2008 O'Brien Award Finalists Announced

Published: December 22, 2008 02:05 pm EST

Standardbred Canada today announced the finalists for the 2008 O'Brien Awards, which honour Canada's best in harness racing over the past season.

The awards are named in honour of the late Joe O'Brien, an outstanding horseman and a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The winners will be announced at the O’Brien Awards banquet on Saturday, January 31, 2009.

Somebeachsomewhere has unanimously won his category as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year. Seventy-two voters from across Canada awarded the Mach Three colt his third O’Brien trophy.

Following a perfect freshman season in 2007 which included a World Record and two O’Brien’s, one as co-winner of Canada’s Horse of the Year, ‘The Beach’ gave Canadian racing fans lots to cheer about in 2008. The son of Mach Three all but rewrote the history books as he set a seasonal earnings record with more than $2.5 million, paced three World Record miles and won all but one of his races. He was the sport’s richest and fastest in ‘08, pacing to a 1:46.4 World Record effort at The Red Mile in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes.

Owned by the Schooner Stables, a six-member group from Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, The Beach’s stakes victories included the Burlington, North America Cup, Confederation Cup, Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final, Simcoe, Tattersalls, Messenger and Breeders Crown. Co-owner Brent MacGrath, who makes his living selling cars, took 2008 off to manage the colt’s career.

Paul MacDonell, who has been Somebeachsomewhere’s regular reinsman for two seasons, is looking to capture his first O’Brien as Canada’s Driver of the Year and is up against defending champion Jody Jamieson. MacDonell has driven 193 winners to date and horses to earnings in excess of $8 million. Jamieson has made 325 trips to the winner’s circle and driven winners of over $8.5 million, including O’Brien nominee Federal Flex.

Bob McIntosh, 56, of Windsor, ON will be looking for his fourth O’Brien Award as Canada’s Trainer of the Year and is up against Casie Coleman, 28, of Cambridge, ON, a two-time winner in this category. McIntosh led all trainers in the Ontario Sires Stakes with his stable earning over $1 million in OSS events. His stable earned $3.7 million in purses in ’08 and won 159 races. Coleman trained 153 winners, including O’Brien nominees Chancey Lady and Tigerama and earned over $3.6 million in purses.

Two colts that exemplified consistency throughout the year earned nominations in the Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt category. Nebupanezzar, North America’s top money-winning juvenile pacing colt with over $1 million to his credit, won 10 of 14 races including seven Ontario Sires Stakes events. Major In Art, a winner of six races and almost $900,000, won the two signature stakes events for juvenile pacers - The Woodrow Wilson and The Metro Pace.

St Lads Popcorn and Arts Star are finalists in the Two-Year-Old Filly Pace category. St Lads Popcorn won 12 of 15 and over $600,000 for the Jack Darling Stable. The daughter of Twin B Champ dominated the Ontario Sires Stakes, winning eight events. Arts Star was also a consistent OSS winner with over $185,000 in earnings.

Chancey Lady, winner of the Fan Hanover, is up against OSS Super Final winner Voelz Hanover in the sophomore pacing filly category. Chancey Lady, won nine races and over $715,000 on the year, while Voelz Hanover won six races and $410,000

Two of North America’s top-ranked mares will battle it out for top honours in the Older Pacing Mare category. My Little Dragon, North America’s leading money-winning pacing mare with earnings of over $831,000, had 19 of 22 top three finishes, while Southwind Madonna hit the board 18 of 22 times for over $333,000 in purse money.

Secrets Nephew and Tigerama, two of the sport’s iron horses, are up for the title of Canada’s Older Pacing Horse of the Year. Secrets Nephew dominated the open events on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit and netted over $411,000 for his connections, while Tigerama had two of his 11 wins in the Masters and Spring Pacing Championships to his credit for $348,000 in purse money.

In the juvenile trotting filly category, Elusive Desire and Windsongs Soprano are finalists for the O’Brien trophy. Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final winner Elusive Desire had over $395,000 in earnings, while Windsong Soprano had $345,000 and the Peaceful Way Stakes to her credit.

Encore Encore’s seven wins and $406,000 has earned him one of the nominations in the rookie trotting colt category. The homebred son of Broadway Hall is up against the Muscles Yankee colt Federal Flex, a winner of over $560,000 and several stakes including the Champlain and Valley Victory.

The Kadabra filly Bella Dolce, a winner of seven races and $431,000 in purses including the Canadian Breeders Championships and Simcoe, is up for an O’Brien as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year. The other candidate is the sport’s richest sophomore trotting filly, Lantern Kronos, a winner of 12 races, $920,000 and several stakes, including the Casual Breeze and Elegantimage.

Al Libfeld’s homebred Define The World is up for sophomore trotting honours against Clerk Magistrate. Define The World won 14 races and $751,000 with wins in the Simcoe, Canadian Breeders and OSS Super Final. Clerk Magistrate’s victory in the Goodtimes was one of six wins in his $820,000 season.

Breeders Crown champion Brigham Dream and Falls For You, winner of the Armbro Flight, are the nominees for Canada’s Older Trotting Mare title. Brigham Dream netted over $222,000 for her connections, while Falls For You was a winner of $368,000.

In the Older Trotting Horse category, Arch Madness, winner of the Maple Leaf Trot and over $842,000, hopes to pick up his second consecutive O’Brien, this time as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse. Arch Madness is going up against Armbro Chronicle, a winner of the Earl Rowe, Frank Ryan and over $510,000 in purse money.

Two outstanding all-round horsemen will compete for the O'Brien Award of Horsemanship – John Kopas, 52, of Milton, Ontario and Phil Pinkney, of Truro, Nova Scotia, who was a finalist in this category last year.

At age 71, Phil Pinkney enjoyed one of his best seasons in training and driving in 2008 and is regarded as one of the best developers of young horses in the Atlantic region. To date this year Pinkney has 26 wins and $135,000 as a trainer. As a driver in ’08 Pinkney notched 26 wins, $138,000 in purses and a .591 UDR.

The 2008 season was a career year in the earnings department for trainer John Kopas, who learned horsemanship from his father, Jack. Kopas trained winners of over $1.5 million and made 34 trips to the winner’s circle.

Glengate Farms of Campbellville, ON and Robert Hamather of Exeter, ON are the finalists in the Armstrong Breeder of the Year category. Glengate-bred horses started 118 times in 2008 and earned over $3.8 million with average earnings of $32,994 per starter. The top Glengate-bred horse in 2008 was Meadowlands Pace winner Art Official, who earned $1.5 million.

Exeter based Robert Hamather bred horses that made 23 starts, earned $1.2 million and averaged $54,082. Older pacer Tigerama led all starters with over $348,000 in earnings.

One of the 24 horse nominees will be recognized as Canada's Horse of the Year. The winners will be announced at the O'Brien Awards banquet on Saturday, January 31, 2009, at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, ON.

A complete listing of nominees follows. For further information, please contact Kathy Wade Vlaar or Erin Braybrook at (905) 858-3060.


Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer

• Arts Star -- owned by Steve Calhoun, Chatham, ON, Michael Lindley, Chatham, ON and West Wins Stable, Cambridge, ON
• St Lads Popcorn -- owned by Jack Darling Stables Ltd., Cambridge, ON

Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer

• Major In Art -- owned by Major In Art Stable, Dillsburg, PA
• Nebupanezzar -- owned by Peter Pan Stables Inc. Pepper Pike, OH

Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer

• Chancey Lady -- owned by Niele Jiwan, Burnaby, BC
• Voelz Hanover -- owned by Richard Berthiaume, Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC

Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer – UNANIMOUS WINNER

• Somebeachsomewhere -- owned by Schooner Stables, Bible Hill, NS

Older Pacing Mare

• My Little Dragon -- owned by Adam Victor and Son Stable, New York, NY
• Southwind Madonna -- owned by Carl MacArthur, Brampton, ON & Talacadac Stable, Kleinburg, ON

Older Pacing Horse

• Secrets Nephew -- owned by Lyle MacArthur, St. George, ON & Frank Grandinetti, Amherst, NY
• Tigerama -- owned by Robert Hamather, Exeter, ON


Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter

• Elusive Desire -- owned by P C Wellwood Enterprises Inc., Cambridge, ON, Charles Armstrong, Brampton, ON & Robert Fasken, Oakville, ON.
• Windsong Soprano -- owned by Lothlorien, Cheltenham, ON

Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter

• Encore Encore -- owned by Robert Key, Leechburg, PA
• Federal Flex -- owned by Federal Flex Stable, Cambridge, ON, Ken Henwood, Mississauga, ON, Al J Libfeld, Pickering, ON & Marvin Katz, Toronto, ON

Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter

• Bella Dolce -- owned by David H Mc Duffee, Nashua, NH
• Lantern Kronos -- owned by Falkbolagen AB, Malmo, Sweden

Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter

• Clerk Magistrate -- owned by Asa Farm, Norwood, ON, Team Garberg, Norwood, ON & Stall Sixpence, Norwood, ON
• Define The World -- owned by Al J. Libfeld, Pickering, ON

Older Trotting Mare

• Brigham Dream -- owned by LLC Deo Volente Farms, Flemington, NJ
• Falls For You -- owned by Fair Winds Farm Inc, Cream Ridge, NJ, Theodore Gewertz, New York, NY and Willow Pond LLC, Hewlett, NY

Older Trotting Horse

• Arch Madness -- owned by Marc D. Goldberg, Woodmere, NY & Willow Pond LLC, Hewlett, NY
• Armbro Chronicle -- owned by Kent Baker, Coldwater, ON, Cal R Patterson, Wasaga Beach, ON, E Wayne Smith, Coldwater, ON and Randy Fielder, Coldwater, ON


O’Brien Award of Horsemanship

• John Kopas -- 54, Milton, Ontario
• Phil Pinkney -- 71, Central Onslow, Nova Scotia

Armstrong Breeder of the Year

• Glengate Farms -- Campbellville, ON
• Robert Hamather -- Exeter, ON

Driver of the Year

• Jody Jamieson -- 32, Cambridge, Ontario
• Paul MacDonell -- 45, Guelph, Ontario

Trainer of the Year

• Casie Coleman -- 28, Cambridge, ON
• Robert McIntosh -- 56, Windsor, ON


Each of the above named horse nominees is a finalist for Canada’s Horse of the Year.



Mr. McIntosh, you're a great name in racing with numbers to back it, you deserve to be the WINNER. I wish you the best. dave

Interesting to see if the allaround horseman (young trotters et al) Bob McIntosh
wins against just the pacer trainer.

Congrats to all who were nominated. Is there really a question as to should win horse of the year??? May as well enter SBSW as 2008 Horse of The Year

Congrats to all this year's nominees. Special best of luck to Phil Pinkney, hope you can bring home the award to the Maritimes again!

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