joe O'Brien, an outstanding horseman and a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Real Desire winning the Canadian Pacing Derby.
Real Desire, one of the sport's trojan older pacers, secured two O'Brien Awards, one as the country's top pacing horse and the other as Horse of the Year. Trained by Blair Burgess, the son of Life Sign paced to a stunning 1:49 4/5 victory in Canada's oldest stakes event, the Canadian Pacing Derby, during his $1.2 million dollar season for owners Britany Farms of Versailles, Kentucky, Robert Burgess of Campbellville, Karin Olssen Burgess of Milton, and Perretti Farms of Cream Ridge, New Jersey.

O'Brien Award winning trainer Bill Robinson.
Canadian racing's two $10-million men in 2002, driver Chris Christoforou and trainer Bill Robinson, also collected O'Briens for their accomplishments. Christoforou won his second Driver of the Year title. The 31 year-old Milton resident won his first O'Brien in 1999. He enjoyed a career year last season driving horses to in excess of $10.8 million in purse money and making 517 trips to the winner's circle. 2002 was a year to remember for Bill Robinson, 56, of Hagersville, Ontario. He trained horses to earnings in excess of $10.4 million and captured many of the sport's major pacing classics including the Pepsi North America Cup, Confederation Cup, Little Brown Jug, Meadowlands Pace, and Provincial Cup. His roster of champions included Canada's Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the year, Art Major. Art Major won 20 of 31 races and earned over $1.8 million while winning such prestigious events as the Breeders Crown, Confederation Cup, Tattersalls, Bluegrass and Cane Pace.

Sir Luck winning the Metro Pace.
Trainer Bill Budd conditioned Canada's Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year, Sir Luck. Owned by C & I Siegel Racing Stable of Brooklyn, New York, Sir Luck paced to a stellar juvenile campaign, winning over $1.1 million hitting for the board in 16 of 17 races. His richest payday came in the Metro Pace at Woodbine

Eternal Camnation, a winner of seven of 17 and $763,315 for the Eternal Camnation Stable of Indiana, collected her third O'Brien award. For the second consecutive year, the Cam Fella daughter took divisional honors in the Older Pacing Mare category following an impressive campaign which saw her win the Milton and Roses Are Red Stakes.

Kadabra winning the Breeders' Crown 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot.
The magic show continued last season for Canada's Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year, Kadabra as he won 11 of 14 races including the Canadian Trotting Classic and Breeders Crown for earnings of almost $1.6 million for the Abra Kadabra Stable of Port Perry, Ontario.

Cameron Hall was honoured with an O'Brien as top Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly. The talented miss was a model of consistency, hitting for 11 wins in 15 starts and netting over $1.3 million in purse money for her owner Erkki Laakkonen of Georgetown, Ontario.

Precious Delight was a surprising winner over Worldly Beauty as Canada's Three-Year-Old Pacing filly for 2002. The daughter of Precious Bunny won nine 9 of 18, and over $755,000 last year for owner/breeder Peter Heffering of Port Perry, Ontario.

Armbro Amoretto winning the Breeders' Crown 2-Year-Old Filly Pace.
It was a fitting end to a storybook season for Breeders Crown champion Armbro Amoretto as she was awarded an O'Brien as Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer. Owned by Al Saul's Big Als Stable of Thornhill, Ontario, the filly won six of 12 and $649,000.

Filly At Bigs, owned by John Fielding of Toronto and Irving Liverman, of Hampstead, Quebec, was named Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter of the Year. The Donerail filly hit the board 11 times in 18 races and was a consistent stakes performer.

Ontario Sires Stakes star Meadowview Sunny took divisional honors in the two-year-old trotting colt category for owner Charles Reid's Meadowview Farms of Orono, Ontario and co-owner, trainer Paul Shakes of Stayner. The Classic Adam colt scored all of his six victories in Ontario Sires Stakes events and earned a healthy $284,966.

The competitive Dresden Dolly earned the Trotting Mare title following a season that saw her record eight wins and over $256,000 for C.A. Burns of Toronto. She was one of those unique equine females who could successfully compete against her male rivals.

At age eight, the dominant free for all performer Springtop, was voted Trotting Horse of the Year. Owned by Richard Beinhauer of Venetia, Pennsylvania, the talented son of Sierra Kosmos was a regular free-for all campaigner on the Woodbine- Mohawk circuit.

Next Victom, owned by Stephen Finucane of St. George, Ontario, was voted Broodmare of the Year. Her 2002 performers included Pepi Lavec, a winner of $434,000 and Wanabeamillionaire, a winner of over $169,000.

From Woodbine and Standardbred Canada press releases

2002 O'Brien Award Winners

Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer
Armbro Amoretto (owned by Big Als Stables Inc., Thornhill, ON)

Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer
Sir Luck (owned by C & I Siegal Racing STB Ltd., Brooklyn, NY)

Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter
Filly At Bigs (owned by John Fielding, Toronto, ON & Irving Liverman, Hampstead, QC)

Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter
Meadowview Sunny (Meadowview Farms Inc., Orono, ON)

Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer
Precious Delight (owned by R. Peter Heffering, Port Perry, ON)

Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter
Cameron Hall (owned by Erkki Laakkonen, Georgetown, ON)

Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer
Art Major (Owned by Deena Rachel Frost, Delray Beach, FL, Jerry Silva, Bellmore, NY, TLP Stable, Kearny, NJ, & Sampson Street Stables, Old Forge, PA)

Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter
Kadabra (owned by Abra Kadabra Stable, Port Perry, ON)

Older Pacing Mare
Eternal Camnation (owned by Eternal Camnation Stable, Fort Wayne, IN)

Older Trotting Mare
Dresden Dolly (owned by C A Burns Ltd., Toronto, ON)

Older Pacing Horse
Real Desire (owned by Brittany Farms, Versailles, KY, Karin Olsson Burgess, Milton, ON, Robert Burgess, Campbellville, ON & Perretti Farms Inc., Cream Ridge, NJ)

Older Trotting Horse
Springtop (owned by Richard Beinhauer, Venetia, PA)

Broodmare of the Year
Next Victom (owned by Stephen Finucane, St. George Brant, ON)

Trainer of the Year
Bill Robinson, Hagersville, ON

Driver of the Year
Chris Christoforou, Milton, ON

Horse of the Year
Real Desire

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