This was the 28th edition of the
, named in honor of the late Joe O’Brien,
an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse
Racing Hall of Fame.
It was a big night for several winners who took home more
than one O’Brien trophy.
Betting Line, co-owned and trained by Casie Coleman of
Cambridge, Ont., who shares ownership with West Wins Stable,
Christine Calhoun and Mac Nichol, took home two O’Briens --
one in the 3-year-old pacing colt category and one as
Canada’s Horse of the Year.
Marvin Katz of Toronto, Ont., and Al Libfeld of Pickering,
Ont., were honored for the second consecutive year with the
Armstrong Breeder of the Year Award, and their 2-year-old
trotting filly, Ariana G, won the O’Brien in her division.
Katz also shares ownership on Idyllic Beach who was honored
as Canada’s 2-year-old Pacing Filly of the Year.
Rick Zeron of Oakville, Ont., took home the O’Brien Award of
Horsemanship and his 2-year-old trotting colt, Mass
Production, was also honored with an O’Brien.
Driver Sylvain Filion, of Milton, Ont., and trainer Richard
Moreau of Puslinch, Ont., added to their trophy collections,
both winning national honors in their respective categories
for the fourth time in their careers.
Betting Line was almost perfect in 2016, finishing the
season with 14 wins and a second in 15 races to go along
with almost C$1.7 million in earnings. The Bettor's Delight
colt’s victories included the C$1 million Pepsi North
America Cup, the Battle of the Brandywine, the Milstein
Memorial, the Little Brown Jug, the Simcoe Stakes, and a
sweep of all of his Ontario Sires Stakes races, including
his OSS Super Final.
What started as a partnership that focused on buying
yearlings and racing horses has evolved into one of harness
racing's most respected breeding enterprises for Marvin Katz
and Al Libfeld. Horses bred by this partnership won 29 races
and purses in excess of C$1.3 million in 2016. Their top
horses were All The Time, O’Brien winner Ariana G, Princess
Aurora and O Narutac Perfecto.
Canada’s 2-year-old trotting filly of the year, Ariana G won
nine of 11 races and earned C$804,245 during her rookie
campaign. Stakes wins for the Muscle Hill filly included the
Breeders Crown, Jim Doherty Memorial, Peaceful Way
elimination and final, and New Jersey Sire Stakes
Veteran horseman Rick Zeron continued to successfully
compete as a trainer and driver on the Woodbine
Entertainment Group circuit. Last year he drove 116 winners
and horses to almost C$2.6 million in purse earnings, while
training 49 winners and horses to C$1.7 million in earnings,
including Mass Production, winner of the O’Brien Award in
the 2-year-old trotting colt category.
The Muscle Mass colt Mass Production won five of nine races
and more than C$285,000 during his rookie campaign. His
victories included four Ontario Sires Stakes wins
highlighted by a season’s best 1:54.4 stakes record effort
in the OSS Super Final.
Sylvain Filion, a resident of Milton, Ont., won Canada’s
Driver of the Year title in 2012, 2013 and 2015 before
collecting his fourth bronze for the 2016 season. In 2016,
he drove 310 winners and led all Canadian drivers in the
earnings column with more than C$7.7 million, while joining
the C$100 million club for lifetime earnings. Filion was the
regular driver for O’Brien champion, 2-year-old pacing colt
Richard Moreau, of Puslinch, Ont., took home his fourth
consecutive O’Brien trophy. Moreau, who has been a regular
on the WEG circuit for more than 12 years, led all Canadian
trainers in the wins column with 249 and trained the winners
of nearly C$4 million.
Louis-Philippe Roy was recognized as the Future Star winner.
In 2016, the Mont-Joli, QC resident put together some
phenomenal numbers, winning 233 races and driving horses to
earnings of more than C$1 million. Roy was the leading dash
winning driver at Hippodrome 3R and Rideau Carleton Raceway.
Idyllic Beach was honored in the 2-year-old pacing filly
division. She hit the board in all of her 14 races, boasted
eight wins and almost C$730,000 in purse earnings. Major
stakes wins for the Somebeachsomewhere filly included the
She's A Great Lady elimination and final at Mohawk Racetrack,
along with the Kentuckiana Stakes at Hoosier Park, and the
International Stallion Stake at The Red Mile.
The Bettor's Delight colt Beyond Delight, winner in the
2-year-old pacing colt category, won three of 11 races and
more than C$423,000 for his connections. His three wins were
major ones as he swept the elimination and final of the
Metro Pace and won a division of the Champlain Stakes, all
at Mohawk Racetrack.
L A Delight picked up her second consecutive O’Brien trophy
after putting together another stellar season as a sophomore,
winning nine races in 19 starts and more than C$787,000. The
3-year-old pacing filly was perfect in the Ontario Sires
Stakes events, sweeping six of six, including the
season-ending Super Final. She posted a life’s best 1:49.1
in winning the Nadia Lobell at The Meadows.
Lady Shadow also won her second consecutive O’Brien Award in
the older pacing mare category. She put together another
profitable season with 12 victories and more than C$945,000
in earnings. She was strong throughout the season, sweeping
the elimination and final of the Roses Are Red, the Milton
Stakes, and the elimination and final of the Breeders Crown
before capping her year with a win in the TVG FFA at The
Wiggle It Jiggleit, the sport’s richest harness horse last
season with C$1.8 million bankrolled was voted Canada’s
older pacing horse of the year. He never finished worse than
third in his 24 races which included 15 wins and a mark of
1:47.2 posted in the Graduate final at The Meadowlands. The
multiple stakes winner captured Canada’s oldest stakes
event, The Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk Racetrack and
also secured runner-up finishes in the Confederation Cup and
Prix d'Été on Canadian soil.
Caprice Hill won her second consecutive O’Brien, after a
profitable campaign in 2016 with eight wins in 15 starts and
purses in excess of C$630,000 for her connections. The
3-year-old trotting filly of the year won three of four
Ontario Sires Stakes events, the Casual Breeze, Simcoe
Stakes and was runner-up in the Hambletonian Oaks.
Marion Marauder took divisional honors as Canada’s
3-year-old trotting colt of the year. He was a winner of 10
of 15 starts, became the ninth Trotting Triple Crown winner
in 2016 –- and first since 2006 –- by sweeping the
Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, and Kentucky Futurity. The son
of Muscle Hill won the Goodtimes Stakes and a division of
the Stanley Dancer Memorial en route to a season that
amassed more than C$1.5 million in purses, topping the North
American earnings charts for all trotters.
The incredible trotting mare Hannelore Hanover won 17 of 20
races and earned C$1.1 million in purses, leading all female
trotters in earnings and winning the O’Brien in her
division. Her victories included the Breeders Crown Mare
Trot and the Hambletonian Maturity, where she defeated male
rivals. She also beat the boys in the Centaur Trotting
Classic in addition to winning the Armbro Flight Stakes, TVG
Series championship for female trotters, Fresh Yankee,
Muscle Hill, and Miami Valley Distaff. Her mile time of 1:51
in winning the Armbro Flight equaled the world record for a
4-year-old trotting mare.
Flanagan Memory was recognized as older trotting horse of
the year. The now 7-year-old son of Kadabra won six of 14
races including the Allerage and the Breeders Crown
Championship, and banked more than C$663,000 last season.
This was his second O’Brien Award as he won 3-year-old
trotting colt honors in 2013.
The Media Excellence Awards and Outstanding Groom Award were
also presented at the O’Brien Awards gala.
Teesha Symes, 27, of Cambridge, Ont., was recognized with
the Outstanding Groom Award for 2016. Symes has worked for
O’Brien Award winner Dr. Ian Moore for the last decade, and
full-time since 2012. The Springhill, N.S. native cared for
State Treasurer, Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2015,
throughout his racing career.
In addition to State Treasurer, Symes went on the road to
care for Rockin In Heaven the past two years and also cared
for many of the Moore Stables’ 2-year-olds.
Keith McCalmont of Toronto, Ont. won in the Outstanding
Written Work category for his contribution to the
‘Remembering Those Lost’ feature, published in the February
2016 issue of TROT Magazine. McCalmont talked to some of the
trainers and owners most affected by the tragic barn fire at
Classy Lane Training Centre and asked them to share some
memories of their beloved horses.
Woodbine Entertainment’s 2016 Pepsi North America Cup
broadcast in HD won the Media Excellence Award in the
Outstanding Video, Film or Broadcast category.
‘The Pepsi North America Cup’ aired across Canada on the
TSN2 television network on Saturday, June 18, 2016 from 10–
11 p.m. The 60-minute special broadcast of the C$1 million
Pepsi North America Cup aired in high definition and
featured live race coverage of the main event as well as a
feature on Emprize Hanover and her two foals.
Clive Cohen’s photo of October racing at Mohawk Racetrack in
Campbellville, Ont. was the winner in the Outstanding
Photography category. This marked the third time that Cohen
has won in this category.
Cohen's photo was taken on Oct. 1, 2016, at Mohawk Racetrack
and published later that night on the WEG Standardbred
Instagram feed. Cohen is the resident track photographer for
Standardbred racing at Mohawk and Woodbine Racetracks.
Here is a complete list of winners and their respective
TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER
Owned by Christina Takter, East Windsor, NJ – John
Fielding, Toronto, ON – Brixton Medical Inc.,
Matawan, NJ and Marvin Katz, Toronto, ON
TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER
Owned by Jeffrey Snyder, Michael Snyder, New York,
NY and Four Friends Racing Stable LLC, Moorestown,
THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER
Owned by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., Windsor, ON –
CSX Stables, Liberty Center, OH, and Al McIntosh
Holdings, Inc., Leamington, ON
THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER
Owned by West Wins Stable, Cambridge, ON, Christine
Calhoun, Chatham, ON and Mac Nichol, Burlington, ON
Owned by David Kryway, Amherstburg, ON, Carl Atley,
Xenia, OH, Ed Gold, Phoenixville, PA and BFJ Stable,
Owned by George Teague Jr. Inc., Harrington DE –
Teague Racing Partnership, Boynton Beach, FL
TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER
Owned by Marvin Katz, Toronto, ON & Al Libfeld,
TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER
Owned by Rick Zeron Stables, Oakville, ON- James
Walker, Port Perry, ON- Bruno Dipoce, Wasaga Beach,
ON and Rene Allard, Matamoras, PA
THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER
Owned by Tom Hill, Hamilton, ON
THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER
Owned by Marion Jean Wellwood, Stratford, ON & Devin
Keeling, Cambridge, ON
Owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown,
PA – Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA – Frank
Baldachino, Clarksburg, NJ – J And T Silva Stables
LLC, Long Beach, NY
Owned by Liette Flanagan, Repentigny – Rene Dion,
Owned by West Wins Stable, Cambridge, ON, Christine
Calhoun, Chatham, ON and Mac Nichol, Burlington, ON
AWARD OF HORSEMANSHIP
Rick Zeron, Oakville, ON
BREEDER OF THE YEAR
Marvin Katz, Toronto, ON/Al Libfeld, Pickering, ON
Sylvain Filion, Milton, ON
OF THE YEAR
Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON
Louis Philippe Roy, Mont-Joli, QC
ADDITIONAL AWARDS PRESENTED AT THE O’BRIEN AWARDS
Outstanding Groom Award
Teesha Symes, Cambridge, ON
Standardbred Canada’s Media Excellence Awards
Written Work – Keith McCalmont
Broadcast – Woodbine Entertainment Group
Photography - Clive Cohen