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A Lesson In Adversity And Perseverance

Published: February 8, 2020 6:15 pm ET

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Chantal Mitchell certainly won't forget her first O'Brien Awards experience any time soon.

Mitchell is the trainer of Alicorn, the pint-sized powerhouse that garnered divisional honours as Canada's Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly for 2019 and propelled Mitchell to her first O'Brien Award win. The voyage to the O'Brien Awards' stage comes just four years after Mitchell's stable was devastated and decimated by the Classy Lane barn fire.

"I was just shaking," Mitchell told SC's Rachel Oenema of hearing Alicorn's name announced as the O'Brien Award winner on February 1. "I was just nervous and shaking, and excited that she got the recognition she deserved."

Alicorn was voted the winner of her division following a stellar season which saw her record four Ontario Sires Stakes victories and 11 top-three finishes in her 13-race campaign. The daughter of Bettors Delight scored her richest payday with a runner-up finish in the Shes A Great Lady, and her richest victory was in the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final. She scored her season’s mark of 1:50.3 in an OSS event at Woodbine Mohawk Park and then repeated that time in an elimination of the Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk.

According to Mitchell, there's a good chance of seeing Alicorn make more Grand Circuit appearances in 2020.

"We haven't discussed the stakes schedule yet but I'm sure there will be a few stateside races," noted Mitchell. "There are a lot of good races right here in Canada but we'll see how it works out."

The full interview with Mitchell and Oenema is available below.

This is the fifth in a series of post-event video interviews with O'Brien Award finalists, sponsored by Horse Racing Alberta.

On Saturday, February 1, Standardbred Canada announced the winners for the 2019 O’Brien Award at the 31st edition of the annual O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala held at the Hilton Mississauga / Meadowvale hotel in Mississauga, Ont. The O’Brien Awards honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season and are named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The event was covered live on the SC website. The official list of winners is available here, with the official voting results available here.

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