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The Sovereign Awards

The Sovereign Award Master Trophy, with the names of every Horse of the Year around its base
Date: 04/13/2022

The 48th annual Sovereign Awards, saluting outstanding achievement in Canadian Thoroughbred racing and breeding in 2022, were handed out at a ceremony on Thursday evening at Universal EventSpace in Vaughan, 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 personalities Jeff Bratt and Dawn Lupul serving as co-hosts. Like last year, speeches about politics or industry issues were avoided, with a mostly positive tone to the festivities and optimism for the upcoming Canadian racing season, which at Woodbine begins on Saturday April 22.

Majority owner Donato Lanni accepts the Horse of the Year trophy for Moira from Glenn Sikura, chief steward of the Jockey Club of Canada
Moira, who started the year off by winning both the Woodbine Oaks and the Queen's Plate, was named Champion 3-Year-Old Filly by a 132-53 margin over Souper Hoity Toity, and then came back at the end of the night to take Horse of the Year honours by a 103-75 margin over Lady Speightspeare, who was named Champion Turf Female and Champion Older Main Track Female. Majority owner Donato Lanni said, "What a year, what a privilege, what a filly. Unbelievable. " Giving credit to trainer Kevin Attard, he added, "He's a beauty. Everything he said was going to happen, happened."

Dawn Lupul receiving the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit on behalf of Dale Saunders from Mike Vanin, Executive Director of the HBPA of Alberta
Kicking off the evening's festivities, Alberta-based trainer Dale Saunders was given the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit, a lifetime achievement award. He trained for more than 50 years, with his 2,177 wins being the 6th on the all-time list in Canada. He won the Alberta training title 8 times and through 2022 his horses earned over $17 million. His best runners include Dark Hours, Mandalero, Highland Leader, Shady Remark, and Libby's Love. As a breeder he bred Wild Creek and Wild Bender. He joins some of Canada's racing royalty with Sandy Hawley, Ron Turcotte, Ernie Samuel, and E.P. Taylor himself among past recipients. Unfortunately he was unable to make the trip to Toronto, so co-host Dawn Lupul, who hails from Alberta and once worked for Saunders, accepted his trophy on his behalf.

Representative for Lady Speightspeare's owner Charles Fipke accepts the trophy for Champion Turf Female from Doug Anderson, Chairman of the Sovereign Awards Committee

Despite being defeated for Horse of the Year, Lady Speightspeare took home two awards, winning the Champion Female Turf award by a 120-36 margin over Fev Rover, and also Champion Older Female Main Track by a 117-51 margin over Infinite Patience. The Charles Fipke homebred daughter of Speightstown out of Lady Shakespeare won the Nassau (G2), Seaway (G3) and Trillium (G3) and home and shipped out to finish third in both the Jenny Wiley (G1) and Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) at Keeneland. The third finalist for Horse of the Year was Filo di Arianna, who was voted Champion Male Turf Horse by a landslide 124-41 over Philip My Dear, and Champion Male Sprinter 98-49 over Arzak. The Brazilian-bred son of Drosselmeyer won the Connaught Cup (G2) and King Edward (G2) which are both turf sprints at Woodbine.

Assistant trainer Kathryn Sullivan accepts the Older Main Track Male award for Who's the Star from Vicki Pappas, steward of the Jockey Club of Canada
Perennial winner Mark Casse cleaned up yet again, with assistant trainer Kathryn Sullivan accepting the trophies on his behalf. Along with his record fifteenth Outstanding Trainer award and 12th consecutive, he also represented Flor di Arianna twice (above), Champion Three-Year-Old Male Sir for Sure, and Older Main Track Male Who's the Star. Who's the Star won the Autumn (G2), Durham Cup (G3), and Valedictory (G3), while Sir for Sure won the Plate Trial and Breeders' Stakes and was third behind Moira in the Queen's Plate. Casse won 119 of his 673 starts in Canada in 2022, with earnings of over $7.5 million and 22 stakes wins. The 119 wins match his stable's high mark set in 2011. It is worth noting that the streak could have ended tonight in the trainer category, as Casse "nosed out" Kevin Attard by a close 105-102 margin.

Frank Stronach accepts the Outstanding Breeder award from Peter Berringer, president of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's Ontario Division
The Outstanding Breeder award went to Frank Stronach's Adena Springs Farm, and unlike some years, he and wife Elfriede were in attendance. Other than the tie in the Photograph category (which was not judged by votes), this was the tightest vote in 2022, as he won by a 94-93 margin over Sam-Son Farm. His homebreds won 30 out of 65 starts, earning $3.54 million. Although he did not own her, Horse of the Year Moira was an Adena homebred by his world-class sire Ghostzapper. Stronach said, "It's great to see so many people here. I've been very fortunate over the years to have some great horses. Moira is definitely one of the great horses and I'm very happy for her and Kevin for doing such a great job. It's great to be here and it's been a great evening." This is Stronach's record 13th Breeder award.

Kazushi Kimura (left) accepts his Outstanding Jockey award from Larry Attard of the Jockeys' Benefit Association of Canada.
Kazushi Kimura, the Outstanding Apprentice of 2018 and 2019, moved up to take the big prize for the second year in a row, as the Outstanding Jockey for 2022 with 123 votes over Rafael Hernandez' 83. In 760 starts the Japan native won 152 starts with purse earnings of almost $6.9 million. His biggest win of the year was aboard Rougir in the E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1), and he was the regular rider of Horse of the Year runner-up Filo di Arianna. Kimura, after riding Japanese invader Mandarin Hero to a nose 2nd place finish in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) last Saturday, drove the 2,500 miles from Arcadia back to Toronto just for this ceremony, rather than fly. Slade Jones, son of retired Woodbine jockey Jono Jones and grandson of legendary Barbadian rider Chally Jones, "romped" in the Outstanding Apprentice Jockey category 140-56 over N'Rico Prescod. The 16-year-old came to Woodbine in May from his native Barbados and won 61 of 443 mounts with earnings of $1.9 million, ranking him 12th in the jockey standings. He won the South Ocean Stakes aboard Touch of Red for his first black-type win. Not only was he the top apprentice, he is also one of the tallest riders in Canada, at a "towering" 5'11".

Bruno Schickedanz, a regular in the Canadian racing scene for years, finally broke through with his first Outstanding Owner award, defeating Moira's ownership group of X-Men Racing, Madakety Stables, and SF Racing by a tight 59-52 margin. His runners won 73 of 412 starts with earnings of just over $2 million. His stable star was War Bomber, who was runner-up in the Older Male Main Track category, who he claimed for $25,000 in 2021 and won the Seagram Cup (G3) this year. Schickedanz said, "Wow! This is exciting! We win 20% of the time but lose 80% of the time, and it hurts every time we lose. I've won 3370 races but every one of them was one of the greatest highs of my life. I'm deeply honoured to be standing here. Windfields, E.P. Taylor, Frank Stronach, Kinghaven, Sam-Son - they've all stood here. I'm so privileged. I feel so lucky to be standing where they've stood. This is a great sport. Everybody here is in love with the sport, the people are great, and I love you all! Thank you so much!" Not only was he the top owner at Fort Erie in 2022, he was the top owner at the just-concluded Gulfstream Park winter meet.

Owner Rajendra Maharajh accepts the Two-Year-Old Male trophy from Andrew Gaughan, Independent Chair of Ontario Racing

Philip My Dear was named Champion Two-Year-Old Male by a 112-60 margin over Poulin in O T. The Kevin Attard trainee won the Cup and Saucer and Soaring Free Stakes and was third in the Summer Stakes (G1) and Coronation Futurity, wining 3 of 5 starts and earning $305,762. Owner Rajendra Maharajh of Raroma Stable explained on stage that the colt was named after the calypso song of the same name by Mighty Sparrow. The story in the lyrics is about when Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark first met the future Queen Elizabeth II, the young Elizabeth called him "Philip my dear". The horse was named sometime after Prince Philip died in April 2021.

Co-winners Julie Wright (left) and Allan De La Plante (right) accept the Outstanding Photograph award from Jennifer Morrison of Canadian Thoroughbred

In the media categories, there was a tie for Outstanding Photograph between Julie Wright's "On Cloud Nine" and Allan de la Plante's "The Catch", the first Sovereign Awards for both photographers. George Williams' story "Derby winner has a Manitoba mother" about Rich Strike's dam Gold Strike, won for Outstanding Writing, and Woodbine Entertainment Group won for Outstanding Broadcast for their 2022 Queen's Plate telecast on CTV and TSN. Amber Hutchinson and Ricardo Nichalson were named Outstanding Grooms.

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 2022 media categories was performed by media professionals in the Thoroughbred Racing industry, a change from past years when they were judged by professors at nearby Humber College.

Moira was Champion 3-Year-Old Female
& Horse of the Year

Filo Di Arianna was
Champion Male Sprinter
& Champion Turf Male

Lady Speightspeare was
Champion Turf Female
& Champion Older Main Track Female

Philip My Dear was
Champion 2-Year-Old Male

Cairo Consort was
Champion 2-Year-Old Female

Horse of the Year:  Moira 

Finalists: Moira (103), Lady Speightspeare (75), 
           Filo di Arianna (BRZ) (24)

Champion Two-Year-Old Female: Cairo Consort

Finalists:  Cairo Consort (118), Last Call (72), Renegade Rebel (22)

Champion Two-Year-Old Male:  Philip My Dear

Finalists:  Philip My Dear (112), Poulin in O T (60), Velocitor (43)

Champion Three-Year-Old Female:  Moira

Finalists:  Moira (134), Souper Hoity Toity (53), Sister Seagull (25)

Champion Three-Year-Old Male:  Sir For Sure

Finalists:  Sir for Sure (109), Ironstone (48), Hall of Dreams (26)

Champion Older Main Track Female:  Lady Speightspeare

Finalists:  Lady Speightspeare (117), Infinite Patience (51), 
            Our Flash Drive (44)

Champion Older Main Track Male:  Who's the Star

Finalists:  Who's the Star (136), War Bomber (IRE) (30), Soy Tapatio (24)

Champion Female Turf Horse:  Lady Speightspeare

Finalists:  Lady Speightspeare (120), Fev Rover (IRE) (36), Moira (29)

Champion Male Turf Horse:  Filo di Arianna

Finalists:  Filo di Arianna (124), Philip My Dear (41), 
            Ready for the Lady (22), Sir for Sure (22)

Champion Female Sprinter:  Hazelbrook

Finalists:  Hazelbrook (110), Our Flash Drive (43), 
            Lady Speightspeare (27)

Champion Male Sprinter:  Filo di Arianna

Finalists:  Filo di Arianna (BRZ) (98), Arzak (49), Lucky Score (43)

Outstanding Broodmare:  Count to Three

Finalists:  Count to Three (74), Include Katherine (48), Cosa Rara (32)

Outstanding Breeder:  Adena Springs

Finalists:  Adena Springs (94), Sam-Son Farm (93), Tall Oaks Farm (21)

Outstanding Owner:  Bruno Schickedanz	

Finalists:  Bruno Schickedanz (59), X-Men Racing, Madaket Stables LLC 
            and SF Racing LLC (52), Al & Bill Ulwelling (39)

Outstanding Trainer:  Mark E. Casse

Finalists:   Mark E. Casse (105), Kevin Attard (102), Josie Carroll (16)

Outstanding Apprentice Jockey:  Slade Jones

Finalists:   Slade Jones (140), N'Rico Prescod (56), Kimal Santo (34)

Outstanding Jockey:  Kazushi Kimura

Finalists:  Kazushi Kimura (123), Rafael Hernandez (83), 
            Patrick Husbands (11), Emma-Jayne Wilson (11)

Sir for Sure was
Champion 3-Year-Old Male

Who's the Star was
Champion Main Track Older Male

Hazelbrook was
Champion Female Sprinter

Amber Hutchinson was named
Outstanding Groom

Ricardo Nichalson was named
Outstanding Groom

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