Standardbred Canada asked a dozen driver/trainers to weigh in on who should be the 2014 Horse of the Year in Canada. Eight of them—Paul MacDonell, Sylvain Filion, Lorne House, Scott Young, Kyle Reibeling, Dustin Jones, Doug McNair and Blake MacIntosh—chose JK She’salady. Makes sense. Overall she was undefeated, and she won all her starts in Canada, including the Eternal Camnation, Three Diamonds and Shes A Great Lady, setting a 1:50.1 world record in the latter. The award is based on a horse making the greatest contribution to harness racing in Canada. She distances the field in that regard.
Chris Christoforou and James MacDonald chose the brilliant freshman trotter Mission Brief. As talented as she is, this is a curious choice. She set a 1:52.1 world record in her Peaceful Way elimination, to go along with her 1:50.3 world record in the ISS at The Red Mile, but she broke stride and finished out in the finals of the Peaceful Way and Goldsmith Maid, both raced in Canada. You’re going to make Mission Brief HOY in Canada when all she won up there were eliminations? Crazy talk.
Some don’t believe any horse based south of the border should win this award, and I suppose Jody Jamieson and Trevor Henry fall into this category. Both picked Intimidate. The now six-year-old won five of 14 starts, including the Maple Leaf Trot and the TVG final. He won the former at 47-1 and the latter at 14-1. Intimidate won four of his six starts in Canada, three of them over preferred trotters. He finished out in the BC, Crawford and Cashman, so while the son of Justice Hall stepped up at the right time and won the two top dollar stakes for aged trotters, he didn’t exactly light up the world wide marquee like Sebastian did. Intimidate will win his division in Canada, but in light of the success JK She’salady had in Ontario, a HOY designation would be far-fetched.