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Secretariat and Niatross Among Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Class of 2013

April 9, 2013

(Files provided by the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame)

TORONTO, April 9 – World Class racing greats Secretariat and Niatross headline the field of 13 new Hall of Fame inductees under new rules that allow international competitors into Canada’s Hall.

There will be a total of three horses and three people representing Standardbreds, along with three horses and four people from the Thoroughbred ranks entering the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in August 2013.
The Standardbred Inductees are:
Niatross – Veteran Horse Category
Admirals Express – Male Horse Category
Eternal Camnation – Female Horse Category
Carl Jamieson – Trainer/Driver Category
William Rowe – Builder Category
Doug Harkness – Communicator Category
The Thoroughbred Inductees are:
Secretariat – Veteran Horse Category
Soaring Free – Male Horse Category
Sealy Hill – Female Horse Category
Sid Attard – Jockey/Trainer Category
Phil England – Jockey/Trainer Category
John Sikura Jr. – Builder Category
Bruce Walker – Communicator Category
Niatross won a remarkable 37 of 39 career starts. He was trained and driven by co-owner Clint Galbraith, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998. Niatross set 15 world records and earned more than $2 million as a racehorse. Included in his accomplishments were both a race and track record of 1:53.4 in the 1980 Prix d’Été at Montreal’s Blue Bonnets, the fastest Canadian mile at that time. After retiring to stud, Niatross sired winners of over $62 million, including three millionaires. His most famous son, Nihilator earned more than $3 million on the racetrack.
Admirals Express captured the hearts of Canadian racing fans during a career that spanned over a decade. The son of Admirals Galley, known as the ‘Grey Gladiator’, won 86 races in 353 starts, and earned more than $2.1 million. He earned a pair of O’Brien Awards in 2005 when he was named Canada’s Older Pacing Horse of the Year and Horse of the Year. Trained by Mike Hales and driven by Paul MacDonnell, ‘The Admiral’ was owned by Ed Sayfie of Rockford, Michigan and Gary and Laurel Gust of Cedar Springs, Michigan.
Pacing mare Eternal Camnation earned more than $4.1 million, and won 47 of her 101 starts during her extraordinary career. The champion mare won numerous stakes races on both sides of the border dominating her division throughout the majority of her racing career. She was rewarded for her accomplishments by being voted Pacing Mare of the Year in both Canada and the US three times and also received the O’Brien as Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2003. She retired in 2004 to pursue a career as a broodmare. Eternal Camnation is owned by Jeff Miller Stable of Haviland, Ohio.
Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, Ontario has been elected in the Driver/Trainer category. Jamieson, a second generation horseman and a native of Nova Scotia, has established a reputation for selecting and developing young horses. He’s enjoyed considerable success, having trained 950 winners and horses to earnings in excess of $22 million to date in his career. In addition, he achieved driving success in the 1980’s and 90’s with 1300 plus wins. Horses including Santanna Blue Chip, Elegant Killean and Run the Table have achieved success under Jamieson’s tutelage. In 2011, Carl trained two Canadian champions – Up The Credit, Canada’s Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year and Warrawee Needy, Canada’s Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year.
The late William Rowe was involved in many facets of the harness racing industry and will be inducted in the Builders’ Category. He enjoyed success as a breeder, trainer-driver and administrator, but it was as a builder of racetracks and as a racing executive that he made his greatest mark in Canadian racing. Rowe was responsible for the construction of Windsor Raceway, Barrie Raceway and Georgian Downs. The opening of the all-weather facility at Windsor in the fall of 1965, where Rowe served as both General Manager and President, ushered in a new era in the sport, as major metropolitan centres across North America followed Windsor’s lead with year-round harness racing.
The late Doug Harkness will be inducted in the newly created Communicators’ Category. Harkness made unparalleled contributions to the harness racing industry in the Maritimes. He was the founder and editor of Atlantic Post Calls from 1979 – 2010. Doug was also involved in lobbying efforts with the government and was a passionate spokesperson for harness racing on a regional, national and international level. Doug received the City of Charlottetown award for his promotional work in harness racing and also received the President’s Award from the United States Harness Writers Association, the only Canadian journalist to be so honoured.
The seven Thoroughbred representatives in the 2013 class include:
In the Veteran Horse Category, Secretariat, Penny Chenery’s “Big Red” captivated the sports world with his sensational American Triple Crown win in 1973. The excitement continued throughout his race career and crossed the border into Canada later that year where he received a hero’s welcome and concluded his race career with his only race run outside the US, a decisive 6 ½ length win in the 1973 Canadian International Championship Stakes. 2013 marks the 40th Anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown exploits where he set three track records that still stand today.
Sam-Son Farm’s homebred Soaring Free was one of the earliest stars by Smart Strike and is being recognized in the Male Horse Category. Under the tutelage of trainer Mark Frostad, the turf specialist won 15 of his 27 starts with lifetime earnings in excess of $2 million. Included on his resume is a win in the 2003 Neartic Stakes, as well as 2004 wins in the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes and his second straight Play The King Stakes before achieving his most important career win in the Grade 1 Atto Mile in race record time.
The Female Horse Category inductee is Ontario bred Sealy Hill who was the first to win the Tiara Series (Woodbine Oaks, Bison City Stakes and Wonder Where Stakes) for breeder/owner Eugene Melnyk and trainer Mark Casse. She also finished 2nd in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Her racing achievements resulted in winnings of $1.75 million dollars, as well as three Sovereign Awards.
Two inductees will be added to the Jockey/Trainer category.
Sid Attard, born in Malta, immigrated to Canada with his family in the 1960’s and began training horses in 1977. He has visited the winners circle over 1700 times in his training career including 60 stake wins. Attard trained horses have earned over $47 million in purse money. In 2001 Sid engineered a perfect season for Numerous Times who beat a world class field in the Gr. 1 Atto Mile and subsequently won a Sovereign award as Canada’s outstanding turf male. He recorded five straight 50+ win seasons from 1994-1998 and another six straight 50+ win seasons from 2003-2008.
The list of 2013 Inductee Phil England pupils include Knob Hill Farm Horses of the Year horses Benburb (1992), Thornfield (1999) and the Rick Kennedy-owned Afleet in 1987. Other stars trained by him include Blushing Katy, One From Heaven, Apelia and Gr. 1 Stakes winner Schossberg. England moved to Canada in 1962 from the UK and worked as an exercise rider before obtaining his trainer’s license in 1966. He won the Sovereign Award as Canada’s top trainer in 1992.
Inducted in the Builder Category is the late John Sikura Jr who emigrated from Czechoslovakia as a teenager in the 1950s, and built Hill ‘N’ Dale Farms into a highly successful breeding and stallion operation. He was the purchaser of the first yearling in history to sell for more than $1 million and twice was leading consignor at Keeneland. Additional honours include being recognized with the status of Kentucky Colonel and in 1994 was awarded the Mint Julep Cup for lifetime contributions to the Ontario Racing Industry.
The first inductee in the Communicator Category representing Thoroughbreds is Bruce Walker, a renowned publicist and four-time Sovereign award winning feature writer (1985, 1991, 2002, and 2009). Bruce is one of the founders of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and his additional accomplishments include Election to the office of President of The Turf Publicists of America in 1972 and subsequently being awarded that organization’s Award of Merit in 1997. He was also a founding committee member of the Avelino Gomez Award.
The Induction Ceremony will be hosted at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Thursday, August 15, 2013.
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