One of the largest crowds we’ve ever seen showed up for the annual Manitoba HBPA/CTHS Awards celebration May 20 — a very positive testament to the health of the local horse racing and breeding industry.

The food was fabulous, courtesy of ASD Director of Food Services Manley Chan and Head Chef Mike Jones, and the service was excellent.

Everyone dressed up fancy for the occasion, and there were some outstanding cheers for the award winners, with HBPA Horse of the Year Itsthattime and HBPA of Manitoba Award of Distinction winner Gary Danelson receiving the loudest rounds of applause from the appreciative crowd.

Horse people have an unmatched work ethic — a throwback to the 1950s — and it was great to see so many recognized for their efforts.

From opening night at Assiniboia, 2022 leading rider Jorge Carreno picked up where he left off on opening Monday night in front of a large and happy crowd, winning the first race of the meeting, the Don Gray Memorial, aboard Market King, for trainer Jared Brown and owners Ira J. Donald and Kane Kachur.

Two-time leading rider Antonio Whitehall won two races on Monday and scored a hat trick on Tuesday to vault to the early lead in the jockey standings, and trainer Lise Pruitt scored a natural hat trick on Tuesday to do the same in the trainer standings.

New jockeys Damario Bynoe (2 wins) and Sven Balroop also won their first races ever at Assiniboia Downs and look like they’re going to fit right in with this year’s competitive jockey colony.

Winners CTHS Category: Breeder – Horses

2-Year-Old Filly: Dr. Betty Hughes – Lady Cop
2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Dr. Betty Hughes – Prairie Drifter
3-Year-Old Filly: Kelly Halliday – Meabear
3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Jean McEwen – Bettermakethattwo
Older Mare: Cam Ziprick, Charles Fouillard & Barry Arnason – Hidden Grace
Older Horse: Nearco Ltd. – McKague
Broodmare Award of Excellence: Dr. Betty Hughes – Agolo Bynoe
Stallion of the Year: Dr. Betty Hughes – Vengeful Wildcat
Breeder of the Year: Dr. Betty Hughes
Horse of the Year: Cam Ziprick, Charles Fouillard & Barry Arnason – Hidden Grace
CTHS 50-Year Member: Barry Arnason

Winners  HBPA Category: Horse – Owner – Trainer

2-Year-Old Filly: Lady Cop – A2 Thoroughbreds & True North Thoroughbreds – Mike Nault
2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Prairie Drifter – Dr. Betty Hughes – Devon Gittens
3-Year-Old Filly: Burrow Down – Gerald Babchishin – Murray Duncan
3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Brody’s Streak – Larry S. Henry – Tom Gardipy, Jr.
Older Mare: Hidden Grace – Barry Arnason, Cam Ziprick, Charles Fouillard – Lise Pruitt
Older Horse: Itsthattime – True North Thoroughbreds – Mike Nault
Sprinter: Meabear- Dunworken Stables – Fred Rawson
Most Astute Claim: Dixie Mo – A2 Thoroughbreds – Mike Nault
Harry Crane Memorial Claiming Horse of the Year: House Limit – Avery Erfle – Jerry Gourneau
Leading Trainer: Jerry Gourneau (40 wins)
Leading Regional Owner: Henry S. Witt, Jr.
Leading Money Earning Trainer: Jerry Gourneau ($431,888)
Leading Jockey: Jorge Carreno (65 wins)
High Percentage Trainer: Steve Keplin Jr. (33%)
HBPA of Manitoba Award of Distinction: Gary Danelson
OTTB (Retired Thoroughbred) of the Year: Wouf de Douf – Prairie Strides