Canada's Athlete Of The Year?

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Published: December 2, 2008 10:34 am EST

Standardbred Canada has launched a campaign for sports writers to vote for harness racing phenom Somebeachsomewhere as the 2008 Lou Marsh Trophy recipient for Canada's athlete of the year.

Below is the open letter penned by Trot Magazine editor and Standardbred Canada's Manager of Industry Communications Darryl Kaplan to the country's sports journalists.

Not only is Somebeachsomewhere one of the greatest pacers to ever look through a bridle, his dominance transcends horse racing and places him among Canada's elite athletes.

SC invites everyone to add their name to the petition by entering their name, city and province in the comments box at the bottom of the page and then hitting the Post Comment button, making this page the online petition to be signed by racing fans from coast-to-coast.


Standardbred Canada Bids to Have Somebeachsomewhere named Lou Marsh Recipient

Horse to follow in the footsteps of 1973 U.S. Athlete of the Year - Secretariat

The following is an open letter to the Committee considering nominees for Canada's Athlete of the Year.

Dear distinguished members of the Lou Marsh Trophy Committee:

In 2008, only one Canadian athlete set three world records, posted a 93.3% win average and earned $2.5 million (more than any other horse in history) in competition.

Only one Canadian athlete was considered by many international observers to have posted the most spectacular season ever accomplished in his respective field.

Only one Canadian athlete forever changed the landscape of his sport.

That athlete is Somebeachsomewhere.

Does a horse qualify to be named Athlete of the Year? If you doubt it, simply look to 1973 – when Sports Illustrated bravely named Secretariat the United States Athlete of the Year.

Secretariat raced 12 times that season but was beaten in three of those starts. His nine wins did include the prestigious Triple Crown, though he faced only five rivals in the Preakness and four in the Belmont. Over his career, Secretariat was 16 for 21.

Somebeachsomewhere, sired in Ontario and owned and based in Truro, Nova Scotia, won 14 of his 15 races in 2008, 13 of which were stakes events. Over his career, he's 20 for 21 and is among the richest horses ever to take to a racetrack.

After an undefeated two-year-old campaign in 2007, this highly charismatic performer brought thousands of spectators out to watch him every time he raced.

In the $1.5 million North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, Ont., he demolished the best nine pacers in the world as an adoring crowd stood on their feet to cheer him past the wire.

At the $493,000 Confederation Cup over Flamboro Downs in Dundas, Ont., he competed in two heats held just hours apart, winning in 1:51 3/5 and then 1:49 2/5 -- the fastest time a three-year-old has ever paced over a half-mile track.

At the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky, he greeted fans in horse racing's heartland with a heart-stopping 1:46 4/5 mile, a world record for the fastest time a three-year-old has ever paced. The mark remarkably tied the world record paced by any horse of any age.

He won the Messenger Stakes in New York and the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final in Toronto through torrential rainstorms. He faced arguably the best group of horses ever assembled as even his rivals paced what would have previously been World Record times.

He won harness racing's three-year-old championship race -- the Breeders Crown -- with ease. Despite the grueling campaign, he is still scheduled to race twice more in December at Dover Downs in Delaware.

Somebeachsomewhere battled from May to December over deep and muddy surfaces and through horrendous conditions. He turned bettors and casual race-goers into true fanatics, and he spawned online fan clubs exceeding a thousand members.

His only loss, a neck defeat in the Meadowlands Pace, arguably became the best mile in history after he was forced to travel wide for much of the race, including a three-wide battle during the backstretch portion of the event.

Somebeachsomewhere has become a harness racing superstar – and there is no doubt that his sport is of sufficient stature to warrant consideration.

Harness racing in Canada values its participants like few other sports in the country. With an annual purse account of more than $240 million, Canadian standardbred racing ranks well above the CFL and the Canadian franchises in the NBA and Major League Baseball in terms of compensation. In all likelihood, only Canada's NHL interests will offer its athletes a higher total pay structure in 2008.

Wagering on Canadian standardbred racing, the only fair measure of attendance since tracks phased out admissions, will likely reach just shy of $500 million in 2008 – a gross revenue number matched by few in the sports world.

It wouldn't be the first time harness racing came to the forefront of Canadian athleticism. In 1971, driver Herve Filion was the recipient of the Lou Marsh Trophy.

Even in thoroughbred racing, Canada has never produced a horse quite like Somebeachsomewhere. Even the great Northern Dancer, a legend in the racing history of our country, was ranked just 43rd in Bloodhorse Magazine's list of the all-time best thoroughbreds.

Some standardbred historians place Somebeachsomewhere on the top of the all-time list, quite an accomplishment considering that long before leagues like the NBA, NHL and NFL existed, harness racing was, in the early 1900s, North America's number one spectator sport.

On Tuesday, December 2, Standardbred Canada will post an online petition at www.standardbredcanada.ca to garner support in naming Somebeachsomewhere the recipient of the 2008 Lou Marsh Award. In under a day, it will have upward of 1,000 signatures.

It is with great pride that we can call Somebeachsomewhere Canada's own. And we are very hopeful he will be named Canada's next Lou Marsh Trophy recipient as he is, without a doubt, Canada's top athlete of 2008.

With sincerest regards,

Darryl Kaplan

Manager of Industry Communications, Standardbred Canada

Editor of Trot Magazine

905-858-3077, ext.241

[email protected]


Somebeachsomewhere Sets 1:46.4 World Record

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Comments

SBSW is probably the greatest horse living today, but the equipment and the tracks gearing for speed there will be another soon, and probably this year, mister big would have run anyone down last year, i am glad the owner and the trainer didn't try to go with this monster,because i am sure it would have broke down SBSW, and break a lot our hearts too.
as far as athlete of the year SBSW without a doubt

In reply to by Dwayne Huxted (not verified)

Are you any relations to a Brad Dwayne Huxted? If so this is an od girlfriend of His, My Name is Carolyn, And I live in the States. Florida to be exact. Any way if you do know him please send him my love, I miss him and think about him Every Day!! No Lie. I hope and pray that he is in good health and Happy. I had heard he was married,I hope he truely is Happy. Thank you,,, Carolyn

THE BEACH IS THE GREATEST HARNESS HORSE I HAVE EVER WATCHED RACE. IN THE SPORT OF HARNESS RACING HE WILL BE KNOWN AS THE GREATEST ATHLETE OF ALL TIME, PERIOD.

Nicole Péloquin
Les Coteaux, Qc

Somebeachsomewhere est un cheval exceptionnel et doit être reconnu pour ses marques exceptionnelles! Yes for me.

SBSW has my vote for Athlete of the Year award. He is an exceptional animal and truly seemed to know
that the fans loved him.

Who would even consider any other athlete. Especially a true Canadian like Beach. Let the Maritime athlete be given single handed this award. He is certainly a potential horse to go down in history....

Go Beach Go

From a Standardbred owner to another.....Full support and thumbs up all the way.

harness racing is like hockey in that it is where canadians excel.somebeach is so much the best that he should be the lou marsh winner.
stan wharry
saltspring island b.c.

stan wharry

Show the world what Canada has to offer when it comes to world champions . human or animal Beach was bred raced ,trained,driven allCanadian. What more could he offer to the world of sports He proved his might all over North American tracks in an amazing way and in my mind he is Canadas athlete of the year whatever they decide.The only regret i have is i never had the opportunity to see him except in simulcasting venues, but nevertheless somepeople never had the opportunity to see other Greats preform Period.

FAR AS I CAN SEE I THINK THIS IS THE GREATEST HARNESS RACING HORSE OF ALL TIME EVER HE S GOT MY VOTE GREAT FOR THE MARTIMES FOR RAISING SUCH FINE RACE HORSES CONGRATTS TO THE DRIVER N TO THE OWNERS SHAMW WE WON T SEE HIM RACE NEXT YEAR

I BELIEVE THIS HORSE IS DEFINITLY in line to receive this award, congrats to all the folks from Down East.

73 yr old fan.

The Beach definitely deserves to be the althlete of the year. What other sport this year has an athlete that even competes with him.

Has he brought more recognition to his sport and increased attendence? Yes

Has he had a huge fan following? Yes

Has he been the top athlete in his own sport worldwide? Yes

Has he set personal or yearly records? Yes and all time world recrds for his sport.

Has he been consistent? Yes

Has he become RECOGNIZED OUTSIDE OF HIS MAIN SPORT? Yes he has become a householdname similiar to other great Canadian and top world athletes.

If the Beach is not recognized as top CXanadian athlete this year it will be a huge mistake by the voters. A race car driver has won Athlete of the year and they have a car that does the work !!! That would be like saying Paul deserves to be athlete of the year because he drove this horse. ok back to reality.

In a time where athletes are continously being found guilty of performance enhancement drugs and altered equipment to increase performance it is time to recognize this amazing animal for what he is. An Athlete !! But not just an athlete, one who has been tested continuously for performance enhancing drugs and passed. He then set all age world records at an early stage in most horses careers. That like a second year player setting new scoring records in hockey.

I am unsure if the criteria for athlete of the year says that the winner must be able to speak and give an acceptance speech but I see it as the only legitimate reason that he could not be included. Then again I am sure its not easy to understand some of the previous winners either.

Wolfgang Weber
Saint John, N.B.

What more can one say? This is the greatest harness horse in the history of the sport!! How many Canadian athletes hold multiple WORLD Records?

I was blown away by the beautiful SomebeachSomeWhere as I watched the news here in Canada. He should be athlete of the year....he as amazing spirit and loves to run and loves what he was born to do. I would love to see him get a medal and attention he so very much deserves....

SBSW is not only a candidate but an absolute sure win for this award. I have had the pleasure of meeting the Beach and some of his family and this horse and his team are as high class as they come. This award would top off an incredible career for the Beach and close a chapter that we will all remember for a lifetime. I truely hope Brent and Rhonda can enjoy another "Beach" down the road and wish them all well in the future. I must also thank Chris Connor for setting up the meet and greet with the Beach and he too is truely a classy gentleman that will be missed in the sport of horse racing.

Regards and Thank You

Geoff

IS THERE ANY DOUBT!!!!

Somebeachsomewhere, awesome,brilliant,amazing,once in a lifetime racehorse, what is there to consider, hands down Canadian Athlete of the Year. Given for Canadian Horse and Three Old for 2008.

Look forward to seeing his offspring in the coming years.

what can i say, i wish it would be in my stable , the best ever what a horse congrat
to the Beach and Stable, good luck u deserve it big time go BEACH go.

I was once a great horse racing fan, when my father was alive, but have not really paid much attention to it in the last 5 years. I am glad that I have had this forum to read all the posted accolades about SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE. I had never thought about an animal as being "athelet of the year." My first instinct was that this honor should go to a "human", however, after reading all your comments I am now a believer that "athlete" can refer to an incrediable accomplishment by man or beast. I wish I had had the opportunity to see "Beach" when I was down in Truro/New Glasgow many times in the last few years. I, for one, would have benefitted from more publicity about this great sport. For someone who had been brought up with horseracing, I was not very informed about this great experience that I have missed. I vote YESSSSSSSSSS for this great honor to be bestowed on "Beach"

Without a doubt he is Canada'a Athlete of the year. His performance was nothing short of miraculous. Even in the one race that he didn't win, (finished 2nd by a neck in 1:47 flat) his performance was astounding. He IS the best athlete in the country bar none.

An athlete is an athlete, with two legs or four. A lot of human athlete's could not carry the schedule that our four legged athlete's do and do as well as most of them do. Beach has served as a brilliant ambassador to Standardbred Harness racing and its community at a time when racing seems to be losing it's fan base. We need more like him and some education and then maybe the public would have the same huge soft spot in their hearts for our horses that we do and realize what a tremendous contribution they make to our sometimes tragic world. Four legs doesn't make them any less worthy and at least human athletes have a choice in what they do, for the most part, the horses don't have that choice and still love their work and their people.

Beach was truly amazing this year,an absolute pleasure to watch every time on the track. He definitely deserves Athlete of the Year.

Steve Wilson
Bible Hill NS

He is the most dominant athlete in his sport in Canada....and perhaps the world! He deserves the recognition.

David Rankine,
Halifax, N.S.

An incredible athlete in an increasingly popular sport.He has touched the
lives of thousands and will be remembered forever.

Somebeachsomewhere-Without a doubt he has brought more accolades and athletic championship form, to his sport, than any other Canadian athlete this year. WHY NOT THE LOU MARSH AWARD?
I can't think of any athlete who has accomplished more. Can you?

Count me in. I have travelled to Ontario from Newfoundland twice to see him. Somebeachsomewhere Canadian Athlete of the year hands down. Not a dis to any human in the running it's just that this horse is something special.
Claude Mercer

I vote for the Beach as I believe he is the Best thing that has happened in our sport in many years To hear the fans cheering and so happy again is music to our ears.
He has done wonderfully and the races were thrilling.
Marlene Fisher 105 Emerald Ct. Freelton,Ont. L0R 1K0

SBSW is the 3 year old of the year, the pacer of the year, the horse of the year and should seriously be considered the athlete of the year. This standardbred is without a doubt the horse of a lifetime and the first true champion in the 21st century!

Jeff Renton

Somebeachsomewhere definitely gets my vote, 100%.

There was a vote/comment on page 13 of this petition, which, in my opinion, sums this situation up rather well. The comment was by a fellow named Scott MacDonald, and it appears below in its entirety. Talk about hitting the nail on the head.

"Here is an athlete who never renegotiated his contract, brooded about playing time, competed at every asking,and was an ambassador for his sport. To watch The Beach pace was to watch the Babe hit or experience the great Ali box. If the main stream media choses to not recognize this great athlete it will be their loss."

he is the best of the best and a class above the rest it will be a long time before you see a horse do what the beach has done

Beach is amazing. I was lucky enough to meet him in person just after the OSS finals at his farm. It was like Christmas!! Brent and Rhonda are the most down to earth people you will ever meet. I love this horse!!!! My vote is YES!!!!!!!

Christine
Mississauga, Ontario

Somebeachsomewhere is the greatest attribute to harness racing since Cam Fella. He gets my vote for athelete of the year.

Who would ever guess that a horse of this caliber would come out of a little ol' track in Truro, Nova Scotia. I have been involved in the horse industry for over 40 years and it's about time the real althete of the human-equine partnership is rewarded for the recognition they so rightfully deserve. Beach has my vote hands down.

Louis Ascah Orford QC

The Beach has had the greatest pacing season in a long time.
Beaten only once by a slim neck in the fastest race time (then) for a three year old after a brutal trip and gutting it out in the stretch.
He also set the world record for the fastest race time of all 146:4 as promised.
(Like beating the all time NHL scoring record for goals).
And finally he capped it off by winning the Breeder's Crown
(Like winning the Stanley Cup).
I believe this makes the Beach Canada's athlete of the year of the year.

Wayne Williams Goulds,Newfoundland He is a great horse & has a great trainer & driver. Congratulations!

A HORSE OF THIS CALIBRE COMES ALONG ONCE IN A LIFETIME. WITH THE ECONOMY TANKING, 'THE BEACH', IS A LIFELINE--SOMETHING POSITIVE, CLEAN AND AN EXAMPLE OF 'DOING IT RIGHT ALL THE WAY THROUGH'. BRET AND THE OTHER OWNERS AND 'THE BEACH' ARE A RALLYING POINT FOR ALL SPORT, FOR OUR PROVINCE OF N.S., FOR OUR NATION.THERE IS NO OTHER ATHLETE OUT THERE LIKE' THE BEACH.' ATHLETE OF THE YEAR--NO CONTEST!

I absolutely believe this beautiful animal should be Athlete of the Year. As another gentleman mentioned here this is athlete of the year not person of the year and Somebeachsomewhere has gone above and beyond any expections. The fabulous Secretariat won the American version in the 70's and Beach is the Secretartiat of harness racing! Good luck Beach!

P MacNeil
New Glasgow Nova Scotia

He is a truly amazing athlete and deserves every accolade. He and his connections have been great ambassadors. But I wish we could have used this Athlete of the Year nomination earlier in the year to better market our sport. After watching the CBC National tonight, I'm sure a lot of non-racing people would like to have seen what this "athlete" was all about. But now they won't be able to see him in action. We need marketing like this to make our sport vibrant again and to gain new interests. Keep on marketing and great idea nominating SBSW for the Lou Marsh Award.

Jason Schmiedge
Warman, SK

If the Beach is the best athlete that Canada has at present why should this horse not be recognized as such? I am all for pushing for the best.

Since the U.S. had Secretariat, why shouldn't we have our Beach? From all the four legged athletes, good luck in your bid to become Canada's "Athlete of the year"

If the Lou Marsh Trophy truly goes to athlete of the year, you deserve it SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE!

Jean & Susan Crochetiere
Edmonton, Alberta

I am not a racing fan. I know nothing about Standardbreds, butI know how to appreciate the athleticism of horses. They train hard, work hard, live to compete, give their all and many are outstanding individuals. I have never met or watched Somebeachsomewhere, but I can understand the contribution he makes every time he steps out on the track. I suspect he would make a wonderful Canadian Ambassador, along with Big Ben, Northern Dancer and the like. I whole heartedly endorse his nomination for Canadian Athlete of the Year