"It's a tremendous honour. This is three times we've got this. It's rare in the big scheme to win that thing three times and she's been special."
Trainer Don Beatson's P.E.I.-bred fan favourite So Much More continues to hold her own against Canada's top older pacing mares and took home divisional honours for the third time in her career, receiving an exceptional Island ovation when her named was announced at the 2023 O'Brien Awards on Saturday, Feb. 3 in Charlottetown.
"It was quite exciting. Ever since we heard it was going to be here [in P.E.I.], we said well maybe we've got a chance to go there and... it upped the level a bit," said the 82-year-old Ontario horseman of the local crowd's appreciation for the Big Jim-Ladysai mare.
"It meant as much to us. It's hard to do, to win one of those things. We were so excited everytime."
So Much More had 13 victories and 10 other top three finishes from 33 starts during her seven-year-old campaign in 2023, marking her fifth consecutive season with a double-digit win count. ‘Canada’s Pacing Queen’ competed against both the boys and girls again this past year and was able to conquer the boys on multiple occasions. Other notable achievements for So Much More consisted of a win in the Forest City Pace at The Raceway at Western Fair District as well as eight Fillies & Mares Preferreds at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Beatson trainee added $357,992 to her million-dollar bankroll while taking a new lifetime mark of 1:49.1.
Beatson commented on So Much More's endurance and longevity and spoke about sharing her success with his family and co-owners, son Kenn Beatson and grandson Cole England, as well as breeder Doug MacPhee and driver James MacDonald in an interview with Standardbred Canada's John Rallis and Jeff Porchak. The post-O'Brien Awards interview, sponsored by Horse Racing Alberta, appears below.
(Editor's Note: For the record, 'Team Sophie' was in fact impacted by the snow. With flights cancelled over the weekend and a number of O'Brien Awards attendees bumped into the later part of this week, Beatson and Co. drove home to Ontario on Monday afternoon.)