While perennial Canadian training champion Richard Moreau has swept the last four Trainer of the Year titles at the annual O’Brien Awards, he has yet to take home any hardware on behalf of his individual trainees. Brad Grant’s Sandbetweenurtoes may be just the one to bring Moreau that long-awaited honour tomorrow night (Sat., Feb. 3).
CTV News in Kitchener, Ont. caught up with Moreau at his Puslinch, Ont. farm in advance of this week’s O’Brien Awards:
Moreau, whose trainees accounted for 277 wins and over $3.7 million in purses in 2017, seeks a fifth straight Trainer of the Year honour at this year’s O’Brien Awards. The leading trainer last season in wins and earnings this season on the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit and Georgian Downs was also tops in earnings at Flamboro Downs and The Raceway at Western Fair District and in the win column at Grand River Raceway. His competition for the 2017 training title is Gregg McNair, conditioner of Ontario Super Final winner The Joy Luck Club.
Sandbetweenurtoes, a 12-time winner in 2017, captured nine of those victories in the Preferred ranks on the WEG circuit with Doug McNair steering her to all of her seasonal scores. The local candidate, now a millionaire after shutting down in October of her six-year-old season, has longevity on her side against Diamond Creek Farm’s Pure Country, who capped her four-year-old season with a 1:49 win in the TVG at The Meadowlands after capturing the Breeders Crown, the Artiscape, and the Lady Liberty under the care of trainer Jimmy Takter.
The 2017 O’Brien Awards are scheduled for Saturday, February 3 at the Hilton Mississauga / Meadowvale Hotel and will feature an Academy Awards theme. The O'Briens will be hosted by Ken Middleton and Jason Portuondo, with Juno Award nominee Heather Bambrick singing the national anthems. The Marc Joseph Band, one of Toronto’s best event bands will be taking the stage after the awards presentations and provide dance music until 1:00 a.m.
Follow the latest updates on the O’Brien Awards on Standardbred Canada’s Facebook Event page and on the SC website. Standardbred Canada will also provide live updates on the event through its social media channels. For anyone tweeting or adding photos to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, please use the hashtag #obriens17.