Arravale Named Canada's 2006 Horse of Year

Arravale Named Canada's 2006 Horse of Year
Photo: Benoit
Canada's Arravale, here winning the Del Mar Oaks, named Sovereign Award winner as Horse of the Year for 2006.
Arravale was named Canada's Sovereign Award winner as Horse of the Year, the Jockey Club of Canada announced during its annual award ceremony Dec. 16 at InterContinental Toronto Centre.

The 3-year-old filly Arravale was also named champion female turf horse after winning three of five starts and more than $1 million in 2006 for owner Robert Costigan and trainer Mac Benson.

The daughter of Arch   won a pair of grade I events – the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) in Southern California and the E.P. Taylor (Can-I) at Woodbine.

Following is a listing of each of the 2006 Sovereign Award winners:

CHAMPION TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY
Catch the Thrill

2006 stats: 5-2-2-0 $235,180
Catch the Thrill won two races, including the rich Princess Elizabeth Stakes, arguably the season's most important 2-year-old filly added-money event at Woodbine. The bay, who is owned by Sam-Son Farm, also finished second in the Ontario Lassie Stakes and out of the money only once in five starts. Mark Frostad trained the Ontario-bred daughter of A.P. Indy.

CHAMPION TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT
Leonnatus Anteas

2006 stats: 3-3-0-0 $367,086
Leonnatus Anteas did it all in 2006 for Knob Hill Stable and the estate of the late Steve Stavro. The chestnut Stormy Atlantic   colt scored over three surfaces, the inner dirt track in the Vandal Stakes, the E.P. Taylor Turf Course in the Cup, and Saucer Stakes and the Coronation Futurity, arguably the country's most important juvenile colt event, over Polytrack. The Kevin Attard-trainee also won at the three different distances.

CHAMPION THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY
Kimchi

2006 stats: 5-2-1-0 $482,588
Kimchi was only the second filly in the Triple Tiara era to have a chance to sweep the three-race series since it was launched in 1999. After upsetting the Labatt Woodbine Oaks in the first jewel of the Tiara, she managed to take the Labatt Bison City Stakes at Fort Erie before succumbing in the Wonder Where Stakes on turf. Mark Casse trained the Langfuhr   Manitoba-bred to the two stakes wins for owner Seasoft Stable.

CHAMPION THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT
Shillelagh Slew

2006 stats: 6-4-0-1 $731,680
Shillelagh Slew traveled far and wide to garner a spot on the Sovereign Award podium for trainer Mike DePaulo and owner David James. After finishing fifth in the Queen's Plate, the Chief Seattle colt was a put-up winner of the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie and then third in the Breeders' Stakes, third jewel of the Triple Crown. He went west and won the Canadian Derby (Can-III) at Northlands Park in Edmonton and the Ontario Derby (Can-III) at Woodbine.

CHAMPION MALE TURF HORSE
Sky Conqueror

2006 stats: 6-3-0-3 $894,170
Sky Conqueror, the 4-year-old Bill Sorokolit homebred was a fast-closing third in the Connaught Cup on May 28. It was in July that the chestnut colt was at his best, capturing the King Edward Breeders' Cup and the inaugural running of the Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf. The Ontario-bred was also a troubled third in the Pattison Canadian International (Can-I). Trained by Darwin Banach, Sky Conqueror is a son of Sky Classic  , the champion turf horse of 1991.

CHAMPION FEMALE TURF HORSE
Arravale

2006 stats: 5-3-1-1 $1,050,000
Three-year-old Arravale developed into a superstar in 2006. The Arch   filly captured grade I events north and south of the 49th parallel. The Mac Benson trainee shipped to California on two occasions, finishing third to Wait a While in the American Oaks (gr. IT) and scoring decisively in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT). Arravale showed Canadian fans her best on Canadian International Day, triumphing in the E.P. Taylor (Can-I) over a tough group of older fillies and mares. Her owner, Robert Costigan, also celebrated a top female turfer Sovereign in 2003 and 2004 with Inish Glora.

CHAMPION OLDER FEMALE
Financingavailable

2006 stats: 8-5-3-0 $490,000
Financingavailable, the Lorne Richards-trained daughter of Kiridashi was brilliant from June to November, capturing five stakes races at distances ranging from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles and earning $490,000. The 5-year-old gray won over dirt, turf, and Poly. In eight starts, the K. K. Sangara charge was never worse than second and never less than a neck from victory.

CHAMPION OLDER MALE
True Metropolitan

2006 stats: 11-7-3-0 $402,340
Florida-bred True Metropolitan captured seven of his 10 Western Canadian starts, all stakes, before trainer Terry Jordan shipped him east for a crack at Woodbine's toughest older runners. The rugged son of Proud and True turned in a four-length victory in the Woodbine Slots Cup (Can-III). With the 1 1/8-mile victory, the Bob Cheema gelding boosted his 2006 earnings to $402,340.

CHAMPION SPRINTER
Judiths Wild Rush

2006 stats: 11-3-2-3 $325,953
Judith Wild Rush won two stakes races, the Jacques Cartier and the Vigil, in 2006 for trainer Reade Baker and Tenenbaum Racing Stables. The 5-year-old Wild Rush gray keeps the top sprinter title he earned last year after venturing south to the United States three times. He most impressively finished second in the Vanderbilt Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Saratoga.

OUTSTANDING BROODMARE
Dream Smartly

The Smarten mare Dream Smartly, 14, with some assistance from top Canadian sire Bold Executive, produced two of the fastest, most determined runners to compete at Woodbine, full siblings Blonde Executive and Main Executive. Blonde Executive won four stakes between 2003 and 2004, including the Duchess (Can-III), and won a Sovereign Award herself as champion sprinter. This year, Main Executive has performed brilliantly, scoring in the New Providence and Kennedy Road Stakes.

JOCKEY
Todd Kabel

Kabel, who has five Sovereign Award Outstanding jockey honors (1992, 1995, 2003, 2004, and 2005) on his resume, enjoyed another stellar season in the saddle, leading the colony once again in stakes wins (16 as of Dec. 3). The Manitoba native piloted six Sovereign Award finalists to stakes wins. Kabel, who is nearing 300 career stakes wins, hasn't seen his win percentage dip below 17% since 1992.

APPRENTICE JOCKEY
Emma-Jayne Wilson

There was certainly no sophomore jinx this season for Wilson, who, after a stellar 2005 campaign, one in which she captured both the Top Apprentice Sovereign and Eclipse Awards, took her second consecutive Woodbine riding title. The 25-year-old, who became the first woman to capture the Toronto oval title, winning 175 races last year, has nine stakes wins to her name as of December 3, including a score in the Durham Cup (Can-III) with Barracuda Boy. The former rugby standout lost her "bug" on Aug. 7. She piloted Arravale to a victory in the Alywow Stakes.

TRAINER
Mark Casse

Casse continues to make his mark as one of Canada's most distinguished conditioners. This year, the 45-year-old saddled the most stakes winners at Woodbine (11) and led the way in purse earnings ($4,271,164), both career-high numbers. Not surprisingly, Casse was the king of the 2-year-old scene, sending out 24 winners, to lead the category for the ninth consecutive campaign. His 17 turf wins was five better than his nearest competitor, as Casse notched his fifth straight top-five finish.

OWNER
Sam-Son Farm

A familiar name in the Outstanding Owner category, Sam-Son Farm gets its eighth Sovereign win. Once again, Sam-Son was a force on the Canadian racing scene, winning eight stakes at Woodbine and one at Fort Erie, as of Nov. 28. Some of their top stars in 2006 include Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Catch the Thrill and Champion Female Turf Horse finalist, Strike Softly. Once again, Sam-Son topped the $2 million mark in purse earnings, under the watchful eye of trainer Mark Frostad.

BREEDER
Adena Springs

Adena Springs (Frank Stronach) is a multiple-time finalist and winner in the Outstanding Breeder category, having taken the honor five times previously (1984, 1997-99, and 2005). In 2006, Adena leads all Canadian breeders in starters (127), winners (70), and purse earnings ($4,222,287), as of Nov. 14. It was the third consecutive year Adena led in those respective categories. The outfit bred this year's Breeders' Stakes champion Royal Challenger, as well as dual stakes winner Just Rushing, who captured the Labeeb and Mt. Sassafras Stakes. Malakoff, who finished third in the Queen's Plate, took the Marine Stakes (Can-III).

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