Sports and entertainment will collide for the inaugural Breeders Crown Charity Challenge, presented by Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership and Woodbine Entertainment.
The Breeders Crown Charity Challenge will team four award-winning Standardbreds with four celebrities, and a charity of their choosing, for a unique social media challenge building towards the 2019 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
The four celebrities participating are Ed Olczyk (Former NHL player/coach, current NBC Sports analyst), Dan Plesac (former MLB pitcher, current MLB Network analyst), Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons (former CFL player/coach) and Kim MacDonald (Weather Network personality). Each celebrity will be paired with a star three-year-old Standardbred.
The connections of Dan Patch Award winners Captain Crunch, Gimpanzee, Warrawee Ubeaut and Woodside Charm have pledged one per cent of their earnings from June 1, 2019 to October 26, 2019 to go towards the charity of their celebrity.
Performance on the racetrack is only a small portion of success in the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge.
Each celebrity will attempt to gain the biggest fanbase for their horse by directing fans to Woodbine Mohawk Park’s Facebook page. Fans will be able to vote once a day for their favourite team. The team that acquires the most votes during the challenge will receive additional funds raised through an auction.
To vote, visit facebook.com/woodbinesb and click on the ‘Breeders Crown Charity Challenge’ tab. Fans can vote once a day for the team of their choosing.
Through generous donations from several industry participants, Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership has secured a series of stallion shares that will be auctioned off at this October’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The proceeds (estimated at $100,000) will be donated to the winning celebrity’s charity.
Each charity is guaranteed to receive a minimum of $5,000.
The teams and charities for the challenge are listed below.
Team Clemons – Warrawee Ubeaut – Pinball Clemons Foundation
Team MacDonald – Woodside Charm – Breast Cancer Society of Canada
Team Olczyk – Gimpanzee – Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation
Team Plesac – Captain Crunch – Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society
All four Standardbreds are expected to race at Woodbine Mohawk Park in stakes races ahead of the Breeders Crown in October. All celebrities (depending on availability) and charities will host a night at the races throughout the season.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Ed Olczyk played 16 seasons in the National Hockey League, suiting up for six different organizations. Olczyk played in 1,031 regular season games, recording 342 goals and 794 points. Following his playing career, Olczyk moved into the broadcast booth as an analyst before taking over as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins for a season and a half.
Olczyk is the current colour analyst for the Chicago Blackhawks and the lead analyst for the NHL on NBC. Olczyk has gained critical acclaim for his analysis, winning Emmy Awards in 2009 and 2012, and has worked multiple Olympic games.
Born in Gary, Indiana, Dan Plesac made his Major League debut on April 11, 1986 to begin a nearly two-decade-long career. A pitcher, Plesac started his career with the Milwaukee Brewers and spent time with six different organizations, including two stints with the Toronto Blue Jays. The lefty was elected to the MLB All-Star game three times during his career and never spent a day on the disabled list during 18 years in the Majors.
Following his playing career, Plesac moved to broadcasting and has been a regular analyst on MLB Network since 2009.
Plesac is a fan and harness racing participant. The pitcher spent time training Standardbreds in Chicago from 2004 to 2009 and is a current owner.
Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons
Born in Dunedin, Florida, Michael Clemons played 14 seasons of professional football and is best known for his time as a member of the Toronto Argonauts. Clemons’ time in the CFL saw him break many league and franchise records, including most all-purpose yards in CFL history with 25,396. Following his playing career, Clemons became the president and head coach of the Argonauts for eight seasons before moving to the vice-chairman position in 2008, a position he still holds. Clemons has won six Grey Cups (three as a player, one as a coach and two as an executive.)
Known for his smile and positive attitude, Clemons is a motivational speaker and the founder of the “Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons Foundation,” which is dedicated to helping disadvantaged youth.
A proud resident of Hamilton, Ontario, Kim MacDonald has been a national television host on The Weather Network for over 20 years. MacDonald was diagnosed with breast cancer in December of 2016. Throughout her treatments, MacDonald publicly shared her breast cancer journey. Now cancer-free, MacDonald returned to television in October 2017. MacDonald is involved in numerous charitable ventures and uses her platform to raise awareness for breast cancer.