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Luis Contreras and his sons accept the Champion Jockey trophy from Hall of Fame jockey Sandy Hawley.

The Sovereign Awards

Date: 04/19/2012

The 37th annual Sovereign Awards, saluting outstanding achievement in Canadian Thoroughbred racing and breeding in 2012, were handed out at a ceremony on Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. Unlike their U.S. equivalent, the Eclipse Awards, horses must have started at least 3 times in Canada to qualify (2 for juveniles). Winning connections are presented with a trophy which is a replica of English racing great St. Simon. Jason Portuondo, who hosts Woodbine's telecasts, was the master of ceremonies.

Jim Lawson, Chief Steward of the Jockey Club of Canada, presents the Horse of the Year award to Uncaptured's owner John Oxley and his wife Debby with trainer Mark Casse beside him.

The Horse of the Year title went to Uncaptured, who was also named Champion Two-Year-Old Male. Bred by Bill Graham, who earlier in the night was named Outstanding Breeder, the son of Lion Heart out or Arch mare Captivating was 6 for 7 for trainer Mark Casse (earlier named Outstanding Trainer) with wins in the Clarendon, Vandal, and Swynford at Woodbine, and the Iroquois (G3) and Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs. Owner John Oxley, who came up on stage (climbing a steep series of steps) to collect the last four trophies awarded on the night, quipped, "Next time I win a race, the purse money will be dedicated to replacing these stairs with an escalator! Hats off to the Jockey Club of Canada, Nick Eaves, and everybody in the Canadian racing industry for moving forward to perpetuate racing in this country. Mark Casse and I could race anywhere in the United States, but we come to Woodbine which we feel represented the very best of North American racing. (Uncaptured) is my favorite two-year-old in my 40 years in racing. What a great record. He's been a fabulous horse to be partnered with. Mark Casse delivered for me again."


Nick Eaves, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment, presents the Outstanding Owner award to John Oxley. This was the first of four awards won by Oxley.
Oxley swept the last four trophies on the night. He started off by taking Outstanding Owner honours, off a season where he won 28 of 101 starts and earned $2,834,689, followed by Uncaptured's award for Champion Two-Year-Old Male award, then the Champion Two-Year=Old Filly award for Spring in the Air. The daughter of Spring at Last out of Unbridled mare Unbridled Run won the Darley Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland and was second in the Shady Well and Natalma (G2) at Woodbine. She finished her season with a distant 5th place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita.


Eugene Melnyk accepts the Champion Older Female award for Roxy Gap from author Beverley Smith. Roxy Gap also won Champion Female Sprinter.
Owner Eugene Melnyk's homebred Roxy Gap took home both the Champion Female Sprinter and Champion Older Female award. The daughter of Indian Charlie out of Saint Ballado mare Harts Gap was 3 for 9 in 2012, including wins in the Whimsical (G3), Hendrie (G2), and Royal North (G3) Stakes. Melnyk said, "Roxy Gap is one of the rarities in our industry. What's forgotten in our industry are the cheap claimers, hurt horses, hurt horses that never make it to the racetrack. People forget about them. There are organizations across North America, including LongRun here in Canada, and I really would like to acknowledge everything they do for the racehorses. If you have room for a horse to adopt please do, when (organizations) come to you please help. It's great to have a Roxy Gap but I have to think about the horses out in the fields that never get a chance for the glory, photographs, trophies, everything else, and they also deserve a great retirement."


Mark Casse accepts the Outstanding Trainer award from Yvonne Schwabe a Director of the CTHS of Ontario.
The tightest result went to the Outstanding Jockey category where Luis Contreras nosed out Patrick Husbands by just one vote. He won 195 races out of 1027 starts, with 169 seconds, 151 thirds, and $9.3 million in purse earnings. Accompanied on stage with his two sons, he said, "I was so happy to win the jockey title. I want to thank all the hard-working people who work with these horses every morning and never win awards, but who all make this possible for me." In 2012 he won 17 stakes races in Canada, many of which were with trainer Mark Casse. The Apprentice award was won by Scott Williams, the third generation of a family of jockeys. The son of Danny Williams, top apprentice at Hastings in 1978 and now a jockey agent, and the grandson of Ronnie Williams, a member of the British Columbia Horse Racing Hall of Fame, won 100 out of 440 starts, mostly at Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta. Among his six stakes wins, he won the Alberta Oaks aboard Pumpkin Hollow.


Charles Overland, a Steward of the Jockey Club of Canada, presents the Champion Turf Female award for Irish Mission to trainer Mark Frostad (right). Irish Mission also won Champion 3-year-old Female.
The most emotional moment of the night came when Essence Hit Man was named Champion Male Sprinter for the second year in a row. His co-owner, co-breeder, and trainer Audre Cappucitti passed away in November 2012 at the age of 75. Audre's husband Gordon Cappucitti said, "On behalf of AC Racing Stables and the Cappucitti family, we proudly accept this Sovereign Award. Audre would have been so proud to receive this award here tonight in a room full of her family in racing. We thank the racing community for their warm wishes in our time of mourning this past November. We know that you are here tonight Audre."

Outstanding Apprentice Jockey winner Scott Williams and his father Danny, a retired rider, pose with the permanent Sovereign Award trophy.

In the media categories, Michael Burns Jr. won the Outstanding Photograph award for a record ninth time, and the 16th win for the Burns family overall. Denise Ryan won her first Sovereign in the Outstanding Writing category, for her article in the Vancouver Sun about Mario Gutierrez, and Horse Racing Alberta and WhiteIron Productions won their fifth Sovereign for Outstanding Broadcast, for their coverage of the Canadian Derby at Northlands Park.

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. The judging for the 2012 media categories was performed by the Journalism Professors at Humber College, School of Media Studies & Information Technology, in Toronto, Ontario.


Uncaptured was Champion 2-year-old
Male and Horse of the Year


Spring in the Air was Champion 2-Year-Old Filly


Irish Misson was Champion 3-Year-Old Filly
and Champion Turf Female


Roxy Gap was Champion Older Female and Champion Female Sprinter


Riding the River was Champion Turf Male


Strait of Dover was Champion 3-Year-Old Male


Hunters Bay was Champion Turf Male

      

The permanent Sovereign Award trophy is a sculpture of Saint Simon


Riding the River was Champion Turf Male


Essence Hit Man was Champion Male Sprinter


Bill Graham won for Outstanding Breeder


The pipers carry in the permanent Sovereign Awards trophy

Horse of the Year: Uncaptured 91 Hunters Bay 38 Strait of Dover 31 Champion Two Year Old Filly: Spring in the Air 124 Spring Venture 93 Nipissing 38 Champion Two Year Old Male: Uncaptured 164 Dynamic Sky 37 River Seven 33 Champion Three Year Old Filly: Irish Mission 138 Dixie Strike 86 Evelynís Dancer 42 Champion Three Year Old Male: Strait of Dover 123 Delegation 107 Toccetive 16 Champion Older Female: Roxy Gap 111 Magic Broomstick 103 Stars to Shine 18 Champion Older Male: Hunters Bay 138 Taylor Said 60 Pender Harbour 42 Champion Turf Female: Irish Mission 95 Roxy Gap 56 All Star Heart 49 Champion Turf Male: Riding the River 100 Forte Dei Marmi (GB) 97 Hunters Bay 40 Champion Female Sprinter: Roxy Gap 124 Magic Broomstick 88 Atlantic Hurricane 35 Champion Male Sprinter: Essence Hit Man 121 Bear Tough Tiger 47 Taylor Said 43 Outstanding Broodmare: Misty Mission 72 Captivating 70 Uproar 29 Outstanding Breeder: William D Graham 107 Sam-Son Farms 63 Adena Springs 54 Outstanding Owner: John C. Oxley 133 North American Thoroughbred Horse Company Inc. 65 Melnyk Racing Stables Inc. 32 Outstanding Trainer: Mark Casse 151 Reade Baker 56 Troy Taylor 32 Outstanding Apprentice Jockey: Scott Williams 156 Jennifer Reid 68 Skye Chernetz 33 Outstanding Jockey: Luis Contreras 109 Patrick Husbands 108 Eurico Da Silva 47

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