Cam Spade, an eight-year-old Carlsbad Cam gelding owned by Walter Walker of Inverness, captured 2008 Horse of the Year honours at Inverness Raceway on Saturday, April 18
Inverness Raceway honoured its top performers of the 2008 season at its annual awards banquet, which was attended by premier Rodney MacDonald, who presented the Horse of the Year award.
Campaigned by Redmond Doucet, Cam Spade won five of his 10 starts at the Cape Breton half-miler last year, including a track record 1:55.3 victory.
The premier received a standing ovation when he told the audience he believed government support for the harness racing industry was “a solid investment” for the area.
“Inverness Raceway in an important fabric of the community and plays a major role in our agriculture and tourism sector,” said the premier, whose Progressive Conservative minority government has helped finance a $600,000 new 60-stall barn nearing completion in the backstretch. The new facility is schedule to open shortly after the 2009 season opens in late May.
Keynote speaker Doug Harkness, editor of the Atlantic Post Calls and a member of the Nova Scotia Harness Racing Industry Association, praised the premier for the government’s assistance while noting the impact Inverness area horsemen have made to the racing game.
Abbey Best, who set a track record for aged pacing mares with a 1:57 victory for trainer Angus MacLean of Port Hood, was honoured as Aged Pacing Mare. The seven-year-old Cambest matron ended her season with a 1:55.4 victory at Charlottetown and was among the top Open mares in the Maritimes. MacLean, top trainer with a .512 average, also trained JGs Traveller, the two-year-old pacing colt of the year.
Atlantic Sires Stakes three-year-old colt champion Kaptain N Keiths received the outstanding achievement award. The locally-bred son of Mantwo was bred and campaigned by Redmond Doucet, who tied for top honours in the driving ranks with Ryan Campbell, both with .363 averages.
Kaptain N Keiths and Russell Copley’s Victory George tied for three-year-old pacing colt honours.
Inverness Raceway honoured Jim Copley and Russell Copley for their contribution, while Mary MacQuarrie received the inaugural Raymond 'Slim' Gillis Memorial Award for dedication to the sport. Gillis was a former track manager at Inverness, who died in a traffic accident in Ontario two years ago.
Other award winners were:
Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year
• Deep Finesse
• owned by Phil Pinkney of Truro
Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year
• Boisdale Banshee
• owned by Joe Janega of Port Hawkesbury.
Three-Year-Old Trotter of the Year
• Super S Crosby
• owned by Clare MacDonald of Antigonish and Morah Kerr of Truro
Claimer of the Year
• Dawnbrea Echo,
• Owned by Ross MacInnis
Most Improved Horse
• Mach My Day
• Owned by Hugh MacEachern
Standardbred Canada Owners of the Year
• Anthony and Louis Beaton
(With files from Atlantic Post Calls)