Hall of Fame Director Jim Bannon “Full of Emotion” over Gemini Win

TORONTO, August 31 – Jim Bannon, Woodbine television analyst, commentator and handicapping expert, was honoured with the 2010 Best Sports Analyst Gemini Award on Tuesday evening, for his work on last year’s Queen’s Plate telecast, which aired on CBC.

Bannon was part of the Queen’s Plate telecast that included record-breaking on-track attendance and wagering, a royal visit from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, with nearly 700,000 viewers tuning in to the program.

Bannon was up against Pierre McGuire, Glen Suitor, Tracy Wilson and Kurt Browning and Jason De Vos in the voting for Best Sports Analyst.

Receiving the Gemini, he acknowledges, ranks as one of the most meaningful moments in his career.

“The entire experience has been humbling and overwhelming and full of emotion,” said Bannon, of his Gemini Award, which celebrates the achievements of TV members of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. “The award recognizes the positive synergy which has been built between my families both here at Woodbine and at the CBC in presenting horse racing to a growing audience. The Gemini recognizes horse racing as a mainstream sport the way it is played at Woodbine.”

Bannon was quick to acknowledge those who played a major role in his Gemini win.

“An award such as the Gemini is a team achievement,” he said. “I want to thank my friend and on-air partner Ron MacLean and the others who contributed to the success of the telecast, including producer Jeff Pearlman and director Chris Elias.”

For those who know him best, it is a well-deserved accolade.

“We at Woodbine are so proud of the passion and excellence that Jim brings to every broadcast,” said Andrew Macdonald, Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “It is terrific to see him recognized as the best television sports analyst in 2010.”

Author of the Woodbine Journal, a daily analysis of the thoroughbred racing cards at the Toronto oval, Bannon has enjoyed a 35-year career in broadcasting.

A staple at the track, he has worked as a guest analyst for CBC Television on several occasions, covering the Queen’s Plate, and is a director of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

He is also an esteemed educator, having hosted hundreds of seminars across North America on handicapping horses, and having taught the Canadian Racing Officials Course for Thoroughbred racing officials at Humber College.

Last year, Bannon, who is part of Woodbine’s Bet Night Live telecast (Mondays and Wednesdays on The Score), was inducted into the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame.