Voting for the 2023 O’Brien Awards for fans and Standardbred Canada members is now open! The online voting is available until Thursday, Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. (EST).
Ballots have been sent to O’Brien Award voters across the country which includes race secretaries, track announcers, track communications staff, harness racing journalists and broadcasters.
To access the online voting package, click the following link: O'Briens Voter Documentation. Please review the eligibility criteria as there have been some changes.
Here’s what you need to know about the voting process:
- Vote for a first and second place horse in each divisional category
- Vote for a first and second place person from the three candidates provided for: the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship, The Armstrong Breeder of the Year, and the Future Star Award.
- Vote for a first, second and third place horse in the Somebeachsomewhere Horse of the Year category.
- Horse Eligibility: For horses to be eligible for consideration for an O'Brien Award, the horse must have had a minimum of three (3) starts in Canada between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, in addition to any Breeders Crown starts, when the Breeders Crown is hosted in Canada. The type of race (stakes, overnight) is irrelevant and schooling and qualifying races do not represent a start.
- Vote for a first, second, third, fourth and fifth place person in the Trainer of the Year category (Points assigned will be 5/4/3/2/1 from first to fifth).
- Vote for a first, second, third, fourth and fifth place person in the Keith Waples Driver of the Year category (Points assigned will be 5/4/3/2/1 from first to fifth).
- There will be a Second Round of voting for the Trainer and Driver categories.
- After the ballots have been tabulated, a shortlist of candidates to choose from for the Trainer & Driver categories will be compiled based on point totals in first round votes, to create a Second-Round ballot.
- Voters in Round One will be sent a link for the Second-Round ballot, no later than Dec. 15, and asked to select a first and second place choice in these categories.
- The Second-Round ballot deadline is noon (EST) on Monday, Dec. 18.
All of the fan votes received will count for one vote towards the voting results of the O’Brien Awards. There will be a limit of one vote per person (ie. IP address or email address).
The horses / people who receive a first place vote will receive two (2) points and those that receive a second place vote will receive one (1) point. The top two point earners will be the finalists in each category. The number of first place votes will be used as a tie breaker.
The mandate given to the voters is to vote for the horses and people who MADE THE GREATEST CONTRIBUTION TO CANADIAN HARNESS RACING IN 2023.
Eighteen O'Brien Awards will be given out for the 2023 racing season. Thirteen of these honour the premier horses over the past racing season including the most coveted trophy, Canada's Somebeachsomewhere Horse of the Year. The horse awards are divided by age, sex and gait.
In addition there are five awards for people, one each for Driver of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Armstrong Bros. Farm Breeder of the Year, the O'Brien Award of Horsemanship and the Future Star award.
Standardbred Canada has an O’Brien Committee that determines the candidates for the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship, the Armstrong Breeder of the Year Award, and the Future Star Award.
Here are the candidates for Horsemanship:
- Mark Etsell
- Rod Hennessy
- Jason Hughes
For the Armstrong Breeder of the Year, the committee has put forward the following candidates for the voters to choose from:
- Bayama Farms Inc.
- Harry Rutherford & Diane Ingham
- Tara Hills Stud Ltd.
The candidates for the Future Star Award are:
- Cassidy Schneider
- Desiree Jones
- Zach Mullins
The finalists will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 19.
The O’Brien Award winners will be announced and honoured at the 2023 Awards Gala at the Delta Hotels by Marriott in Prince Edward Island on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024.