Friday, 10 May 2024 07:48

2023 Alberta Thoroughbred Industry Award Winners Celebrated at 50th Night of Champions

Leduc, Alberta —

The Lancaster Ballroom at the Royal Hotel in Leduc was packed on the evening of May 3rd as over 150 Alberta Thoroughbred breeders, owners, trainers, fans and backstretch people gathered to celebrate the achievements of the industry last season.

Master of Ceremonies Ken Gee started off the awards program with greetings from Horse Racing Alberta CEO, Kent Verlik, who emphasized positive news for the industry. Purses will increase over 20% in the next three years; from $5.8 million in 2024 and $6 million in 2025 to $6.4 million in 2026. The Breed Improvement Program funds are increasing over the same time period; from 2.3 million in 2023 and 2.5 million in 2024, to 2.8 million in 2025. Verlik noted that the Breed Improvement Program is “tied to the increases in purses, in an effort to make sure both grow at the same rate.”

The Mayor of Leduc County, Tanni Doblanko, thanked everyone in the industry for their commitment and passion stating, ‘We’re so proud in Leduc County to have Century Mile Racetrack and Casino which is really the center of racing for our region. The industry provides significant direct and indirect employment for our region, for friends, family and the larger Edmonton region.”

Prior to the awards section of the program, and in line with the 50th anniversary and the Shake, Rattle and Roll: Fabulous ‘50s party theme, the audience enjoyed music from Allesandro Votta, a multi award winning Elvis tribute artist.

The C.T.H.S. Trophy for Leading Breeder was awarded to Pierre Esquirol for the second consecutive year. Alberta bred runners bred by Esquirol had earnings of $375, 576 from 22 firsts, 22 seconds and 22 thirds from 158 starts last season.

Alberta bred runner ITSALLGOODMAN won all three of his nominations – the Rocky Mountain Turf Club Trophy for Champion Two Year Old Colt, the Century Downs Racetrack and Casino Trophy for Champion Sprinter and the Ted Connor Memorial Trophy for Champion Alberta Bred. As a two year old, the Speightster gelding had wins in the CTHS Sales Stakes and Alberta Premier’s Futurity, with earnings of $124,800 from 3 wins, 1 second and 1 third in 5 starts. Itsallgoodman was bred by Stone Ranches and is owned by Curtis Landry and trained by Gonzalo Anderson.

The Champion Three Year Old Colt Trophy sponsored by Bar None Ranches Ltd. and the Horse Racing Alberta Trophy for Horse of the Year was awarded to the connections of AMERICAN BLAZE. Trained by Riley Rycroft, the American Freedom runner earned $170,641 last season with 4 wins and 3 seconds from 9 starts. The gelding was bred by Gary and Mary West Stables Inc. and is owned by Terry Hamilton and Murray House.

The special People’s Choice award sponsored by Horse Racing Alberta was presented to Lyle and Phylis Farkash, owners and breeders of the overall winner, FOR CASH. The Stephen Got Even gelding was voted top Alberta bred of the past half century, for his lifetime earnings record of $605,279 with 5 wins, 7 seconds and 11 thirds from 47 starts between 2012 and 2019.

Last year’s recipient, Rod Cone, presented the Ken Cohoe Lifetime Achievement award to Curtis Stock to recognize and reward his lifelong personal involvement and contribution for the love of the Thoroughbred. Curtis thanked the industry for his award and noted that throughout his career with the Calgary Herald, the Edmonton Journal, the Daily Racing Form, he has “never enjoyed anything more than writing about horse racing.”

Special recognition and appreciation goes to the Night of Champions sponsors: Horse Racing Alberta, Bar None Ranches Ltd., Century Mile Racetrack and Casino, Century Downs Racetrack and Casino, HBPA of Alberta, Roy McLellan, Moore Equine Veterinary Centre Ltd., Paddockhurst Stables and Rocky Mountain Turf Club.

The complete list of the 2023 Alberta Thoroughbred awards winners are shown below:

Apprentice Jockey of the Year Award
Sponsored by the H.B.P.A
DA-SEAN GASKIN

Leading Jockey
The Lou Davies Memorial Trophy
DANE NELSON

Leading Trainer
The H.B.P.A. Trophy
CRAIG SMITH

Leading Owner
The Jockey Club of Canada Trophy
CRYSTAL CATES AND GONZALO ANDERSON

Leading Breeder
The C.T.H.S. Trophy
PIERRE ESQUIROL

Champion Claimer
The H.B.P.A. Trophy
MI REYNA

Champion Sprinter
The Century Downs Racetrack and Casino Trophy
ITSALLGOODMAN*

Champion Two Year Old Filly
The Dwight McLellan Memorial Trophy
MISS MIEZIE*

Champion Two Year Old Colt
The Rocky Mountain Turf Club Trophy
ITSALLGOODMAN*

Champion Three Year Old Filly
The Larry Olesen Memorial Trophy
Sponsored by Paddockhurst Stables Inc.
BIG HUG*

Champion Three Year Old Colt
Sponsored by Bar None Ranches Ltd.
AMERICAN BLAZE

Champion Older Mare
The Moore Equine Veterinary Centre Ltd. Trophy
FLORAL

Champion Older Horse
The Century Mile Racetrack and Casino Trophy
SMART AS ME

Champion Alberta Bred
The Ted Connor Memorial Trophy
ITSALLGOODMAN*

Horse of the Year
The Horse Racing Alberta Trophy
AMERICAN BLAZE

People’s Choice Award
Sponsored by Horse Racing Alberta
FOR CASH*

The Ken Cohoe Lifetime Achievement Award
CURTIS STOCK

*denotes Alberta bred

For further details and information, please view the CTHS Alberta website at www.cthsalta.com or call the office at 403-229-3609.

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