TORONTO, March 26, 2018 – The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame has announced its 2018 ballot. A total of 30 horses and people comprised of 15 Thoroughbred and 15 Standardbred 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 10.
The five categories chosen for the 2018 Thoroughbred ballot are Builder, Communicator, Trainer, Female Horse and Male Horse.
A Thoroughbred Builder ballot comprised of Philip Kives, Victoria (Vicki) Pappas and John G. Sikura is offered for voter consideration.
The late Phillip Kives, based in Manitoba, known worldwide as the owner of K-Tel and the inventor of the info-mercial, became involved in Thoroughbred racing in 1977 with the launch of K-4 Stables (later changed to K-5 to recognize the addition of his son to the Kives family). His passion for racing continued for four decades until his passing in 2016. Kives-owned and bred horses were winners of multiple stakes races at Winnipeg’s Assiniboia Downs as well as in Kentucky, Florida, New York, Ontario and Alberta. As an owner, Mr. Kives won every single stakes race at Assiniboia not just once but multiple times each including two Manitoba Derbies (best three-year-olds), eight Gold Cups (race for top older horses), three Winnipeg Futurities (best two-year-olds) and five Matrons (top filly/mare).
Montreal born Victoria (Vicki) Pappas, a longtime owner, breeder and trainer, retired from her career at Woodbine so she could solely focus her time and energy on the development of the LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society (LTRS). Since its formation in 1999, LTRS has re-homed over 600 Thoroughbred racehorses donated by owners and trainers who support the charity’s mandate, policies and the vision of its founder. Seventeen years after being granted charitable status, LTRS opened the stable doors to its own facility in Hillsburgh, Ont., where retired Thoroughbreds are prepared for adoption to their forever homes.
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 horsepeople throughout North America. The 2018 stallion roster at Hill ‘N’ Dale includes two-time Horse of the Year Curlin as well as influential sires Kitten’s Joy, Stormy Atlantic and Midnight Lute. John’s father, John Sikura Jr., was inducted into the CHRHF in 2013.
Joe Hirsch, Dan Loiselle and Wally Wood 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. During his tenure at Woodbine, Loiselle called 28 editions of the Queen’s Plate and five Triple Crown champions including With Approval (1989), Izvestia (1990), Dance Smartly (1991), Peteski (1993) and Wando (2003.) His signature accuracy and clarity was accompanied by a flair for entertaining his audience. He 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.
Wally Wood, writer and columnist for the Daily Racing Form from 1968 until his retirement in 1994, was first introduced to racing by his father while growing up in Nottingham, England. Following time in the British Armed Forces, he moved to Montreal in the early 1950s to attend McGill University, eventually making his way to Toronto, to open an advertising agency. His love of Thoroughbred racing brought him to the Daily Racing Form, where he became known as “Wally Woodbine” by his peers and was a well-known and respected member of the racing community. His work also appeared in other industry publications such as the Canadian Thoroughbred, the Thoroughbred Digest, Canadian Horse, and in U.S. and European trade magazines.
The three Trainers on the 2018 Thoroughbred election ballot are Reade Baker, J. G. (Jerry) Lavigne and Daniel J. Vella.
Reade Baker‘s training career spans four decades and over 1,100 wins — 126 of those wins were in stakes events, 30 in graded races. The 2005 Sovereign Award recipient as Outstanding Trainer, Baker has developed numerous stakes winners including Horse of the Year champions Fatal Bullet (2008) and Biofuel (2010). To date, Baker-conditioned horses have won 13 Sovereign Awards including Bear Now, 2008 Sovereign Award for Older Female, and Tu Endie Wei, 2011 Sovereign Award winner as Champion Two-Year-Old Filly. Baker’s 2015 Prince of Wales winner, Breaking Lucky, surpassed the million dollar mark in 2017 to join Fatal Bullet, Bear Now and Judith’s Wild Rush as millionaire runners trained by Baker. Career stats: 7,078 starts (1106-1000-901) and $54,408,858.
Through the course of a training career that began in 1958, retired trainer Jerry G. Lavigne won 68 stakes races with 22 stakes winners and two Queen’s Plate races with Almoner in 1970 and Son of Briartic in 1982. His charge Fabe Count had a stellar career over four years as a multiple stakes winner at nine different distances over both turf and dirt. Trainer of Canadian Champion colt Nice Dancer, he also conditioned many other stakes winners including turf star Lost Majorette, sprinter Park Romeo, Bejilla, Cheap Sheats and Police Car, to name a few.
Daniel Vella captured the Sovereign Award Trainer title in both 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 2012, with Strait of Dover for Wally and Terry Leong. Vella has scored 135 stakes wins in a career that began in 1985. Career stats: 5,226 starts (810-776-639) and $36,895,315 in earnings.
In the Thoroughbred Female Horse category, voters will select from Careless Jewel, Hard Not to Like and Judy the Beauty
Sired by Tapit, Careless Jewel reeled off five wins in her sophomore season for Alberta-based owners, Donver Stables and conditioner Josie Carroll, including a 7-1/4 length victory in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks and an 11- length win in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga. Careless Jewel completed her win streak in the Grade 2 Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes at Philadelphia Park. Careless Jewel earned $1,013,346 with a race record of 5-0-1 from seven starts.
Bred in Ontario by Garland Williamson, well-travelled Hard Not to Like won at five of the eight tracks she visited during 22 starts over five years. She earned more than $1.2 million while accumulating eight victories including the Jenny Wiley Stakes (Grade 1) at Keeneland in 2014, the Diana Stakes (Grade 1) at Saratoga in 2015, and the Gamely Stakes (Grade 1) at Santa Anita the same year for three Grade 1 turf scores at three different tracks. The striking grey filly by Hard Spun out of the Tactical Cat mare Like a Gem, herself a multiple graded stakes winner, was indeed bred for success.
A daughter of Ghostzapper, Judy the Beauty was purchased as a yearling by owner/trainer Wesley Ward, who directed her racing career spanning 22 races over five years with earnings surpassing $1.8 million. As a juvenile, she found victory on the turf in France before winning in the Shady Well Stakes at Woodbine, and finishing second in the Spinaway Stakes (Grade 1) at Saratoga. After three second-place finishes at age three, she again visited the winner’s circle at age four, this time as a sprinter, winning the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (Grade 2) before finishing second to Groupie Doll in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (Grade 1). At age five, she was named 2014 Eclipse Award Champion Female Sprinter as a result of a four graded stakes win year, culminating with the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (Grade 1) at Santa Anita.
The Thoroughbred Male Horse category will be contested by Bold Executive, Fatal Bullet and Shaman Ghost.
Bold Executive, bred by Gus Schickedanz and owned by Dom Romeo, Rocco Marcello and Frank Maida (Pedigree Stud Farm), had his greatest success as a sire. A son of Bold Ruckus, Bold Executive sired over 800 foals over 23 breeding seasons, producing multiple stakes winners including Blonde Executive, Simply Lovely and Sand Cove. From 2001-12, he topped the Canadian Sires’ List six times, finished second three times, and third three times.
Fatal Bullet, owned by Danny Dion’s Bear Stables and trained by Reade Baker, was voted Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2008 on the strength of being named Canada’s Outstanding Sprinter that year. He captured 12 career races including five stakes and earned $1,377,256 in total. Winning his first career start as a juvenile in 2007, his three-year-old year included three early season wins at Woodbine, followed by track record performances at Woodbine in the Bold Venture Stakes, Presque Isle in the Tom Ridge Stakes and at Turfway Park, earning a trip to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint where he placed second behind heavily favoured Midnight Lute.
Shaman Ghost won eight of 17 starts for earnings of $3,859,311 making him the second-richest Canadian-bred of all time behind his paternal grandsire Awesome Again, also bred by Adena Springs and a Hall of Fame inductee. He was named Canada’s Champion Three-Year-Old Colt in 2015 on the strength of a campaign that included wins in the Queen’s Plate and Grade 3 Marine Stakes at Woodbine, and a second-place finish in the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie. Victories of note include the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap and Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, the Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational Stakes in New York, and the Grade 3 Pimlico Special Handicap in Maryland.
The five categories selected by the Standardbred nominating committee to appear on the 2018 Standardbred ballots are Builder, Communicator, Driver/Trainer, Female Horse and Male Horse.
Standardbred Builder category candidates include William (Bill) Andrew, Ian Fleming and J. Hugh Proudfoot.
William (Bill) Andrew, of Calgary, Alberta, has been involved in harness racing since he purchased his first yearling in 1990. His focus shifted from racing to breeding in 2003 and he has made a tremendous impact on the Canadian Standardbred industry ever since, especially in Alberta and Prince Edward Island, where his two Meridian Farms breeding operations are based. Aside from being a leading breeder in those two provinces, Andrew has given much back to the racing industry he loves, through charitable projects and financial contributions. In 2015, Bill Andrew was awarded Standardbred Canada’s coveted Cam Fella Award for meritorious service to the Canadian Standardbred industry.
Ian Fleming’s career in the horse racing industry began as race secretary at his home track of Clinton, Ont. That evolved into managing that racetrack and from there he went on to create a centralized Race Office for several Ontario tracks in the 1990s, which continues to service racetracks across the province. Fleming was also the Racing & Gaming Manager at Western Fair Raceway for a number of years. Regardless of how busy he is with racing related responsibilities, he continues to find ways to give back to the industry and his community through fundraising initiatives such as the bi-annual Legends Day at Clinton Raceway, which in 2017 featured John Campbell’s final career race, and the Classy Lane Fire Fund.
J. Hugh Proudfoot, born in Fort Coulonge, Que. 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 11 years and as Vice President for seven before becoming President of the CTA in 1959. He had great vision as evidenced by his belief that the CTA and Canadian Standardbred Horse Society (CSHS) should amalgamate. He also believed that the CTA should provide insurance for drivers and advocated licensing women drivers.
The 2018 Standardbred Communicator ballot features Paul Delean, Dave Landry and Dave Perkins.
North Bay native Paul Delean began his career as a horse racing writer in the late 70s at the Barrie Examiner, where he met Bill Rowe, who managed Barrie Raceway, and was in turn introduced to Standardbred racing. He worked for The Gazette in Montreal from 1981 through 2017 and was once referred to as the “English language voice of harness racing in Quebec.” For owners, breeders, trainers, drivers and fans, Delean was the man on the front line telling them what they needed to know about the racing game in the province. In addition, Delean was a frequent contributor to the many trade journals in racing. At age 64, Delean has compiled an impressive body of work in covering the sport in Canada, and has won numerous awards for his articles.
Toronto native Dave Landry’s trips to the racetrack as a child with his father began a lifelong fascination with horse racing that turned into an award-winning career photographing some of the sport’s greatest equine and human athletes, including numerous Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame members. His work has appeared on the cover of more than 500 magazines or publications. Landry, who now resides in Burlington, Ont., has earned numerous awards for his equine photography, including six Sovereign Awards, an Eclipse Award, an International Media Award, a Horse Publications of America Award, and a George Smallsreed Award from the United States Trotting Association.
Award winning journalist Dave Perkins, of Toronto, Ont., is one of the most widely respected sports writers in Canada. His tenure at the Toronto Star from 1977 through 2010 included assignment as “beat reporter” for harness racing from 1977 to 1986. He also wrote the Cam Fella movie, wrote features for TROT and The Canadian Sportsman and columns for Hoofbeats Magazine. Perkins was a friend of horse racing and wrote numerous columns and stories on both Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing over the years. He was vocal in his stance on the Ontario government’s decision to end the Slots At Racetracks Program and penned many columns with thoughtful ideas on what he felt the government could do.
In the Standardbred Driver/Trainer category, voters will select from Jim Doherty, William Robinson and Ben Wallace.
Saint John, N.B.’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, Ont., trained the 1999 Pacing Triple Crown winner Blissfull Hall, Breeders Crown winners Totally Western (2002), Pans Cullotes (2003) and 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 Award as Canada’s Trainer of the Year in 1999, Wallace has current career stats of 1,890 wins and almost $37 million in purses, surpassing the million-dollar mark in 18 consecutive seasons (1996-2013).
Trainer William (Bill) Robinson, of Caledonia, Ont., is a four-time winner of the O’Brien Award as Canada’s Trainer of the Year (1992, 1993, 2002, 2003). During his career, he amassed earnings of $54.5 million in 8,837 starts (2715-1356-1061). Horses successfully campaigned under Robinson’s tutelage included: Hall of Fame inductees Ellamony and Precious Bunny, along with Riyadh and Presidential Ball.
The Standardbred Female Horse category features Chancey Lady, Oohs N Aahs and Tricky Tooshie.
Chancey Lady’s racing career spanned from 2007 through 2013. During that time, the daughter of Camluck started in 143 races. She won 43, finished second in 22 races and posted 15 thirds, earning $2,083,514 and had a mark of 1:48.4, which was taken at Harrah’s Philadelphia. She was a $60,000 yearling purchase for Niele Jiwan of Surrey, B. C. and was trained by Casie Coleman through 2007 and until just after her Fan Hanover victory in June 2008, when she moved into the John Pentland Stable.
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 starts, 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, 11 of her 13 foals made it to the races to earn over $3 million for average earnings per starter of $278,000. Her richest foal was True North Hanover, a winner of $732,912.
Nominated in the category of Standardbred Male Horse are Blissfull Hall, Majestic Son and Shadow Play.
In 1999, Blissfull Hall captured harness racing’s elusive Pacing Triple Crown for owners Ecuries Daniel Plouffe, Inc. of Bromont, Que., trainer Ben Wallace and driver Ron Pierce. A racing career of 31 races over two seasons included 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 $73.9 million in earnings, including 85 horses with earnings over $250,000, 228 horses with earnings over $100,000 and average earnings per starter of $99,699.
Majestic Son’s racing career consisted of 38 starts, stats of 22-5-3, a mark of 1:52.2 and $1,993,157 in purse earnings. A son of Angus Hall out of the King Conch mare Celtic Contessa, Majestic Son’s career was highlighted by wins in the premiere stakes for sophomore trotters including the Champlain, Goodtimes, Canadian Trotting Classic and Breeders Crown. As a sire, his progeny have earned $16.8 million including millionaire Charmed Life, three $750,000 winners, five $500,000 winners, 15 winners of $250,000 and 43 winners of $100,000.
Shadow Play earned $1,559,822 with 20 wins, nine seconds and five thirds in 49 lifetime starts and took a record of 1:47.4 as a four-year-old. The son of The Panderosa, trained and co-owned by Dr. Ian Moore along 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 $21 million including three-time O’Brien Award winner and double millionaire Lady Shadow.
The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 2018 Induction Ceremony will be hosted at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Wednesday, August 8, 2018.
Additional information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame may be found at www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com.
(With files from the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame)