#HORSERACING: LEXIE LOU WINS TOP HONOURS AT 2014 SOVEREIGN AWARDS
The 40th annual Sovereign Awards, organized by the Jockey Club of Canada and hosted by Jason Portuondo, were held at Woodbine Racetrack tonight, honouring the best in Canadian Horse Racing in 2014. Some of the Industry’s most recognizable faces came to celebrate the occasion as the 2015 Racing Season at Woodbine commences this weekend after a four-month break over the Winter.
Earning top honours tonight, which came as no surprise, was the standout Filly LEXIE LOU, who not only won the Country’s two most prestigious races for three-year-olds, the Woodbine Oaks and the Queen’s Plate, but also ran a valiant second in the Hollywood Derby to American Horse of the Year, CALIFORNIA CHROME. She also would be awarded the Nation’s top Three-Year-Old Filly and also Outstanding Female Turf Horse. On-hand to receive the Award for Owner and Hollywood Film Producer Gary Barber, was Trainer Mark Casse who for the eighth consecutive year was awarded Outstanding Trainer in Canada.
Upon accepting his Award for Trainer, Casse made an emotional speech which would see him overcome with sadness in recalling the loss of one of his Stable Stars, CONQUEST TWO STEP who had been euthanized earlier this week after a fatal injury and also the loss of his dear Friend, Mike Anderson. Despite all his success, LEXIE LOU would be the first Horse with whom he would win the prestigious Queen’s Plate. With his Wife Tina and son Colt in attendance, Casse announced that he plans to bring his star Filly back to Woodbine for at least a couple turf races this meet, culminating in the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky this Fall. Casse‘s Trainees would go-on tonight to win Champion Turf Male (DYNAMIC SKY), Champion Female Sprinter (HILLABY), Champion Two-Year-Old Male (CONQUEST TYPHOON) and Champion Two-Year-Old Female (CONQUEST HARLANATE). The Chicago-based Owners of the latter two, Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell, better known as Conquest Stables also flew-in for the occasion, tearfully accepting their Awards with pride. Newell expressed gratitude to me at how quick their success has been.
PATRICK HUSBANDS earned his eighth Outstanding Jockey Award tonight, giving thanks to the top Owners he rides for and also Mark Casse, whom he likens to a Father in mentoring him. The Jockey among other stellar mounts was responsible for LEXIE LOU‘s greatest wins.
Although Oilman JOHN C. OXLEY wasn’t able to attend, his Trainer Casse accepted on his behalf, winning Outstanding Owner for a third time. Among his biggest Stars last Season were SKY CAPTAIN, SPRING IN THE AIR, DIXIE TWIST and NORTHERN PASSION.
Sam-Son Farms would get awarded Outstanding Breeder for an eighth time, after a successful Season which saw many of their Homebreds go-on to great success including Nominee DECEPTIVE VISION, HIS RACE TO WIN, ALDOUS SNOW and last year’s Horse of the Year, UP WITH THE BIRDS.
SHEENA RYAN was awarded Outstanding Apprentice after a successful year, attending with her Family and Partner Gary Edwards who just arrived from Dubai after some work there with famous Godolphin Racing.
Others in attendance included the likes of Trainer John LeBlanc who was nominated for Two-Year-Old Male with PHIL’S COCKTAIL. He showed us new Photos of upcoming Stable Star, the simply-named Canadian Premier Yearling Sales Topper MIKE, a Half-Brother to Millionaire Champion PENDER HARBOUR who has shown amazing consistency and longevity.
Owner/Trainer John Ross, who was responsible for developing LEXIE LOU before she was sold to Gary Barber, received a much-due thanks from Casse. He and his Wife Cathy are excited about their Three-Year-Olds R U WATCHING BUD and the incredibly-talented BROOKLYNSWAY who tallied second in Two-Year-Old Filly voting to CONQUEST HARLANATE.
See some Snaps from the Evening…Team Sam-Son:
Team Conquest with Yvonne Schwabe and Dawn Lupul:
The Contreras Family:
Eurico Rosa Da Silva:
The Casse Family:
Skippy Bowen (Assistant Trainer to Ian Black):
Cory Hoffman, Co-Owner of Champion Sprinter CALGARY CAT and his son Matt Hoffman (Film Blogger)
Patrick Husbands with Sandy Hawley:
Mark, Tina and Colt Casse accepting Horse of the Year honours from Jim Lawson for LEXIE LOU:
Handel Viarruel and Santino Di Paola hand Three-Year-Old Male to Richard Hogan, accepting for Heart to Heart:
For a complete list of Winners click here.
The 2015 Woodbine Racing Season begins Saturday, April 11, 2015.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)