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Camille Casse (centre) holding Wonder Gadot's Horse of the Year trophy and blanket

The Sovereign Awards

Date: 04/18/2018

The 44th annual Sovereign Awards, saluting outstanding achievement in Canadian Thoroughbred racing and breeding in 2018, were handed out at a ceremony on Thursday evening at Chateau Le Jardin in Woodbridge, Ontario, north of Woodbine Racetrack. 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

Camille Casse accepts Wonder Gadot's 3-year-old Filly award from Tom Cosgrove of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame
G98.7 sportscaster Jason Portuondo serving as master of ceremonies. Thankfully, speeches about politics or industry issues were mostly avoided, with a mostly positive tone to the festivities and optimism for the upcoming Canadian racing season which kicks off on Saturday.

It was no surprise that the equine star of the evening was Wonder Gadot. Raced by Gary Barber and trained by Outstanding Trainer award winner Mark Casse, she took Three-Year-Old Filly and Horse of the Year honours via her wins in the Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes. Camille Casse came on stage to accept the awards on behalf of her father (for trainer) and Wonder Gadot's owner Gary Barber. In her championship season, Wonder Gadot had 2 wins, 4 seconds (including the Kentucky Oaks [G1]), and 3 thirds in 11 starts, earning $1,403,200. Casse continued his unprecedented run, winning the Trainer award 8 years in a row and 11 of the last 13 years, only missing in 2009 and 2010.

Ivan Dalos won 3 times, including Outstanding Breeder for the first time
Ivan Dalos and his Tall Oaks Farm won 3 awards, starting off with Outstanding Broodmare won by In Return. Her 4 foals all started, including two Sovereign Award champions in 2017, Channel Maker, the Champion 3-Year-Old Male, and Johnny Bear, the Champion Turf Male that year and a finalist in 2018. The award was bittersweet for Dalos as the mare died He was a first time winner of the Outstanding Breeder award, with his homebreds winnng 49 out of 280 starts with earning of $2,957,008 in 2018. Among those homebreds were Champion 2-Year-Old Male, Avie's Flatter, who won 3 of 4 starts including the Coronation Futurity and the Cup and Saucer Stakes, and is considered an early favorite to win the Queen's Plate.

Owners Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry accept the Champion Male Turf Horse awards for Mr Havercamp from Katherine Curry, Executive Director of Ontario Racing

Another multiple winner on the night was Mr Havercamp, who was named Champion Older Male and Champion Male Turf Horse, and was a finalist for Horse of the Year. Bred and owned by Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry, he earned $513,500 in 2018, winning 3 out of 6 starts all in stakes: the Autumn (G2), Play the King (G2), and Steady Growth.

Owners Robert and Mark Krembil and farm manager Robert Landry accept the Outstanding Owner award for Chiefswood Stable from Veronica Attard of the HBPA.
Chiefswood Stables repeated as Canadian racing's Outstanding Owner, and they were also finalists in the Breeder category. The father-son team of Robert and Mark Krembil racked up 31 wins, 23 seconds, and 25 thirds in 146 starts, earning almost $2.6 million on the track. Their 6 stakes wins included the Dominion Day (G3) on the Tapeta and the Nijinsky (G3) on the turf by Tiz a Slam, a finalist for Older Male and Turf Male. They also took the Breeders' Stakes with Neepawa, a race which eventual Horse of the Year Wonder Gadot bypassed, rather than attempt a Triple Crown sweep.

Gus Schickedanz accepts the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit from Glenn Sikura (right), chief steward of the Jockey Club of Canada

There were two E.P. Taylor Awards of Merit handed out this year. Longtime owner and breeder Gus Schickedanz received his award before the main award ceremonies. Arriving in Canada at age 21, he built a successful career in land development as a bricklayer and stonemason, before getting into racing in the 1970s by purchasing Canadian-bred yearlings at auction. He is best known for Langfuhr, a multiple graded stakes winner who went on to sire 2003 Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando, also a Schickedanz homebred. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2009.

Kazushi Kimura won Outstanding Apprentice Jockey

Later in the evening, the late William D. Graham was honored. His early acquisitions were yearlings that went on to become talented racehorses and successful broodmares. For close to 50 years in the industry, Bill built Windhaven Farms in Caledon, ON and Lexington, KY, into one of the most respected and successful breeding operations in North America. He also owned Graham Brothers Construction, builders of the E.P. Taylor Turf Course at Woodbine. Graham was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014, but passed away on January 15, 2019 at the age of 81.

Eurico Rosa da Silva accepts his 6th Outstanding Jockey award from Valerie and Larry Attard of the HBPA.
Eurico Rosa da Silva was named Outstanding Jockey for the 4th year in a row (and 5 of the last 6). He set a Woodbine record with 237 meets during the 2018 meeting, beating the old record of 221 set by Mickey Walls in 2001. He win 237 of 856 starts, earning $8,345,386, wth 29 stakes wins, including upsetting Wonder Gadot in the Woodbine Oaks aboard Dixie Moon. Kazushi Kimura was voted as Outstanding Apprentice Jockey, after he won 104 of his 663 starts, earning $2,451,326 including the Muskoka Stakes aboard Speedy Soul. On October 12 he won 5 races on the card, and finished 5th in the riders' standings.

Owners Bonnie Baskin and Adam Corndorf (left) and trainer Kevin Attard (right) accept the Champion Female Turf Horse award for Starship Jubilee.
In the sprinter categories, last year's Horse of the Year Pink Lloyd repeated as Champion Male Sprinter and was also a Horse of the Year finalist, winning 5 of 8 earning $385,750, including the Vigil (G3), Kenora, Achievement, New Providence, and Jacques Cartier Stakes. Trainer Bob Tiller promised "He'll be back!" Moonlit Promise took home Champion Female Sprinter honours, in a season where she won the Bessarabian (G2) and Sweet Briar Too, going 2 for 9 with 1 second and 2 thirds earning $226,563.

Owners Hill 'n Dale Farm and Windsor Boys Racing accept the Female Sprinter trophy for Moonlit Promise from Bruce Barbour, executive director of Great Canadian Gaming.
Sky Promise represented Western Canadian racing by capturing the Champion Three-Year-Old Male trophy, fittingly presented to them by Harvey Warner, president of Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg. Owner Rick West noted that Sky Promise won three Derbies in three different time zones: the Manitoba Derby at Assiniboia Downs (Central), Canadian Derby (G3) at Northlands Park (Mountain), and the British Columbia Derby at Hastings Park (Pacific). Sky Promise also made history as the final Canadian Derby winner at Northlands Park, as that track has since been demolished and Edmonton racing moves this year to the new Century Mile racetrack, the only 1 mile oval in Western Canada. The new track will host Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, and Quarter Horses.

Sky Promise won Champion 3-Year-Old Male for Western Canada.
In the media categories, Santino Di Paola's "Into the Turn" was named Outstanding Photograph, Hayley Morrison took the Outstanding Writing award for "Hail to the War Horses", and Horse Racing Radio Network's broadcast of the 159th Queen's Plate took the Outstanding Broadcast award. In addition, longtime Mike Keogh staffer Amanda Erwin was named Outstanding Groom, Bobby Mihalik earned the Jockey Club of Canada Scholarship Award, and 2018 Woodbine Midsummer Horseplayers' Tournament winner Nick Noce took home the Outstanding Handicapper trophy.

Owners Entourage Stable and trainer Bob Tiller (far left) accept Pink Lloyd's second Champion Sprinter trophy from Ivan Dalos (center).

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 2018 media categories was performed by the Journalism Professors at Humber College, School of Media Studies & Information Technology, in Toronto, Ontario.

Wonder Gadot was Champion 3-Year-Old Filly
& Horse of the Year

Starship Jubilee repeated as
Champion Turf Female

Mr Havercamp was
Champion Turf Male & Champion Older Male

Escape Clause was
Champion Older Female

Amanda Erwin (left) won the
Outstanding Groom Award.

The pipers of the 43rd Highlanders
of Canada started off the evening.

Horse of the Year:
Wonder Gadot - 160
Mr Havercamp - 30
Pink Lloyd - 30
Escape Clause - 24

Champion Two Year Old Filly:
Bold Script - 93
My Gal Betty - 86
Tiz Breathtaking - 69

Champion Two Year Old Male:
Avie's Flatter - 143
Solidify - 59
War of Will - 50

Champion Three Year Old Filly:
Wonder Gadot - 160
Dixie Moon - 75
Here's Hannah - 19 

Champion Three Year Old Male:
Sky Promise - 111
Lookin to Strike - 55
Neepawa - 33

Champion Older Female:
Escape Clause - 102
Gamble's Ghost - 81
Starship Jubilee - 45

Champion Older Male:
Mr Havercamp - 123
Pink Lloyd - 49
Tiz a Slam - 38

Champion Turf Female:
Starship Jubilee - 143
Niigon's Eclipse - 37
Dixie Moon - 32

Champion Turf Male:
Mr Havercamp - 126
Johnny Bear - 75
Tiz a Slam - 61

Champion Female Sprinter:
Moonlit Promise - 112
Code Warrior - 54
Escape Clause - 43

Champion Male Sprinter:
Pink Lloyd - 123
Yorkton - 57
Ikerrin Road - 49

Outstanding Broodmare:
In Return - 101
Loving Vindication - 28
Avie's Empire - 86

Outstanding Breeder:
Tall Oaks Farm - 85
Adena Springs - 64
Chiefswood Stables - 60 

Outstanding Owner:
Chiefswood Stable - 100
Ivan Dalos - 56
Gary Barber - 53

Outstanding Trainer:
Mark Casse - 134
Norman McKnight - 70 
Kevin Attard - 29

Outstanding Apprentice Jockey:
Kazushi Kimura - 157
Daisuke Fukumoto - 75
Lenny Seecharan  - 28

Outstanding Jockey:
Eurico Rosa Da Silva - 160
Rafael Hernandez - 50
Luis Contreras - 30

Avie's Flatter was
Champion 2-Year-Old Male

Bold Script was Champion 2-Year-Old Filly

Moonlit Promise was
Champion Female Sprinter

Pink Lloyd repeated as
Champion Male Sprinter

The herd of Sovereign statues awaits the evening.

The permanent Sovereign trophy

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