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Trainer Catherine Day-Phillips accepts the Horse of the Year award for A Bit O'Gold from Dick Bonnycastle, Chairman of the Jockey Club of Canada .

The Sovereign Awards

Date: 12/16/2005

It was a full house at the Sutton Hall ballroom in the Wyndham Bristol Place Hotel in Toronto for the 31st annual Sovereign Awards, saluting outstanding achievement in Canadian Thoroughbred racing. Unlike their U.S. equivalent, the Eclipse Awards, horses must have started at least three starts in Canada to qualify. Winning connections are presented with a trophy which is a replica of English racing great St. Simon.

A Bit O'Gold took home top honours, being named Horse of the Year as well as Champion Older Male and Champion Turf Horse. Trainer Catherine Day Phillips sent him out to two turf wins, both Grade 2's. The two-length victory in the Chinese Cultural Centre Stakes was against, arguably, the best field of the year. The 4-year-old added the Sky Classic tally in October to a third place finish in the Grade 2 Niagara to give him a most impressive Sovereign resume for ownership group The Two Bit Racing Stable. He is also the first horse to earn the Three-year-old Male Sovereign to capture the Older Male award the very next year since Frost King in 1982. His main track efforts were also strong in 2005, including a win in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Handicap and a valiant try against the best in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Owners Jim and Alice Sapara accepting from Dr. Ross McKague, director of the Manitoba Jockey Club, while the breeders of Edenwold look on from the right.
Champion Two-Year-Old Colt Edenwold dazzled fans with his class and resilience in 2005. The son of Southern Halo won four consecutive races over less than two months, including three stakes at distances ranging from six to seven furlongs. After a troubled trip in the Coronation Futurity, he could do no better than fourth, defeated just two lengths. The Ontario-bred earned more than any two-year-old colt or filly.

Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Knights Templar brought her 'A' game to the table on several occasions in 2005, capturing the Ontario Debutante and Mazarine Breeders' Cup Stakes and earning more than any other two-year-old filly. Knights Templar, who is owned by Clover IV Stables and Krista Seltzer, traveled to New York and represented Canada proudly in her quest for the 'holy grail' of triumphs, a victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. The Danny Vella trainee battled with the eventual winner Folklore before tiring to finish sixth.

Reade Baker and his wife accept the award for Outstanding Trainer from Conrad Cohen, President of the Ontario HBPA.
Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Gold Strike never missed the board in a brief but successful 2005 campaign. In four starts, the Manitoba-bred daughter of Smart Strike won the Selene Stakes and the Labatt Woodbine Oaks, a two-race sweep, which only five other fillies have accomplished in the Sovereign era (1975-2005). All five were rewarded with divisional championships. "The Manitoba Missile" also ran a respectable third in the Queen's Plate. Gold Strike is owned by Harlequin Ranches.

Her trainer Reade Baker took home the Sovereign for champion trainer. The veteran's starters were money-in-the-bank, giving Baker the most purse earnings ($3,907,181, as of December 7) of any Canadian-based conditioner. His 10 stakes scores at Woodbine were also tops among his Toronto oval contemporaries, which include victories in the Grade 2 Summer and Grade 3 Vigil. Along with Gold Strike, he also trains Champion Sprinter Judith's Wild Rush.

Owner Lou Tucci and trainer Sid Attard accepting the Champion Older Female award from Woodbine television host Jeff Bratt
One For Rose retires to broodmare duty as a champion, taking home the Older Female award for the third year in a row. The six-year-old Tucci Stables won three stakes races in 2005 for trainer Sid Attard, the Ontario Matron, Grade 3 Seagram Cup against the boys and the Algoma. True legends of the sport, Glorious Song and Eternal Search, each earned two consecutive Older Filly or Mare Sovereign Awards. One for Rose could be in a league of her own.

Champion Three-Year-Old Colt Palladio was developed into a serious racehorse with an exciting late kick by trainer Roger Attfield. Arguably more suited to turf racing, the Santa Maria de Araras homebred reeled off three stakes main track tallies, including the Grade 2 Ohio Derby at Thistledown and the Ontario Derby at Woodbine. Against older runners in a recent stakes race at Calder, Palladio made a menacing wide move on the turn, but flattened out in the stretch, finishing fourth. He is the sixth Attfield trainee to win this award.

Champion Female Turf Horse Ambitious Cat came within a cumulative total of just 2 1/4 lengths of winning three graded stakes at Woodbine this season. The hard-knocking Storm Cat filly, who is trained by Eric Coatrieux, was second by a half-length in the Nassau, second by 1 1/4 lengths in the Bell Canadian and closed out the season with a stellar third-place finish in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes, just a half-length behind Honey Ryder. Despite her hard luck making it to the stakes winner circle, the four-year-old Chiefswood charge banked more than any other female in the Sovereign category.

Julie Coulter, general manager of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, presents the award for Outstanding Breeder to the Adena Springs connections.
Champion Sprinter Judith's Wild Rush was at his best early in the 2005 campaign. After starting the year in Florida, recording a win in five starts, the Tenenbaum Racing Stables' colour-bearer flourished upon his return to Woodbine. The Reade Baker-trainee was excellent in four straight Woodbine main track stakes starts, winning two, the Grade 3 Vigil and the Bold Venture, while stakes-placed in the other two, the Jacques Cartier and the Eclipse. The four-year-old is the first Two-year-old Male Sovereign champion (2003) to capture the Sprinter title.

Frank Stronach's operations captured both Champion Breeder (under the Adena Springs banner) and Champion Owner (as Stronach Stable). In 2005, Adena leads all Canadian breeders in starters (122), winners (65) and purse earnings ($3,772,448) as of November 28. It was the second consecutive year Adena led in those respective categories. The outfit bred this year's Prince of Wales Stakes champion Ablo and Princess Elizabeth Stakes victor Sugar Swirl. As an owner, Stronach was the country's top purse earning stable, with $2,127,684 (as of November 28). The operation had another 39 wins in the United States for purses of nearly $2.5 million (U.S.) The group had two Woodbine stakes winners and boasted an in-the-money percentage of 48.2. Stronach starters were especially strong on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, winning 13 off 55 starts, tops among all owners. This was his fifth Breeder award and ninth Owner award.

Todd Kabel accepts his award for Outstanding Jockey from Andy Bryant of Horse Racing Alberta.
Champion Broodmare Native Rights is the second daughter of Postage Stamp to be named Canada's top broodmare. Her younger sister First Class Gal (dam of One Way Love and Runaway Love) won the award in 2002. Native Rights, who passed away in 2004, is the dam of top turf female finalist Classic Stamp, who captured this year's Bell Canadian Stakes for the second consecutive year. Native Rights, a daughter of Our Native, also produced Prized Stamp, the 2001 winner of the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap.

Jockey Todd Kabel captured his third consecutive Sovereign for Champion Jockey, and fifth in his career. He might not have had as many mounts as some of his fellow Woodbine riders, but that doesn't mean the man from Manitoba wasn't at the top of his game. 'King' Kabel won 18 added-money features (tops at the Toronto oval), including victories in the Grade 2 King Edward Breeders' Cup, Coronation Futurity and Plate Trial Stakes, to go along with over $6.5-million (as of December 7) in purse earnings. Kabel teamed with the Graham Motion-trained T.D. Vance, to win the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga. He also won his 3,000th career race, piloting Stronach Stables' filly Sprightly to victory for the milestone win.

Emma-Jayne Wilson accepts the award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey from Sam-Son Farm owner Tammy Samuel-Balaz.
Champion Apprentice Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson made her first full-year on the racing scene a memorable one. The much-talked-about 24-year-old Ontario native, who led all North American apprentices in wins and earnings, will become the first woman in the 50-year history of Woodbine to win the jockey championship, courtesy of 168 wins, as of December 7. Wilson led the Toronto oval in purse earnings with over $7-million and has recorded two added-money wins, the Grade 2 Bell Canadian Stakes with Classic Stamp and the Ontario Lassie Stakes with Our Madison.

David Landry took home the Sovereign for Outstanding Photograph for a picture of Emma-Jayne Wilson and Classic Stamp, which appeared in Canadian Thoroughbred magazine. This is the second year in a row for Landry, and fourth overall, to go along with his 2000 Eclipse Award and his 1999 International Media Award for a Standardbred photo.

Peter Gross seems very happy to have won Outstanding Feature Story.
Writer and television personality Peter Gross took home his first career Sovereign Award for Outstanding Feature Story with "The Amazing Story of Jack Lauzon" which appeared in The Game newspaper. The 30-year veteran of the Toronto media circus chronicled jockey Jack Lauzon's miraculous recovery from a paralyzing accident at Macau racecourse in August 1996. Lauzon fractured three vertebrae and was within millimeters of severing his spinal cord. Lauzon eventually returned to the track, in April of 1999. You can read the winning story in Microsoft Word format here.

Globe and Mail writer Beverley Smith received the Outstanding Newspaper Story award for "Obituary - Jerry Meyer, Horse trainer 1927-2005." She captured the essence of the man known to many as JC and provided a testimonial to man loved and respected by generations of racetrackers. She referred to Meyer as "indisputably an original", and while accepting her trophy, Smith commented that Meyer never won a Sovereign Award in his career so, felt that he was posthumously receiving one now.

Michael Byrne (left) accepts the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit from Dick Bonnycastle, Chairman of the Jockey Club of Canada.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation won their Sovereign for Outstanding Film/Video/Broadcast for Life and Times of Northern Dancer. It was the first time the ongoing Life and Times biographical series featured a non-human. The program features interviews with a wide range of people including Northern Dancer's first jockey Ron Turcotte and Judith Mappin, daughter of the late Eddie and Winifred Taylor. Accepting the award was director Halya Kuchmij.

Former Jockey Club of Canada chairman Michael C. Byrne was given the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit. He was the founder of Park Stud, and served on the Ontario Racing Commission for six years, sat as a director of the Ontario Jockey Club for ten years, and on the board of the Equine Research Centre at Guelph University for 14 years. He also operated the Canadian Breeders Sales for 11 years. Joining the Jockey Club of Canada in 1987, he became a Steward in 1993 and Chief Steward in 1996, serving in that capacity for 10 years. He is one of only three Canadian members of the Jockey Club in New York. In 1999, he formed and chaired the Canadian Graded Stakes Committee, responsible for Canada's graded stakes system. Canada's graded stakes are recognized internationally, as Byrne is also a member of the International Cataloguing Standards Committee.

Here are the vote totals for the top three finalists for all the awards along with photos for several of the equine winners. Votes were cast for the top three choices, 4 points for first, 2 for second, and 1 for third, in each category by voters and the top point getters were named the finalists. The voters are individuals serving in industry positions such as senior racing officials, racing journalists and commentators, as well as provincial representatives of the Breeding and Horsemen's organizations.

A Bit O'Gold was Champion Turf Male, Older Male, and Horse of the Year

Gold Strike was Champion Three-Year-Old Filly

Knights Templar was Champion Two-Year-Old Filly

AAmbitious Cat was Champion Female Turf Horse

Juddith's Wild Rush was Champion Sprinter
Horse of the Year A Bit O' Gold 175 Palladio 59 Gold Strike 40 Champion 2-year-old Filly Knights Templar 194 Top Notch Lady 59 Wannatalkaboutme 57 Champion 2-year-old Colt/Gelding Edenwold 126 Seaside Retreat 98 Vibank 50 Champion 3-year-old Filly Gold Strike 201 Lemon Maid 119 Monashee 52 Champion 3-year-old Colt/Gelding Palladio 212 Alabama Rain 55 Spaghetti Mouse 38 Champion Older Female One for Rose 207 Fifth Overture 107 Nashinda 26 Champion Older Male A Bit O' Gold 204 Cryptograph 60 Mobil 54 Champion Turf Female Ambitious Cat 139 Classic Stamp 94 Top Ten List 70 Champion Turf Male A Bit O' Gold 193 Jambalaya 89 Mobil 51 Champion Sprinter Judiths Wild Rush 150 Lemon Maid 74 Mister Coop 45 Outstanding Broodmare Native Rights 117 Adorned 90 Big Bux Babe 41 Outstanding Breeder Adena Springs 149 Eugene Melynk 102 Gustav Schickedanz 67 Outstanding Owner Stronach Stables 128 Melnyk Racing Stables, Inc. 110 Harlequin Ranches 38 Outstanding Trainer Reade Baker 174 Sid Attard 101 Catherine Day Phillips 32 Outstanding Apprentice Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson 174 Justin Stein 113 Corey Fraser 95 Outstanding Jockey Todd Kabel 169 James McAleney 108 Rickey Walcott 22 Quincy Welch 22

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