Veterans Sylvian Filion, Richard Morneau lead the way at O’Brien Awards

Filion, Morneau top O'Brien Award winners

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Once again, Sylvain Filion and Richard Morneau are O’Brien Award winners.

Filion was named the top driver while Morneau captured outstanding trainer honours Saturday at Canadian harness-racing’s premiere event. Both won their respective categories for the fourth time.

Filion, a resident of Milton, Ont., also won the award in 2012, ’14 and 2015. Filion was the leading money-earning driver this season (over $7.7 million) and had 310 winners.

Filion was the regular driver of O’Brien Award winner Beyond Delight (two-year-old colt pacer) and finalists Emoticon Hanover (three-year-old filly trotter) and Yaris Bayama (two-year-old filly pacer).

Bob McClure of Elora, Ont., was the finalist after leading all Canadian drivers with 561 wins.

Morneau, of Puslinch, Ont., also earned top trainer honours last year. He led all conditioners with 249 wins and amassed nearly $4 million in earnings.

Casie Coleman of Cambridge, Ont., was the finalist with 53 wins and over $2.8 million in earnings.

Betting Line, co-owned and trained by Coleman, claimed O’Brien awards as top three-year-old pacing colt and horse of the year. Betting line won 14-of-15 races this season (placing second in the other) and almost $1.7 million in earnings.

Among the victories were the Pepsi North America Cup and Little Brown Jug.

Toronto’s Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ont., were named the top breeder for the second straight year.

Rick Zeron, of Oakville, Ont., claimed the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship. Zeron had 116 driving wins and $2.6 million in earnings while training 49 winners and registering $1.7 million in earnings.

Travis Cullen of Rockton, Ont., was the finalist after winning the 2013 future star honour.

Louis-Philippe Roy of Mont-Joli, Que., was the 2016 future star winner after winning 233 races and more than $1 million.

Teesha Symes of Cambridge took home the outstanding groom honour.

The other winning horses included: Idyllic Beach (two-year-old filly pacer); Ariana G (two-year-old filly trotter); L A Delight (three-year-old filly pacer); Mass Production (two-year-old colt trotter); Caprice Hill (three-year-old filly trotter); Marion Marauder (three-year-old colt trotter); Hannelore Hanover (older trotting mare); Flanagan Memory (older trotting horse); Lady Shadow (older pacing mare); and Wiggle It Jiggleit (older pacing horse).

The Canadian Press