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O’Brien Awards Hosts Announced

Published: January 17, 2018 4:06 pm ET

Last Comment: January 17, 2018 11:13 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce that Ken Middleton and Jason Portuondo will co-host the 2017 O’Brien Awards on Saturday, Feb. 3 at the Hilton Mississauga / Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, Ont.

This will be Middleton’s 15th consecutive year that he will co-host the event. Middleton can usually be found behind the mic at Woodbine or Mohawk calling the Standardbred races, and when he’s not doing that, he’s in the barn, training and caring for his horses.

Back to join Middleton -- for the second consecutive year -- is his colleague, Jason Portuondo, one of the on-air Standardbred commentators at Mohawk and Woodbine. The former regular anchor on Rogers Sportsnet returned to the Woodbine Entertainment Group in May of last year. In addition, he's also the trackside reporter for WEG's horse racing broadcasts on TSN and is a host of Talkin Horses on CTV and G98.7FM.

We caught up with Ken and Jason to get their thoughts on New Year’s resolutions, the Super Bowl, Awards Shows, and more!

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions and if so, can you divulge?

► Ken: I bought myself an elliptical machine for Christmas, so my New Year’s resolution is to tuck up a bit!

► Jason : My New Year's resolution is to stop making them because I never seem to follow through...last year's was to pick more winners, lol.

What was the best Christmas gift you received?

► Ken - Winning the Jackpot Hi 5 ($49,000) with our group on December 23!

► Jason - The best Christmas gift I received this year was my to golf!!

Tell us your favourite racing memory from 2017.

► Ken - Winning with our two-year-old, Sizzling Summer, in his first start at Hiawatha Horse Park. It’s an incredible feeling when you start from scratch and get them to the races and they win right off the bat.

► Jason - One of my favourite racing memories was the Goodtimes Final where the Zerons finished 1-2. Pretty cool moment for father and son to share.

Tell us the best thing that happened to you in 2017.

► Ken - I received the news that racing would be moving to Mohawk full-time in 2018!

► Jason - Best thing that happened to me in 2017 was watching my daughter get to that next level, going to school for the first time.

Are you looking forward to year-round Standardbred racing at Mohawk?

► Ken - I sure am.

► Jason - Yes, it will be nice to call one place home, although I’ll miss all the planes at Woodbine.

Favourite Awards Show to watch on TV? (Golden Globes, Oscars, etc.)

► Ken - The Country Music Awards are my favourite

► Jason - Not really a fan of Award shows, actually prefer the red carpets, lol...but if I had to pick I guess Oscars and Grammys.

If you could host any awards show or game show or talk show on TV, what show would you choose and why?

► Ken - It would be cool to follow in the footsteps of Bob Barker and host The Price Is Right. That was one of the most memorable game shows that I remember watching when I was a kid.

► Jason - I love game shows and would probably pick The Price Is Right...always wanted to say "The actual retail price is...” Jeopardy, Family Feud, Pyramid, Match Game, Wheel Of Fortune all tie for 2nd.

What sports will you be watching during this year’s Olympic games?

► Ken - In all likelihood it will be the hockey games.

► Jason - I'll be watching the Alpine Skiing, Bobsled, and Hockey.

Predictions for the two teams that will play in this year’s Super Bowl? (was asked before last weekend’s playoff games)

► Ken - Kirby McGinnis’ New England Patriots and Dan Fisher’s Minnesota Vikings.

► Jason - It should be my Eagles, but since Carson Wentz is hurt I will say a re-match of last year...Atlanta/New England.

What horse do you think will be either a unanimous choice or win his / her division by the most votes?

► Ken - My pick would be Alarm Detector. He’s hands down the best young trotter I’ve seen developed and campaigned locally in the two decades I’ve worked at Mohawk/Woodbine.

► Jason – Ariana G

Who are you most looking forward to seeing on the Red Carpet this year?

► Ken – Although it’s highly unlikely to happen, wouldn’t it be great to see Kelly Spencer’s Grade 2 teacher show up?

► Jason - Maxime Velaye mais bien sur...he's the life of any party!!

Vacations planned this year?

► Ken - I actually just returned from a 10-day cruise in the Caribbean. Nothing else planned at this point, but I’m sure something will pop up along the way.

► Jason - Belize, Turks and Caicos, maybe even Jamaica.

Tickets for the 2017 O'Brien Awards are now on sale and can be purchased by contacting the Industry Marketing Department at 905-858-3060.

Follow the latest updates on the O’Brien Awards on Standardbred Canada’s Facebook Event page and on the SC website.

January 17, 2018 - 11:13 pmAtta boy Kenny! (Vikes).

Dan Fisher SAID...

Atta boy Kenny! (Vikes).

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