The Night of Champions 2019 Thoroughbred Awards for Alberta racing were announced on May 27 after the awards ceremony, originally scheduled for May 23, was cancelled due to COVID-19. The CTHS Alberta hopes to have an event later in the year in order to acknowledge the 2019 recipients; however, the date and venue have not been decided at this time.
The star of 2019 was the seven-year-old mare SMART FIX (Kissin Kris – Char’s Still Here, by Grindstone) who was named Horse of the Year and Alberta-bred Horse of the Year as well as Champion Older Mare. It is the first time in 10 years that a horse has won both Horse of the Year titles, following Cool Ventura in 2009.
Bred by Pierre Esquirol and bought back from the 2014 CTHS Yearling Sale for $4,700, Smart Fix races for Douglas Hardy, Leanne Chiodo, Judy Frost, Jerri Robertson and Tim and Lesley Kane. She is trained by Jerri Robertson.
The seven-year-old Alberta-bred had her best season ever in her five-year race career with 3 wins and 2 seconds from 7 starts with season earnings of $138,250. Smart Fix’s wins were all in her last 3 starts, all stakes races, including the $50,000 Lynn Chouinard Founders Distaff on October 14th, the $50,000 Fall Classic Distaff on September 15th and the $75,000 Northlands Distaff on August 17th.
When interviewed by the CTHS Alberta after the win by Smart Fix in the Lynn Chouinard Founders Distaff Handicap, Tim Kane was thrilled with the mare’s performance over the season, stating, “It’s been a hell of a ride!” Smart Fix had some health issues prior to the season and her owners kept
her on the sidelines because if their horses have “so much as a pimple, they don’t run.” The strategy appears to have been highly successful, as Smart Fix now reigns over the Alberta Thoroughbred industry as the Champion Alberta-bred and Horse of the Year.
ALL ALBERTA CHAMPIONS:
CHAMPION OLDER MARE
The Moore Equine Veterinary Centre Ltd. Trophy
The Ted Connor Memorial Trophy
HORSE OF THE YEAR
The Horse Racing Alberta Trophy
PEARL OF KNOWLEDGE
CHAMPION TWO YEAR OLD FILLY
The Dwight McLellan Trophy
The two-year-old Alberta-bred PEARL OF KNOWLEDGE was awarded the Dwight McLellan Trophy and title of Champion Two Year Old Filly for her impressive debut season. The Cape Canaveral filly started the race meet with a win in her maiden special weight on July 11th and followed it up with a placing on July 28th in the City of Leduc Stakes among open company at Century Mile. Pearl of Knowledge then captured two stakes races at Century Downs, the Sturgeon River Stakes on September 15th and the CTHS Sales Stakes on October 6th. The filly finished her first race meet with a showing in the black type $100,000 Freedom of the City Stakes on October 26th and career earnings of $98,222 with a record of 3 firsts, 1 second and 1 third in 6 starts.
The Alberta-bred runner was bred by Starline Thoroughbreds and sold through the 2018 CTHS Alberta Yearling Sale to Don Danard and is now owned by Don Danard and Jim Juris. She is trained by Greg Tracy. Pearl of Knowledge was the top runner last season for her sire, Alberta stallion Cape Canaveral. The dam of this filly, Lil Missknowitall, by Kafwain, was also a successful race mare.
CHAMPION TWO YEAR OLD COLT
The Rocky Mountain Turf Club Trophy
The two-year-old Kentucky-bred colt RAIL HUGGER earned the Rocky Mountain Turf Club trophy and title of Champion Two-Year-Old Colt. The Girolamo – Hit Girl by First Samurai runner captured the $100,000 Canadian Juvenile Stakes in his final start of the season on October 27th at Century Downs. Rail Hugger was also stakes-placed in the black type Birdcatcher Stakes at Century Mile on August 25th. The two-year-old finished his first season with 3 wins and 2 thirds from 6 starts and $79,480 in earnings. Rail Hugger was bred by John Hinkle and consigned to the 2018 Keeneland Yearling Sale where he was purchased by current owner, John Hansen for $15,000 (US). Rail Hugger was trained last season by Elige Bourne.
IM EVIN IM LEAVIN
CHAMPION THREE YEAR OLD FILLY
The Dave Kapchinsky Memorial Trophy
The Dave Kapchinsky Memorial Trophy sponsored by Paddockhurst Stables for Champion Three-Year-Old Filly was awarded posthumously to the Kentucky-bred IM EVIN IM LEAVIN. The multiple stakes winner had a stellar season at Century Mile with wins in both the Chariot Chaser Handicap on June 2nd and the $100,000 Century Casino Oaks on August 17th along with a third place finish in the black type Sonoma Handicap on July 1st. The Can the Man daughter earned $130,620 in the 2019 season with a record of 4 wins, 1 second and 1 third in 8 starts for owners Wayne Bakke, Nathan Hoines and Jo Dee Hoovestal.
The mare broke down in a race at Zia Park in October and was euthanized. IM EVIN IM LEAVIN is by the Into Mischief sire, Can the Man, out of the Vying Victor mare, Midnight Search. The Greg Tracy trained Kentucky-bred filly was bred by David Purvis and consigned to the 2017 Fasig Tipton Kentucky Fall 2017 sale by Brandywine Farm.
CHAMPION THREE YEAR OLD COLT
The Galileo Equine Insurance Trophy
The Galileo Equine Insurance Trophy for Champion Three-Year-Old Colt was awarded to the Kentucky-bred gelding EXPLODE. The Trappe Shot – Light Blow, by Kingmambo son earned the title for his outstanding performance last season which included a win at Century Mile Racetrack and Casino in the $250,000 Grade III Canadian Derby on August 18th. The graded stakes winner went on to finish the year with a placing in the B.C. Derby and a showing in the BC Premier’s Handicap. Explode was on the board in all his starts and completed the season with a record of 4 wins, 2 seconds and 1 third from 7 starts. Bred by Flaxman Holdings and sold through the 2017 BC C.T.H.S. sale, Explode earned $271,000 in the 2019 season for owner, Canmor Farms of Ole Nielsen. He is half-brother to 2020 Kentucky Derby contender Sole Volante. More on Ole A. Nielsen and Explode here.
BAR NO Q
CHAMPION SPRINTER AND OLDER HORSE
The Century Downs Racetrack and Casino Trophy
The Century Mile Racetrack and Casino Trophy
The Alberta-bred BAR NO Q earned the Century Downs Racetrack and Casino Trophy for Champion Sprinter as well as the Century Mile Racetrack and Casino Trophy for the title of Champion Older Horse with his impressive performance last season. The Gayego runner had 7 starts with 2 wins, 1 second and 3 thirds including victories in the $100,000 Harvest Plate Stakes on October 14th and the Red Diamond Express Handicap on September 15th at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino. Bar No Q earned $109,450 in his five year old season for owners and breeders, Barrie and Collin Quamme. The gelding was was trained by Ron Grieves and was the top earner in 2019 for the Gilded Time sire, Gayego.
The Manitoba-bred Majestic Warrior daughter SUPREME RUSH was awarded the H.B.P.A. Trophy for Champion Claimer title for her success in the 2019 race meet. Supreme Rush earned $70,393 last season and had an outstanding record of 5 wins, 4 seconds, 2 thirds in 12 starts. Owned and trained by Tom Rycroft, the eight-year-old mare was bred by K 5 Stables of Manitoba.
The Lou Davies Memorial
The Lou Davies Memorial Trophy for Leading Jockey during 2019 went to Rigo Sarmiento for his outstanding season with total earnings of $1,251,619. Sarmiento finished the 2019 season with a record of 78 wins, 57 seconds and 49 thirds in 314 starts. The top ride for Sarmiento last year was the Champion Older Mare, Alberta-bred and Horse of the Year, Smart Fix.
The H.B.P.A. Trophy
The H.B.P.A. Trophy for Leading Trainer title for the 2019 season went to Tim Rycroft for his impressive results with $979,789 in earnings. Rycroft trained runners had 262 starts and finished the season with 53 wins, 42 seconds and 44 third placed finishes. The best runner for Rycroft in 2019 was the winner of the black type Spangled Jimmy Handicap, Stone Carver.
RIVERSEDGE RACING STABLES LTD.
The Jockey Club of Canada Trophy
Riversedge Racing Stables of Robert Vargo an Norm Castiglione earned the Jockey Club of Canada trophy and title of 2019 Leading Owner with $841,984 in purse earnings from Riversedge owned runners. Horses owned by Riversedge had 39 wins, 30 seconds and 30 thirds in 205 starts last season. The stables includes well-known Alberta runners such as Call It a Wrap, Stone Carver, Trooper John, Bareback Jack, Weekend Wizard, Gem Alta and Proud and Loud.
Read more about Riversedge here.
WALLY PUGH AND ANDY STRONACH
The C.T.H.S. Trophy
Wally Pugh and Andy Stronach were awarded the C.T.H.S. Trophy for Leading Breeder last season. Runners bred by Wally Pugh and Andy Stronach had 268 starts with 27 wins, 32 seconds and 31 thirds for a total of $353,176 in earnings. The top runner for the leading Alberta breeder was the Alberta-bred Wilko’s Goldeneye, who had a win, 4 seconds and 4 thirds in 21 starts in 2019.