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O’Brien Awards Red Carpet Hosts Revealed

2023 O'Brien Awrads Red Carpet hosts announced
 Published: January 24, 2024 05:30 pm EST

Standardbred Canada (SC) is pleased to announce that Natasha Day and John Rallis will co-host the Red Carpet Show for the 35th O’Brien Awards on Saturday, Feb. 3 in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

The 2023 Red Carpet Show, sponsored by Grand River Raceway, will be streamed live on the Standardbred Canada website and SC’s Facebook page, starting at 5:30 p.m. (AST) / 4:30 p.m. (EST). The show will feature a variety of special guests including many of this year’s finalists.

Natasha Day, Canada’s top female driver of 2023 will join Rallis as a first-time Red Carpet co-host. With over 400 wins and an impressive $2.6 million in career earnings, Day visited the winner’s circle in some of 2023’s competitive events when she claimed the Women’s Driving Challenge title on Harness the Hope Night and was part of the winning team in the Drivers’ Holiday Challenge at The Raceway at Western Fair District.

John Rallis, Associate Editor of TROT Magazine at Standardbred Canada and 2023 broadcaster at Woodbine Mohawk Park, is set to co-host the prestigious 35th O’Brien Awards for the first time. In addition to his  role at TROT, Rallis has also made notable broadcast appearances at Meadowlands Racetrack in 2023.

SC checked in with Day and Rallis to talk about the 35th O’Brien Awards:

As a Red Carpet host for the 35th O’Brien Awards, what are you most excited about?

JR: This is the second time I’ll be attending the O’Brien Awards and the first time I’ll be hosting the Red Carpet, which is, of course, a tremendous honour. Honestly, for me, it’s going to be really nice to see everyone all dressed up, enjoying a weekend away from the races to celebrate their horses and their seasonal accomplishments. I’ve only been in this industry for just over a year now and I’ve seen first-hand just how hard people work, and to be a finalist is a tremendous honour for them, I bet. Also, we don’t hear from the participants as much as people would like to, so I think it’ll be really nice to see them in a different element that evening, which will be exciting. I just wish I didn’t have to forgo cocktail hour. (Just kidding!)

ND: It would have to be celebrating and acknowledging the endless high-class talented horses, trainers, owners, grooms that Canadian racing has. Also seeing everyone dressed up and looking spiffy out of their usual work clothes and driving suits. It’s like a masquerade ball without the masks. Some go from Batman to Bruce Wayne in a good suit!

What makes your co-host such a great fit for this role? 

JR: I’ve only interacted with Natasha a few times, but it doesn’t take long to notice how vibrant her personality is. In addition to that, Natasha has a great sense of humour and seems very confident — which are traits that will translate very well to hosting a Red Carpet show. I’m very excited to work alongside her, we’re going to have a blast.

ND: John has plenty of media experience. I have minimal. It’s going to be the Lucy And Desi show. But in all seriousness, he has great knowledge of the industry and a fun presence about him. Looking forward to it.

How does hosting the awards in Joe O’Brien’s hometown hold significance for you? 

JR: With it being the 35th anniversary of celebrating the best in Canadian harness racing, I think the fact that it will be hosted in Joe O’Brien’s hometown (in this particular year, especially) is significant. Honestly, all you ever hear about from harness racing fans across Canada and North America is just how amazing the horse racing community and the people in P.E.I are. Their passion for the sport is immeasurable, and to showcase a weekend such as the O’Brien Awards in that city will definitely be cherished by many.

ND: Love P.E.I. and I think it’s a wonderful idea to host it here to commemorate such a great man who is apart of harness racing history. And learn a little bit more about him. I may never win one of those heads but just to be apart of hosting it will be a career highlight. And I’m not from Canada and even I want to aim for one of those great accolades. It holds such a great esteem.

Standardbred Canada will present the 35th edition of the O’Brien Awards on Saturday, Feb. 3 at the Delta by Marriott Prince Edward in Charlottetown, P.E.I. Today (Wednesday, Jan. 24) is the last day to purchase O’Brien Award tickets. Tickets, priced at $150 + HST, can be ordered by reaching out to Jade Regina at jregina@standardbredcanada.ca or 905-858-3060 x 207.

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