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Marsh Award "For Humans Only?"

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Published: December 9, 2008 6:53 pm ET

Last Comment: December 16, 2008 11:43 am ET | 27 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Two major announcements pertaining to the Lou Marsh Award, which is doled out annually to Canada’s Athlete of the Year, were made earlier today.

For starters, Chantal Petitclerc was named the recipient of this year’s award.

Petitclerc won five gold medals and set three world records at the Beijing Paralympics. She is an extremely talented athlete and all Canadians, including those in the harness racing community, applaud her for her remarkable accomplishments.

Secondly, it was announced that only humans be eligible for the award.

According to a discussion between Bob McCown, Mary Ormsby and Dave Perkins on The Fan 590, a new rule was passed today by the Lou Marsh Committee that only humans be eligible for the award. According to the panel no rule existed prior to today's meeting.

The harness racing industry along with many members of the mainstream media felt Somebeachsomewhere was a worthy contender for this year’s Lou Marsh Award based on his outstanding accomplishments and his magnificent contributions to the sport.

Standardbred Canada will continue to lead the charge in having Somebeachsomewhere recognized for his tremendous athletic accomplishments in 2008 and will put forth his name to be considered for the Lionel Conacher Award. The Award, also named annually is given to Canada's Male Athlete of the Year. The award, first given in 1932, is voted upon by members of the Canadian Press.

The Lionel Conacher Award is traditionally named at the end of December.

December 16, 2008 - 11:43 amDear Sir: I listened the

david gilders (not verified) SAID...

Dear Sir:

I listened the other day to a round table discussion on the Fan 590 by several sports writers/editors around the discussion of letting a "horse" be named athlete of the year in Canada.

We all know of the write-in campaign to try and get Somebeachsomewhere in the running for this honour (we know he will receive many industry awards) and however worthy it might have been the effort fell short.

No disgrace, the winner Chantal Petitclerc was deserving and the trend seems to have been in an olympic year an olympic athelete maybe rates more of a mention than most. I have no quarrel with the outcome. However afterward a vote was taken to amend whatever rules they have to make the award a "humans" only award, now that's rubbing salt in the wound.

None of the writers seemed to know of the impact the equine athlete had made on the sport which is very sad, that perhaps a once in a lifetime horse (well for people my age anyway) whose accomplishments on the racetrack as well as bringing people out to watch his great performances isn't recognized in the mainstream media. One could argue no other athelete has done as much for his/her sport this past year than the Beach.

Everyone of us involved in this industry should pause and reflect on this; our industry is a fringe sport and we all have to work extremely had to change this perception and make it truly mainstream. This may take a major overhaul of some kind, a different business model, a real marketing plan and a better product to watch.

I have several things I hope for in the new year and one is that racing industry will cease the infighting of the past few years so we can start the turnaround,also I wish we could have another Beach or two to provide the thrills,excitement and entertainment we need to sell our product. Call me a dreamer but I think we can get our act together.

David Gilders

December 16, 2008 - 5:20 amIt's very convenient to rule

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

It's very convenient to rule that the Lou Marsh award is only for humans only AFTER the suggestion is made that an equine athlete was perhaps more dominant this year than any of the humans nominated. There's a curious double standard going on, as well -- the argument also having been made that Eric Lamaze, who brought home an individual gold and team silver medal in showjumping from the Olympics, ought not to have been eligible for this award because he, after all, was just the rider and the horse (Hickstead) did all the work! Well, which is it -- if Hickstead is the designated athlete in that partnership, how can one argue that Somebeachsomewhere is not one??

December 15, 2008 - 1:40 pmThat was my first question

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

That was my first question when the topic came up... is the horse even a Canadian? I don't think so.
Aside from that, didn't Northern Dancer win this award or am I mistaken on that? I'm sure he won "some" athlete-of-the-year, maybe it wasn't this one (I guess I could look it up! lol)

December 14, 2008 - 12:46 amTo robert leatham,

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

To robert leatham, since you don't consider the beach canadian,i guess the great one[gretzky]or mario or stevie y are not canadian since they played in the states,and retired in the states.shame on me and the rest of canada for rooting for our fake canadians in the olympics.the horse is amazing and the owners,trainer and big mc did a great job so stop crying already

December 12, 2008 - 11:10 pmHorses are classified, as

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Horses are classified, as anyone knows, by their sire. Beach was ONTARIO SIRED.

December 12, 2008 - 12:19 amHe isn't Canadian. He was

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

He isn't Canadian. He was born in the U.S.A. Case Closed.... Unless someone can show me his application to become a Canadian citizen. Then being accepted.......

December 12, 2008 - 12:16 amAs soon as a human can win

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

As soon as a human can win HOTY. I will gladly say we should nominate a horse for AOTY. It's only fair... Seriously. A horse isn't going to go out and train. rig, enter, ttransport, vet work themselves. A Human can indeed train themselves in every aspect of there chosen sport. SBSW is one of the best to come along in a very long time. Give him all he awards he can rightly win. Horse of the year. Pacer of the year. Three year old of the year. etc... There are awards for humans, animals. Let's keep it that way.

December 11, 2008 - 12:53 pmAthlete = an athlete in a

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Athlete = an athlete in a sport

If Somebeachsomewhere is being ruled as not an athlete, where does that leave harness racing? Not a sport?

December 10, 2008 - 8:33 pmI'm honestly blown away that

Fraser M (not verified) SAID...

I'm honestly blown away that they decided to make it for humans only. Call it what you want, but it's discrimination. If the title of the award remains "Athlete Of The Year", then any ATHLETE should be eligible to win it. Anyone who suggest race horses aren't athlete's clearly hasn't paid very much attention to the game. They train to stay in shape, they wear some sort of gear specific to their sport, they play on a team (Driver/Trainer/Horse), they play for money (serious money!), and they have desire to win! The great race horses of our sport have an amazing heart! The only thing missing from their "athlete" resume here is they can't demanded ridiculous salaries or complain when they don't get their way. It's a travesty that such an amazing group of athletes has been eliminated from consideration for an award that, if they merit it, should be theirs to win. The Beach merited this award. Once again, Canada has shot it's self in the foot. Taking down something that ought to have been pushed higher.

December 10, 2008 - 4:48 pmDoesn't that raise the

FREDx (not verified) SAID...

Doesn't that raise the question that by eliminating everything other than humans from the award that 'Beach' was likely a winner? Some group of voters likely thought "how would the Canadian society take to a horse winning an award that the average person thought was placed anually into human hands?". I think the right decision was made, but if it could have been possible, I would have liked to see the beach win. But look at it this way, a little pony(SBSW) in a big forest, scared the big bears(Lou Marsh voters) into the woods!

Best of Luck in the breeding shed, I'll have my hand up when your first crop stands in the ring!

December 10, 2008 - 1:05 pmIf you can find a pig, cow

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

If you can find a pig, cow or donkey that can go a mile as fast as The Beach, they have my vote!

Nice that they put the rule in place before the voting happened, maybe someone was worried he might just win the award!

December 10, 2008 - 1:02 pmHorses aren't athletes?

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Horses aren't athletes?

December 10, 2008 - 9:33 amSomebeachsomewhere has been

BS (not verified) SAID...

Somebeachsomewhere has been great for the sport of harness racing. But remember SBSW is a race horse not an athlete. Why would anyone want to cheapen all the good this horse has done for harness racing by stretching the rules or lack of a rule (until yesterday) by trying to build a case that he is an Outstanding Canadian Athlete and should receive the Lou Marsh award.

I’m glad the Lou marsh committee created the humans only rule. Just imagine what the list of nominees would look like next year. 2 birds, 1 pig, 1 donkey, 2 cows, etc.

December 10, 2008 - 8:00 amI personally think that the

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I personally think that the Beach is a tremendous animal. I watched each and every one of his starts with great interest. He has done the industry in general (and more specifically in the Maritimes) a great service by renewing interest with former followers of the sport AND the mainstream public who has probably never visited a racetrack in their lives.

With respect to the animal and his connections; he deserves awards in his own right (HOY in Canada and US, 3yo colt in Canada and US) but, not things like the Lou Marsh. In fairness, the horse has no clue that he is getting awards X, Y or Z nor does he care. In this instance you would be offering an award to the ownership group so that it may sit with his other numerous accolades and collect dust. I believe that this award needs to go to a person who is recognized for their outstanding achievements throughout the year; someone who will take great pride in this recognition.... I'm sure Beach would rather have a few carrots.

Good luck in the breeding shed Beach; your on track exploits will be missed. Thanks for the ride!

December 10, 2008 - 7:56 amI have no problem accepting

howard pearce (not verified) SAID...

I have no problem accepting Chantal as the winner.She is an amazing athlete.However,I am disappointed about SBSW not winning mainly because it would have brought harness racing into newspapers,TV sports desks and talk shows across the country and there would have been a new 'awareness'born overnight.

December 10, 2008 - 7:51 amI think it's funny because a

Ari Othitis (not verified) SAID...

I think it's funny because a few years back wasn't Chantal the one who lost Athlete of the year to an able bodied hurdler (Perdita Felicien?) even though that one had few wins and didn't make the first hurdle in the Athen's Olympics but the committee felt paraolympians didn't count as athletes and discounted Chantal and her records and medals. Now she all of a sudden is an athlete and deserves the win.

Seems to be pot calling kettle black syndrome. I guess because SBSW can't complain he is being discrimminated against it's ok.

December 10, 2008 - 12:52 amI personally have never been

Dean Nixon (not verified) SAID...

I personally have never been one to put much creedence in any year end awards. Like all those posters before me, I applaud the accomplishments of Chantal Petitclerc. She is truly an outstanding individual. I also see no problem with the Lou Marsh committee instituting a new rule restricting the award to human athletes. Horses have their own awards ceremonies....nobody seems to be complaining that SBSW didn;t win anything at The Royal Winter Fair.

What SBSW accomplished this year is tremendous. He is the kind of horse we will be talking about for years to come. Same as many still talk about the likes of Cam Fella, Bret Hanover, Mack Lobell, etc. But how many human athletes have found themselves in the same boat as SBSW in years high profile athletes won the award? All these awards are is common popularity contests. They mean nothing at the end of the day. The people who understand the role SBSW has played in our sport, saw the crowds who gathered to see him perform, won't be any more impressed by some bs end of year honour. They mean nothing and they contribute nothing to his already impressive resume. He has been a big shot of adrenaline to the standardbred industry. Hopefully we don;t look like a bunch of crybabies when this is all said and done.

December 9, 2008 - 10:43 pmI was involved in harness

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I was involved in harness racing industry,as driver and in management position, for 20 years and I still follow it regular, as I have several nephews particapating in Ontario and Pompano. I think SBSW is an outstanding horse but the Lou Marsh award was put up for humans.I feel it should not be changed,as its intent was to honor humans athletes not animals.SBSW has and will win many awards but he should never be winner of Lou Marsh award as it would go against the wishes/intentions of those who created it to honor HUMAN athletes

December 9, 2008 - 10:30 pmCall me stupid but I just

Robert Leatham (not verified) SAID...

Call me stupid but I just don't get it.

Darryl Kaplan thinks SBSW should have been given the Lou Marsh Award for Canadian Athlete of the year right.

Well is this fine specimen of pacing flesh actually Canadian? This is debatable in it's own right, right from the get go.

This horse (SBSW) was conceived in the United States where his dam was artificially inseminated with semen drawn off his sire here in Canada.

He was then born in United States, raised in United States, sold in United States and raced approximately half of his starts in United States and made at least half of his earnings in United States and took his lifetime mark in United States.

The Animal didn't race in our Sires Stake program at all as a 2yr old and as a sophomore he only started in it twice out of 11 possible starts. That doesn't sound to patriotic to me.

Now that his racing career has come to an end, our so called Canadian Champion is returning back to Untied States to continue his legacy by standing stallion at an American Nursery. When Ontario is searching for a reason for breeders to improve their broodmare bands.

I'm quite sure that everyone will say the Beach has to go to Hanover Shoe Farms to get the class of mares he deserves to create that world champion off spring but is that accurate?

I believe Winback farms here in Ontario has quite a substantial broodmare band, that has produced more than a few world beaters and I think they would have thrown the barn doors wide open and rolled out the red carpet if given the opportunity to stand the Beach at stud here in Canada and lets face it know matter where the horse was going to stand stud he was going to get the cream of the crop of mares for the first three years regardless and according to his trainer there is nothing wrong with the OSS, he likes it and bar none it is as good a Sires Stake program going in North America as there is.

So how Canadian is the Beach? You tell me cause I just don't seem to be able to get my head around it. I think I used the words United States more often then the word Canadian writing this up.

December 9, 2008 - 10:08 pmTo the person who said

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

To the person who said Niatross never won any "human" awards, I suggest you check your facts. He was awarded Athlete of the Year in 1980 by The New York Post. That year was an Olympic year with the Miracle On Ice in the United States.

In the U.S., writers had the courage to name both Secretariat and Niatross Athlete's of the Year. Somehow our writers want to institute a rule to make sure it can never happen.

December 9, 2008 - 9:45 pmI honestly think that this

Brendan Curran from PEI (not verified) SAID...

I honestly think that this "Humans Only" rule is very stupid. Somebeachsomewhere is canadian and a Major Athlete. Somebeachsomewhere set numerous world records, on almost every size track. 1:46 as a three year old, 1:49 as a 2 year old, 1:49 on a half mile track, a record of 20 races, 19 wins, and 1 second and 3,328,755 in the bank. Ms. Petitclerc you have a very impressive athletic resume, but so does Somebeachsomewhere, maybe even better. I think that the rule should state that any athlete that is Canadian and that has some major athletic feat accomplished should be considered, even if the considered is not a human.

December 9, 2008 - 9:32 pmWayne Gretzky doesn't come

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Wayne Gretzky doesn't come close to the superb athlete SomeBeach is.
He didn't come close to Howe or Orr or Hull not to mention a few. There
probably never be a horse as great as the beach is in my future. I still
think he should have won hands down.

December 9, 2008 - 9:16 pmWhy does this industry feel

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Why does this industry feel somebeachsomewhere is entitiled to win human awards?
Niatross was never considered for any human awards.and he was special!! He was a horse a decade ahead of his time..Somebeachsomewhere cannot say that!
You dont see hockey parents of tyke ages demanding thier child be considered for 3 year old of the year.

Its time for this dying industry to get back into the real world!

December 9, 2008 - 8:54 pmI, as a lover of all that is

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I, as a lover of all that is alive and has any sense of feeling, believe that to keep humanity on the road to compassion and equality, it has to start from societys view of our century old human injustaces wars,animals, women, children that still goes on every day , to saY THAT AN ANIMAL IS EXCLUDED FROM THIS Award is just taking us back a tad, i'm not saying that Chantal wasn't worthy of this award, i voted for her, she is an amazing canadian athlete, and justley deserves it but do not exclude anybody or any other living creature, lets keep it on a level playing field,
regards c
congrats chantal again , you are truly a superb athlete

December 9, 2008 - 8:29 pmSorry, but as good as he was

D (not verified) SAID...

Sorry, but as good as he was I still don't understand for the life of me how SBSW was ever under consideration for this award!!! Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, Mike Weir, Somebeachsomewhere... I don't think so!

December 9, 2008 - 8:16 pmWith all due respect for

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

With all due respect for this years winner who is an amazing athlete, geez people, don't think outside the box a little, YOUR HEADS MAY EXPLODE!

...and this is why the whole world thinks Canadians are boring and predictable. They may have a point, eh?

December 9, 2008 - 7:21 pmSo they made the rule

April (not verified) SAID...

So they made the rule today,,Nice of them is it not.
I am glad Chantal won,,she deserves the award, but not on the basis of disqualifing a whole species..Interesting tactics..


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