(Voting totals included)

The accomplishments of some of Canadian racing’s top horses and horse people were celebrated on the evening of April 15 at the Virtual Sovereign Awards, the 46th awards night and second consecutive that had to be done online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jason Portuondo and the Woodbine Entertainment production team took viewers through a recap of the 2020 racing season in Canada and through the 22 awards with appearances by presenters and special speeches by Sam-Son Farms’ Rick Balaz and Mark and Kim Samuel when the farm was honoured with the Special Sovereign.

MIGHTY HEART was a unanimous choice for Champion Three-Year-Old Male and won HORSE OF THE YEAR by a vote count of 95 to 78 over PINK LLOYD, who won his fourth straight Champion Sprinter title.

Lawrence Cordes’ homebred son of Dramedy returned to Woodbine in the spring of 2020 after the first two career races at Fair Grounds in New Orleans where the colt raced erratically on dirt and grass.

He won his Woodbine debut, finished third in a key allowance race and then romped in the Queen’s Plate in near-record time. Trained to perfection by Josie Carroll, Mighty Heart went on to win the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie before tiring after a pace duel in the Breeders’ Stakes. He ended his season with a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Ontario Derby.

Mighty Heart makes his 2021 debut Saturday, April 17, at Keeneland.

PINK LLOYD won an unprecedented fourth straight Sprint title for Entourage Stable and trainer Robert Tiller. The gallant Old Forester gelding is back for racing in 2021. Pink Lloyd won three graded sprint stakes in 2020 but curiously was not a unanimous choice.

The third finalist for the Horse of the Year title was Stronach Stable’s Silent Poet, who was a finalist for Champion Sprinter and appeared to get a Horse of the Year vote.

CURLIN’S VOYAGE, now retired, eked out Champion Three-Year-Old Filly by 83 to 76 over Merveilleux. Curlin’s Voyage won the Woodbine Oaks and was coming off a 2019 season in which she was named Champion Two-Year-Old Filly.

The closest vote total was the 2 points that got American mare THEODORA B the Sovereign for Champion Turf Female, 90 to 88 over Sam-Son Farms’ Rideforthecause.

Sam-Son also collected a trophy for Champion Turf Male  SAY THE WORD. Former Sam-Son mare DANCEFORTHECAUSE, now owned by Gainesway, was named Outstanding Broodmare, a lifetime achievement award.

There was a mild upset in the Outstanding Trainer voting as MARK CASSE, Woodbine’s leading trainer, edged JOSIE CARROLL 120-100 points for his 10th straight and 13th Sovereign. With Carroll winning all three legs of the Triple Crown as well as the Woodbine Oaks, many thought she would collect the trophy.



B. C. 3, by Dramedy – Emma’s Bullseye (City Place)
Trainer: Josie Carroll
Owner: Lawrence Cordes
Breeder: Lawrence Cordes
2020: 8 Starts – 3 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third – $922,870
Winner: Prince of Wales S.
Queen’s Plate

Mighty Heart (95), Pink Lloyd (78), Silent Poet (30)

Champion Older Male Main Track –  SKYWIRE

G. 5, by Afleet Alex – Meandering Stream (Gone West)
Trainer: Mark E. Casse
Owner: Gary Barber and Lucio Tucci
Breeder: William D. Graham
2020: 8 Starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds – 0 thirds – $321,980
Winner: Autumn S. (G2)
Eclipse S (G2)

Skywire (116), Pink Lloyd (94), Mr. Ritz (24)

Champion Older Female Main Track – SOUPER ESCAPE

Dk. b or b F. 4, by Medaglia d’Oro – Cry and Catch Me (Street Cry*Ire)
Trainer: Michael J. Trombetta
Owner: Live Oak Plantation
Breeder: Live Oak Stud
2020: 7 Starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third – $200,950
Winner: Seaway S. (G3)
Trillium S. (G3)

Souper Escape (142), Painting (52), Summer Sunday (32)

Champion Three-Year-Old Male – MIGHTY HEART

B. C. 3, by Dramedy – Emma’s Bullseye (City Place)
Trainer: Josie Carroll
Owner: Lawrence Cordes
Breeder: Lawrence Cordes
2020: 8 Starts – 3 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third – $922,870
Winner: Prince of Wales S.
Queen’s Plate

Mighty Heart (149), Belichick (78), Shirl’s Speight (31)

Champion Three-Year-Old Female – CURLIN’S VOYAGE

CH. F. 3, by Curlin – Atlantic Voyage (Stormy Atlantic)
Trainer: Josie Carroll
Owner: Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings, Inc. (J. G. Sikura) and Windsor Boys Racing
Breeder: Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings, Inc.
2020: 6 Starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 1 third – $447,000
Winner: Fury S.
Woodbine Oaks

Curlin’s Voyage (83), Merveilleux (76), Artie’s Princess (72)

Outstanding Apprentice Jockey –  MAURICIO MALVAEZ

Starts 191; Wins 16; Seconds 27; Thirds 16
Earnings $210,888; Stakes Wins 1

Mauricio Malvaez (154), Nikki Alderson (60), Edgar Zenteno (59)

Outstanding Jockey – RAFAEL HERNANDEZ – 1st Sovereign Award

Starts 637; Wins 129; Seconds 99; Thirds 77
Earnings $5,463,126; Stakes Wins 17

Rafael Hernandez (145), Justin Stein (82), Patrick Husbands (13)

Outstanding Trainer – MARK CASSE – 1oth straight, 13th overall

Starts 482; Wins 93; Seconds 86; Thirds: 51
Earnings $5,385,935; Stakes Wins 17

Mark Casse (120), Josie Carroll (100), Kevin Attard (50)

Outstanding Male Sprinter – PINK LLOYD – 4th straight

Ch. G. 8, by Old Forester – Gladiator Queen (Great Gladiator)
Trainer: Robert P. Tiller
Owner: Entourage Stable
Breeder: John Carey
2020: 5 Starts – 4 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third – $357,600
Winner: Vigil S. (G3)
Bold Venture S. (G3)
Shepperton S.
Jacques Cartier S. (G3)

Pink Lloyd (142), Silent Poet (95), Not So Quiet (35)

Outstanding Female Sprinter – ARTIE’S PRINCESS

B. F. 3, by We Miss Artie – Stormkeeper (Stormy Atlantic)
Trainer: Wesley Ward
Owner: Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey
Breeder: Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey
2020: 4 Starts – 3 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds – $260,220
Winner: Bessarabian S. (G2)
Ruling Angel S.

Artie’s Princess (133), Lady Grace (45), Boardroom (38)

Special Sovereign Award – SAM-SON FARM

Mark Samuel – “The Sam-Son story stretches back over 50 years, far too many people and horses to do it justice.
My father would have likely gone on for 20 minutes or more. I know his focus would have been thanking others.
Deep heartfelt thanks to grooms, jockeys, competitors, tracks, loyal fans and friends; we share this award with all of you. Thank you to the incredible horses over the decades to allow us to experience joy and resolute shared love.
They have given our family so much.”

Outstanding Breeder – TALL OAKS FARM – Ivan Dalos

Starters 44; Winners 19
Earnings $2,231,813
Starts 206; Wins 28; Seconds 26; Thirds 25

Tall Oaks Farm (103), Sam-Son Farm (93), Anderson Farms Ont. Inc. (48)

Outstanding Broodmare – DANCEFORTHECAUSE – owned by Gainesway Farm

B. M. 2011 by Giant’s Causeway – Dancethruthestorm (Thunder Gulch)
3 Foals, 2 Starters, 2 Winners,
2 Graded Black-Type Winners
Progeny Earnings $760,518

Danceforthecause (75), Include Katherine (62), Count to Three (59)

Champion 2-Year-Old Male – GRETZKY THE GREAT

B. C. 2, by Nyquist – Pearl Turn (Bernardini)
Trainer: Mark E. Casse
Owner: Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber
Breeder: Anderson Farms Ont. Inc.
2020: 5 Starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds – $354,400
Winner: Summer S. (G1)
Soaring Free S.

Gretzky the Great (152), Ready to Repeat (46), Stephen (27), Master Spy (27)

Champion 2-Year-Female – LADY SPEIGHTSPEARE

Ch. F. 2, by Speightstown – Lady Shakespeare
Trainer: Roger L. Attfield
Owner: Charles E. Fipke
Breeder: Charles E. Fipke
2020: 2 Starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds – $146,394
Winner: Natalma S. (G1)

Lady Speightspeare (148), Dreaming of Drew (54), Alda (39)

Champion Turf Male – SAY THE WORD

Dk. b. or b. G. 5, by More Than Ready – Danceforthecause (Giant’s Causeway)
Trainer: D’Amato Philip
Owner: Agave Racing Stable and Sam-Son Farm
Breeder: Sam-Son Farm
2020: 7 Starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 2 thirds – $298,490
Winner: Northern Dancer S. (G1)

Say the Word (111), Silent Poet (79), Count Again (74)

Champion Turf Female – THEODORA B

Dk. b. or b. M. 5, by Ghostzapper – Dyna Waltz*GB (Dynaformer)
Trainer: Michael W. Dickinson
Owner: Augustin Stable
Breeder: Augustin Stables
2020: 6 Starts – 3 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds – $455,940
Winner: TVG S.
Dance Smartly S. (G2)

Theodora B. (90), Rideforthecause (88), Elizabeth Way (47)

Outstanding Owner – LIVE OAK PLANTATION  Charlotte Weber

Starts 47; Wins 14; Seconds 9; Thirds 4
Earnings $1,146,408; Stakes Wins 5

Live Oak Plantation (124), Sam-Son Farm (51), Gary Barber (35)

Outstanding Photograph – WILL WONG – ‘Mambointheforest’

(Mr Will Wong photo)

Outstanding Writing – CHRIS LOMON – ‘The Pep-Talking Groom, Willy and a Queen’s Plate Crown’

Outstanding Film/Video/Broadcast – SANTINO DIPAOLA – ‘Dear Horse Racing’

Outstanding Groom