01/18/2010 12:00AM

Casse tops Sovereign Award finalists


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Mark Casse will be seeking an unprecedented fourth consecutive Sovereign Award as Canada's outstanding trainer after being named among the three finalists in the 2009 balloting.

The Jockey Club of Canada, which conducts the vote, announced the lists of finalists in 16 categories on Monday. The winners, along with the finalists and winner of the Horse of the Year award, will be announced Friday, Jan. 29, at the Ultra Supper Club in downtown Toronto.

A total of 51 voters from across Canada participated in the online voting and were asked to list their top-three choices in 17 categories, with point totals tabulated on a 4-2-1 basis.

To be eligible for consideration, 3-year-olds and up must have made at least three starts and 2-year-olds must have made at least two starts in Canada during the season.

Casse topped the Woodbine standings for the third straight year, with 71 wins and purses of $4,804,929.

Finalists trained by Casse include Marchfield, last year's champion older male and a finalist in that category and as turf male this year, and Tasty Temptation, a finalist for 3-year-old filly champion.

Roger Attfield, a close second in last year's voting, is up for a seventh Sovereign Award in the trainer category.

Attfield trained a meet-leading 14 stakes winners at Woodbine, including the undefeated Hollinger, who is a slam dunk in the 2-year-old male category; Palladio, a finalist in the older male division; and Lady Shakespeare, a finalist for turf female.

Malcolm Pierce, the third trainer on the list, conditioned Carem Crescent, a finalist in the new filly/mare sprint category; El Brujo, a 3-year-old male and sprint male contender; and both Points of Grace and Much Obliged in the turf female division.

The only other multiple equine nominee is Smart Surprise, trained by Josie Carroll, who is listed in both the older female and female sprint divisions.

Carroll also trained Serenading, who is an older female finalist. Ginger Brew, last year's champion 3-year-old filly for trainer Brian Lynch, completes that list.

Lynch also trained 2-year-old filly contender Bay to Bay and directed the local campaign of Champs Elysees, a male turf finalist. Champs Elysees ran under the name of trainer Bobby Frankel, who died late last fall.

A tie in the voting produced four finalists in the 2-year-old filly division, with Bay to Bay joined by Biofuel, Franny Freud, and Negligee.

Eye of the Leopard, winner of the Queen's Plate, and Milwaukee Appeal, a close third there after winning the Woodbine Oaks, are finalists in their respective divisions.

Awesome Rhythm, a multiple stakes winner at Woodbine, is the other 3-year-old male finalist, and Hooh Why, a Grade 1 winner in Kentucky, is on the 3-year-old filly list.

Field Commission, a graded stakes winner on both turf and dirt for trainer Danny Vella, is a finalist in the male sprint division.

Trainer Terry Jordan has candidates in both sprint categories, with Hollywood Hit among the males and Tribal Belle on the female short list.

The leading jockey finalists are Patrick Husbands, Chantal Sutherland, and Eurico Rosa da Silva, who finished 1-2-3 in the Woodbine standings. Husbands will be seeking his third straight award.

Omar Moreno, who moved to Woodbine late last fall after starting in Alberta, is joined on the apprentice jockey list by Melanie Pinto and Tyrone Nelson. Pinto enjoyed most of her success at Fort Erie, while Nelson competed at Assiniboia Downs.

Bear Stable, last year's outstanding owner, again is among the finalists along with Juddmonte Farms and Melnyk Racing Stable.

The owner award, along with that for outstanding breeder, should be based on results within Canada. The breeder finalists are Adena Springs, Eugene Melnyk, and Minshall Farm.

The finalists for outstanding broodmare, a lifetime achievement award, are Destroy, Pico Teneriffe, and Rahy's Hope.

Destroy's foals have included Ghost Fleet, a male 2-year-old finalist. Rahy's Hope is the dam of Rahy's Attorney, who was last year's male turf champion and is on that short list again.