Standardbred Canada is preparing for the official 2021 Virtual O’Brien Awards Gala, a highly anticipated celebration of horse people across Ontario. In a recent statement regarding the online ceremony that will take place, the leader announced who will be hosting the event. Greg Blanchard and Jason Portuondo will be taking care of everything during the gala that will transform February 6.
There is one event in Ontario’s horse racing field that could easily be compared to the Academy Awards in both its importance and glamor. The first days of February are about to see the latest edition of the event that usually welcomes horse people in spectacular tuxedos and gowns. This year we will have the chance to enjoy the awards as they are streamed online for everyone to enjoy.
The fact that this event is online does not have to discourage individuals from dressing up and posting their photos with a specific hashtag so that they can feel part of a community. Now we even know who the hosts of this special event will be. Mr. Blanchard is the Director of Sales and Retail Operations for Western Fair District.
Horse people know and love him and his work ethic throughout the years, he has been the host of the O’Brien Awards Gala on two other occasions once again with a co-host. This was the case in 2010 and 2015. It is no secret that Mr. Blanchard has decades of experience in the local horse racing field, but he has also served as a TV host and media communications manager at Woodbine Entertainment.
He has also had the honor to host Bet Night Live on The Score. On the other hand, Mr. Portuondo is going to be the co-host of the O’Brien Awards Gala for the sixth year in a row. He is a member of Woodbine’s broadcast team, but he has also devoted the past two years to weekly editions of Racing Night Live.
The 2021 Virtual O’Brien Awards Gala is about to commence on February 6, 2022, between 8 – 8:30 p.m. (EST). For this year’s edition of the event, the theme will be Boots & Bling, inspiring virtual attendants to dress up to the nines in upscale country style. They can wear their boots and Stetsons for the photos they are about to take and upload with the hashtag #obriens20.
In the summer of 2021, Standardbred Canada announced that there would be some changes to the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship. The organization’s Board of Directors in a recent meeting approved the motion. The changes will be in regards to some of the conditions, which determine the winner of this prestigious horse racing honor.
Ontario Racing is once again preparing to sponsor the Media Excellence Awards at the 2021 O’Brien Awards Virtual Gala. There will be three award categories – Outstanding Written Work, Outstanding Video, Film or Broadcast, and Outstanding Photograph. This year’s running will be the sixth in a row where Ontario Racing has partnered with Standardbred Canada to sponsor the event.