12/13/2008 12:00AM

Dion takes home four Sovereign Awards


TORONTO, Ontario - It was the year of the bear.

Danny Dion, who races as Bear Stable, stole the show at the annual Sovereign Awards ceremony on Friday night.

Before a crowd of approximately 280 at the midtown Four Seasons Sheraton, Dion stepped up to the podium to accept the Horse of the Year award on behalf of Fatal Bullet, who also was the runaway choice as outstanding sprinter.

Dion also was voted outstanding owner in a poll conducted by the Jockey Club of Canada, in which 62 voters selected their top three choices in 15 categories with points assigned on a 4-2-1 basis.

Bear Now, owned by Dion prior to being sold for $950,000 in Kentucky this fall, earned the outstanding older female, main track, award. Reade Baker trained both of Dion's champions.

Fatal Bullet, a 3-year-old, won six of eight races this year, including stakes at Woodbine, Presque Isle Downs, and Turfway Park. He finished second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita.

In a surprisingly one-sided Horse of the Year vote, Fatal Bullet was a 101-point winner over runner-up Rahy's Attorney, who won the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile and was the champion older turf male.

Third in the Horse of the Year vote was Ginger Brew, who was the champion 3-year-old filly off her scores in the Calder Oaks, Woodbine Oaks, and Jammed Lovely. She finished a close second behind Not Bourbon when facing males in the Queen's Plate.

Not Bourbon, winner of four stakes at Woodbine, ended 12 points behind Ginger Brew as the fourth finisher in the Horse of the Year vote and was the champion 3-year-old male in a fairly close call over Fatal Bullet.

Roger Attfield, who trained both Not Bourbon and champion older turf female Callwood Dancer, was the runner-up to Mark Casse in the outstanding trainer balloting.

Casse, winning his third straight Sovereign Award, topped the Woodbine standings in both races and money won and trained champion older main-track male Marchfield,

Sealy Hill, who was last year's Horse of the Year, champion 3-year-old filly and champion turf female for Casse and Melnyk Racing Stable, was a close second to Calllwood Dancer in the turf category this time around.

Patrick Husbands, Casse's go-to rider, was honored as outstanding jockey for the second straight year after topping the Woodbine standings in races and money won.

Janine Stianson, who finished third in the standings at Assiniboia Downs and was Canada's leading apprentice in races won, prevailed in a wide-open apprentice jockey category.

Van Lear Rose and Mine That Bird, who both were multiple stakes winners at Woodbine but were unplaced in their respective Breeders' Cup events, were the champions in the 2-year-old filly and 2-year-old male categories.

Adena Springs was the outstanding breeder for the fourth consecutive year and Kathie's Colleen, whose offspring have included Canadian Horse of the Year Wando, was the outstanding broodmare.

Awards also were handed out in four media categories: Photograph, Matt Waples; Film/Video/Broadcast, Horse Racing Alberta & WhiteIron Productions; Newspaper Story, Beverley Smith; Feature Story, Peter Gross.

Sovereign Awards point totals

Horse of the Year

Fatal Bullet (177), Rahy's Attorney (76), Ginger Brew (58)

2-Year-Old Filly

Van Lear Rose (141), Laragh (88), Cawaja Beach (70)

2-Year-Old Colt

Mine That Bird (187), Southern Exchange (83), Utterly Cool (74)

3-Year-Old Filly

Ginger Brew (227), Sugar Bay (120), Authenicat (40)

3-Year-Old Male

Not Bourbon (172), Fatal Bullet (155), Marlang (42)

Older Female, Main Track

Bear Now (220), Akronism (68), Against the Sky (54)

Older Male, Main Track

Marchfield (144), Ice Bear (78), Spaghetti Mouse (50)

Female Turf Horse

Callwood Dancer (171), Sealy Hill (159), Sugar Bay (88)

Male Turf Horse

Rahy's Attorney (212), Seaside Retreat (112), Marlang (50)


Fatal Bullet (238), Disfunction (37), Akronism (33)


Patrick Husbands (137), James McAleney (121), Eurico Rosa Da Silva (55)

Apprentice Jockey

Janine Stianson (113), Catherine O'Brien (97), Melanie Pinto (56)


Mark Casse (148), Roger Attfield (130), Terry Jordan (47)


Bear Stables (120), Stronach Stables (96), Tucci Stables (58)


Adena Springs (208), Eugene Melnyk (101), Gardiner Farms (55)


Kathie's Colleen (71), May Time (43), Forty Gram (40)


Matt Waples


Horse Racing Alberta & WhiteIron Productions

Newspaper Story

Beverley Smith

Feature Story

Peter Gross