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ASHA Awards Preview

Published: February 7, 2013 11:22 pm ET

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Some of the players chime in on the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association’s 2012 Awards, which will be held this Saturday in Edmonton at Northlands Park.

Kelly Hoerdt

Kelly Hoerdt, after just returning from the O'Brien Awards, is looking forward to this Saturday's Alberta Standardbred Horse Association Awards. "The O'Brien's were such a great experience," said Hoerdt. "The 'black-tie' affair was very classy. It would be like the Oscar Awards for harness racing. We had so much fun!"

Hoerdt was runner-up for the O'Brien Award of Horsemanship, which recognizes the standardbred participant who best exemplifies the standard of horsemanship demonstrated by Joe O'Brien. Nominees are persons involved in more than one aspect of the industry and can be trainers, drivers, owners or breeders.

"I'd like to thank Horse Racing Alberta, Northlands Park and ASHA for their well-wishes and support on my trip to the O'Brien's," added Hoerdt. "Family and friends were behind me, all the way, as well. The whole experience was truly special."

Hoerdt and some of his trainees are nominated in multiple categories for this Saturday's ASHA's.

"I'm hoping River Lass can win the Aged Mares category," he says. "She was doing it all and doing it well until she was chased from the province in mid-summer."

River Lass won 11 of her first 16 starts in 2012 - all at the Open Mares level - before that class would stop filling at Alberta Downs. She was just too good for them there. No one wanted any part of her, so she was forced to ship to BC.

"The colt (Premium Attaction) is in with a huge shot for the' 2YO AB' Award and for the '3YO AB' boys... I like Cowboy Caper to win it, but Outlaw Beacon will likely get that," commented Hoerdt. "Beacon won the Super Final, where Caper had broken equipment. That could be the difference right there."

On being nominated for each of the Driver, Trainer and Horseman of the Year Awards... "I'm not going to guess on those Awards," he says. "They're too close to call and I'm just happy to be there."

Doug Stout

Veteran trainer Doug Stout is coming off a career year for purse money earned ($315,552) and is nominated in the 'Trainer Under 200 Starts' category.

"If I happen to get lucky, and win, I'll owe it all to Slick (Smooth Criminal) and Jessie (Blue Star Beauty)," he says. "Out of both the 3YO AB boys and girls divisions, I believe I have the right one's in my barn," he stated proudly.

"Smooth Criminal was the fastest (1:53) 3YO AB bred in the province last year. Outlaw Beacon and Cowboy Caper are nice horses too," he said. "The right three are up for the Award, that's for sure."

On Blue Star Beauty: "I feel she's the better one of the two," when comparing Beauty to her main competition, Credit Card Junkie, in the '3YO AB Filly class'. "One never knows how the voting will come out though."

Gerry Hudon

Patriot Dream would capture 'Horse of the Year' honours for Team Hudon in 2005 and now they're back with another solid play in Timberline Court.

"Timberline Court deserves to be nominated in the 'Aged Horse' category," explains Hudon. "Earning $70,000 is a great year, for any horse, in Alberta."

Big Bang Theory goes up against the likes of Hollywood Lenny and Outlaw I See Red for the 'Claimer Under $10,000' prize. "She's as good as any in there," he says. "She's been a 'true' claimer all along."

Kg Art Dreamer looks like a strong player in the 'Claimer Over $10,000' field. "Kg Art Dreamer is 'live' there," boasts Hudon. "He had a big year. He was a little off coming back to Edmonton in the Fall, but it was a long season for him. I'm liking his chances."

Hudon, like Hoerdt, is up for Driver, Trainer and Horseman of the Year honours as well. "Those awards could go any way and they should. All three (Jamie Gray, Hoerdt and Hudon) deserve to be there."

Lance Ward

One of the most highly anticipated categories, on Saturday, is the '3YO AB Colt/Gelding' grouping of Outlaw Beacon, Cowboy Caper and Smooth Criminal.

"Outlaw Beacon did win the Super Final," stated trainer Lance Ward. "If that wasn't enough he was also the highest earner ($98,315), of the three, last year too."

Ward agrees the right three nominees are there. "Smooth Criminal beat Beacon in the [$56,900] Marksman last summer and Cowboy Caper was third. To me it was one of the greatest horse races I've ever seen. It could have gone either way, and that's the way I see this Award going."

The full list of nominees is available below or here in PDF format.


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