12/07/2007 1:00AM

Melnyk has several shots at Sovereign Awards

EmailIt has been almost 10 years since Eugene Melnyk won his first, and only, Sovereign Award with Archers Bay, the champion 3-year-old colt of 1998.

A lot has happened with the Melnyk Racing Stables since then, including the formation of a high-class breeding operation to go along with its racing stable.

Melnyk is nominated for this year's Sovereign Award as Canada's outstanding owner and breeder, and his homebred 3-year-old filly Sealy Hill is a shoo-in for championship honors in her category when the 33rd Sovereign Awards are held Dec. 14.

Sealy Hill is also favored to win outstanding turf female and is in the hunt for Canadian Horse of the Year.

"If we won all those, that would be awesome," said Melnyk. "When you see things come together in our breeding program, like Sealy Hill, it is most satisfying."

In Canadian earnings statistics provided by the Jockey Club of Canada, Melnyk bred the winners of almost $3.9 million from 78 starters through Nov. 12.

Sealy Hill, by Point Given out of the deceased mare Boston Twist, won the Woodbine Oaks, Bison City Stakes, and Wonder Where Stakes to become the first winner of the Canadian triple tiara.

She wrapped up her 2007 campaign with a close second-place finish in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes, in which she led late but was caught by the French filly Mrs. Lindsay after apparently loafing before the finish.

"She's still kind of a baby," said Melnyk. "I think she'll learn a lot more over the winter. That's why we didn't race her in the Breeders' Cup - we want to have her for next year."

Melnyk also bred his runner Marchfield, a 3-year-old A.P. Indy colt that won the Breeders' Stakes, the third jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown, and stakes winner Sterwins.

Melnyk is also the breeder of Ron Sadler's multiple stakes-winning mare Arden Belle.

As the owner of the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League, Melnyk, the founder of pharmaceutical giant Biovail, is a true sportsman.

"This business is a lot of work, but it's the most fun you can have," said Melnyk, who has just over 100 mares and owns farms in Kentucky and Florida.

His competition for the breeder award is Adena Springs, which bred stakes winners such as Awesome Action and Just Rushing, and Gus Schickedanz, who bred Jambalaya, the first Canadian-bred winner of the Gradeo1 Arlington Million.

Three worthy broodmares

Schickedanz's Victorious Answer, his first stakes winner and the broodmare that made his breeding program the success it is today, is nominated for outstanding broodmare.

"She was the one that started it all," said Lauri Kenny, Schickedanz's farm manager. "We put her picture on all of our stationery and office supplies years ago."

Victorious Answer, by Northern Answer, was represented in 2007 by the hard-knocking old-timer Last Answer, who won the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes at age 7.

She also produced multiple stakes winner Victorious Trick and is the granddam of graded stakes winner Clever Response and the stakes winners Northern Sky, Eastern Answer, French Braids, and Starbeau. She passed away in October 2006 in South Carolina.

Lover's Talk is nominated for outstanding broodmare based on her stakes-placed filly Lyrically this year and previous stakes winners Love Grows, Barley Talk, Wild Whiskey, and Torrid Affair.

The third broodmare nominee is Fascigrant, the dam of champion Financingavailable and stakes-placed In a Whisper.