12/15/2007 12:00AM

Sealy Hill Canada's best in 2007

EmailTORONTO, Ontario - Sealy Hill stole the show at the Sovereign Awards ceremony on Friday evening, taking home awards as Canada's horse of the year, outstanding 3-year-old filly, and outstanding turf female.

A crowd of 250 was on hand at the downtown Westin Harbour Castle for the 33rd annual Sovereign Awards, which celebrate the best in Canadian Thoroughbred horseracing and breeding. The winners were determined via a poll conducted by the Jockey Club of Canada, which asked voters to list their top three choices in each of 16 categories with points assigned on a 4-2-1 scale.

The tone for the evening was set prior to the actual awards ceremony when Sealy Hill was presented with the triple tiara trophy for her sweep of the Woodbine Oaks, Bison City, and Wonder Where for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Owner Eugene Melnyk, accepting the triple tiara trophy, stressed the team effort behind Sealy Hill's success and that theme was reiterated by trainer Mark Casse, by jockey Patrick Husbands, and by Melnyk himself when each was presented with Sovereign Awards in their respective categories.

Casse had particularly fond words for Husbands when accepting his second straight award as outstanding trainer after topping the Woodbine standings in both races and money won.

"We've been fortunate, in recent years, to have developed some very nice horses and we could not have done that without Patrick's hard work and dedication in the mornings," said Casse.

Husbands, also tops in races and money won at Woodbine, was winning his fifth Sovereign Award with the first four having come in succession from 1999 through 2002. Todd Kabel then won the outstanding jockey award four straight times.

Sealy Hill, who was bred by Melnyk, followed her triple tiara sweep with second-place finishes against older rivals in a pair of important Woodbine turf stakes, the Grade 2 Canadian and Grade 1 E.P. Taylor.

Those accomplishments earned her an easier than anticipated victory over Bear Now in the 3-year-old filly balloting and a lopsided score in the female turf horse division.

The horse of the year vote was tighter with Sealy Hill prevailing over Cloudy's Knight, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old gelding who dominated the champion male turf horse ballot.

Owned by S J Stable and trained in Illinois by Frank Kirby, Cloudy's Knight qualified by making three starts in Canada this season and captured the Grade 1 Canadian International and the Grade 2 Sky Classic on Woodbine's turf course.

True Metropolitan, a Florida-bred 5-year-old gelding, finished third in the horse of the year voting and was an easy winner of the champion older male award for the second straight season.

True Metropolitan's Vancouver-based connections, owner Bob Cheema and trainer Terry Jordan, also campaigned Dancing Allstar, who got the nod as champion 2-year-old filly in a very tight vote.

Financingavailable, owned by K.K. Sangara and trained by Lorne Richards at Woodbine, also was one of the evening's big winners with awards both in the older female and sprinter categories.

The older female award was the second straight for Financingavailable, an Ontario-bred 6-year-old who was retired this fall and is booked to be bred to Smart Strike.

Alezzandro, owned by Knob Hill Stable and the estate of Steve Stavro, prevailed as champion 3-year-old male over stablemate Leonnatus Anteas in another close vote.

Kodiak Kowboy, who qualified for Sovereign Award consideration under new guidelines which required only two starts in Canada for 2-year-olds, was the champion male juvenile for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Tyler Pizarro, the leading apprentice rider in Canada and tied for third in races won at Woodbine, was a runaway winner in his category.

Adena Springs edged Melnyk as outstanding breeder for its seventh award in the category.

Lover's Talk was voted outstanding broodmare, a lifetime achievement award.

Awards also were handed out in four media categories with Michael Burns Jr. winning for outstanding photograph; Horse Racing Alberta and WhiteIron Productions for film/video/broadcast; Paul Wiecek of the Winnipeg Free Press for feature story; and Allan Besson of the Winnipeg Free Press for newspaper story.

The outstanding photograph award was the seventh for Burns, who is based at Woodbine.

Louis Romanet, director general of France Galop and chair of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, was presented with a Special Sovereign Award for his contributions to the industry.

Romanet's father, Jean Romanet, was the recipient of the first Special Sovereign Award, in 1978.

Sovereign Awards Point Totals

* Horse of the Year: Sealy Hill, 113; Cloudy's Knight, 90; True Metropolitan, 62

* 2-Year-Old Filly: Dancing Allstar, 118; Officer Cherrie, 114; Authenicat, 52

* 2-Year-Old Male: Kodiak Kowboy, 159; Bear Holiday, 75; Stuck in Traffic 58

* 3-Year-Old Filly: Sealy Hill, 174; Bear Now, 109; Dance to My Tune, 19

* 3-Year-Old Male: Alezzandro, 109; Leonnatus Anteas, 102; Mike Fox, 46

* Older Filly or Mare: Financingavailable, 149; She's Indy Money, 81; Monashee, 65

* Older Male: True Metropolitan, 193; Palladio, 48; Stonetown, 33

* Turf Female: Sealy Hill, 181; Essential Edge, 60; Financingavailable, 36

* Turf Male: Cloudy's Knight, 188; Sky Conqueror, 87; Eccentric, 35

* Sprinter: Financingavailable, 109; Stradivinsky, 63; Bear Now, 27; She's Indy Money, 27

* Jockey: Patrick Husbands, 173; Emma-Jayne Wilson, 62; Mario Gutierrez, 21; Emile Ramsammy, 21

* Apprentice Jockey: Tyler Pizarro, 193; Matt Moore, 58; Dean Deverell, 39

* Trainer: Mark Casse, 166; Terry Jordan, 45; Reade Baker, 44

* Owner: Melnyk Racing Stable, 119; Bob Cheema, 111; Bear Stable, 33

* Breeder: Adena Springs, 127; Eugene Melnyk, 118; Gustav Schickedanz, 31

* Broodmare: Lover's Talk, 71; Victorious Answer, 46; Fascigrant, 42