R.J. & LOIS BENNETT TAKE CENTRE STAGE
AT ANNUAL THOROUGHBRED AWARDS DINNER
Square Dancer Completes Cinderella 2015 Story
Three New B.C. Racing Hall of Fame Inductees
Vancouver, B.C. (Dec. 7/15) — Russell and Lois Bennett didn’t just visit the podium at the 2015 Thoroughbred Awards Dinner. They owned it.
Affectionately known as the Royal Couple of British Columbia’s racing industry, Mr. & Mrs. Bennett proudly walked off with six honours and shared in a seventh at the annual salute to outstanding performances at Hastings Racecourse.
Members of the Canadian and British Columbia Horse Racing Halls of Fame, the popular Kelowna couple swept both the Leading Breeders and Leading Owners awards for the 2015 season.
They then returned to the prize table to collect silverware in five more categories, including the prestigious B.C. Bred Horse of the Year as owners of three-time stakes winner Touching Promise.
“We’ve been breeding and owning horses since the 1950’s and it never gets old,” Russell said. “I cannot say enough about our trainer Barb Heads and her team in the backstretch. They’ve been great.”
Touching Promise was recognized as Champion Older Filly/Mare in the B.C. Bred and Open Divisions. The Bennett’s Brass & Gold was named Champion Older Male B.C. Bred Division while Catz on Fire shared Champion 3-year-old Male B.C. Bred Division honors with Cederberg and Mighty Fraser, both trained by Hall of Famer Troy Taylor.
Square Dancer Wins Open Horse of the Year
Calling it “an amazing run”, trainer Steve Henson happily accepted Open Horse of the Year honours representing the 200 equal ownership partners of Square Dancer, the 5-year-old gelding who authored a true Cinderella story in 2015.
Running under the blue and white colours of the Hastings Racing Club, Square Dancer won three races in four starts, including the $100,000 Redekop Classic on BC Cup Day (Aug. 3) and the $75,000 S.W. Randall Plate (Sept. 13) before finishing second in the $100,000 Grade 3 Premiers Handicap (Oct. 12).
“It’s been a real rush for me,” Henson told the sold-out Awards Dinner gathering. “I love to talk, I love people and I love this industry. Was I the right guy for the job? Damn right! Thank you Team Henson and thank you Mr. Todd for picking me. Good thing you did.”
That was ‘Mr. Todd’ as in Glen, who along with Hastings Racecourse General Manager Darren MacDonald and Club Manager Richard Yates received the Diamond Award of Excellence for their input in introducing the initiative whereby 200 racing fans each invested $250 to become ownership partners in the Hastings Racing Club.
The concept caught on to the point that the Club will be expanded to 300 members in 2016 and already a second Club of 200 members is well into its formation for next season.
Three New Inductees join BC Horse Racing Hall of Fame
Strait of Dover, owned by Kelowna’s Wally and Terry Leong, in 2012 became the first horse bred in British Columbia to win the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine and was duly acknowledged as a 2015 inductee into the B.C. Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
Hastings Racecourse track announcer of 25 years Dan Jukich and longtime owner and breeder Dixie Jacobson were also honoured as 2015 Hall of Fame members.
The 2015 HBPA Backstretch Award for outstanding contribution to the betterment of racing and the backstretch environment went to Hall of Fame trainer Harold Barroby.
Complete List of Individual 2015 Award Winners
Leading Jockey: Richard Hamel; Leading Trainer: Mike Anderson; Leading Owners: R.J. & Lois Bennett.
Champion 2-year-old Filly, BC Bred & Open: C U At Eau Claire; Champion 2-year-old Male, BC Bred & Open: Stanz in Command; Champion 3-year-old Filly, BC Bred: Quatre Cat; Champion 3-year-old Filly, Open: Academic; Champion 3-year-old Male, BC Bred: Catz on Fire, Cederberg, Mighty Fraser; Champion 3-year-old Male, Open: Bluegrass Angus; Champion Older Filly/Mare, BC Bred & Open: Touching Promise; Champion Older Male, BC Bred: Brass and Gold; Champion Older Male, Open: Square Dancer; Champion Sprinter: Modern; BC Bred Horse of the Year: Touching Promise; Open Horse of the Year: Square Dancer.
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