Thursday, January 20, 2011

Photo Essay: The 2010 Sovereign Award Nominees

I admit to giving a little cheer when the press release announcing the nominees for the 2010 Sovereign Awards popped up in my inbox and I found my name in the mix for Feature Story. It's my second nomination and an absolute thrill. However, as I scanned the list of nominees across the categories, I soon found myself cheering for a host of other folks as memories of the 2010 campaign came flooding back.

One of my favourite memories of the season was Essence Hit Man's blazing second place finish at Saratoga in the Amsterdam - - no doubt the Cappuccitti's will be well pleased to see their speedy fellow nominated for Champion Male Sprinter against Hollywood Hit and Smokey Fire.

Essence Hit Man snipes another victory

It was quite a year for Barn 25 on the Woodbine backstretch, which is shared by trainers Nick & Martha Gonzalez and the technically savvy conditioner Carolyn Costigan . Champion Three Year-Old Filly nominee Roan Inish scored in the Woodbine Oaks for Costigan and, a few short weeks later, the Gonzalez trained Champion Three Year-Old Male nominee, Big Red Mike was running his eyeballs out (thank you Dan Loiselle) to win one of the best races of the year featuring my favourite race call of the year.

He's running his eyeballs out!! Big Red Mike wins the Queen's Plate

Trainer Roger Attfield bossed the winner of the Champion Turf Female category as he pulled the strings for all three nominees - - Miss Keller, Mekong Melody and Perfect Shirl. That's quite a feat from the veteran conditioner who had great success at The Spa and allowed me a chance to pen a story for The Saratogian, Canadian horses shipped from Woodbine doing well at Saratoga Race Course this year.

Roger Attfield makes a few last-minute adjustments on Miss Keller

The more I perused the nominees, the more I became aware of just how much time I spent strolling the Woodbine backstretch and paddock in 2010, and just how many of the nominees I was fortunate enough to spend some time with. Below is the full list of nominees, with photos and links to stories or posts I've written in the past year. Congratulations to all the nominees!

The 2010 Sovereign Award Finalists, listed alphabetically in each category, are:

Champion Two-Year-Old Filly:
Delightful Mary
Roxy Gap
Wyomia - Woodbine to BC 2010: Wyomia Going For Gold in Juvenile Fillies Turf

The imposing Wyomia

Champion Two-Year-Old Male:
Blue Laser
Madman Diaries - Woodbine to BC 2010: Madman Diaries Seeks Omnisurface Status in Juvenile Turf
Rockin Heat

Madman Diaries gave us plenty to write about

(Wendy Wooley/EquiSport)

Champion Three-Year-Old Filly:
Biofuel - Photo Essay: Biofuel Blasts To Victory in the La Lorgnette
Free Fee Lady
Roan Inish - Woodbine Oaks: A Thrilling Finish for Roan Inish

The beautiful Biofuel

Champion Three-Year-Old Male:
Big Red Mike - Photo Essay: Big Red Mike's Royal Romp to the Queen's Plate
Hotep - Queen's Plate Profiler: Hotep Leads Sam-Son Triple Threat
No Hesitation

Hotep hustling to the winners circle

Champion Older Female: (2011 resolution - spend more time in the company of older females. I missed the boat here.)
Hooh Why
Impossible Time
Simply Splendid

Hooh Why won the 2009 Ashland Stakes

Champion Older Male:
Sand Cove
Southdale - Drosselmeyer Upsets The Belmont; Southdale Scores At Woodbine
Stunning Stag

Sand Cove on opening day at Woodbine in 2010

Champion Turf Female:
Mekong Melody (IRE)
Miss Keller (IRE)
Perfect Shirl - O Canada! Lake George Trifecta Keyed By Roger Attfield's Perfect Shirl

Miss Keller and crew

Champion Turf Male:
Grand Adventure - Woodbine Mile: A Closer Look at Grand Adventure
Rahy's Attorney - Photo Essay: Breeders' Stakes Selections; Backstretch Buzz and Rahy's Attorney Wins the With Approval Stakes
Windward Islands -

Rahy's Attorney gave groom Aline plenty of reasons to smile in 2010

Champion Female Sprinter:
Hooh Why
Indian Apple Is - Photo Essay: Searching the backstretch for a Queen's Plate horse (This post includes an interview with Bob Tiller and nice words about Indian Apple Is.)
Sugar Again

Indian Apple Is'nt a Colt

Champion Male Sprinter:
Essence Hit Man - Queen's Plate Profiler: Big Red Mike, Essence Hit Man and Joey's Best
Hollywood Hit - Photo Essay: Fatal Bullet v Hollywood Hit at Woodbine 3:31PM Post!
Smokey Fire - Photo Essay: Gierkink Picks Four as Smokey Fire Sizzles in Woodbine's Play The King

Terry Jordan's lethal weapon - Hollywood Hit

Outstanding Broodmare:
Enchanted Spell
Eye of the Sphynx

Eye of the Sphynx wins the 2004 Woodbine Oaks

Outstanding Breeder:
Adena Springs
Eugene Melnyk
Sam-Son Farm

Eugene Melnyk was a smiling presence at the 2009 Sovereign Awards

Outstanding Owner:
Bear Stables Ltd.
Melnyk Racing Stables Inc.
Sam-Son Farms

Danny Dion (Bear Stables) laughs at my hair while running for the fire escape

Outstanding Trainer:
Roger Attfield - So long, Snoopy: Remembering With Approval
Reade Baker
Mark Casse

The dapper Reade Baker surveys the track

Outstanding Apprentice Jockey:
Brian Cheyne
Omar Moreno
Ryan Pacheco - Photo Essay: Great Friday! Grazettes Landing Wins the Woodbine Debut Stakes

Orange you glad I used this photo, Ryan?

Outstanding Jockey:
Eurico Rosa Da Silva - "Good Love To Everybody" - Woodbine Jockey Steps Up For LongRun
Patrick Husbands
Chantal Sutherland

Chantal and Windward Islands

Outstanding Newspaper Story: Click the link to read the story!
Perry Lefko, Memories of the King of Claiming, Down The Stretch Newspaper, December 17, 2010
Jennifer Morrison, Da Silva will have crowd on his side at Prince of Wales, Toronto Star, July 23, 2010
Beverley Smith, Silky Smooth, Not Without the Colour Man, The Globe and Mail, August 17, 2010

Jennifer Morrison helps out a puzzled Woodbine patron

Outstanding Feature Story: Click the link to read the story!

Perry Lefko, Horse Hugs, Down The Stretch Newspaper, December 17, 2010
Keith McCalmont, Julia Brimo: I'm coming back to ride, Down The Stretch Newspaper, January 2010
Jennifer Morrison, Mission Accomplished, The Blood Horse, January 6, 2010

One of these people just don't belong here...

Outstanding Photograph: Click the link to see the photo!
Terence Dulay, Hang on Big Red Mike, Canadian Thoroughbred, August/September 2010
Tod Marks, Miss Keller and her Bunny Canadian Thoroughbred, December 2010
Cindy Pierson Dulay, Catching Seeking The Title Canadian Thoroughbred, August/September 2010

A tip of the cap from Terence Dulay!

Outstanding Film/Video/Broadcast:
CBC Television Network Sports, 2010 Queen's Plate, CBC Sports, July 4, 2010
ESPN Inc., 2010 Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, ESPN2, October 16, 2010
Horse Racing Alberta and Whiteiron Productions, 81st Anniversary of the Canadian Derby, TSN, August 21, 2010

ESPN had Woodbine well covered in 2010

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Still need more? Check out my archived posts including Feature Stories and Photo Essays.

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