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Owner Frank Di Giulio Jr. (center) holding Pink Lloyd's Horse of the Year trophy

The Sovereign Awards

Date: 04/19/2018

The 43rd annual Sovereign Awards, saluting outstanding achievement in Canadian Thoroughbred racing and breeding in 2017, were handed out at a ceremony on Thursday evening at the historic Palais Royale Ballroom in west Toronto facing Lake Ontario. 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, with Woodbine television personality and G98.7 sportscaster Jason Portuondo serving as master of ceremonies. Continuing the positive theme from last year, speeches about politics or industry issues were mostly avoided.

The presentation for Pink Lloyd's first of 3 awards for the night, Champion Older Male
The star of the evening was Pink Lloyd, who was named Champion Male Sprinter, Champion Older Horse, and Horse of the Year. Raced by Frank DiGiulio Jr.'s Entourage Stable, the Bob Tiller trainee was an unprecedented 8 for 8 all in stakes company in 2017, including the Vigil (G3), the Kenora, and the Kennedy Road (G2) in late November to complete the sweep. DiGiulio noted that Tiller has trained for his family for almost 40 years, starting with his late father Frank Sr. Pink Lloyd's regular rider Eurico Rosa da Silva, aboard for all 8 wins, was named Outstanding Jockey. He joked "This is one of the few places I'm allowed to be", referring to the fact that he will start the 2018 racing season serving a suspension, and will not be aboard Pink Lloyd on opening day. Da Silva won 203 out of 824 starts (34 stakes wins) with $8.5 million in purse earnings, and also won the World All-Star Jockey Challenge in Japan.

Assistant Trainer Kathryn Sullivan accepts the Outstanding Trainer Award for Mark Casse from Jonathan Zammit, the Vice President of Thoroughbred Racing Operations for Woodbine. She accepted twice during the evening for him.
Perennial winner Mark Casse, who was not in attendance, captured his 7th straight Outstanding Trainer award, off a season where his runners won 96 of 509 starts (18 stakes wins) with $5.3 million in earnings. His biggest win in Canada was the Woodbine Mile (G1) with Live Oak Plantation's World Approval, who went on to win the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) He was also represented by champion Two-Year-Old Filly Wonder Gadot. The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro was 3 for 5 earning $348,140, including the Mazarine (G3) at Woodbine and the Demoiselle (G2) at Aqueduct His assistant Kathryn Sullivan accepted both awards.

Ivan Dalos accepts Outstanding Broodmare for Victorious Ami. He also with Ami's Mesa for both Champion Older Female and Champion Female Sprinter.
Another multiple winner on the night was owner-breeder Ivan Dalos' Tall Oaks Farm, best known as the breeder of 1997 Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop. This year his homebred Ami's Mesa took home Champion Older Female and Champion Female Sprinter honors. She was a near-perfect 4 for 5 earning $634,880, near-perfect in that she finished second by a nose in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1). Her wins included the Ontario Matron (G3), Seaway (G3), and Presque Isle Downs Masters (G2). Ami's Mesa's dam Victorious Ami, a homebred daughter of Victory Gallop, was named Outstanding Broodmare which is a lifetime achievement award. Her winners include Ami's Mesa, Ami's Holiday, and Victory Exchange.

Chiefwood Stables won the Outstanding Owner award off 25 wins in 143 starts (7 stakes wins) with purse earnings of almost $2.3 million. This was Robert and Mark Krembil's first Sovereign Award in the first nomination. Their stable stars include Tiz a Slam, Yorkton, Final Copy, and Ghostly Presence. Robert Krembil stressed the team aspect of his operation, giving most of the credit to stable manager and retired Canadian Hall of Fame jockey Robert Landry.

Sam Lima accepts his Special Sovereign Award
Frank Stronach's Adena Springs operation took two awards. First, Adena Springs was named Outstanding Breeder for the 12th time, with 39 winners fron 68 starters, earning over $5.8 million, led by Shaman Ghost, the 2015 Queen's Plate winner who in 2017 won the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) and Pimlico Special (G3) , and homebred stable star Holy Helena, winner of the Woodbine Oaks and the Queen's Plate. Holy Helena was named Champion Three Year Old Filly.

Rey Williams accepts the Outstanding Apprentice Jockey award from Robert King, Executive director at Jockeys' Benefit Association of Canada.
In the turf categories, Johnny Bear was named Champion Turf Male off a 5 for 11 season ($385,224 in earnings) including the Northern Dancer Turf (G1). Starship Jubilee was named Champion Turf Female after winning the Nassau (G2) and the Dance Smartly (G2) in a dead heat on Queen's Plate day.

Rey Williams took home Outstanding Apprentice Jockey honors. The native of Barbados won 41 of 261 starts with earnings of $471,415. On September 17 he won two stakes races at Norhlands Park, the Red Diamond Express Stakes aboard Mister Jangles, and the Alberta Oaks aboard Piper Rose.

Eurico Rosa da Silva accepts the Outstanding Jockey award from Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment Group.
Admiralty Pier was named Champion Two-Year-Old Male off a 2 for 5 season, winning $141,300. The son of English Channel won the Display Stakes after finishing third in the Summer Stakes (G2) and 4th in the Bourbon Stakes (G3) at Keeneland.

In the media categories, Dave Landry's "Dirt Storm" was the Outstanding Photograph, Perry Lefko's "Former Breeders' Stakes champ finding the stable life at last" was given the Outstanding Writing award, and Horse Racing Alberts's "Super Trooper" won Outstanding Audio/Visual and Broadcast honors.

Vote totals for the top three finalists for all the awards along with photos for all of the equine winners are below. 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 2017 media categories was performed by the Journalism Professors at Humber College, School of Media Studies & Information Technology, in Toronto, Ontario.

Pink Lloyd was Champion Older Male,
Champion Male Sprinter,
& Horse of the Year

Wonder Gadot was
Champion 2-Year-Old Female

Admiralty Pier was
Champion 2-Year-Old Male

Channel Maker was
Champion 3-Year-Old Male

Alfredo Ramos received the
Outstanding Groom award.

Horse of the Year:
Pink Lloyd - 150
Ami's Mesa - 82
Holy Helena - 40

Champion Two Year Old Filly:
Wonder Gadot - 138
Dream It Is - 82
Dixie Moon - 73

Champion Two Year Old Male:
Admiralty Pier - 109
Archaggelos - 65
Be Vewy Vewy Quiet - 64

Champion Three Year Old Filly:
Holy Helena - 166
Enstone - 56
Daz Lin Dawn - 38
Inflexibility - 38

Champion Three Year Old Male:
Channel Maker - 113
Mr Havercamp - 82
Tiz a Slam - 70

Champion Older Female:
Amiís Mesa - 172
Moonlit Promise - 66
Gambleís Ghost - 48

Champion Older Male:
Pink Lloyd - 142
Melmich - 108
Gigantic Breeze - 38

Champion Turf Female:
Starship Jubilee - 152
Enstone - 68
Inflexibility - 81

Champion Turf Male:
Johnny Bear - 142
Tower of Texas - 49
Channel Maker - 67

Champion Female Sprinter:
Amiís Mesa - 178
Moonlit Promise - 87
Jennifer Lynnette - 24

Champion Male Sprinter:
Pink Lloyd - 180
Ikerrin Road - 82
Yorkton - 25

Outstanding Broodmare:
Victorious Ami - 164
Keen Victory - 53
Loving Vindication - 21
Miss Crissy - 21

Outstanding Breeder:
Adena Springs - 139
Tall Oaks Farm - 91
Anderson Farms Ont. Inc. - 56

Outstanding Owner:
Chiefswood Stable - 117
Ivan Dalos - 69
Stronach Stables - 60

Outstanding Trainer:
Mark Casse - 152
Norman McKnight - 37
Josie Carroll - 29
Catherine Day Phillips - 29

Outstanding Apprentice Jockey:
Rey Williams - 158
Ridge Balgobin - 67
Brandon A. Duchaine  - 56

Outstanding Jockey:
Eurico Rosa Da Silva - 164
Luis Contreras - 83
Rico W. Walcott - 24

Ami's Mesa was Champion Older Female
& Champion Female Sprinter

Holy Helena was Champion 3-Year-Old Female

Johnny Bear was Champion Turf Male
Starship Jubilee was Champion Turf Female

The herd of Sovereign statues awaits the evening.

The permanent Sovereign trophy

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