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Watch the 45th annual Sovereign Awards

May 29, 2020

TORONTO, May 29, 2020 – The Jockey Club of Canada hosted the 45th Annual Sovereign Awards ceremony through a virtual presentation on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

The top three finalists in each category are determined by the online ballots of the Jockey Club of Canada’s knowledgeable voters.  The media category award finalists were determined by the Professors of Humber School of Media Studies and Information Technology, in Toronto.

The virtual presentation hosted by Woodbine’s Jason Portuondo and the complete list of winners can be viewed below.

Outstanding Photograph: Michael R. Bye

Cyclone Dan, Winner of the 3rd Race, J. Gomez up

Published on August 24 on

Outstanding Writing: Dave Briggs

Royal victory for the quintessential “small guy”

Published in the August/September 2019 issue of Canadian Thoroughbred Magazine

Outstanding Digital Audio/Visual & Broadcast: Woodbine Entertainment

The Queen’s Plate:

Outstanding Groom Award: Michael Williams

Well-known groom Michael Williams (Fuzzy) has worked with some of Woodbine’s top owners and trainers in Canada including Stronach Stables, Dan Vella and Mike Doyle.  Leaving his home in Jamaica early in the 1970s, Williams travelled to Canada to begin work as a machine operator.  His interest in horse racing led him to his first job at Woodbine Racetrack walking hots. Williams credits graded stakes winner Ask Muhammad, son of Al Hattab, as the horse who helped him to learn about racing.

Williams’ big smile and prominent hats are almost as famous as his successful horsemanship. His limitless patience and kindness resulted in many happy horses at Woodbine Racetrack.

Outstanding Handicapper: Paul Shurman

Paul Shurman hails from Dix Hills, New York and is a long-time member of the NHC Players’ Committee. He has been untiring in his efforts to work with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and racetracks throughout the continent to improve contest experiences for all and to boost the profiles of his fellow tournament players.

Shurman won the 2019 Saratoga Tournament, which netted him a $109,000 first-place prize, and he finished seventh in the year-long NHC tour. Additionally, Shurman leads in the NHC ranking system as the number one tournament player having qualified 17 times in its 21-year history and winning in 2011.

Special Sovereign Award: Harvey Warner

To say that Mr. Harvey Warner was a major player in the revival of Assiniboia Downs and horse racing in Winnipeg, Manitoba would not be an overstatement.

In 1994, privately owned Assiniboia Downs was in receivership and destined to close but a small group of concerned horsepeople, which included Mr. Warner, officially formed the Manitoba Jockey Club (MJC), mandated to attempt to purchase and host live racing. The group worked tirelessly, lobbying government officials and meeting with the track’s financiers. Mr. Warner became the voice of the MJC and eventually its president. He led the MJC to achieve its final goal and make Assiniboia Downs a not-for-profit entity.

Mr. Warner became immersed not just in owning horses but in the workings of racing in Manitoba, serving as president of the Winnipeg Horseman’s Club from 1982-85, and as a voice on the Manitoba Horse Council Board. He was a member of the Manitoba HBPA Board from 1989-1992 and is currently a Jockey Club of Canada Steward.

Outstanding Broodmare: Loving Vindication

DK. B. M. 2005

by Vindication – Chimichurri (Elusive Quality)

6 foals, 3 starters, 3 winners

1 Champion, 2 Graded Black-Type Winners, 1 Black-Type Winner

Progeny Earnings: $1,994,575

A finalist in this category multiple times, Anderson Farms’ Loving Vindication has become of one Canada’s most successful broodmares early in her career. From her three foals to race, Loving Vindication’s Grade 1 winning daughter Hard Not to Love won the La Brea Stakes and has won four of five starts. Loving Vindication had already etched her name in Canadian racing history books as the dam of 2018 Horse of the Year and Queen’s Plate winner Wonder Gadot, who earned more than $1.5 million for owner Gary Barber. Loving Vindication’s first foal is stakes winner Solemn Tribute.

Loving Vindication (135), Cumulonimble (63), Avie’s Empire (45)

Outstanding Apprentice Jockey: Kazushi Kimura

717 starts, 117 wins, 109 seconds, 99 thirds

Earnings: $3,742,671

Winner of the 2019 Eclipse Award for North America’s Outstanding Apprentice of 2019, Kazushi Kimura seeks his second consecutive Sovereign Award. Learning to ride at the Japan Racing School in Shiroi City, Chiba, Kimura burst onto the Canadian scene in 2018 winning 104 races, an achievement he surpassed in 2019. Before his apprenticeship ended on October 26, 2019, Kimura won 117 races and ended the season as a journeyman with an impressive 148 wins, landing as Woodbine’s third-leading rider.

Kazushi Kimura (182), Daisuke Fukumoto (91), Shavon Belle (27)

Champion Older Main Track Male: Pink Lloyd

Trainer: Robert P. Tiller

Owner:  Entourage Stable

Breeder: John Carey

Ch. g. 7 / Sire: Old Forester / Dam: Gladiator Queen (Great Gladiator)

2019: 6 starts – 6 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds – $501,000

Winner: Kennedy Road S. (G2), Kenora S., Shepperton S., Vigil S. (G3), Greenwood S., Jacques Cartier S. (G3)

Pink Lloyd (134), Mr. Ritz (85), Special Forces (52)

Champion Older Main Track Female: Here’s Hannah

Trainer: John Morrison

Owner:  B C Stables

Breeder: B C Stables

Ch. f. 4 / Sire: Numaany / Dam: Dreams Start Here (A Fleets Dancer)

2019: 6 starts – 5 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds – $215,000

Winner: Ballerina S. (G3), British Columbia Cup Distaff H., Monashee H., Strawberry Morn H., Vancouver Sun S.

Here’s Hannah (132), Lift Up (128), She’s the Berries (36)

Outstanding Trainer: Mark Casse

496 starts, 92 wins, 91 seconds, 69 thirds

Earnings: $5,122,598

Stakes wins: 12

An 11-time winner of this category, trainer Mark Casse has dominated Canadian racing over the past decade.  In 2019, Casse Racing once again led all trainers in purse earnings, collecting $5.1 million with 92 victories and 12 stakes wins in Canada.  Among his stakes winners was 2019 Sovereign Award finalists Muskoka Gold, winner of the Cup & Saucer Stakes, and She’s the Berries, winner of the Classy ‘n Smart S. Stakes winners Speedy Soul, Miss Mo Mentum and Power Gal (Jpn) also contributed to Casse’s success.

Mark Casse (142), Kevin Attard (108), Norman McKnight (31)

Champion Male Turf Horse: El Tormenta

Trainer: Gail Cox

Owner:  Sam-Son Farm

Breeder: Sam-Son Farm

Dk. b or b. g. 4 / Sire: Stormy Atlantic / Dam: Torreadora (El Prado*Ire)

2019: 7 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds – $941,828

Winner: Ricoh Woodbine Mile S. (G1), Connaught Cup S. (G2)

 El Tormenta (170), Tiz a Slam (78), Global Access (23)

Champion Female Turf Horse: Starship Jubilee

Trainer: Kevin Attard

Owner:  Blue Heaven Farm

Breeder: William P. Sorren

B. m. 6 / Sire: Indy Wind
/ Dam: Perfectly Wild (Forest Wildcat)

2019: 7 starts – 3 wins – 3 seconds – 1 third – $746,460

Winner: E. P. Taylor S. (G1), Canadian S. (G2), Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf S.

Starship Jubilee (170), Holy Helena (70), Amalfi Coast (35)

Outstanding Breeder: Sam-Son Farm

284 starts, 44 wins, 39 seconds, 36 thirds

Earnings: $3,238,854

A nine-time winner in this category, Sam-Son Farm had a spectacular year in 2019 winning 44 races and earning over $3.2 million in purses. Sam-Son was represented by seven stakes horses including 2019 Champion Male Turf finalist El Tormenta, winner of the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile S.; Desert Ride, winner of the 2019 Woodbine Oaks and a finalist in the Champion Three-Year-Old Female category; and Cleopatra’s Strike, bred by Sam-Son and owned by Slam Dunk Stable and Michael Nentwig, and winner of the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship.

Sam-Son Farm (121), Tall Oaks Farm (91), Chiefswood Stables Limited (55)

Champion Two-Year-Old Male: Mr. Hustle

Trainer: Roger L. Attfield

Owner:  William K. Werner

Breeder: V. Gail Ray

Dk. b or b. g. 2 / Sire: Declaration of War/ Dam: Ready Ready Ready (More Than Ready)

2019: 3 starts – 3 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds – $162,600

Winner: Soaring Free S., Victoria S., MSW

Mr. Hustle (122), Muskoka Gold (95), Dotted Line (64)

Champion Two-Year-Old Female: Curlin’s Voyage

Trainer: Josie Carroll

Owner: Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings Inc. (J. G. Sikura) and Windsor Boys Racing

Breeder: Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings Inc.

Ch. f. 2 / Sire: Curlin
/ Dam: Atlantic Voyage (Stormy Atlantic)

2019: 6 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 1 third – $265,120

Winner: Ontario Lassie S., Mazarine S. (G3), MSW

Curlin’s Voyage (115), Infinite Patience (100), Owlette (42)

Outstanding Jockey: Eurico Rosa Da Silva

746 starts, 183 wins, 156 seconds, 108 thirds

Earnings: $7,446,774

Stakes wins: 19

A six-time winner in this category, the Brazilian-born champion rider is up for another trophy just months after retiring from riding. In 2019, he captured 19 stakes victories including the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile S. aboard El Tormenta. Also, he was the regular rider of multiple stakes winner Pink Lloyd, who is a finalist again this evening, as well as, Amalfi Coast, a finalist in three 2019 Sovereign Award categories.

Eurico Rosa Da Silva (182), Rafael Hernandez (64), Patrick Husbands (32)

Champion Male Sprinter: Pink Lloyd

Trainer: Robert P. Tiller

Owner:  Entourage Stable

Breeder: John Carey

Ch. g. 7 / Sire: Old Forester / Dam: Gladiator Queen (Great Gladiator)

2019: 6 starts – 6 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds – $501,000

Winner: Kennedy Road S. (G2), Kenora S., Shepperton S., Vigil S. (G3), Greenwood S., Jacques Cartier S. (G3)

Pink Lloyd (180), Silent Poet (43), Yorkton (27)

Champion Female Sprinter: Summer Sunday

Trainer: Stuart Simon

Owner: Anne and William J. Scott

Breeder: Trinity West Stables LTD

B. f. 4 / Sire: Silent Name*Jpn / Dam: Dancing Allstar (Millennium Allstar)

2019: 6 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds – $317,550

Winner: Royal North S. (G2), Hendrie S. (G3), Ballade S.

Summer Sunday (152), Amalfi Coast (82), Here’s Hannah (23), Sister Peacock (23)

Outstanding Owner: Sam-Son Farm

81 starts, 13 wins, 12 seconds, 8 thirds

Earnings: $2,018,884

Stakes wins: 5

An 11-time winner of this category Sam-Son Farm had a spectacular season in 2019 winning five stakes races and collecting purse earnings of more than $2 million. Sam-Son Farm’s homebred stakes winners include El Tormenta, a finalist in the 2019 Champion Turf Male category and winner of the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile S. and the Grade 2 Connaught Cup; Desert Ride winner of two-thirds of the Triple Tiara and contender for 2019 Champion Three-Year-Old Female; as well as Zadracarta S. winner Desert Isle.

Sam-Son Farm (117), Chiefswood Stables Limited (115), Stronach Stables (25)

E. P. Taylor Award of Merit: Charles E. Fipke

Much like the passion he has for unearthing diamonds, Charles ‘Chuck’ Fipke has a similar obsession for finding the best pedigrees to make the perfect racehorse.

Born in Edmonton, Mr. Fipke grew up in Kelowna, B.C. and followed his horse passion when he bought a yearling filly. His stable of homebreds has since grown exponentially and now are seen regularly on the international racing stage.

Selecting the matings himself with help from mountains of statistics and a couple of close advisors, Mr. Fipke has bred dozens of major winners and champions including Perfect Soul (Ire), Canada’s Champion Turf Male in 2003 and the sire of Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Perfect Shirl; Not Bourbon gave Mr. Fipke his first Queen’s Plate win (2008) and is now a stallion; Forever Unbridled, also a Breeders’ Cup winner, earned over $3.4 million. He has bred and developed top stallions and his current stable includes Grade 1 winner Seeking the Soul.

Champion Three-Year-Old Male: Global Access

Trainer: Michael Trombetta

Owner:  Live Oak Plantation

Breeder: Live Oak Stud

Ch. c. 3 / Sire: Giant’s Causeway / Dam: Daveron*Ger (Black Sam Bellamy*Ire)

2019: 9 starts – 4 wins – 1 second – 3 thirds – $383,000

Winner: Ontario Derby (G3), Saranac S. (G3), Marine S. (G3), DRF Bet Sophomore Turf S.

Global Access (141), Tone Broke (125), Explode (40)

Champion Three-Year-Old Female: Desert Ride

Trainer: Neil J. Howard

Owner:  Sam-Son Farm

Breeder: Sam-Son Farm

B. f. 3 / Sire: Candy Ride*Arg / Dam: Fun in the Desert (Distorted Humor)

2019: 7 starts – 4 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds – $541,220

Winner: Wonder Where S., Woodbine Oaks, Allowance, MSW 

Desert Ride (133), Amalfi Coast (110), Hidden Grace (28)

Horse of The Year: Starship Jubilee

Trainer: Kevin Attard

Owner:  Blue Heaven Farm

Breeder: William P. Sorren

B. m. 6 / Sire: Indy Wind / Dam: Perfectly Wild (Forest Wildcat)

2019: 7 starts – 3 wins – 3 seconds – 1 third – $746,460

Winner: E. P. Taylor S. (G1), Canadian S. (G2), Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf S.

Starship Jubilee (108), Pink Lloyd (105), El Tormenta (53)

Starship Jubilee winning the 2019 E.P. Taylor Stakes (Grade 1) at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns Photo)

(With files from The Jockey Club of Canada)

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