Finalists Announced For 2011 Media Excellence Awards

Published: January 4, 2012 10:41 am EST

Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2011 Media Excellence Awards. The Media Excellence Awards program is aimed at honouring those who have, through one piece of exceptional work, covered Canadian harness racing in a manner that is extraordinary and of broad national appeal

. 2011 marks the fourth year for this program.

The finalists in the Outstanding Written Work category are Lauren Lee, assistant editor at The Canadian Sportsman, and Rob Longley, sports columnist for the Toronto Sun.

The Woodbine Entertainment Group and the Obya Entertainment Group are the two finalists in the Broadcast category.

Two veteran standardbred photographers, Claus Andersen and Clive Cohen, are the finalists in the Outstanding Photography category.


'All Hail The Pail,' written by Lauren Lee and published in the August 5, 2011 edition of The Canadian Sportsman, tells the story of San Pail and the impact he’s made on trainer and co-owner Rod Hughes’ life and family. This marks the second time that Lee has been a finalist for a Media Excellence Award.

'Why I Left,' written by Rob Longley and published in the September 2011 issue of Trot Magazine, is a feature that recounts Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren’s battle with cancer. Longley, a resident of Burlington, Ont., is a regular contributor to Trot Magazine.


The Woodbine Entertainment Group’s live coverage of the 2011 Metro Pace and Canadian Pacing Derby aired as a special presentation on The Score Television Network on Saturday, September 3 from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Greg Lanzo produced the two-hour special. Lanzo and the Woodbine Entertainment Group were winners in this category last year.

The Obya Entertainment Group’s trailer of 'Unharnessed - Behind The Scenes,' a TV show produced by Allan Pootoolal, a long-time harness horse owner, and driver Randy Waples debuted in March, 2011. The first full-length episode of this television and internet harness racing show premiered in May, 2011.

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Claus Andersen’s photograph, taken from a sulky at The Raceway at the Western Fair District, was published in the May 17, 2011 edition of The Canadian Sportsman. Andersen, who resides in London, Ont. and is a regular contributor to 'The Sportsman,' won a Media Excellence Award in this category in 2009.

Clive Cohen of Thornhill, Ont., resident track photographer for the Woodbine Entertainment Circuit, is a first-time finalist for a Media Excellence Award. Cohen’s shot of a wintry night at Woodbine Racetrack was published in the February, 2011 edition of The Canadian Sportsman.

The six finalists were the top two point earners in their respective categories, scored by a panel of esteemed judges.

Standardbred Canada would like to extend their thanks and appreciation to all of the judges.

Judges in the Outstanding Written Work category included Charles Leerhsen, former editor at Sports Illustrated, People and US Weekly. Leerhsen penned the highly acclaimed 'Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America,' and most recently published 'Blood and Smoke: A True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem and the Birth of the Indy 500.'

Dave Perkins, long-time Toronto Star sports columnist and one of Canada’s top sports writers, was also a judge in the Written Work category, along with Michelle Staples, author and horse safety specialist.

Veteran broadcaster Al Craig, currently the colour commentator for the Hamilton Bulldogs, Andrea Hartling, reporter for CP24 News, and Dave Rutherford, former executive producer of The Fight Network, were the judges for the Broadcast category.

Skip Dickstein, a past Eclipse Award winner and staff photographer at the Albany Times Union, Barbara Sheridan, an award-winning freelance writer and photographer and former associate editor of Horse Care Magazine, and Setareh Sarmad, associate photo editor at The Score Magazine, scored the submissions for the Outstanding Photography category.

The winners will be announced and presented with their unique trophies at the annual O’Brien Awards gala on Saturday, January 28, 2012 at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel.

For more information on the O'Brien Awards, click here.

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