04/14/2017 11:56AM

Caren named Canada's Horse of the Year at Sovereign Award

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Michael Burns
Caren wins the Ontario Colleen Stakes last year en route to Sovereign Awards for top 3-year-old filly and Horse of the Year.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Caren, a four-time stakes winner last season, was named the 2016 Canadian Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old filly on Thursday night at the 42nd annual Sovereign Awards ceremony in Toronto.

Caren was dominant in the 3-year-old filly division at Woodbine in 2016, winning four stakes races ranging in distance from one mile to 1 1/4 miles. She captured the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen along with the Bison City, Wonder Where, and Carotene stakes. She also finished second in the Grade 3 Selene Stakes and third in the Woodbine Oaks for owner Robert Marzilli and trainer Mike De Paulo.

“She’s a special filly,” said De Paulo. “Lucky Rob here, it was his second horse. He’s been a great new addition to our team.”

It was a big night for De Paulo and trainer Mark Casse. Along with two Sovereign Awards for Caren, De Paulo also campaigned Noholdingback Bear, who was named champion male sprinter.

Casse, meanwhile, earned his ninth Sovereign Award as outstanding trainer and had four horses earn championships – both turf champions and both juvenile champions. Conquest Enforcer was named champion turf male, while 2014 Queen’s Plate winner Lexie Lou was named champion turf female for the second time. Coronation Futurity winner King and His Court and Grade 1 Natalma Stakes winner Victory to Victory were named champion 2-year-old male and champion 2-year-old female.

Are You Kidding Me captured his second consecutive older-male championship after winning the Grade 2 Eclipse, Grade 3 Durham Cup, and Grade 2 Autumn stakes. Midnight Miley, the winner of the Grade 3 Ontario Matron and Grade 3 Seaway stakes, was named champion older female. Midnight Miley also was a finalist in the champion female sprinter division, but that award went to River Maid, who won the Grade 2 Bessarabian Stakes and the Ballade Stakes.

Amis Gizmo, the winner of the Grade 3 Ontario Derby, the Prince of Wales Stakes, and the Plate Trial in 2016, was named champion 3-year-old male, while his dam, Galloping Ami, was named the year’s outstanding broodmare for owner and breeder Ivan Dalos.

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Eurico Da Silva won his second consecutive Sovereign Award for outstanding jockey, while Kayla Pizarro was named outstanding apprentice jockey. Pizarro’s brother Tyler also was named the outstanding apprentice jockey in 2007.

Conquest Stables was named outstanding owner, while Adena Springs was named outstanding breeder. Adena Springs founder Frank Stronach also earned the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit.

Media award winners included Cody Gregory for outstanding photograph, Beverley Smith for outstanding writing, and Woodbine Entertainment Group for outstanding digital audio/visual and broadcast.

A Sovereign Award for outstanding groom was handed out for the first time to Dexter Brathwaite, a longtime employee of trainer Barb Minshall. Tyler Hehn earned the Jockey Club of Canada Award, which is presented to a student attending the School of Media Studies and Information Technology at Humber College.

Sovereign Award winners

Horse of the Year – Caren

2-year-old male – King and His Court

2-year-old female – Victory to Victory

3-year-old male – Amis Gizmo

3-year-old filly – Caren

Older male – Are You Kidding Me

Older female – Midnight Miley

Male sprinter – Noholdingback Bear

Female sprinter – River Maid

Turf male – Conquest Enforcer

Turf female – Lexie Lou

Broodmare – Galloping Ami

Trainer – Mark Casse

Jockey – Eurico Da Silva

Apprentice jockey – Kayla Pizarro

Owner – Conquest Stables

Breeder – Adena Springs

Groom – Dexter Brathwaite

Photograph – Cody Gregory

Writing – Beverley Smith

Audio/visual and broadcast – Woodbine Entertainment Group

E.P. Taylor Award of Merit – Frank Stronach

Jockey Club of Canada Award – Tyler Hehn