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Media Excellence Nominees Announced

Published: December 28, 2018 10:07 am ET

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Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2018 Media Excellence Awards, which are sponsored by Ontario Racing for the third consecutive year.

The Media Excellence Awards 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. 2018 marks the 11th year for this program.

The finalists in the Outstanding Written Work category are: It Was A Very Good Year, written by Ric Chapman and A Racing Heart Retires, written by Lara Vronick.

It Was A Very Good Year, a TROT feature, was first published on October 31, 2018 on Chapman, a resident of Oakville, Ont., tells the story of Little Brown Jug and Meadowlands Pace winner, Courtly Choice, and his journey from birth to the winner’s circle.

A Racing Heart Retires was written by Lara Vronick, a communications professional based in the Ottawa area. In December 2017, she took a trip to the paddock at Rideau Carleton Raceway, and spoke with horseman Darcy Clancy about his 14-year-old standardbred Thundering Bay.

In the Outstanding Broadcast category, the video feature on the Gord & Illa Rumpel Stakes, produced by Horse Racing Alberta (HRA) and The Canadian Pacing Derby Facebook broadcast, produced by Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), are the finalists.

The HRA video set the stage for a classic battle in the Rumpel Stakes and tells the story of the field of three-year-old pacing fillies and the people behind them. The video was posted on HRA’s website and social media platforms on Aug. 2, 2018. Horse Racing Alberta won this Media Excellence category in 2008 and 2009.

WEG’s Canadian Pacing Derby 30-minute special broadcast aired on Facebook on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in high definition and featured live race coverage. WEG is a seven-time winner of the award, with their most recent accolades in 2017.

The Outstanding Photography category finalists are Kyle Burton’s Gold Cup & Saucer photo and Clive Cohen’s racing silhouette shot.

Burton, a resident of Truro, Nova Scotia, won this category in 2017. He captured this shot of Somewhere Fancy and driver Simon Allard, under the spotlight during the post parade for the rescheduled Gold Cup and Saucer at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park on Aug. 19, 2018. It was originally published in Harness Racing Update on Aug. 24, 2018.

Clive Cohen’s silhouette photo of horses was published on the Woodbine Facebook and Instagram pages on March 23, 2018. It was a shot of the first race field heading into the first turn at Woodbine on a clear but chilly night. Cohen is a three-time winner of the Media Excellence Award for photography. (2013, 2014, and 2016)

The six finalists were the top two point earners in their respective categories.
Standardbred Canada would like to extend its thanks and appreciation to everyone who submitted entries for the Media Awards and to all the judges.

Judges in the Outstanding Written Work category included Jessie Christie, Manager of Communications for Equestrian Canada, Michelle Staples, author, horse safety specialist, and an instructor at Equine Guelph; and Bernard Tobin, field editor for, a North American agriculture news website, past contributor to both TROT and The Canadian Sportsman, and a co-host for the ‘Hooked On Harness’ podcast.

The judges for the Broadcast category were veteran broadcaster Al Craig, sports information officer at Mohawk College and past colour commentator for the Hamilton Bulldogs; Brad Diamond, of Bradford Productions, producer of numerous award-winning programs, including ‘Motoring,’ a weekly national half-hour magazine-style television program on TSN (The Sports Network); and Toronto sportscaster Claude Feig.

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; and Barbara Sheridan, an award-winning freelance writer and photographer, instructor at Equine Guelph, and former associate editor of Horse Care Magazine.

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

The winners will be announced at the O’Brien Awards Gala on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 at the Hilton Mississauga / Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, ON.

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