The 2016 Sovereign Awards took place for the first time ever at Palais Royale, situated on Toronto’s Lakeshore. Honouring the best in Canadian Thoroughbred Racing for 42 years now, the annual fixture brought out a who’s-who in the industry. Winning Horse of the Year honours this year was Robert Marzilli‘s Caren, who also took home Champion Three-Year-Old Female honours. The tough filly last year was thrown all obstacles including a true stamina test on the turf to win the mile-and-a-quarter Wonder Where Stakes in August, defying all expectations. Trained by Michael De Paulo and his team, Caren‘s stablemate Noholdingback Bear also took home Champion Sprinter.
After shocking the racing world with an announcement of their exit from the industry with a complete dispersal of their horses last fall, Conquest Stables (Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell) were honoured as Outstanding Owner, an award which they took home also in 2014. I, along with Woodbine personality Dawn Lupul had the honour of accepting on behalf of Semersky and Newell. I also had the honour of being nominated for Outstanding Photograph, which was awarded to Alberta’s Cody Gregory. We congratulate him on his amazing win!
Mark Casse and his team continued their domination, taking home their ninth Outstanding Trainer title at the awards tonight, his daughter Camille accepting on his behalf. A few of his trainees – current and former – took home hardware this evening including Conquest Enforcer (Champion Turf Male), Lexie Lou (Champion Turf Female – a former Horse of the Year also), King and his Court (Champion Two-Year-Old Male) and Victory to Victory (Champion Two-Year-Old Female).
Jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva won his third Outstanding Jockey title and just when we thought he was going to exit the stage without doing so, Emcee Jason Portuondo queued him to exclaim his signature line, “Get luck to everybody!”, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.
For the first time ever, Outstanding Groom was awarded to Dexter Brathwaite, a member of Barb Minshall‘s team. The award was presented by the OLG.
Hot off the announcement that he has upped the purse of the 2018 Pegasus World Cup to a whopping $16 million, Frank Stronach was honoured for his industry contributions with the E.P. Taylor Award. His daughter Belinda, who is still getting acclimated with the industry her father is so passionate about, joining him on-stage and she told the audience “I’m still learning and one day I”ll graduate”. Stronach’s Adena Springs operation took home Outstanding Breeder.
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