Melnyk earns horse honour

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 2:16 PM ET

Eugene Melnyk knows all about getting his horses into the winner's circle.

The Senators owner was one of two Canadians honoured at the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association's awards dinner held recently at the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington.

Melnyk and his wife, Laura, were recognized as the national owners of the year, while Frank Stronach -- who makes his home in Aurora -- was named the national breeder of the year.

"It was a big surprise and a pleasant surprise," said Melnyk last night from his Barbados home. "You know that when you get invited to the dinner, you're going to be honoured for the East, but to get the national award was something special.

'MEANS A LOT'

"Canada has its own awards for harness racing, but those are achievements in Canada. This is something that is an honour for all of North America. The recognition means a lot to me. This is a whole team award and we've got a lot of hard working people involved in this."

Melnyk has more than 600 horses housed at his stable in Florida. About 100 are at various tracks across North America -- including Woodbine, New York and Lexington.

"One thing I'm looking for right now is consistency," he said. "We had a lot of success and the one thing you want to keep doing is having success. We've had a good start in 2005 and we'd like to keep it going from here. We had a lot of success with Flower Alley and if Flower Alley is able to win at the Jockey's Gold Cup in New York on Oct. 1, then the horse will qualify for the Breeders' Cup Classic."

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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