Wonder Gadot Named Canada’s Horse of the Year
Gary Barber’s Wonder Gadot took home Canadian Horse of the Year honors and the award for champion 3-year-old filly April 18 when The Jockey Club of Canada hosted its 44th annual Sovereign Awards ceremony at Vaughan’s Chateau Le Jardin.
Bred in Ontario by Anderson Farms out of the Vindication mare Loving Vindication, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro won the first two jewels in the Canadian Triple Crown in 2018. She took the Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine, becoming just the ninth filly to win that race since its first running at Woodbine in 1956, then won the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, the sixth female to achieve that accomplishment.
The Mark Casse trainee had a 2-4-3 record in 2018 with earnings of US$1,179,488 from 11 starts. Her career mark stands at 5-5-4 from 18 starts, with earnings of $1,524,861. She was a $325,000 purchase by TM Investments from Eisaman Equine’s consignment to the 2017 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training after Eisaman pinhooked her from the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $80,000.
Casse, a 10-time Sovereign Award winner, was named outstanding trainer of 2018. With 517 starts in Canada alone, his starters won 106 races, 22 of them in stakes events, for earnings of $5,812,969. Casse had another blockbuster season and completed his sweep of the Canadian Triple Crown when Neepawa won the final leg, the Breeders’ Stakes. Also among Casse’s stakes winners in 2018 was Shamrock Rose, the winner of the La Lorgnette Stakes who went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1).
Robert and Mark Krembil’s Chiefswood Stables, which campaigned Neepawa, was named outstanding owner. Winner of this award in 2017, Chiefswood enjoyed its most successful season. Surpassing its 2017 purse earnings by over $300,000, with six stakes wins, it finished on top of the owner’s standings at Woodbine by earnings. Chiefswood’s five stakes winners—Bold Script, Neepawa, Niigon’s Eclipse, Yorkton, and Tiz a Slam—were among the nominees for Sovereign Awards.
Ivan Dalos, owner of Tall Oaks Farm, took home outstanding breeder honors. Tall Oaks enjoyed a stellar season with nine stakes horses, five of whom were Sovereign Award finalists. Dalos bred two grade 1 winners in 2018: Channel Maker, winner of the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes (G1T), and Johnny Bear, the winner of the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (G1T). Tall Oaks also campaigned homebreds Avie’s Flatter, Avie’s Mineshaft, and Gamble’s Ghost in 2018.
The award for outstanding broodmare went to the Horse Chestnut daughter In Return, the dam of Channel Maker and Johnny Bear.
Taking home champion older male and champion turf horse honors was Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry’s homebred Mr Havercamp, who won the Autumn Stakes (G2T), Play the King Stakes (G2T), and Steady Growth Stakes in 2018. The Court Vision gelding is trained by Catherine Day Phillips.
Escape Clause was named champion older female on the merits of her 9-1-2 record in 13 starts. Trained by Don Schnell and owned by Schnell in partnership with Barry Arnason and True North, the daughter of Going Commando won the Kathryn Crosby Stakes and City of Edmonton Distaff Handicap.
Blue Heaven Farm’s Starship Jubilee, by Indy Wind, took home champion female turf horse honors. She won the Canadian Stakes Presented by the Japan Racing Association (G2T) and the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Stakes for trainer Kevin Attard.
Avie’s Flatter, the Flatter winner of the Coronation Futurity and Cup and Saucer Stakes for trainer Josie Carroll and Dalos, was named champion 2-year-old male, and Chiefswood’s Bold Script, by Speightstown , was named champion 2-year-old female after winning the Princess Elizabeth Stakes for trainer Stuart Simon.
Pink Lloyd defended his champion male sprinter title for Entourage Stable and trainer Robert P. Tiller. The son of Old Forester won the OLG Kenora Stakes Presented by HBPA of Ontario, Vigil Stakes (G3), Achievement Stakes, New Providence Stakes, and Jacques Cartier Stakes in 2018.
Champion female sprinter was Moonlit Promise, the Malibu Moon mare trained by Carroll who won the Bessarabian Stakes (G2) and the Sweet Briar Too Stakes for Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings (John Sikura) and Windsor Boys Racing.
Champion 3-year-old male was the Robertino Diodoro-trained Sky Promise, the Sky Mesa colt who took the British Columbia Derby (G3), Canadian Derby (G3), and Manitoba Derby for owners Rick Wiest, Clayton Wiest, R 6 Stable, and Norman Tremblay.
Eurico Rosa da Silva was named outstanding jockey, and Kazushi Kimura was presented with the outstanding apprentice jockey award.
The E. P. Taylor Award of Merit was presented to Canadian Hall of Famers Gustav Schickedanz and the late William D. Graham.
In the media categories, Horse Racing Radio Network won the outstanding digital audio/visual & broadcast award for its broadcast of the 159th Queen’s Plate; Santino Di Paola was awarded for the outstanding photograph “Into the Turn,” which was published on Ontarioracing.com; and Hayley Morrison won the outstanding writing award for her Canadian Thoroughbred Magazine piece “Hail to the War Horses.”
The inaugural Jockey Club of Canada Scholarship Award at the School of Media Studies and Information Technology, Humber Institute of Advanced Technology and Advanced Learning was presented to Bobby Mihalik.
The outstanding groom award was presented to Amanda Erwin, who works for trainer Mike Keogh. The outstanding handicapper award was given to Nick Noce.