Finalists Announced For Media Excellence Awards

2022 O'Brien Awards artwork
Published: January 11, 2023 09:58 am EST

Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2022 Media Excellence Awards, which will be presented at the O’Brien Awards Gala on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023 at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, Ont.

Now in its 15th year, the Media Excellence Awards program honours those who have, through one piece of exceptional work, covered Canadian harness racing in a manner that is extraordinary and of broad national appeal.

Ontario Racing is sponsoring the Media Excellence Awards for the seventh consecutive year.

The finalists in the Outstanding Written Work category are Dave Briggs and Jeff Robillard.

A three-time winner of this award, Dave Briggs is a finalist again in 2022 for his feature, "There's still some magic left in the old game." The story, which was published on July 19 on Harness Racing Update, covers this past summer's magical evening of harness racing at The Meadowlands highlighted by historic performances from Canadian stars Bulldog Hanover and Beach Glass.

Jeff Robillard is a finalist in this category for the second straight year for his story, "Tyler Redwood: Nine Months Later," which was originally published on May 11 on Horse Racing Alberta's website In this follow-up to his 2021 Media Excellence Award nominated feature, “Redwood Candid on Past Addiction Issues," Robillard shared an update on horseman Tyler Redwood and his desire to help others fighting addictions.

In the Outstanding Video, Film or Broadcast category, the finalists are Cujo Entertainment and Horse Racing Alberta. New for the 2022 awards, broadcast submissions were restricted in length to a 15-minute video or excerpt.

Ontario-based Cujo Entertainment is a finalist for its excerpt of "2022 Hambletonian," a one-hour broadcast covering the 97th edition of the Hambletonian from The Meadowlands, which was won by Canadian-born trainer Jim Campbell. Produced for the Hambletonian Society and hosted by Greg Blanchard, the broadcast aired live on the Central Ontario Standardbred Association's Facebook page on Aug. 6 then was featured two weeks later on CBS Sports Network.

A two-time winner of this award, Horse Racing Alberta is a finalist for "2022 HRA Fun For Fans Promo," a video that tells the story of the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association's Fun For Fans charity initiative that has spanned 10 years and raised more than $250,000 for charities province-wide. Produced by Jeff Robillard of Horse Racing Alberta and Mike Little of Shine Light Entertainment, the video first aired on the Horse Racing Alberta website and social media channels on Sept. 22.

The finalists in the Outstanding Photography category are Clive Cohen and Frances Lund.

Defending champion and six-time winner Clive Cohen is a finalist in 2022 for his photograph, "The Long Shadow." The photo, which captures a striking bird's-eye view of a Standardbred casting a long shadow on the racetrack, was taken on June 2 at Woodbine Mohawk Park and published on the track's social media feeds.

"The Long Shadow" by Clive Cohen

Frances Lund, who won this award in 2015, is a finalist again for her photograph, "Centerfield." The photo features a Standardbred under a stunning evening sky in the infield of Red Shores at Charlottetown Driving Park. It was published in the Atlantic Post Calls on Oct. 21. 

"Centerfield" by Frances Lund

The six finalists were the top two point-earners in their respective categories. The winners will be announced at the 2022 O’Brien Awards. 

Standardbred Canada would like to extend its thanks and appreciation to everyone who submitted entries for the Media Excellence Awards and to all the volunteer judges as well as to Ontario Racing for its continued support and sponsorship of the program.

Judges in the Outstanding Written Work category included Corey Dempsey, Communications Coordinator for Equestrian Canada; Michelle Staples, author and horse safety specialist; and Jackie Bellamy-Zions, Communications & Administration at Equine Guelph.

The judges for the Outstanding Video, Film or Broadcast category were veteran broadcaster Al Craig, sports information officer at Mohawk College and past colour commentator for the Hamilton Bulldogs; Toronto sportscaster Claude Feig; and Randy Steinman, former sportscaster with NewsRadio and CTV.

The submissions for the Outstanding Photography category were scored by Skip Dickstein, a past Eclipse Award winner and staff photographer at the Albany Times Union; Brandon Hall, executive assistant with the Ontario Equine Federation; Shawn Hamilton, owner of CLiX Photography, whose passion for photographing horses has landed her photos on the covers and inside magazines such as Corinthian Horse Sport magazine, The Canadian Horsemen, Horse Canada and Equus.

To see a list of past winners of the Media Excellence Awards, click here.

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