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'Doc' Dominates The O'Brien Awards

Published: February 7, 2021 12:03 pm ET

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A special edition of COSA TV recently featured veteran horseman Dr. Ian Moore, who had a dominant evening last Sunday taking home four trophies at the O’Brien Awards.

Moore watched as star students Lawless Shadow (Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year), Tattoo Artist (Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year) and Century Farroh (Older Pacing Horse of the Year and Horse of the Year) were all feted as champions in their respective divisions.

Lawless Shadow was voted Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year after an ultra-consistent season that saw him hit the board in eight of nine races, including four victories, while earning more than $307,000. He scored two victories in Ontario Sires Stakes events, a win in the Nassagaweya, runner-up finishes in his Metro elimination and OSS Super Final and a third-place finish in the Metro Final.

Tattoo Artist was voted Canada’s Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year. The son of Hes Watching was a winner of eight of 17 starts and more than $666,000 last season with victories in five Ontario Sires Stakes events and a division of the Simcoe Stakes. One of his biggest efforts was a runner-up finish in the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup.

Last but certainly not least, Century Farroh took home two O’Brien Awards; one as Older Pacing Horse of the Year and the other as the Somebeachsomewhere Horse of The Year. Competing as a four-year-old, the son of Mach Three scored 12 top-three finishes in 16 starts and accrued more than $637,000 in earnings in 2020. His stakes victories included the Breeders Crown and the Dan Patch, both at Hoosier Park.

Many people in the industry were surprised when Moore – despite being involved with a number of finalists and ultimately four winners – failed to be nominated as a finalist in the Trainer of the Year category. Moore, however, was quick to show class and good sportsmanship by praising the eventual winner while taking pride in what his horses accomplished.

“No, not at all. Richard Moreau has been the perennial dash winner and money earner in Canada, and he fully deserves it,” claimed Moore when asked if he was jilted by the snub in the Trainer of the Year category despite his incredible season. “Like I said, I’m very honoured our horses got recognized by being nominated and if they happen to win – which they did – then that’s fantastic. Individual awards for me aren’t something I look to. If I get one, I’m going to be honoured and humbled by it. It’s not something I strive to do at the start of the year, let’s put it that way.

“The expectations are simple for me,” added Moore. “I’m very happy that the horses get recognized by getting nominated. And if they happen to pick up an award in the meantime then it’s just a bonus to me. The topping on the cake, if you like, to what’s been a wonderful season for us.”

Moore had confidence in his finalists, though he admits the Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year category was wide-open.

“I wasn’t sure about Lawless Shadow because Jack Darling’s colt finished up the season very strong,” said Moore. “But it was a win-win situation for me because they’re both Shadow Play colts. I always like to see his offspring do well.”

Moore, who is based in Florida with his deep roster, admits he has a blueprint he likes to follow each season with his youngsters, and it’s an approach that has worked wonders for he and his team.

“No matter where you train it all comes down to management,” said Moore. “You may end up going to fast too soon or too far too often with a young horse because the track is always good, the weather is usually good and the sun is shining and everyone is out there rolling them. I try to stick to how I would do things up north when I’m down here. I’ve done that for the last 11 years.

“Typically speaking, the rest of the training centre -- except maybe for Carter Pinske -- is ahead of me in terms of times,” added Moore. “I just got the watches out last Friday for the first time. That’s the way it always is. If they’re going to be any good I guess it works out anyway. The clay track with no caulks on is an advantage which makes shoeing cheaper down here and you only need to do them once a month.”

Years of expertise as both a veterinarian and a world class horseman puts Moore in a unique category. And the combination of skills has helped him achieve success in the sport that others can only dream of.

“I strive to train all of my horses so they will reach their full genetic potential. And to let my partners and owners see what they have and then make some viable decisions on what we’re going to do with them moving forward,” admitted Moore. “One of the most gratifying things for me is when we take a baby from a yearling sale and make them into a racehorse. When they go out and win that first race no matter how fast it is -- 1:51 or 2:00 -- it’s a wonderful feeling for me and I enjoy that part of it very much.”

The full COSA TV segment with Dr. Ian Moore, who also provides updates and recollections of his award-winning horses, is posted below:

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