On Saturday, February 13, Standardbred Canada announced harness racing’s national champions at the 2015 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season.
This was the 27th edition of the O’Brien Awards, named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
L A Delight was recognized as the Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year. The daughter of Bettors Delight was almost flawless last season, winning 11 of 12 starts and $704,000-plus in purses. After a third-place finish in her lifetime debut, she put together an 11-race win streak, knocking off many stakes including a season-ending personal best 1:51.2 effort in the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack.
Canada’s Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year, Solar Sister, won eight races and more than $554,000 with several stakes victories including the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack..
Lady Shadow won her second consecutive O’Brien Award, this time in the Older Pacing Mare division, where she was victorious in five races and picked up $360,000-plus in purse earnings. She scored back-to-back victories in a life’s best 1:48.3 when she swept the elimination and final of the Roses Are Red Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack.
Caprice Hill, voted Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the year, was never worse than third in 10 starts in 2015, while scoring seven wins and bankrolling more than $593,000. She put together an impressive five-race win streak that kicked off with an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event at Georgian Downs in June, and concluded with an OSS Super Final Win in October.
Bee A Magician, Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2013, added another O’Brien trophy to her war chest, this time in the older trotting mare division. The Kadabra mare had an incredible season winning 10 races, $1.1 million-plus in purse earnings. Her season was highlighted by a spectacular victory in the prestigious Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack.
In the Armstrong Breeder of the Year category, partners Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ont., and Marvin Katz, of Toronto, Ont., took home their very first O’Brien as breeders. 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 Libfeld and Katz. Horses bred by this partnership won 59 races and $2.2 million last season.
A complete list of winners follows.
TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER
L A Delight
Owned by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., Windsor, ON – CSX Stables, Liberty Center, OH, and Al McIntosh Holdings, Inc., Leamington, ON
TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER
Control The Moment
Owned by Brad Maxwell, Guelph, ON, Howard Taylor, Philadelphia, PA,
Edwin Gold, Phoenixville, PA, and Ben Mudry, Toronto, ON
THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER
Owned by David Willmot, King City, ON and Clay Horner, Toronto, ON
THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER
Tri County Stable, Truro, NS
OLDER PACING MARE
Owned by David Kryway, Amherstburg, ON, Carl Atley, Xenia, OH,
Edwin Gold, Phoenixville, PA and BFJ Stable, Philadelphia, PA
OLDER PACING HORSE
Owned by Sally MacDonald, Souris, PE and Paul MacDonald, Toronto, ON
TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER
Owned by Tom Hill, Hamilton, ON
TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER
Owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA, Our Horse Cents Stables, Clifton Park, NY and J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY
THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER
Owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown, Our Horse Cents Stables, Clifton Park, NY & J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA
THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER
Owned by Christina Takter, East Windsor, NJ, John and Jim Fielding, Toronto, ON, Joyce McClelland, Zanesville, OH and Herb Liverman, Miami Beach, FL
OLDER TROTTING MARE
Bee A Magician
Owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON, Herb Liverman, Miami Beach, FL and David Mc Duffee, Delray Beach, FL
OLDER TROTTING HORSE
Owned by Hans G Enggren, Abbotstown, PA
HORSE OF THE YEAR
O’BRIEN AWARD OF HORSEMANSHIP
Dr. Ian Moore, Guelph, ON
ARMSTRONG BREEDER OF THE YEAR
Al Libfeld, Pickering, ON / Marvin Katz, Toronto, ON
DRIVER OF THE YEAR
Sylvain Filion, Milton, ON
TRAINER OF THE YEAR
Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON
FUTURE STAR AWARD
Ron Adams, Lasalle, ON
OUTSTANDING GROOM AWARD
Cindy Acton, Woodstock, ON
CAM FELLA AWARD
William Andrew, Calgary, AB
OUTSTANDING WRITTEN WORK
Melissa Keith, Lower Onslow, NS
Been There, Bought the T-Shirt: The Relevance of Trademark Race Calls
Erinoakkids & Fresh Sox, Toronto, ON
Frances Lund, Charlottetown, PE