Standardbred Canada Media Awards

Standardbred Canada is seeking submissions for its 2021 Media Excellence Awards, to be handed out at the O'Brien Awards ceremony.

There are three awards:
  • Outstanding Written Work,
  • Outstanding Video, Film or Broadcast, and
  • Outstanding Photograph
The program is aimed at honouring those who have, through one piece of exceptional work, covered Canadian harness racing in a manner that is extraordinary and of broad national appeal.

The deadline for all submissions is November 30, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (EST) All submissions and inquiries should be directed to:
Kathy Wade Vlaar 

[email protected]


Criteria for 2021 Media Awards
All entrants must include a cover letter with their name and address, as well as the location and date of publication or airing of the article or video.

All entries in the written category must be submitted by e-mail as follows: Entries must include a jpeg or screenshot from the original publication as it appeared in print (or online) AND as a Word or text document with no identifying names, dates or indication of what publication the work appeared in. The text version document must be exactly as the article was published, and not edited in any manner.

All entries in the Video, Film or Broadcast category must be submitted by email (or We Transfer) in an appropriate video file format. Submissions are restricted to a maximum of 15 minutes in length. 
All entries in the Photography category must be submitted by email as follows:
Entries must include a jpeg from the original publication (or screenshot) as it appeared in print (or online), and a high resolution jpeg file of the image, with no identifying names, dates or indication of what publication the work appeared in.  Internet based submissions should include a screen print with a letter from the web site’s editor confirming who submitted the photo as well as the date that it appeared.   Standardbred Canada reserves the right to display any submitted entries in the photography category at the O’Brien Awards.


Media Awards will be given out in three categories:
  • Outstanding Written Work 
  • Outstanding Video, Film or Broadcast 
  • Outstanding Photograph


1. Submissions for award consideration must pertain to some aspect of the Canadian Standardbred racing industry. Submissions for 2021 must have been published or broadcasted for the first time, between November 1, 2020 and October 31, 2021.
2. Contestants in the media categories are limited to one submission per category. In the event that more than one submission is received in any category, the author or producer/director will be asked to decide which submission should be entered.
3. Submissions must pertain to Canadian racing and must have appeared in a publication, or through a broadcast medium that is editorially supervised, and accessible to the industry and the general public. Standardbred Canada staff will be responsible for determining what mediums are considered 'editorially supervised' upon submission. Online mediums will be allowed, however personal blogs and other self-publishing websites and distribution vehicles will not be considered.
4. Each media award will be judged by an independent panel of individuals with an array of journalistic backgrounds. Judges will have experience in the discipline they are judging but differing knowledge of standardbred racing. The judges will represent a cross-section of media members. Anyone with a direct affiliation to an entrant, or anyone working for an organization with a direct affiliation to an entrant or publication, will not be allowed to act as judge in that category.
5. Judges will evaluate works on their ability to engage the reader or viewer on a topic that pertains to Canadian Standardbred racing.
For the written work and video, film, broadcast categories, each judge will be asked to fill in the following score card with a score from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) for each criteria.
  • 1) Presentation and polish
  • 2) Storytelling ability and impact
  • 3) Accuracy
  • 4) Newsworthiness and broad appeal
  • 5) Ability to educate and enrich the audience on a subject, topic or topics pertaining to Canadian Standardbred racing
  • 6) Subject matter's importance and relevance to the Canadian Standardbred racing industry
For the photography category, the subject matter should be relevant to or representative of Canadian Standardbred racing.  Photographs cannot be digitally altered.   Each judge will be asked to fill in the following score card with a score from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) for each criteria:
  • 1) Technical Merit-Includes exposure, shutter speed, focus, depth of field, appropriate focal length, etc.
  • 2) Composition -Includes backgrounds, foregrounds, diagonal lines, the principle of thirds, attention to details, perspective, center of interest.
  • 3) Impact –Does the image hold your attention?
  • 4) Creativity – originality and uniqueness
  • 5) Subject Matter: Does the subject matter portray an element of excitement, interest, or intrigue in the Standardbred horse or the sport of harness racing.
6. Judges will be sent the submissions in the media categories by courier and/or email. The submissions in the aforementioned categories will bear no reference to author or the publication in which those submissions appeared. Video/Film/Broadcast submissions will be transferred by the applicants to DVD, and sent to judges for viewing.
7. The two finalists in the media categories will be determined based on the highest point totals, as determined by the judges.
Ties will be adjudicated by giving the tied works back to the judges. Judges will rank their choices in order (i.e., 1st, 2nd, 3rd), with the most 1st place votes moving on. If a tie remains, the decision will go to 2nds… 3rds… etc. until a winner is determined. If a tie still exists, works of the tied participants will be sent to an independent adjudicator who will determine the winner based on the award criteria.
Deadline for entries is 5 pm EST on November 30, 2021.
Two nominees in each category will be selected as finalists with the winners to be announced at the O'Brien Awards.


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