Making Joe O’Brien proud The O’Brien Awards is the standard by which all other awards banquets should be judged

Making Joe O’Brien proud

January 30, 2020

Standardbred Canada’s black tie event — named in honor of the legendary Canadian horseman Joe O’Brien and celebrating the best in Canadian harness racing — is the standard by which all other awards banquets should be judged.

by Dave Briggs

For my money, the best banquet in the harness racing world is Standardbred Canada’s O’Brien Awards which combines class, brevity, good food and a great after-party into one memorable evening honoring the best in Canadian harness racing.

A former co-worker once lovingly dubbed it the harness racing prom for its black tie / fancy dress ethos and potential for late-night debauchery.

That all the winners — except for the Cam Fella Award honoring meritorious service — are announced, Academy Awards style on the night of the banquet, makes the evening full of suspense and provides occasional surprises.

That winners get to take home the bronze head of legendary Canadian-born Joe O’Brien makes the prize both unique and highly-coveted.

That few winners are afforded the chance to speak thankfully makes the evening fly by.

Hands up if you love a long awards banquet.

Didn’t think so.

If you haven’t been to the O’Briens, put it on your bucket list. You won’t regret it.

This year’s O’Briens are Saturday (Feb. 1) at the Hilton Mississauga Meadowvale and will be hosted by Ken Middleton, Jr. and Jason Portuondo.

The awards will be live streamed beginning around 9 p.m. (EST) on Standardbred Canada’s website.

A complete list of nominees can be found here (beginning on page 12).

Here are the people and horses with more than one nomination:

Overall Nominations (3 or more)

Bob McClure (5) — Driver of the Year and driver of Port Perry (2YOCT), Forbidden Trade (3YOCT), Emoticon Hanover (Older Trotting Mare), Double A Mint (Older Pacing Horse)

Louis-Philippe Roy (5) — Driver of the Year and driver of HP Royal Theo (2YOCT), Alicorn (2YOFP), Lindy The Great (Older Trotting Horse), Double A Mint (Older Pacing Horse)

Bettors Delight (4) — Sire of Caviart Ally (Older Pacing Mare), Double A Mint (Older Pacing Mare), Alicorn (2YOFP), Tall Dark Stranger (2YOCP)

Luc Blais (4) — Trainer of the Year and trainer of Port Perry (2YOCT), Forbidden Trade (3YOCT), Emoticon Hanover (Older Trotting Mare)
Hanover Shoe Farms (4) — Breeders of Caviart Ally (Older Pacing Horse), Capt Midnight (2YOCP), Dip Me Hanover (2YOFT), Wine Rack Hanover (2YOFT)

Kadabra (4) — Sire of Forbidden Trade (3YOCT), Port Perry (2YOCT), Emoticon Hanover (Older Trotting Mare), Wine Rack Hanover (2YOFT)

Andrew McCarthy (4) — Driver of Caviart Ally (Older Pacing Mare), Reflect With Me (2YOFP), Capt Midnight (2YOCP), Pilot Discretion (3YOCT)

Tony Alagna (3) — Trainer of Reflect With Me (2YOFP), Capt Midnight (2YOCP), Pilot Discretion (3YOCT)

Captaintreacherous (3) — Sire of Reflect With Me (2YOFP), Capt Midnight (2YOCP), Captain Crunch (3YOCP)

Caviart Farms (3) — Owner of Captain Crunch (3YOCP), Tall Dark Stranger (2YOCP), Caviart Ally (Older Trotting Mare)

Determination (3) — Owner of Port Perry (2YOCT), Forbidden Trade (3YOCT), Emoticon Hanover (Older Trotting Mare)

Brad Grant (3) — Owner of Reflect With Me (2YOFP), Capt Midnight (2YOCP), Atlanta (Older Trotting Mare)

Trevor Henry (3) — Driver of Only Take Cash (3YOFT), Wine Rack Hanover (2YOFT), Sunny Dee (3YOFP)

Marvin Katz (3) — Breeder of the Year (with Al Libfeld) and part-owner of Capt Midnight (2YOCP), Tall Dark Stranger (2YOCP)

Robert McIntosh (3) — Breeder of the Year and part-owner, breeder and trainer of Sunny Dee (3YOFP), Only Take Cash (3YOFT)

Owners

Caviart Farms (3) — Captain Crunch (3YOCP), Tall Dark Stranger (2YOCP), Caviart Ally (Older Trotting Mare)

Determination (3) — Port Perry (2YOCT), Forbidden Trade (3YOCT), Emoticon Hanover (Older Trotting Mare)

Brad Grant (3) — Reflect With Me (2YOFP), Capt Midnight (2YOCP), Atlanta (Older Trotting Mare)

Crawford Farms Racing (2) — Tall Dark Stranger (2YOCP), Atlanta (Older Trotting Mare)

Claude Hamel (2) — HP Royal Theo (2YOCT), Musical Rhythm (Older Trotting Horse)

Marvin Katz (2) — Capt Midnight (2YOCP), Tall Dark Stranger (2YOCP)

Robert McIntosh Stables (2) — Sunny Dee (3YOFP), Only Take Cash (3YOFT)

Howard Taylor (2) — Tall Dark Stranger (2YOCP), Atlanta (Older Trotting Mare)

Breeders

Hanover Shoe Farms (4) — Caviart Ally (Older Pacing Horse), Capt Midnight (2YOCP), Dip Me Hanover (2YOFT), Wine Rack Hanover (2YOFT)

Brittany Farm LLC (2) — Musical Rhythm (Older Trotting Horse), Reflect With Me (2YOFP)

C S X Stables Inc (2) — Sunny Dee (3YOFP), Only Take Cash (3YOFT)

Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. (2) — Sunny Dee (3YOFP), Only Take Cash (3YOFT)

Steve Stewart (2) — Forbidden Trade (3YOCT), Pilot Discretion (3YOCT)

White Birch (2) — Evident Beauty (3YOFT), Alicorn (2YOFP)

Trainers

Luc Blais (4) — Trainer of the Year and trainer of Port Perry (2YOCT), Forbidden Trade (3YOCT), Emoticon Hanover (Older Trotting Mare)

Tony Alagna (3) — Reflect With Me (2YOFP), Capt Midnight (2YOCP), Pilot Discretion (3YOCT)

Ben Baillargeon (2) — Musical Rhythm (Older Trotting Horse), HP Royal Theo

Bob McIntosh (2) — Sunny Dee (3YOFP), Only Take Cash (3YOFT)

Richard Moreau (2) — Trainer of the year and trainer of Double A Mint (Older Pace Mare)

Nifty Norman (2) — Wine Rack Hanover (2YOFT), Evident Beauty (3YOFT)

Nancy Takter (2) — Tall Dark Stranger (2YOCP), Captain Crunch (3YOCP)

Drivers

Andrew McCarthy (4) — Caviart Ally (Older Pacing Mare), Reflect With Me (2YOFP), Capt Midnight (2YOCP), Pilot Discretion (3YOCT)

Bob McClure (4) — Port Perry (2YOCT), Forbidden Trade (3YOCT), Emoticon Hanover (Older Trotting Mare), Double A Mint (Older Pacing Horse)

Louis-Philippe Roy (4) — HP Royal Theo (2YOCT), Alicorn (2YOFP), Lindy The Great (Older Trotting Horse), Double A Mint (Older Pacing Horse)

Trevor Henry (3) — Only Take Cash (3YOFT), Wine Rack Hanover (2YOFT), Sunny Dee (3YOFP)

Mario Baillargeon (2) — Horsemanship and driver of Musical Rhythm (Older Trotting Horse)

Sylvain Filion (2) — Century Farroh (3YOCP), Wine Rack Hanover (2YOFT)

Yannick Gingras (2) — Atlanta (Older Trotting Mare), Tall Dark Stranger (2YOCP)

David Miller (2) — Dip Me Hanover (2YOFT), Evident Beauty (3YOFT)

Sires

Bettors Delight (4) — Caviart Ally (Older Pacing Mare), Double A Mint (Older Pacing Mare), Alicorn (2YOFP), Tall Dark Stranger (2YOCP)

Kadabra (4) — Forbidden Trade (3YOCT), Port Perry (2YOCT), Emoticon Hanover (Older Trotting Mare), Wine Rack Hanover (2YOFT)

Captaintreacherous (3) — Reflect With Me (2YOFP), Capt Midnight (2YOCP), Captain Crunch (3YOCP)

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