(Files provided by the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame)
TORONTO, March 20 – The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2017 ballot. In this the 250th Anniversary Year of Horse Racing in Canada, a total of 30 horses and people, comprised of 15 Standardbred and 15 Thoroughbred candidates have been selected to appear on the voting ballot. A 20-person Election Committee for each breed will determine the winners in their respective categories. Results will be announced Tuesday, April 4.
The five categories selected by the nominating committee to appear on the 2017 Standardbred ballots are Female Horse, Male Horse, Veteran Horse, Builder, and Driver/Trainer
The Standardbred Female Horse Category features Elegantimage, Oohs N Aahs and Tricky Tooshie
Trotting filly Elegantimage, bred by Diane Ingham and Harry Rutherford of Mount Pleasant, ON was a standout from age two when she recorded three Ontario Sire Stakes (OSS) wins in five starts. The Balanced Image daughter followed up at age three, winning eight of ten OSS starts, setting a lifetime mark of 1:55.4, and winning the 1997 Canadian Breeders Championship Final. During her race career, she posted a race record of 20-7-3 and lifetime earnings of $955,368 in 41 races. As a broodmare, her progeny have earned $986,223 with average earnings per starter of $140,889. Her top performer was the Kadabra filly, Elegant Serenity, a winner of over $500,000 with a mark of 1:53.2.
Pacing mare Oohs N Aahs won 44 races in her career, taking a mark of 1:51.1 at Woodbine Racetrack at the age of eight while banking over $1.1 million. Finishing first, second or third in 109 out of a total of 177 races, Oohs N Aahs won most of her races in Ontario and became a Canadian fan favourite during her exceptional racing career. As a broodmare she produced Omen Hanover who earned in excess of $1 million, and in the process made Oohs N Aahs only the third pacing mare to both earn over $1 million and produce a millionaire daughter.
Tricky Tooshie was bred and owned during her racing career by Laurent Bergevin of Quebec. Trainers included her co-breeder Jean L. Deblois, followed by Rick Zeron and then Linda Bedard. In seven years of racing she made 142 starts for a 44-29-24 record, posted a mark of 1:52.1 at Woodbine Racetrack and earned $1,005,566, becoming the first Canadian- sired mare to reach $1 million in earnings. As a broodmare, nine of her thirteen foals made it to the races to earn $2.84 million for average earnings per starter of almost $300,000. Her richest foal was True North Hanover, a winner of $732,912.
Nominated In the category of Standardbred Male Horse are Blissfull Hall, Mach Three and Shadow Play
In 1999, Blissfull Hall captured harness racing’s elusive Pacing Triple Crown for owners Ecuries Daniel Plouffe, Inc. of Bromont, Quebec, trainer Ben Wallace, and driver Ron Pierce. A career that included 31 races over two seasons amassed a record of 19-4-6, a mark of 1:49.2 and earnings of $1.4 million before he embarked on a successful career as a stallion. To date his progeny have won over $72 million in earnings, including 83 horses with earnings over $250,000, 222 horses with earnings over $100,000, and average earnings per starter of $97,969.
Bred by Karl Magid of Cambridge, ON and owned throughout much of his race career by the late Joe Muscara Sr. of Pennsylvania, Mach Three was trained by Bill, Brett, and Shawn Robinson, along with Monte Gelrod. At age two Mach Three posted a record of 7-2-0 in nine starts, winning the 2001 $1.1 million Metro Pace at Woodbine Racetrack in 1:51.4. In 2002, Mach Three won the $1 million Meadowlands Pace in a career-best 1:49 and had a record of 11-2-2 in 18 starts to give him a career record of 18-4-2 in 27 starts and earnings of $2,376,700. In a stallion career split between Tara Hills Stud Farm in Ontario and Alabar Farms in New Zealand, he produced 1,300 plus offspring to date, with total progeny earnings of $104.7 million for average earnings per starter of $113,621, including 305 horses with earnings of $100,000 or more. Mach Three’s influence on the Standardbred breed will forever be cemented as the sire of the legendary Hall of Fame racehorse and supersire Somebeachsomewhere ($3.3 Million, 1:46.4 World Record).
Shadow Play earned $1,559,822 with 20 wins, 9 seconds and 5 thirds in 49 lifetime starts and took a record of 1:47.4 as a four-year-old. The son of The Panderosa, trained by Dr. Ian Moore who shared ownership with R G MC Group Ltd., and Serge Savard for most of his racing career, won several stakes events including the 2008 Little Brown Jug. As a sire standing at Winbak Farm in Ontario, and now owned by the Shadow Play Syndicate, he has sired the winners of over $14 million including O’Brien Award winners Lady Shadow and Arthur Blue Chip.
The 2017 Veteran Horses ballot is comprised of B Cor Tamara, Happy Lady and Lou Macs Review
Before embarking on her second career as a broodmare, B Cor Tamara enjoyed a productive racing career, earning more than $185,000. Bred and owned by Bill Core of Dresden, Ontario, the daughter of Dream Of Glory was the dam of 19 foals, including star trotter B Cor Pete, and granddam of two champion juveniles, Banker Hall and Broadway Hall. Her offspring have earned in excess of $2.8 million.
Happy Lady, a daughter of Most Happy Fella, raced in 1977 and 1978 for owners Myra Masterson of St. Catharines, and Linda Lockey of Ridgeville, Ontario. Though her racing career was brief, she won $528,825 in purse earnings and attained a mark of 1:55.2. Trained and driven by the late Jim Rankin, she was almost flawless in her juvenile campaign, winning 15 of 16 races. As a sophomore she won 19 of 24 starts.
Trotting mare Lou Macs Review achieved success on the racetrack and as a broodmare. A multiple Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) winner at ages two and three during the late 1980s, she was the OSS champion in her three-year-old campaign, competing against both colts and fillies. Her race career continued as an aged open class winner until age seven, amassing lifetime earnings of $560,958 and including a second place finish in the 1991 Breeders Crown for Aged Mares. Her stats as a broodmare include progeny with earnings over $1.2 million and average earnings per starter of $140,000.
In the Standardbred Driver/Trainer category voters will select from Blair Burgess, Jim Doherty and Ben Wallace.
Toronto-born Blair Burgess has accumulated earnings of over $27.6 million with 1040 wins as a trainer, including two victories in the Hambletonian (Amigo Hall in 2003 and Glidemaster in 2006), and two in the Meadowlands Pace (Frugal Gourmet in 1987, Real Desire in 2002), plus wins in the Little Brown Jug (Tell All in 2007), the North America Cup (Tell All in 2007), the Kentucky Futurity, the Trotting Triple Crown (Glidemaster in 2006), and a Breeders Crown Championship (Real Desire, 2001). Burgess, who received an O’Brien Award as Canada’s Trainer of the Year in 2007, has also trained winners of seven O’Brien Awards, and nine Dan Patch Award. Two of his trainees have been named the U.S. Pacer of the Year (Real Desire and Tell All), while Glidemaster was named U.S. Trotter of the Year in 2006.
Saint John, New Brunswick’s Jim Doherty developed numerous champions during his career as a trainer-driver including $3 million earner and 2002 U.S. Trotter of the Year, Fools Goal, as well as 1997 Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year No Nonsense Woman, and Starchip Entrprise, winner of the Valley Victory and Canadian Trotting Classic in the late 1990s. He also drove Green With Envy, two-time Older Pacing Mare of the Year in 1984 and 1985. During his career, Doherty drove winners of 4,620 races and nearly $39 million in purses. In 2003 Doherty was inducted to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. He is also a member of the New England Harness Writers Hall of Fame, New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame, and the Saint John Sports Hall of Fame.
Ben Wallace of Puslinch, Ontario trained the 1999 Pacing Triple Crown Winner Blissfull Hall, Breeders Crown winners Totally Western (2002), Pans Cullotes (2003), Armbro Rosebud (1997) as well as a list of million dollar plus winners including Apprentice Hanover, Zooka, Cam Swifty, Camotion and Lookout Victory. Awarded an O’Brien as Trainer of the Year in 1999, Wallace has current career stats of 1,866 wins and over $36.5 million in purses, surpassing the million dollar mark in 18 consecutive seasons (1996-2013).
Standardbred Builder Category candidates include Dr. Gordon Gilbertson, DVM, J. Hugh Proudfoot and Brian Webster.
The late Dr. Gordon Gilbertson, DVM, originally from Hagersville, ON, revolutionized an aspect of the Standardbred racing industry when he invented the Quick Hitch, a new style of harness. He used his extensive experience treating horses as a Veterinarian, and his hands-on experience in training and driving harness horses to fuel his idea. In 1980 Dr.Gilbertson secured Canadian and U.S. patents on his new "Quick Hitch" eventually named the "Rondeau Quick Hitch", in homage to where he lived in Kent County.
J. Hugh Proudfoot, born in Fort Coulonge, Quebec in 1912, was an active harness racing participant as a breeder, trainer, owner and executive. His Pontiac Farm was a successful racing operation for decades throughout Quebec and Ontario. Proudfoot was a leader when it came to sponsoring races at Fort Coulonge, Chapeau, Shawville, Pembroke and beyond. As an executive he served as a Director of the Canadian Trotting Association (CTA) for eleven (11) years, as Vice-president for seven (7) before becoming President of the C.T.A. in 1959. He had great vision as evidenced by his belief that the C.T.A. and Canadian Standardbred Horse Society (CSHS) should amalgamate. He also believed there should be driver’s insurance with the C.T.A. and advocated licensing women drivers.
Brian Webster of St. George, ON, made contributions to the Canadian horse racing industry centering around his 20+ years building, managing and promoting successful yearling sales, including the Mixed Canadian Standardbred Horse Sale, the Select Yearling Sale, the Forest City Yearling Sale and as Sales Consultant to Standardbred Canada’s Yearling Sale. His industry association involvement included the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) and the North American Harness Racing Marketing Association. He also held many volunteer roles in the racing industry.
The five categories chosen for the 2017 Thoroughbred ballot are Builder, Communicator, Trainer, Male Horse and Veteran Horse
A Thoroughbred Builder ballot comprised of Frank McMahon, Eugene Melnyk and John G. Sikura is offered for voter consideration.
The late Frank McMahon was a major contributor to thoroughbred horse racing in Canada with what was the first major stable in Western Canada, and as a founding member of the Jockey Club of Canada. Early success came as a part-owner of Royal Serenade, winner of the 1953 Hollywood Gold Cup. Other McMahon victories included the 1966 British Columbia Derby in Vancouver and the 1970 Canadian Derby in Edmonton. He partnered with Max Bell (Golden West Farms) in 1968 to win the Queen’s Plate with Merger. In 1969, his Majestic Prince won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
Eugene Melnyk, businessman, sports team owner and racehorse breeder/owner has won 12 Sovereign Awards including Outstanding Owner in 2007 and 2009. Top horses include Speightstown (winner of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint), Flower Alley, Graeme Hall, 1998 Queen’s Plate winner Archers Bay, and 2007 Horse of the Year, Sealy Hill, who was inducted into the CHRHF in 2013. A former trustee of the New York Racing Association and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association honoree, Melnyk dispersed his broodmare band in February 2013 to refocus his business model on yearling purchases and racing.
John G. Sikura, owner and president of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms (Kentucky), has been a mainstay in the breeding industry since 1987. Mr. Sikura remains an active owner/breeder and major sales consignor. To date, his farm has consigned 95 horses selling for $1,000,000 and over. Meanwhile, the farm operates as a full service facility serving horse people throughout North America. The current stallion roster at Hill’n’Dale includes two-time Horse of the Year Curlin who commands a $150,000 (US) stud fee. John’s father, John Sikura, Jr., was inducted into the CHRHF in 2013.
Joe Hirsch, Dan Loiselle, and Curtis Stock and have been selected to appear on the Thoroughbred Communicator ballot.
American horse racing columnist and author Joe Hirsch, the founding president of the U.S. based National Turf Writers’ Association, began writing for the Daily Racing Form in 1954 and retired as its executive columnist in 2003. His support of Canadian racing and those involved in the sport on this side of the border was widespread as his work was read by industry leaders all over North America. The author of multiple books, his ‘The Grand Senor’ details the career of Horatio Luro, best known as trainer of Northern Dancer.
Dan Loiselle’s horse-racing career spans almost five decades, initially as a Standardbred racing official and announcer, and then as Woodbine Thoroughbred announcer, replacing Daryl Wells in 1986. His signature accuracy and clarity was accompanied by a flair for entertaining his audience. He has served as Master of Ceremonies at many industry functions and interviewed celebrities from the world of sports and entertainment. In November of 2015, Loiselle was inducted into the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame and was saluted by the Toronto Sports Media with a special award.
Originally from Calgary, Curtis Stock got his start as a horse racing reporter while still in university, before working at Woodbine with CHRHF honoured member Bruce Walker. He returned to Alberta to take over the publicity, marketing and advertising at Northlands Park and then moved to the Edmonton Journal where he worked for 32 years. He also plied his craft at the Daily Racing Form for 20 years. His writing has resonated with Sovereign Awards judges, resulting in a record eleven awards.
The three Trainers on the 2016 Thoroughbred Election ballot are Reade Baker, Harold J. Barroby and Daniel J. Vella
Reade Baker’s training career spans four decades and almost 1,100 wins. 122 of those wins in stakes events, 30 in graded races. The 2005 Sovereign Award recipient as Outstanding Trainer, Baker has developed numerous stake winners including Horse of the Year champions Fatal Bullet (2008) and Biofuel (2010). Baker also conditioned Bear Now, 2008 Sovereign Award for Older Female and Tu Endie Wei, 2011 Sovereign Award winner as Champion 2-Year-Old Filly. Baker continues to saddle winners including Woodbine Oaks winner Academic and Prince of Wales Stakes winner Breaking Lucky in 2015
Harold Barroby a native of Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan followed his older brother Frank to Alberta, became leading trainer in 1969 and 1970 before moving further west to British Columbia in 1974 where the great Love Your Host won 13 stakes under his tutelage and horses Pampas Host and Delta Colleen were both multiple stakes winners. B.C’s leading trainer a record 10 times Harold remains the all-time leader in terms of wins and stakes wins, inlcuding graded stake wins with Fortinbras in the 1986 British Columbia Derby (G3) and 1986 B.C. Premier’s Championship Handicap (G3).
Daniel Vella captured the Sovereign Awards Trainer title in 1994 and 1995. He has won the coveted Queen’s Plate twice in his career thus far, the first in 1994 with Frank Stronach’s Basqueian and followed up with his second win in in 2012, with Strait of Dover for Wally and Terry Leong. Vella has scored one hundred and thirty-five (135) career stakes wins in a career that began in 1985. Career stats include 5,065 (793-755-617) and earnings to date: $36,267,212.
The Thoroughbred Male Horse category will be contested by A Bit O’Gold, Mt. Sassafras and Quiet Resolve.
Catharine Day Phillips trainee, A Bit O’Gold won four Sovereign awards in 2004 and 2005, including Horse of the Year, as a result of his multiple stakes wins including the Coronation Futurity in 2003, the Plate Trial Stakes, the Breeders Stakes, the Ontario Derby all in 2004. In 2005 stakes wins included the Dominion Day Stakes Handicap (G3), the Chinese Cultural Stakes Handicap (G2) and the Sky Classic Stakes Handicap (G2) with career earnings totalling $1,888,155.
Mt. Sassafras earned $1,382,985 in 47 career starts (8-7-14) and was named 1996 Sovereign Award winner for Horse of the Year and Champion Older Horse. Multiple graded stakes wins included Dominion Day Handicap (G2) in 1999, as well as the Dominion Day Handicap (G3) and Eclipse Handicap (G3) in 1996 and (G1) Gulfstream Park Handicap in 1997.
Quiet Resolve, the Sam Son Farm homebred and Mark Frostad trained son of Affirmed earned $2.3 million in a 31 start race career with a record of 10-6-4, which included multiple graded stakes wins. He was recipient of the 2000 Sovereign Award as Champion Turf Horse and Canada’s Horse of the Year, which was highlighted by victories in the Atto Mile (G1), and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy Stakes (G2). During his championship season, Quiet Resolve ventured south of the border and won the Dixie Stakes (G2) at Pimlico, was second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs and third in the Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes (G2).
In the Thoroughbred Veteran Horses category voters will select from All Along (FR), Passing Mood and South Ocean.
French-bred filly All Along, was the first winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) to race in Canada winning the Rothmans International (G1) as part of a 41 day international tour that also included wins in the Turf Classic (G1) at Aqueduct and the Washington, D.C. International (G1) at Laurel. Named Horse of the Year on two continents for owner Daniel Wildenstein and family, All Along was named Champion Older Horse in France and 1983 Horse of the Year in the U.S, the first female and foreign-based horse to win an Eclipse award as Horse of the Year.
The royally-bred Passing Mood, both owned and bred by D. G. Willmot’s Kinghaven Farms, became one of Canada’s greatest producers, in fact, she was named Outstanding Broodmare in 1989. Among her progeny was With Approval, inducted into the CHRHF in 1993 after a stellar racing career including the Canadian Triple Crown in 1989. Another top horse was Touch Gold, who won the 1997 Belmont Stakes (Gr 1) as well as the Haskell Invitational (Gr 1) and Lexington Stakes (Gr 2).
South Ocean was bred by E.P. Taylor and sold through auction to his son Charles. Trained by G. "Pete" McCann, South Ocean was a major stakes winner, including the Canadian Oaks in 1970. However, it is as a broodmare that South Ocean made a huge impact. She produced the CHRHF filly Northernette and Storm Bird, sire of Storm Cat, both sired by Northern Dancer. Her contribution to Canadian Breeding is both immeasurable and invaluable.
The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 2017 Induction Ceremony will be hosted at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Wednesday, August 9, 2017.