Industry pride and dedication was on display in Cornwall Saturday night during the Atlantic Breeders’ Crown banquet.
A number of awards were handed out to individuals, as well as tributes made to Atlantic Canada harness racing families. The banquet room in the Dutch Inn was packed for the event.
Long-time horseman George Riley of Kensington was honoured with the Glen Kennedy Award.
As well, the finalists in Sunday’s Atlantic Breeders’ Crown finals were announced and representatives of the horses were singled out for recognition.
One of the highlights of the night was a harness racing panel discussion consisting of Phil Pinkney, Howie Trainor, Ralph Annear and Michael Campbell.
All four have played prominent roles in the harness racing industry in the region over the years. They answered questions from joint masters of ceremonies Lee Drake and Vance Cameron.
The Guardian, represented by publisher Don Brander and managing editor Gary MacDougall, were presented with an achievement award sponsored by the Atlantic Veterinary College. The paper received the award for its long-time support of the harness racing industry.
The fact harness racing has deep roots in the region was also highlighted when a number of families, including the MacKinnons of Cape Breton and Whelans of P.E.I., were honoured.
P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan, the minister responsible for harness racing in the province, said the industry is a vital one on Prince Edward Island with deep economic and cultural roots.
The Atlantic Breeders Crown weekend began Friday with the yearling sale, followed by races Saturday afternoon and the evening banquet. On Sunday the Atlantic Breeders’ Crown finals begin at the Charlottetown Driving Park at 1 p.m. Thirteen dashes are on the card.