2021 O'Brien Award Finalists

Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2021 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season.

There are two finalists in each category, which includes 12 divisional horse categories and five people categories. One of the divisional champions will be recognized as the Somebeachsomewhere Horse of the Year.

The winners will be announced at the Virtual O’Brien Awards Gala on Sunday, February 6, 2022, on standardbredcanada.ca.

This will mark the 33rd edition of the O’Brien Awards, named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Richard Moreau will be looking to add a record ninth O’Brien trophy to his mantle in the Trainer of the Year category and is up against Nick Gallucci.

Richard Moreau of Puslinch, Ont. has earned eight consecutive titles as Canada’s Trainer of the Year. To date in 2021, he tops the charts for all trainers in Canada in wins and earnings. He was the leading trainer at Georgian Downs and currently leads the trainer standings at Woodbine Mohawk Park and Flamboro Downs. Moreau has sent 224 winners postward and trained horses to almost $3.6 million in earnings to date including O’Brien finalists Fashion Frenzie, Wheels On Fire and Grandma Heidi.

Nick Gallucci earns his first nomination in the Trainer category following what has already been a career season. To date, he has 63 wins and in excess of $2 million in earnings. Gallucci trains three O’Brien Award finalists – Prohibition Legal, Silver Label, and Betterhavemymoney. Gallucci finished as the leading money winning trainer in the Ontario Sires Stakes program.

James MacDonald and Sylvain Filion, the top two money-earning drivers in the country, are the Keith Waples Driver of the Year finalists.

First-time finalist James MacDonald is en route to a career record season in 2021, winning 309 races and driving horses to more than $7.3 million in earnings to date. In addition to leading all Canadian drivers in wins and earnings during his ‘dream season’, his stakes triumphs include the Maple Leaf Trot with Lindy The Great, the Battle of Waterloo with Betterhavemymoney, a Matron Stakes win with Threepointbluechip, and Champlain Stakes with Silver Label and Adare Castle. In addition, he won three Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals, 18 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions and took the Lampman Cup as the program’s leading driver for 2021. MacDonald is the regular driver for six O’Brien Award finalists – Adare Castle, Betterhavemymoney, Prohibition Legal, Silver Label, Twin B Archie, So Much More and also drove Logan Park a handful of times.

Sylvain Filion has driven 223 winners and horses to earnings in excess of $5.2 million. A four-time winner in this category as Canada’s Driver of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016, Filion was the regular driver for O’Brien Award finalist Voelz Delight and is the second leading money earning driver in Canada and in Ontario Sires Stakes competition.

Luc Blais and Mark Etsell are the finalists for the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship and are both first-time nominees.

In 2021, Luc Blais managed successful stables on both sides of the border. The Quebec native, who is the private trainer for Determination, sent 44 winners postward and eclipsed $2 million in earnings for the sixth consecutive year, of which $1.35 million was earned in Canada where he races primarily at Woodbine Mohawk Park. In 2021, Forbidden Trade was a multiple stakes winner, posting victories in the Crawford Trot at The Meadowlands, The Earl Rowe at Georgian Downs, The Caesars Trot at Hoosier Park and The TVG Open at The Meadowlands. O’Brien finalist Donna Soprano was a winner in The Elegantimage and Simcoe Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park and The Del Miller at The Meadowlands. Enavant was the 2021 Potomac Pace winner at Rosecroft Raceway under Blais’ conditioning. Mischievous Rose won an Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event.

Mark Etsell trained 21 winners and horses to more than $767,000 in earnings in 2021. Etsell has a long-standing reputation for developing young stakes horses that compete in the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) program and this year he won an OSS Super Final with freshman filly and stable star Adare Castle, who earned more than $486,000 and scored seven wins in nine starts. Etsell is known for his patience in developing yearlings and customizes his training and feed program for each individual horse in his stable. He also breeds some of his own horses and is stabled at 30th Sideline Training Centre.

Adare Castle won four Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions, the Super Final, The Peaceful Way Stakes and The Champlain at Woodbine Mohawk Park, earning her an O’Brien Award nomination. Etsell also enjoyed a victory in the Balanced Image Trot at Hanover Raceway with Sea Can.

Prohibition Legal and Silver Label, two homebreds for Armstrong Breeder of the Year finalist, Millar Farms, are the nominees in the Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly division. Prohibition Legal boasted a near perfect rookie season, winning eight of nine races and earning over $564,000. The Big Jim filly had a perfect six for six record in the Ontario Sires Stakes and scored her richest victory in the season finale Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final.

Silver Label, a daughter of Bettors Delight, was a winner of six of eight races and over $341,000. Her stakes victories included four Ontario Sires Stakes events, and a division of the Champlain Stakes.

In the Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt division, Betterhavemymoney, another Millar Farms homebred, and Stonebridge Helios are the finalists. Betterhavemymoney, a Betterthancheddar gelding, hit the board in seven of 10 races with four wins and more than $335,000 in earnings. The highlight of his season was a sweep of the elimination and final of Grand River Raceway’s signature event, The Battle of Waterloo.

Stonebridge Helios was never worse than third in seven season starts and bankrolled over $295,000. He posted three wins in Ontario Sires Stakes events and his richest payday came in winning a division of the Champlain Stakes.

Two ultra-consistent Bettors Delight fillies, Scarlett Hanover and Voelz Delight, will vie for divisional honours in the Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly division.

Scarlett Hanover hit the board in 11 of 16 races, earning over $586,000 for her sophomore season, which included a sweep of the Jugette and a dominant victory in the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final.

Voelz Delight scored top-three finishes in 15 of 16 races, which included the Fan Hanover, the SBOA Stakes and six Ontario Sires Stakes events, while bankrolling almost $360,000 for her connections.

Bulldog Hanover and Desperate Man will compete for divisional honours in the glamour boy Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt division.

Bulldog Hanover enjoyed a stellar freshman season and returned as a strong sophomore, winning 10 of 15 races and over $682,000. The Shadow Play colt’s top performances came in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, Ontario Sires Stakes events, and put an exclamation mark on his season with a four-race win streak in stakes events at Hoosier Park.

Desperate Man captured the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup during his illustrious sophomore year that saw him earn over $767,000. He ended his Cinderella season with an Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final victory.

Lyons Sentinel will attempt to usurp defending champion So Much More in the Older Pacing Mare category.

Lyons Sentinel scored 16 top three finishes in 19 starts for over $827,000 in earnings. The daughter of Captaintreacherous put together an impressive seven-race win streak that kicked off in July with the Clara Barton, and included the Lady Liberty, Roses Are Red Stakes, a sweep of the Milton Stakes and ended with the Dayton Distaff in October.

So Much More continued her dominance in the upper fillies and mares ranks at Woodbine Mohawk Park where she raced her entire 25 start season that included more than $246,000 in earnings. She had 19 top three finishes, which included third place finishes in the Roses Are Red Stakes Final and an elimination of the Milton Stakes.

Warrawee Vital and Wheels On Fire are the Older Pacing Horse finalists.

Warrawee Vital made a seamless transition from the sophomore ranks to the Older Pacing Horse division, winning seven of 19 races and earning more than $201,000.

Wheels On Fire scored 22 top-three finishes from 26 races and earned more than $265,000. Seven of his 12 victories came in preferred events at Woodbine Mohawk Park and two were posted at The Meadowlands.

Adare Castle and Venerable will compete for Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly honours. Adare Castle won seven of nine races and more than $486,000. Her stakes wins included five Ontario Sires Stakes events highlighted by a victory in the season ending OSS Super Final, a division of the Champlain Stakes and an elimination of the Peaceful Way Stakes.

Venerable enjoyed a phenomenal season for her freshman year, winning nine of 11 races, surpassing $1.1 million in earnings, and racking up many stakes victories, including a sweep of the Peaceful Way Stakes and an impressive win in the Mohawk Million on Canadian soil.

In the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt division, Duly Resolved and Twin B Archie are the finalists. Duly Resolved boasted an impressive 10 top-two finishes in 12 races with $631,000 in earnings. The son of Resolve had three Ontario Sires Stakes wins, a win in an elimination of the William Wellwood and runner-up finishes in the Wellwood, a division of the Champlain, the OSS Super Final and the Mohawk Million.

Twin B Archie had eight top-three finishes in 10 season starts and eclipsed $285,000 in earnings while posting wins in three Ontario Sires Stakes events including the Super Final, and a division of the Champlain Stakes.

Donna Soprano and Up And Ready are finalists in the Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly division. Donna Soprano won an O’Brien as a two-year-old and made a solid transition to her sophomore year with five top-two finishes in nine starts while earning more than $384,000. She scored victories in the Delvin Miller, a division of the Simcoe Stakes and the Elegantimage Stakes.

Up And Ready boasted 12 top-three finishes in 15 starts and bankrolled more than $361,000 with wins in two OSS events, including the Super Final, and the SBOA Stakes.

Fashion Frenzie and Logan Park, both sons of Archangel, will compete for Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt honours.

Fashion Frenzie won 50 per cent of his 12 races and almost $525,000. Three of those victories were in OSS events, including the Super Final. He also swept the Goodtimes Stakes.

Logan Park won five of his 15 starts and $366,000. Four of those victories were in Ontario Sires Stakes events.

In the Older Trotting Mare category, Grandma Heidi and Power And Grace are the finalists.

Grandma Heidi was a model of consistency during her five-year-old campaign, recording 19 top-three finishes in 32 starts and amassing $126,625 in earnings. The daughter of Muscle Mass raced primarily in the upper conditioned and preferred ranks at Woodbine Mohawk Park but did venture stateside for five races at The Meadowlands in the springtime.

Power And Grace was another consistent performer, hitting the board in 22 of her 29 races and earning just over $85,000. The six-year-old mare raced exclusively on the Ontario B Track circuit after four early races at Northfield Park.

Oney Hall and Perfetto are finalists in the Older Trotting Horse Category.

Oney Hall was a winner of seven races and more than $185,000 during his five-year-old campaign, which saw him win four preferred events at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Perfetto is the defending O’Brien Award champion in this category, and enjoyed another stellar year, posting 18 top three finishes in 23 races, which included six wins in the preferred ranks at Woodbine Mohawk Park while bankrolling more than $253,000 in earnings.

Ontario-based trainer Kyle Bossence, and Quebec-based driver Samuel Fillion are the finalists in the Future Star category.

Kyle Bossence has become a household name at Ontario’s B tracks and is en route to a career year, training 68 winners from 306 starters, who have earned more than $432,000 through December 21. He was the leading dash winning trainer at Grand River Raceway and is currently leading all trainers at The Raceway at Western Fair.

Samuel Fillion has made his presence felt at Hippodrome 3R and is en route to a career year, more than doubling his win record from 2020. He finished as the fourth leading driver at Hippodrome 3R this season and currently sits fourth in the standings at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Fillion has driven 94 winners from 683 starters, who have earned more than $547,000.

Millar Farms and Winbak Farm are finalists in the Armstrong Breeder of the Year category.

Through December 21, Millar Farms’ 26 starters for 2021 posted 67 victories and eclipsed $2 million in earnings, and include O’Brien Award finalists Prohibition Legal, Silver Label, and Betterhavemymoney.

Winbak’s 251 starters scored 475 wins and amassed more than $5.2 million in earnings. Winbak’s top Canadian-sired or foaled performers were led by O’Brien Award finalist Desperate Man, and also included Bet On Becky and Camealongway.

One of the winners in the divisional categories will be awarded the Somebeachsomewhere Horse of the Year title.

The winners will be announced at the 2021 Virtual O’Brien Awards Gala on Sunday, February 6, 2022, which will be video streamed on standardbredcanada.ca.

A complete list of finalists follows below.

2021 O'BRIEN AWARD FINALISTS

Pacers

Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly

Prohibition Legal

Owner - Millar Farms, Stouffville, ON

Trainer – Nick Gallucci

Driver – James MacDonald

Silver Label

Owner - Millar Farms, Stouffville, On

Trainer – Nick Gallucci

Drivers – James MacDonald, Sylvain Filion

Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt

Betterhavemymoney

Owner - Millar Farms, Stouffville, ON

Trainer – Nick Gallucci

Driver – James MacDonald

Stonebridge Helios

Owners - John Fleischman, Ottawa, ON - Angie Stiller, Arva, ON - John Pentland, London, ON

Trainer – John Pentland

Driver – Bob McClure

Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly

Scarlett Hanover

Owners - Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown, PA-Frank D Baldachino, Harvey Cedars, NJ- Jandt Silva- Purnel And Libby, Ocean Ridge, FL- Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA

Trainers – Ron Burke, Ashleigh Hensley

Drivers - Tim Tetrick, Ed Hensley, David Miller, Yannick Gingras

Voelz Delight

Owner - Richard Berthiaume, Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC

Trainer – Ben Baillargeon

Driver – Sylvain Filion

Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt

Bulldog Hanover

Owners - Jack Darling Stables Ltd., Cambridge, ON – Brad Grant, Milton, ON

Trainer – Jack Darling

Drivers – Jody Jamieson, John De Long

Desperate Man

Owners - Kathy & John Cecchin, Arthur, ON – Nicole & Paul Davies, Arthur, ON

Trainer – Kathy Cecchin

Driver – Trevor Henry

Older Pacing Mare

Lyons Sentinel

Owners - Threelyonsracing, Brantford, ON

Trainer – James King

Driver – Tim Tetrick, James MacDonald

So Much More

Owners - Don Beatson, Granton, ON – Kenn Beatson, Palgrave, ON – Cole England, Exeter, ON

Trainer – Don Beatson

Driver – James MacDonald

Older Pacing Horse

Warrawee Vital

Owners - Blair Corbeil, Beaumont, AB – Yolanda Fellows – M&S Racing Stable Inc., Rockwood, ON

Trainer – Rob Fellows, Ron Coyne

Drivers – Trevor Henry, Tim Tetrick

Wheels On Fire

Owner - Brad Grant, Milton, ON

Trainers – Richard Moreau, Ron Burke

Drivers- Doug McNair, Yannick Gingras, Bob McClure

Trotters

Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly

Adare Castle

Owners - Mark Etsell, Rockwood, ON – Robert Newton, Walkerton, ON – Graham Hopkins, Chesley, ON -Peter Porter, Port Dover, ON

Trainer – Mark Etsell

Drivers – James MacDonald, Bob McClure

Venerable

Owners - David McDuffee, Delray Beach, FL – Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON – Paul Bordogna, Fair Lawn, NJ – Steven Arnold, Purchase, NY

Trainer – Richard Norman

Driver – David Miller

Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt

Duly Resolved

Owners - Bax Stable, Campbellville, ON – David Hudson, Dallas, TX, Don Allensen, Wyoming, ON – Gaelic Stable, Sharon, ON

Trainer – John Bax

Driver – Paul MacDonell

Twin B Archie

Owners - Scott McEneny, Puslinch, ON – Domenic Chiaravalle, Hamilton, ON – Floyd Marshall, Jarvis, ON – Martwest Racing Stable, Mississauga, ON

Trainer – Scott McEneny

Driver – James MacDonald

Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly

Donna Soprano

Owner - Determination, Montreal, QC

Trainer – Luc Blais

Drivers – Bob McClure, Daniel Dube

Up And Ready

Owners - Al Libfeld, Pickering, ON – Marvin & Lynn Katz, Toronto, ON – Sam Goldband, Toronto, ON

Trainer – John Bax

Driver – Doug McNair

Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt

Fashion Frenzie

Owners - Ecurie Francis Richard Inc., Becancour-Mario Bourgea, Stanbridge East, QC - Pierre Guillemette – Sylvain Richard, Becancour, QC

Trainer – Richard Moreau

Drivers – Louis-Philippe Roy, Sylvain Filion

Logan Park

Owners - Outofthepark Stable, Rockwood, ON – Reg Higgs, Strathroy, ON – Arpad Szabo, Bradford, ON

Trainer – Rob Fellows

Drivers – Jody Jamieson, James MacDonald, Louis-Philippe Roy

Older Trotting Mare

Grandma Heidi

Owner - Brad Grant, Milton, ON

Trainers – Richard Moreau, Ron Burke

Drivers – Doug McNair, David Miller, Yannick Gingras

Power And Grace

Owners - Hartel Maintenance Inc., Lormer McClure, Guelph, ON

Trainers – Ron MacDonald, Patrick Shepherd

Drivers – Brett MacDonald, Lormer McClure

Older Trotting Horse

Oney Hall

Owner - Alan Leavitt, Lexington, KY

Trainer – Bob McIntosh, Brett Pelling

Drivers – Trevor Henry, Todd McCarthy

Perfetto

Owner - Gerald Haggerty, Camden East, ON

Trainer-Driver – Dagfin Henriksen

People Awards

O’Brien Award of Horsemanship

Luc Blais, Campbellville, ON

Mark Etsell, Rockwood, ON

Armstrong Breeder of the Year

Millar Farms, Stouffville, ON

Winbak Farm, Inglewood, ON

Keith Waples Driver of the Year

Sylvain Filion, Milton, ON

James MacDonald, Guelph, ON

Trainer of the Year

Nick Gallucci, Stouffville, ON

Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON

Future Star Award

Kyle Bossence, Arthur, ON

Samuel Fillion, Mont-Joli, QC