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Northside Announces 2020 Awards

Published: March 29, 2021 1:44 pm ET

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On Thursday (March 25), Northside Downs released the winners for its year-end awards from the 2020 harness racing season.

Runaway Mystery took the top honour as Northside Downs’ Horse of the Year. A winner in nine of 22 starts, the seven-year-old Mister Big gelding won numerous times at the top of the condition sheet and also took home the hardware in the J. A. Ferguson Memorial, where he paced the season’s quickest mile—a 1:56.1 clocking. Harold LeBlanc trains the winner of $9,934 last season for owners Harold LeBlanc Jr., Melvin Augustus Burns, Joel Le Blanc and Fred Burns.

Sweet City Girl earned the title for 2020 Mare of the Year. The five-year-old Dali mare started her season with a three-race win streak in Ontario, and continued to campaign in the province until shipping into the John Hawco barn by late August. In Atlantic Canada, the mare won on three occasions, one of which came in the $3,000 Governor’s Cup Consolation. She earned just under $4,000 in her abbreviated east coast campaign.

The Iron Horse Award went to Southwind Ricardo, another horse from the Harold LeBlanc Jr. barn. An eight-year-old gelding by Dragon Again, Southwind Ricardo won nine times from 23 starts including two victories in Nova Scotia Governor’s Cup prelims before finishing second in the $5,000 final. The gelding, whose nine victories ties him for most wins on the meet with Runaway Mystery, equaled the meet’s fastest mile on Oct. 31 in a Governor’s Cup prelim. With $8,743 banked last year, Southwind Ricardo races for Joel LeBlanc, Harold LeBlanc, William Seymour and Bernie Gillis.

Northside Downs’ Most Improved Horse Award went to The Captain Jack. The seven-year-old Newfoundland homebred for Paul McDonald started his year late, debuting in late July. Starting low on the class ladder, the Joseph Poirier trainee gradually ascended on the condition sheet, reaching the class just below the top level by the end of the meet.

Greg Sparling earned the title of the meet’s top driver, with 22 wins from 95 starts. Sparling, with his .358 UDRS, also won the Joe and Wilson Collins Award.

Kevin Bailey and Harold LeBlanc Jr. garnered the meet’s top trainer award, with Bailey collecting the most wins of any trainer on the meet (14) and LeBlanc Jr. capping the meet with a UTRS of .328 from over 40 starts.

See below all the honourees from Northside Downs’ 2020 season:

  • Horse of the Year: Runaway Mystery
  • Mare of the Year: Sweet City Girl
  • Iron Horse Award: Southwind Ricardo
  • Most Improved Horse: The Captain Jack
  • Top Two-Year-Old Colt: Hotlikewasabi
  • Top Two-Year-Old Filly: Elm Grove Penelope
  • Top Three-Year-Old Colt: Johnnie Jack
  • Top Three-Year-Old Filly: Kiss Me Im Irish
  • Gerald Kennedy Financial Solutions Dedication to Harness Racing Award: Paul Morrison
  • President’s Award: Laurie Ann Turner
  • Top Driver with 60-Plus Starts: Greg Sparling, .358 UDRS
  • Top Driver with 35-59 Starts: Randy Getto, .490 UDRS
  • Top Driver with 15-34 Starts: Barry Bates, .337 UDRS
  • Top Trainer with 40-Plus Starts: Harold LeBlanc Jr., .328 UTRS
  • Top Trainer with 25-39 Starts: Robert Blanchard, .556 UTRS
  • Top Trainer with 10-24 Starts: Travis Campbell, .710 UTRS

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