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Standardbred Canada Announces 2009 O’Brien Award Finalists

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Published: December 22, 2009 2:01 pm ET

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Standardbred Canada today announced the finalists for the 2009 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 annual O’Brien Awards Banquet on Saturday, January 30, 2010.

For the first time in the history of the O’Brien Awards, two females are nominated in the Trainer of the Year category. Casie Coleman and Tracy Brainard are at the top of the Canadian training charts for 2009, and between the two have amassed over $10.2 million in earnings while conditioning some of the sport’s top performers.

Coleman, 29, of Cambridge, ON, is looking to take home her third title as Canada’s trainer of the year following another outstanding season. To date, she sits fourth in the wins column in Canada for trainers with 161 victories and is second in Canada with $4.3 million in earnings. Coleman’s stable star, Sportswriter, is one of the nominees for two-year-old pacing colt honours and contributed to Coleman’s stellar year.

Brainard, 33, of De Leon Springs, Florida, is the other nominee in the trainer category. Brainard’s stable topped the Canadian earnings charts in 2009 with $5.8 million in purse money while sending out 131 winners. Brainard has three horses nominated for O’Brien honours. She’s guaranteed the trophy in the three-year-old pacing filly category, as she conditions both nominees, Not Enough and Yellow Diamond. Her third horse nominated is If I Can Dream in the three-year-old pacing colt category.

Fresh off of breaking a Canadian win record, driver Jody Jamieson is looking to take home his second O’Brien trophy as Canada’s top reinsman. He’s up against National Driving Champion and Canada’s representative for the 2009 World Driving Championship, Brad Forward.

Jamieson, 33, of Cambridge, ON, is on track for a career year. To date he’s driven 766 winners in Canada and horses to over $10.9 million in purse money for a solid .368 UDR. On December 10, Jamieson set a Canadian record for driving wins in a single season when he recorded his 740th win, breaking the former record of 739 set by Mark MacDonald in 2006. Jamieson took home his O’Brien as Canada’s Driver of the Year for the 2007 season when he won both the $1.5 million North America Cup and the Little Brown Jug with Tell All, who was voted Canada’s Horse of the Year.

Forward, 38, of Woodstock, ON, is also enjoying one of his best years on record, as he has won 513 races to date and driven horses to $3.7 million in purse money on Canadian soil. On March 21, at Fraser Downs in Surrey, BC, Forward was crowned Canada’s National Driving Champion, as he beat out a field of seven of the top Canadian drivers.

Two fillies that exemplified consistency throughout the year earned nominations in the two-year-old pacing filly category. Breeders Crown champion Fancy Filly, a winner of over $840,000 and 10 of 12 starts, is up against Put On A Show, winner of the Shes A Great Lady, seven of nine races and over $776,000.

The Artsplace colt Sportswriter, who posted a World Record 1:49.2 mile in the Metro Pace and netted over $875,000 in earnings from his eight races this season, is nominated as Canada’s top two-year-old pacing colt along with Battle of Waterloo champion Wellthereyougo, a winner of almost $300,000.

A pair of millionaire fillies from the Tracy Brainard Stable, both owned by Bulletproof Enterprises, dominated the sophomore pacing filly ranks this past year and one of them will take home the trophy as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year. Not Enough, a winner of 10 races and over $1.1 million, is up against her stablemate Yellow Diamond, a winner of 14 races and $1.3 million.

North America’s top two money-winning three-year-old pacing colts are the finalists in their division. If I Can Dream, a winner of 12 races including the Breeders Crown and $1.7 million, is a nominee along with Well Said, a winner of 10 races and over $2 million with the North America Cup and Little Brown Jug to his credit.

Darlins Delight and Dreamfair Eternal will battle it out for older pacing mare honours. Darlins Delight surpassed the $3 million mark in lifetime earnings this past year with $371,000 in purses from 14 top-three finishes in 17 races. Dreamfair Eternal won over $622,000 in 2009 with her biggest payday coming in the Roses Are Red Stakes.

Bigtime Ball, who was a nominee in the three-year-old pacing colt division in 2007 against Tell All, is back this year as a finalist in the older pacing horse category. The homebred son of Presidential Ball surpassed the one-million-dollar plateau in career earnings for owner-trainer-breeder Gord Irwin this season after having won almost a half million during this past campaign. Canadian Pacing Derby champion Shark Gesture is also nominated in this category and has season earnings in excess of $963,000

Costa Rica and Poof Shes Gone are the nominees in the two-year-old filly trotter category. Costa Rica won 10 races and over $989,000 with her richest payday coming in the Peaceful Way Stakes. The Ontario-sired filly Poof Shes Gone won 10 of 12 races during her million-dollar campaign which saw her take the Breeders Crown championship for her division.

Il Villaggio and Text Me are nominated in the two-year-old trotting colt division. Il Villaggio boasted a three-race win streak at Mohawk Racetrack in September, culminating with a victory in the William Wellwood Memorial Trot during his $488,000 season which included six victories. Top Ontario Sires Stakes performer Text Me completed his productive $377,000 season with a strong win in the OSS Super Finals.

Elusive Desire is looking for her second consecutive O’Brien trophy, this time in the three-year-old trotting filly division. The multiple stakes winner with over $890,000 in seasonal earnings is up against stakes winner Yursa Hanover, a winner of $377,834.

The 2009 season was a perfect one for Muscle Hill, who won all 12 of his races while earning over $2.5 million. On Canadian Soil, the Muscles Yankee colt scored victories in the Canadian Trotting Classic and Breeders Crown. He’s earned an O’Brien nomination along with Equity in the three-year-old trotting colt category. Equity, a son of Kadabra, was a top performer in the Ontario Sires Stakes where he earned $333,500 of his almost half a million in seasonal earnings.

In the older trotting mare category, Classic Lane and Gostreet are the nominees. Classic Lane had 16 top three finishes from 25 starts and earned over $479,000, while Gostreet had 21 of 32 top- three finishes and earnings of $169,000.

Two millionaires are nominated in the older trotting horse category. San Pail, winner of the Maple Leaf Trot and season’s earnings of over $705,000, is up against Armbro Chronicle, a winner of over $341,000 this season and also a finalist in this category last year.

Two veteran horsemen are nominated for the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship. Norwegian native Per Henriksen, 63, now of Norwood, ON, prefers to specialize in trotters, the gait closest to his heart and homeland. Henriksen trained horses including top Ontario Sires Stakes performers I Wont Dance and Magic Fruit to over $1.3 million in earnings.

Rick Zeron, 53, of Oakville, ON, has been posting solid training and driving numbers for over two decades and recorded some of his highest averages ever in the 2009 season. He cooped almost a million on the training side. On the driving side of the ledger, he has steered horses to over $5.2 million in earnings, the eighth consecutive year he’s eclipsed $5 million in earnings.

The Armstrong Breeder of the Year Award nominees are Charalambos Christoforou of Campbellville, ON, and Diane Ingham and Harry Rutherford of Mount Pleasant, ON. From the 44 starters that Christoforou bred, they amassed over $1.8 million in earnings in 2009 for an average of $42,771 per starter. Some of the top horses included O’Brien nominee Equity, Raw Energy and Parlay.

Ingham and Rutherford’s 19 starters averaged $64,528 for a total of $1.2 million in earnings. Contributing to those stats were O’Brien nominee Il Villaggio along with Raising Rachel and Reach Higher.

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 30, 2010, at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, ON.

2009 O’BRIEN AWARD NOMINEES

PACERS

Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer

Fancy Filly
• owned by George Teague, Jr., Inc., Harrington, DE, Theodore Gewertz, New York, NY and Only Money, Inc., Hartly, DE

Put On A Show
• owned by Richard Young, Coconut Creek, FL and Craig Henderson, Chicago, IL

Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer

Sportswriter
• owned by Steve Calhoun, Chatham, ON and West Wins Stable, Cambridge, ON

Wellthereyougo
• owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Charlottetown, PE, R.G. McGroup Ltd, Bathurst, NB and Serge Savard, Saint-Bruno QC

Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer

Not Enough
• owned by Bulletproof Enterprises, Boca Raton, FL

Yellow Diamond
• owned by Bulletproof Enterprises, Boca Raton, FL

Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer

If I Can Dream
• owned by Bulletproof Enterprises, Boca Raton, FL

Well Said
• owned by Jeffrey Snyder, New York, NY and Lothlorien, Cheltenham, ON

Older Pacing Mare

Dreamfair Eternal
• owned by John and Mary Lamers, Ingersoll, ON

Darlins Delight
• owned by White Birch Farm, Allentown, NJ

Older Pacing Horse

Bigtime Ball
• owned by Irwin Stables, Inc., Cobourg, ON

Shark Gesture
• owned by Norman Smiley, Boca Raton, FL, Gerald Smiley, Cote Saint-Luc, QE and T L P Stable, Kearny, NJ

TROTTERS

Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter

Costa Rica
• owned by Christina Takter, East Windsor, NJ, John Fielding, Toronto, ON and Jim Fielding, Toronto, ON

Poof Shes Gone
• owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON, Herb Liverman, Miami Beach, FL, David McDuffee, Nashua, NH and John Fielding, Toronto, ON

Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter

Il Villaggio
• owned by Brittany Farms, Versailles, KY, Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Walkill, NY and Il Villaggio Partners, Versailles, KY

Text Me
• owned by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., Windsor, ON, C S X Stables, Liberty Center, OH and Dave Boyle, Bowmanville, ON

Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter

Elusive Desire
• owned by P C Wellwood Enterprises Inc., Cambridge, ON, H Charles Armstrong, Brampton, ON and Robert Fasken, Oakville, ON

Yursa Hanover
• owned by Richard Berthiaume, Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QE

Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter

Equity
• owned by Charalambos Christoforou, Campbellville, ON and Banjo Farms, Toronto, ON

Muscle Hill
• owned by Jerry Silva, Long Beach, NY, T L P Stable, Kearny, NJ, Southwind Farm, Penningston, NJ and Muscle Hill Racing LLC, Long Beach, NY

Older Trotting Mare

Classic Lane
• owned by Robert and Lauren Tucker, Glen Gardner, NJ

Gostreet
• owned by Linda Wellwood, St George Brant, ON and Tammy Aspden, Caistor Centre, ON

Older Trotting Horse

Armbro Chronicle
• owned by Kent Baker, Coldwater, ON, Cal R. Patterson, Wasaga Beach, ON, Jo Anne K. Smith, Coldwater, ON and Randy Fielder, Coldwater, ON

San Pail
• owned by Glenn Van Camp, Port Perry, ON and Rodney Hughes, Dunsford, ON

PEOPLE AWARDS

O’Brien Award of Horsemanship

Per Henriksen, 63, Norwood, ON
Rick Zeron, 53, Oakville, ON

Armstrong Breeder of the Year

Charalambos Christoforou, Campbellville, ON
Diane Ingham and Harry Rutherford, Mount Pleasant, ON

Driver of the Year

Brad Forward, 38, Woodstock, ON
Jody Jamieson, 33, Cambridge, ON

Trainer of the Year

Tracy Brainard, 33, De Leon Springs, FL
Casie Coleman, 29, Cambridge, ON


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