The 49th Sovereign Awards hosted by the Jockey Club of Canada will be held this week in Woodbridge, honouring the champions of 2023 and serving up excitement for the new Canadian racing seasons across the country.

It figures to be a big night for trainer MARK CASSE and his owners, in particular GARY BARBER, who certainly should capture his first Sovereign for Outstanding Owner when the awards are doled out April 18 soon after the 6 p.m. seating.

Barber has finalists MY BOY PRINCE, WITWATERSRAND, SOLO ALBUM, ELYSIAN FIELD, PARAMOUNT PRINCE, PALAZZI and LUCKY SCORE, all trained by Casse. Casse also conditions finalists FEV ROVER (Ire) and OUR FLASH DRIVE.

FEV ROVER (IRE) is likely to be named HORSE OF THE YEAR, which would be 10th time in the last 20 years that a filly or mare captured the highest honour.

Casse is favoured to win his 16th Outstanding Trainer trophy.

Canadian Thoroughbred is represented by a Writing and Photo Award nominees (see below).

Champion Two-Year-Old Female

Living Magic



Champion Two-Year-Old Male


My Boy Prince

Two Ghosts

Champion Three-Year-Old Female

Elysian Field

Fashionably Fab

Solo Album

Champion Three-Year-Old Male

Paramount Prince

Patches O’Houlihan

Touch’n Ride

Champion Older Main Track Female

Il Malocchio

Infinite Patience

Millie Girl

Champion Older Main Track Male



Wolfie’s Dynaghost

Champion Female Turf Horse

Fev Rover (Ire)


Our Flash Drive

Champion Male Turf Horse

Lucky Score

My Boy Prince


Champion Female Sprinter

Fashionably Fab


Our Flash Drive

Champion Male Sprinter

Dream Shake

Lucky Score

Patches O’Houlihan

Outstanding Broodmare

Game (FR)

Mendocino Beano

Sunday Affair

Outstanding Breeder

Adena Springs

Anderson Farms Ont. Inc.

Chiefswood Stables Limited

Sam-Son Farm

Sean Fitzhenry

Outstanding Owner

Barber, Gary

Chiefswood Stables Limited

Schickedanz, Bruno

Outstanding Trainer

Attard, Kevin

Casse, Mark E.

Drexler, Martin

Outstanding Apprentice Jockey

Aebly, Fraser

Vandermeersch, Amanda

Vives, Sofia

Outstanding Jockey

Civaci, Sahin

Hernandez, Rafael Manuel

Kimura, Kazushi

Horse of the Year

The Horse of the Year finalists will be announced during the 49th Annual Sovereign Awards ceremony.

Robert “Red” McKenzie will be presented with the Special Sovereign Award during the 49th Annual Sovereign Awards ceremony on the evening of Thursday, April 18, 2024 in Woodbridge, Ontario.

Selected unanimously by the Jockey Club of Canada’s Stewards, the Special Sovereign Award recognizes a particular achievement within a given year. The honour is being bestowed upon Mr. McKenzie for becoming the oldest trainer to saddle a winner in Canada, doing so at the age of 96 on June 23, 2023 when his mare Entitled Star captured that day’s second race at Century Mile. With his training career dating to earlier than Equibase offers records, it is no doubt his career totals land him well above the 600+ wins and over $3.5M in earnings he has amassed since 1976.

The Jockey Club of Canada is proud to present Michelle Armata with the 2023 Outstanding Groom Award sponsored by OLG and Jennifer Buck with the inaugural Outstanding Off-track Worker Award. Both Michelle and Jennifer are spoken of very highly by their nominators, Josie De Paulo and Hazel Bennett, respectively.

With trainer Mike De Paulo serving a suspension to begin the 2023 racing season, his wife, assistant trainer Josie De Paulo, relied heavily on Michelle’s ability to keep their staff motivated and in good spirits through leading by example and being a role model for her peers. Among the horses Michelle has cared for over the years is 2016 Sovereign Award Champion 3 Year Old Filly and Horse of the Year, Caren.

An 11-year veteran of Highfield Stock Farm in Okotoks, Alberta, Jennifer Buck now holds the role as Farm Manager and oversees the day-to-day operations of the farm. This includes handling successful sire Fed Biz and organizing his book of mares, foaling, yearling sales prep, and early training of yearlings before they embark on their careers at the racetrack.

The Jockey Club of Canada is also pleased to announce the finalists for the 2023 Media Sovereign Awards categories. Judging for the Media Awards is performed by media professionals within the industry selected from across North America.

Listed in alphabetical order, the Media finalists are:

Digital Audio/Visual and Broadcast Category

Santino Di Paola – Chasing Dreams in the King’s Plate
TAXI Agency – Ontario Racing UNFILTERED- Episode 5: The Kings Plate
Woodbine Entertainment Group – Secretariat The Last Race

Photograph Category

Patricia Burns – Rain Runnin
Allan de la Plante – Holding Back Disaster
Jason Halstead – A Kiss for Commando – published in Canadian Thoroughbred

Writing Category

Mark Colley – It was the greatest race in Canadian history. Fifty years later, Secretariat’s
legacy is still felt – Toronto Star
Jennifer Morrison – Cat’s Long Way Home – Canadian Thoroughbred
Curtis Stock – The Turcottes

The winner in each of the three Media Award categories will be announced, along with the other Sovereign Award winners and Canada’s Horse of the Year during the 49th Annual Sovereign Awards ceremony on the evening of Thursday, April 18, 2024 at Paramount Eventspace in Woodbridge, Ontario.