2017 O'Brien Award winners announced
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Driver Doug McNair won his first O'Brien as Canada's Driver of the Year following a career year. McNair, a resident of Guelph, Ont., was a finalist for this award in 2013. He topped the charts in earnings for drivers in Canada last year with more than $5.9 million in purse money, and $6.5 million in earnings in North America while driving 325 winners. McNair was also the regular driver for O'Brien winners Stay Hungry, Bettors Up, and Sandbetweenurtoes.
Hannelore Hanover was named Canada's Horse of the Year, and also won her second consecutive O'Brien Trophy as Older Trotting Mare. Her connections received the inaugural Somebeachsomewhere Horse of the Year Award. Hannelore Hanover won 10 of 17 races last season, over $1.1 million in purse money and scored victories against male rivals in an elimination and final of the Breeders Crown Open Trot, the Allerage, and the Maple Leaf Trot. She also swept the Armbro Flight.Percy Blue Chip Canada's Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the year is co-owned and conditioned by Dr. Ian Moore, who also managed her sire. The Shadow Play filly scored five wins in nine races on the season and racked up more than $440,000 in earnings. In addition to four wins in Ontario Sires Stakes events, including the season-ending Super Final. The talented filly also posted a wire-to-wire victory in the Eternal Camnation at Mohawk Racetrack.
The title of Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year went to Bettors Up. The daughter of Bettors Delight put together an outstanding season, finishing first or second in ten of her 17 races while adding more than a half million dollars to her bankroll. She scored a career best 1:49.4 effort at Mohawk Racetrack in the Fan Hanover Final.
Older Pacing Mare honours went to SandbetweenurtoesThe daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was a model of consistency, hitting the board in 24 of her 30 starts and earning in excess of $243,000, while primarily competing in the Fillies and Mares Preferred races at Mohawk and Woodbine Racetracks.
The outstanding trotting filly Kadabra Queen was the Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly champion. The Kadabra filly won five of 10 races and more than $328,000 on the season. All five of her victories were in the Ontario Sires Stakes, including a win in the season-ending Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack, her final start of the season.
Ariana G won her second consecutive O'Brien trophy, this time as Canada's Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year. The Muscle Hill filly won 12 of 15 races during her million-dollar season. Her major victories included the Breeders Crown, Elegantimage, the Simcoe, the Hambletonian Oaks, the Delvin Miller Memorial and the New Jersey Sire Stakes final.
The durable Odds On Amethyst, was voted Older Trotting Horse of the Year. The son of Muscle Hill, scored 11 wins and more than $232,000 in earnings, primarily competing in the preferred and free-for-all trotting ranks.
Brett MacDonald of Manotick, Ont., was named Future Star winner. In only his third season of full time driving, MacDonald posted some very impressive numbers, driving 114 winners and horses to more than $616,000 in purse money. The 21-year-old competes regularly at Rideau Carleton Raceway.
Standardbred Canada also presented three Media Excellence Awards at the Gala, to recognize and honor exceptional work in covering Canadian harness racing.
"In light of his extraordinary success as a racehorse and stallion, and most importantly, the tremendous impact that Somebeachsomewhere has had on the Canadian harness racing industry, it was decided that we needed to do something to properly honour Beach," said Dan Gall, President and CEO of Standardbred Canada.
"We made the offer to the Schooner Stable and they graciously accepted this," continued Gall, "This is a way that each year when we honour our champions, we'll be reminded of the great impact that Beach had on the industry."
Members of the Schooner Stable – Reg & Louise Petitpas, along with trainer Brent MacGrath and driver Paul MacDonell were on hand at the O'Briens to make the inaugural presentation of the Somebeachsomewhere Horse of the Year Award to Jerry and Theresa Silva, owners of the exceptional trotting mare, Hannelore Hanover. Hannelore Hanover won 10 of 17 races last season, won over $1.1 million in purse money and scored victories against male rivals in an elimination and final of the Breeders Crown Open Trot, the Allerage, and the Maple Leaf Trot. She also swept the Armbro Flight. She was also recognized with an O'Brien as Canada's Older Trotting Mare of the Year.
Following a short battle with cancer, Somebeachsomewhere was humanely euthanized at Mid-Atlantic Veterinary Center in Ringoes, New Jersey at roughly 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 14.
The syndicate announced that Somebeachsomewhere will be laid to rest at Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, Pennsylvania after an autopsy is complete. Somebeachsomewhere had stood stud at Hanover since his on-track career concluded at the end of the 2008 racing campaign.
Driven by Paul MacDonell and campaigned by Brent MacGrath for the Nova Scotia-based Schooner Stable, world champion Somebeachsomewhere won 20 of his 21 races during his legendary career and earned $3,328,755 in purses. His major victories as a freshman included the Battle of Waterloo, Metro Pace, Champlain Stakes and Nassagaweya. At three, his highlights included the Burlington (which was later renamed the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes), Pepsi North America Cup, Confederation Cup, Simcoe, Bluegrass, Tattersalls, Messenger, Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and Breeders Crown.
The two-time Canadian Horse of the Year was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame nine months after he retired – at the time holding eight world records.
During his stud career, Somebeachsomewhere's offspring earned more than $87 million and he was the first sire in harness racing history to top $20 million in progeny earnings in a single season. Among his offspring are 13 millionaires, including Captaintreacherous ($3.2 million), Pure Country ($2.4 million), Downbytheseaside ($2.3 million), Huntsville ($1.8 million) and Check Six ($1.6 million). - Standardbred Canada