ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The 2-year-old colt Uncaptured, a finalist in the voting for this year’s Eclipse Awards, returns on the short list for his division for Canada’s 2012 Sovereign Awards.
The Jockey Club of Canada on Tuesday announced the finalists in 16 categories, with the exception of Horse of the Year.
A total of 41 voters from across Canada were asked to rank their top three choices in each category, with points awarded on a 4-2-1 basis. The winners will be revealed at the annual Sovereign Awards ceremony.
That gathering is scheduled to take place at Woodbine on the eve of the 2013 meeting, a date which has yet to be determined as Ontario’s racing industry continues to negotiate with the provincial government pending the scheduled end of the province’s racetrack slots programs on March 31.
Uncaptured, 6 for 7 including wins in a pair of graded stakes at Churchill Downs, is trained by Mark Casse and owned by John Oxley, both of whom are finalists in their individual categories.
Casse was the leading trainer in both races and money won at Woodbine and Oxley the leading owner in money won.
Other finalists representing both Casse and Oxley are Dynamic Sky, 2-year-old colt or gelding; Spring in the Air, 2-year-old filly; and Dixie Strike, 3-year-old filly.
Divisional finalists trained by Casse for other owners are Spring Venture, 2-year-old filly, owned by Gary Barber and Jim Stone; Delegation, 3-year-old colt, owned by Gary Barber; and Roxy Gap, a homebred 5-year-old who races for outstanding owner finalist Eugene Melnyk and is on the short lists for older female, turf female, and female sprinter.
Uncaptured also is considered to be a leading candidate to be named Horse of the Year with his chief rival in many quarters being seen as Hunters Bay.
A homebred 5-year-old horse who races for Stronach Stable and is trained by Sovereign Awards finalist Reade Baker, Hunters Bay is an older male finalist based on the strength of his victories in Woodbine’s Grade 3 Eclipse and Dominion Day.
Hunters Bay also is a male turf horse finalist even though his only effort on the medium came when he finished second while making his turf debut in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, won by North America’s Horse of the Year Wise Dan.
Forte dei Marmi, winner of Woodbine’s Grade 2 Sky Classic and third in both the Grade 1 Northern Dancer and Canadian International for trainer Roger Attfield, and Riding the River, successful in two Grade 2 turf stakes and second in another for trainer and part-owner Dave Cotey, are the other turf male finalists.
Looking to repeat their Sovereign Awards successes of 2011 will be female sprinter Atlantic Hurricane, trained and partly owned by Stu Simon; Pender Harbour, top male 3-year-old and now an older male finalist for trainer Mike DePaulo; and Essence Hit Man, the reigning champion male sprinter for his late trainer, co-owner, and co-breeder Audre Cappuccitti.
Irish Mission and Magic Broomstick are other Woodbine-based horses who appear on the short lists for two categories.
Winner of the Woodbine Oaks and runner-up to 3-year-old colt or gelding finalist Strait of Dover in Woodbine’s Queen’s Plate, Irish Mission will challenge Dixie Strike for the 3-year-old filly title and also is up for the turf female award based on her victory over males in Woodbine’s 1 1/2-mile Breeders’.
The 6-year-old Magic Broomstick, a Sam-Son Farm homebred, was undefeated in her three seasonal appearances, all at Woodbine, and is up for awards in the older female and female sprinter categories for trainer Malcolm Pierce.
Sam-Son also bred Irish Mission, who was purchased as a yearling at Saratoga and has made her mark for owner Robert S. Evans and trainer Mark Frostad. Sam-Son is an outstanding breeder finalist along with Bill Graham and Team Stronach’s Adena Springs.
Graham had a banner year as the breeder of Uncaptured and other stakes winners, including River Seven, a 2-year-old colt or gelding finalist who won Woodbine’s Grade 3 Grey on the occasion of Uncaptured’s only defeat.
Uncaptured’s dam, Captivating, and Irish Mission’s dam, Misty Mission, are finalists in the outstanding broodmare category.
Western Canada is prominent in the Sovereign Awards considerations this year with Vancouver-based Troy Taylor leading the way.
Taylor, himself a trainer finalist, is represented by British Columbia’s horse of the year Taylor Said, who is on the short lists in the older male and male sprinter categories.
Taylor Said raced for Glen Todd’s North American Thoroughbred Horse Company, the top owner at Hastings Park and a Sovereign Awards finalist in that category.
Todd also is a co-owner of Evelyn’s Dancer, a finalist in the 3-year-old filly division.
Strait of Dover, owned and bred by B.C. based Wally and Terry Leong but trained at Woodbine by Danny Vella, and Toccetive, winner of the Canadian Derby and Speed to Spare at Northlands Park, both are 3-year-old colt or gelding finalists.
Scott Williams, who finished second in the standings at Northlands, and Jennifer Reid, runner-up at Assiniboia Downs, are named in the outstanding apprentice category.
Skye Chernetz, the other apprentice finalist, is based at Woodbine along with the three outstanding jockey candidates Luis Contreras, Patrick Husbands, and Eurico Rosa da Silva, who finished 1-2-3 in the standings.
Contreras also was Woodbine’s leading rider in 2011 and was honored with his first Sovereign Award.
The finalists in the three media award categories will be announced next month.
2012 Sovereign Awards finalists
Nipissing, Spring in the Air, Spring Venture
2-Year-Old Colt or Gelding
Dynamic Sky, River Seven, Uncaptured
Dixie Strike, Evelyn’s Dancer, Irish Mission
3-Year-Old Colt or Gelding
Delegation, Strait of Dover, Toccetive
Magic Broomstick, Roxy Gap, Stars to Shine
Hunters Bay, Pender Harbour, Taylor Said
All Star Heart, Irish Mission, Roxy Gap
Forte dei Marmi, Hunters Bay, Riding the River
Atlantic Hurricane, Magic Broomstick, Roxy Gap
Bear Tough Tiger, Essence Hit Man, Taylor Said
Reade Baker, Mark Casse, Troy Taylor
Luis Contreras, Eurico Rosa da Silva, Patrick Husbands
Sky Chernetz, Jennifer Reid, Scott Williams
Melnyk Racing Stable, N.A. Thoroughbred Horse Company, John Oxley
Adena Springs, Bill Graham, Sam-Son Farm
Captivating, Misty Mission, Uproar