The Jockey Club of Canada Board of Stewards are proud to announce that R.J. (Russell) and Lois Bennett will be presented with the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit for their longtime involvement and commitment to Thoroughbred Racing in Canada.

A Member of The Jockey Club of Canada for close to 40 years, Russell Bennett, along with his wife Lois, has been involved in Thoroughbred racing in Canada since the 1950’s.

Lois and RJ BennettThe Bennetts have proven to be the most successful breeders in racing history in British Columbia, topping the Leading Breeder list in that province almost every year since 1982.  They have been honoured nationally and provincially with inductions into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and the British Columbia Horse Racing Hall of Fame.  In 1983 R.J. Bennett was honoured with the Sovereign Award for Outstanding Breeder, the same year his homebred multiple graded stakes winner, Travelling Victor, became the first horse not raced in Ontario to win Horse of the Year honours as well as Champion Older Male.

Most recently, the Bennetts were awarded the Leading Breeder and Leading Owner titles in British Columbia for 2015 along with their homebred mare, Touching Promise, being named Horse of the Year and Champion Older Mare in B.C.  The male division of the older horse category was awarded to another Bennett homebred Brass & Gold while their Catz on Fire shared the 3-year-old B.C. bred male with two other recipients in 2015.  Touching Promise is also a Sovereign Award finalist for Champion Older Female in 2015.

The Bennetts own more than 40 broodmares and maintain a population of more than 100 Thoroughbreds at their Flying Horse Farm on the shores of Okanagan Lake in Westbank, British Columbia.   Producing more than 50 stakes winners, their first stakes winner was Flying Magic, in 1967.  A list of other successful stakes runners include, Brandy Magic, Skovinsky, Historical Devil, Tasty Victory, Travelling Round, Easy Triumph, Hurried Romance, Billy Blue, Lively Lord, Always a Dixie, and Multiple Graded Stakes winner Lord Nelson.

The recipient of the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit is decided by The Jockey Club of Canada Board of Stewards and is not necessarily awarded annually.  Previously called the Man of the Year Award, The E.P. Taylor Award of Merit is earned by those who have positively impacted or contributed to the Thoroughbred Industry in Canada.  Previous recipients of this award include E.P. Taylor, Jack Diamond, George Hendrie, Jim Coleman, George Gardiner, Ernest Samuel, and Charles Taylor.

2014 Outstanding Jockey Patrick Husbands, WEG/michael burns photo

2014 Outstanding Jockey Patrick Husbands, WEG/michael burns photo

The Jockey Club of Canada will host the 41st Annual Sovereign Awards Ceremony to honour the Canadian Champions of 2015 and to celebrate Thoroughbred racing in Canada on Friday, April 8, 2016 at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario.

The cocktail-attire celebration will include an opportunity to walk the Sovereign Award Red Carpet upon arriving at the “bubbly” reception followed by a buffet-style gourmet dinner and the presentation of the Sovereign Award Trophies to Canada’s racing Champions of 2015 and Canada’s 2015 Horse of the Year.

Even if you are not a finalist, you’re invited to come and have fun and celebrate with the 2015 Champions of Thoroughbred Racing in Canada.

This year’s event will once again be held on the eve of the start of Thoroughbred racing in Canada with Woodbine Racetrack’s 2016 Thoroughbred season beginning the next day at 1:00 pm (EST), Saturday, April 9.

Tickets to the 41st Annual Sovereign Awards Ceremony are $250 each and tables of 10 are slightly discounted at $2400.  All tickets are plus applicable taxes and must be reserved in advance by contacting The Jockey Club of Canada at 416-675-7756 or email:

The Jockey Club of Canada was founded in 1973 by E.P. Taylor to serve as the international representative of the Canadian Thoroughbred industry. The mission of The Jockey Club of Canada is to promote and maintain a high standard for Thoroughbred racing and breeding in Canada at a level which is recognized internationally for the benefit of all those interested in the sport including the general public by operations and services such as, but not limited to: evaluating all Graded, Listed and Black-type races in Canada annually; conducting the annual Sovereign Awards for outstanding achievement in Thoroughbred racing and breeding in Canada; maintaining a field office in Canada for the Jockey Club of the United States and the Jockey Club Registry Service; and by representing Canada as a Member of the IFHA.