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Cape Breton Honours Its Best Of 2019

Published: February 28, 2020 7:13 pm ET

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The 2019 Cape Breton Horseowner’s Banquet was held on Saturday (Feb. 22) at the Grand Lake Fire Hall in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

The facility was home to a full house of close to 180 guests. Invited guests included Nova Scotia harness racing Industry Association and the Atlantic Sires Stakes executive director Debbie Francis and her husband Peter, Standardbred Canada director Andrea Rennison and her husband George as well as guest speakers Vance Cameron and Lee Drake.

Shane Ryan, Northside Downs’ track announcer was the emcee for the evening. The awards included 2019 Hall of Fame inductions. Inductees included John Willie Beaton, Gerry Snow, Richard Lewis and the late Callie Rankin. The Cape Breton Horseowners’ Association was honoured to induct these horsemen, and they were thrilled to have members of their families travel from as far away as Ontario to share and celebrate in the lifetime achievements of these fine gentlemen.


(clockwise from top left: the family of Callie Rankin, Gerry Snow, Richard Lewis and John Willie Beaton)

An Outstanding Achievement award went out to Dave Ratchford and O’Brien Award winning three-year-old pacing colt Century Farroh. Recognition also went out to David Kelly for his Future Star Award win at the 2019 O’Brien Awards. The Association is proud of the accomplishments of its Cape Breton stars.

The 2019 Award Winners are as follows:

  • Two-Year-Old Filly - Elm Grove Ocean

  • Two-Year-Old Colt - The Big Chase

  • Three-Year-Old Colt - Sunny Beach

  • Senior Grooms - Hughie Gillis, Brett Struthers, Carol Ann Sampson

  • Junior Grooms - Anna Gillis, Jared Struthers, Janaya Gallant

  • Junior Owner - Stephanie Rich

  • Outstanding Achievement Award - Century Farroh

  • Gerard Kennedy Financial & Insurance Solutions Sportsmanship award - The family of the late Brian “Kye” MacNeil

  • Meco Construction Driving awards (based on highest UDRS):

    • 15-34 drives:
      1st - Roddie Gillis
      2nd - John Barrington
      3rd - Italo Camilli

    • 35-59 drives:
      1st - Barry Bates
      2nd - Jamie Struthers
      3rd - Roddy Hurley

    • 60+ drives:
      1st place and winner of The Joe and Wilson Collins Memorial Top Driver Award - Mark Pezzarello
      2nd - Gerard Kennedy
      3rd - Ryan Campbell

  • Most Sportsmanship Driver (Judges Award) - Martin Bates

  • Northside Downs Trainer Awards:

    • 40 + starts:
      1st - Barry Bates
      2nd - Brian O’Donnell
      3rd - Leonard MacLellan

    • 25-39 starts:
      1st - Harold LeBlanc Sr.
      2nd - Ian MacNeil
      3rd - Angus Gillis

    • 10-24 starts:
      1st - Dave Ratchford
      2nd - Julien Frison
      3rd - John Murphy

  • Leading Dash Winning Driver - Mark Pezzarello

  • Leading Dash Winning Trainer - Brian O’Donnell

  • Neil Campbell Memorial Senior Horseman Award - Doug “Sonny” Rankin

  • Hall Of Fame - John Willie Beaton, Richard Lewis, Gerry Snow and the late Callie Rankin

  • Standardbred Canada Horse Owner Award - Ian, Bernie and Joe MacNeil

  • Fastest Mile of 2019 - Wildcat Jet (1:57.3)

  • Leading Dash Winning Horses - tied with nine wins - Southwind Ricardo, Blacky Black, Classic Smiley

  • President’s Award- Irwin Claener, Terri Morrison, Bobby Boutilier, Ralph Smith, Diane Collins and Wayne Hardy

  • Most Improved Horse of 2019 - Wildcat Jet

  • Iron Horse of 2019 - Pictonian Fancypas

  • 2019 Mare of the Year - Nikes Cowgirl

  • John Ratchford Memorial 2019 Horse of the Year - Southwind Ricardo


(clockwise from top left: top driver Mark Pezzarello, Sonny Rankin, the connections of Southwind Ricardo and the connections of Nikes Cowgirl)

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