She's The Queen Of The "Castle"

Mark Etsell on 2022 O'Brien Award winner Adare Castle
Published: February 12, 2023 02:29 pm EST

"She never throws a bad one in and always shows up. No matter what her condition is...She loves her work, and gets really angry when she doesn't work."

Standardbred Canada announced the winners of the 2022 O'Brien Awards, honouring Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season, at the Black Tie Gala on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023. An O'Brien Award finalist as a two-year-old in 2021, Adare Castle was crowned champion in the Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly division for 2022

Trained by co-owner Mark Etsell, the daughter of Muscle Mass matched her win total from a year ago (seven) and earned $668,654 in her sophomore season. Her stakes wins included four Ontario Sires Stakes Gold events, the SBOA Stakes final and the Casual Breeze. She finished second in the Elegantimage, the Simcoe and the OSS Super Final.

The success of Adare Castle was a key part of Etsell's stable surpassing the $1 million mark in seasonal earnings for the first time in his career. First million-dollar season. First O'Brien Award. First O'Briens gala. Etsell took time from his evening of firsts to comment on the recognition his filly and the connections received, what makes her such a solid competitor and offer a few details on what might be in store for the four-year-old trotter in 2023. 

Etsell's interview with Standardbred Canada's Jeff Porchak and Brittney Mayotte appears below.

The interview with Etsell is the seventh and final video feature in our post-O'Brien Awards coverage, sponsored by Horse Racing Alberta. Previous winner features included the following profiles:

  • Jack Darling (Trainer and co-owner of Cam Fella and Somebeachsomewhere Horse of the Year winner Bulldog Hanover)
  • James MacDonald (Keith Waples Driver of the Year)
  • Richard Moreau (Trainer of the Year)
  • Kenn Beatson (Co-owner of So Much More, Older Pacing Mare of the Year)
  • Shawn Steacy (Trainer of Sylvia Hanover, Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year)
  • Matt Bax (Trainer of record in 2023 for Righteous Resolve, Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year)