The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2016 ballot. In this the 40th anniversary of the CHRHF, a total of 30 horses and people comprised of 15 Standardbred racing candidates and 15 Thoroughbred racing 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 5.
The five categories selected by the nominating committee to appear on the Standardbred ballots are Female Horse, Male Horse, Builder, Communicator and Driver/Trainer.
Blissfull Hall, San Pail and Shadow Play are nominated in the Standardbred Male Horse Category
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 31-race career 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 $70 million in earnings, including 216 horses with earnings over $100,000, and average earnings per starter of $95,440.
San Pail, bred by co-owner Glenn Van Camp of Port Perry, Ontario and co-owned by trainer Rod Hughes of Dunsford, Ontario, is one of the sport’s most popular horses in recent years. He retired in September 2015 following a career that saw him win 52 of 114 races, record a mark of 1:50.4 and earn over $3.1 million. This three-time winner of the Maple Leaf Trot (2009-2011), also won multiple stakes on both sides of the border and beat a world-class field in the 2011 Breeders Crown Championship for Older Trotters with regular driver Randy Waples. San Pail is the winner of multiple O’Brien and Dan Patch Awards, and was named Equine Canada’s Canadian Bred Horse of the Year in 2011.
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 co-owner Dr. Ian Moore and also owned by 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 in Ontario at Winbak Farm, and now owned by the Shadow Play Syndicate, he has sired the winners of over $9 million including O’Brien Award winners Lady Shadow and Arthur Blue Chip.
The Standardbred Female Horse Category features Chancey Lady, Odies Fame and Tricky Tooshie
Chancey Lady’s racing career spanned the years of 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 purchased as a yearling by Niele Jiwan of Surrey, British Columbia and was trained by Casie Coleman for her 2007 and up until just after her Fan Hanover victory in June, 2008, when she moved into the John Pentland Stable.
Odies Fame was purchased for $7,500 by Buddy (Harold) Wellwood and Dr. Norm Amos at the 1997 Forest City Yearling Sale. She raced 77 times from 1998 through 2001 and managed 26 wins, 13 seconds, 9 thirds, earnings of $1,410,720 and a mark of 1:52 while under the care of Wellwood. She received two O’Brien Awards in 1998 as Canada’s Horse of the Year and Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year, and then added another as the Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in 1999 following another profitable season which included a Breeders Crown Championship.
Tricky Tooshie was bred and owned during her racing career by Laurent Bergevin of Quebec. Jean L. Deblois, her co-breeder trained her during her two, three, four and part of her five-year-old seasons. She then moved into the Rick Zeron Stable from June 1995 through June, 1997 when Linda Bedard took over the training duties. Her racing career spanned from 1992 through 1998 with 142 starts and a record of 44 wins, 29 seconds, 24 thirds for $1,005,566 in earnings and a mark of 1:52.1 at Woodbine. She became the first Canadian-sired mare to reach $1 million in career earnings. In her second career as a broodmare, she has had 13 foals of which nine have made it to the races. Her offspring have earned $2.68 million and her starters average almost $300,000 in earnings. Her richest foal was True North Hanover, a winner of $732,912.
In the Standardbred Driver/Trainer category voters will select from Blair Burgess, Yves Filion and Trevor Ritchie.
Toronto-born Blair Burgess, began his 40+ year career in horse racing as a groom at age 11. He has amassed earnings of over $27 million with 1,029 victories including the Hambletonian twice (Amigo Hall in 2003 and Glidemaster in 2006), the Meadowlands Pace twice (Frugal Gourmet in 1987, Real Desire in 2002), 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 has been honoured with seven O’Brien Awards, including Trainer Of the Year in 2007 and four Horse of the Year awards -- Real Desire, 2002 in Canada and the U.S., Glidemaster, 2006 in the U.S., Tell All, 2007 in Canada (tied with Somebeachsomewhere), and nine Dan Patch Awards between Amity Chef in 1986 and Tell All in 2007. 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.
Yves Filion, 69 of Saint-Andre-D’argent, Quebec was one of his province’s premier trainer-drivers for close to 30 years, driving in almost 18,000 races with 4,362 wins and $26.7 million in earnings. Training credits include 248 winners and horses earning in excess of $3.7 million. He bred many successful horses at his Bayama Farms, including millionaire pacing colts Runnymede Lobell and Goliath Bayama whom he also trained.
Before retiring from driving in 2014, Trevor Ritchie won just about all of the premier races in North America including the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, The Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Prix d'Ete, Provincial Cup, the Metro Pace, Canadian Pacing Derby, The Trotting Classic Final for mares, and the Champlain Stakes. During his career he had 3,710 driving wins and drove horses to over $70 million in purse earnings. Ritchie enjoyed a career year in 2000, won an O’Brien as Canada’s Driver of the Year, won the Hambletonian with Yankee Paco, the first Canadian-sired horse to win that event and won three Breeders Crown Championships, tying him with John Campbell as the only other driver in history at the time to accomplish that feat. Some of the top horses driven by Ritchie in addition to Yankee Paco include, Quite A Sensation, Frugal Gourmet, Road Machine, Armbro Agile, Peaceful Way, Majestic Son, Banker Hall, and Rotation.
Standardbred Builder Category candidates include John B. Ferguson, Dr. Gordon Gilbertson, DVM and Brian Webster.
The late John B. Ferguson may be best known for his time in the National Hockey League, but his passion for Canadian horse racing was drawn from early years spent with his father and grandfather at old Hastings Park in Vancouver, BC. In addition to his role as a very active owner and breeder, Ferguson also took a role in track management. He was hired by Blue Bonnets Raceway in Montreal, Quebec, and after leaving the NHL became the President of Windsor Raceway. He was also one of the driving forces behind the formation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
Dr. Gordon Gilbertson, DVM, now of Stratford, Ontario invented the Quick Hitch. Dr. Gilbertson began to act on a ‘dream’ in the late seventies using his extensive experience of both treating horses as a veterinarian, and his hands-on experience in training and driving harness horses to fuel his idea. In 1980 he secured Canadian and U.S. patents on his new ‘Quick Hitch,’ which would eventually be called ‘Rondeau Quick Hitch,’ as a reference to the area where he lived in Kent County.
The contributions by Brian Webster of St. George, Ontario to the Canadian horse racing industry as a promoter, advisor, and an evaluator, are centered around his 20+ years building, managing and promoting successful yearling sales. In 1969 he was President of the first annual Mixed Canadian Standardbred Horse Sale; in 1980, he helped create the Select Yearling Sale, and ran it for 10 years; in 2000, he became President and Sales Manager of Forest City Yearling Sale, which he ran until 2009. Webster was then hired as Sales Consultant to the Standardbred Canada Yearling Sale. Webster was also involved in many industry associations at various times, including the Ontario Harness Horse Association and the North American Harness Racing Marketing Association. He’s worked in volunteer capacities with the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, the Ontario Racing Commission’s Standardbred Working Group, and several Ontario Sires Stakes committees, and was a mentor for the SBOA’s Ownership Mentoring program.
In the Standardbred Communicator category the election committee can vote for Paul Delean, Bruce Johnston 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 and was in turn introduced to Standardbred racing. He has worked for The Gazette in Montreal since 1981 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 62, Paul has compiled an impressive body of work in covering the sport in Canada.
In 1976, Bruce Johnston of Aylmer, Ontario, acquired The Canadian Sportsman, ‘the oldest turf journal in America.’ His editorial policy was to promote harness racing and to suggest proposals, such as those that resulted in improvements to the Ontario Sires Stakes format in 1991. Under Johnston’s leadership, The Canadian Sportsman became one of the sport’s leading publications. Johnston was also involved in various lobbying efforts for racing and was an active member of the Ontario Agriculture and Horse Racing Coalition. He was posthumously named winner of the Canadian Standardbred Horse Society’s General Achievement Award for 1993, recognizing excellence, leadership and contributions to the Canadian Standardbred breeding industry. That same year the Johnston Cup was established in his memory and is awarded annually to the leading trainer in the Ontario Sires Stakes.
Award winning journalist Dave Perkins, of Toronto, Ontario, 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 end of the Ontario Government’s Slots at Racetracks Program and penned many columns with thoughtful ideas on what the government could do.
The five categories chosen for the 2016 Thoroughbred ballot are Builder, Communicator, Trainer, Male Horse and Veteran Horse.
A Thoroughbred Builder ballot comprised of Dr. Michael D. Colterjohn, James B. Irvine and James Sabiston is offered for voter consideration.
The late Dr. Michael Colterjohn, one of Canada’s top equine reproductive experts, joined Gardiner Farms in 1987 and was soon named farm President. Under his management, the Caledon East farm became one of the country’s most well-respected and accomplished breeding operations. He built a quality broodmare band to elevate the farm into a significant player in the Canadian-yearling market.
Following the sale of Gardiner Farms 2008, Colterjohn, along with his wife, Dr. Moira Gunn, and farm manager, Sherry McLean, purchased the Gardiner livestock he had spent so much time and effort amassing and the three partners launched Paradox Farm Inc. The long list of Paradox-bred horses include 2014 Queen’s Plate winner Lexie Lou along with venerable Ontario Sires Stakes performer, Pender Harbour.
The late James B. Irvine, a longtime employee of the Ontario Racing Commission and the Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association, was instrumental in finding employment for countless numbers in the stabling area for over 45 years; from the 1950s to the 1990s at Dufferin Park, Greenwood, Woodbine, Long Branch and Fort Erie Race Tracks. ‘Bow Tie Jimmy’ was a mentor, father figure, and simply a friend to many people on the backstretch, including Jim Bannon, jockeys Richard Grubb, Robbie King, and Ron Turcotte. The J.B. Irvine Library, located in the ‘Jake’ Howard Center on the Woodbine backstretch, is named in his honour.
With over 60 years in the business as a breeder, owner and a consignor to the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Sales, James Sabiston, now 92, continues to enjoy the races. Beginning in 1956 with his first stallion ‘Bimini Bay’ and followed by others including Dawn Flight, Triumphant, Ground Cover, Bold Revenue to name a few, Sabiston bred many mares of his own and for numerous clients at his Longview Farm, near Stouffville, Ontario. Always searching out new blood lines and crosses to try to ‘make a better foal,’ James represents the 'small owner/breeder' in racing. He tried to keep the cost of his yearlings within a reasonable range, and if a yearling did not sell, he was prepared to race it under Longview colours. He also participated in the syndication of stallions such as Bold Ruckus, again supporting the Ontario breeding program, enabling other owners to be involved in the breeding process, and expanding blood lines. Longview graduates of note include Silent Fleet, Crease Infraction, Native Nova, and Katahaula County and Mr. Sabiston's personal favourites, Grecian Touch and Rose and Shine.
Joe Hirsch, Curtis Stock and Daryl Wells, Sr. have been selected to appear on the Thoroughbred Communicator ballot.
American horse racing columnist and author Joe Hirsch was the founding president of the U.S. based National Turf Writers' Association. He began writing for the Daily Racing Form in 1954 and retired as its executive columnist in 2003. The frequent visitor to Woodbine, wrote glowing articles on Canadian racing, especially the Queen's Plate Stakes. 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. Hirsch won both the Eclipse Award for outstanding writing along with other prestigious awards including the Big Sport of Turfdom in 1983 and the Jockey Club Medal in 1989. The Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) is contested annually at Belmont Park and the press boxes at both Saratoga and Churchill Downs are named in his honour; each year Breeders' Cup Ltd. presents the Joe Hirsch Award to a member of the media for their BC coverage and the Joe Hirsch Media Ring of Honor was established in 2010 by the National Racing Museum's Hall of Fame.
Originally from Calgary, Curtis Stock got his start as a horse racing reporter while still in university, before working at Woodbine with CHRHF 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. Stock’s affection for the horses, jockeys, trainers and horsepeople in general, is reflected in his writing. His reporting has resonated with Sovereign Awards judges. Stock was the recipient of back-to-back Sovereign Awards for Outstanding Feature Story in 1993-94 and beginning in 1985 took home an unprecedented eight Sovereign Awards for Outstanding Newspaper Story in Canada.
The voice of Daryl Wells Sr. became as much a part of Ontario Thoroughbred racing as the track where he honed his craft. His career as announcer for the OJC, began when the Etobicoke, Ontario track opened in 1956, when the assignment also included calling races at Fort Erie and Greenwood. Twenty years later, he began focusing exclusively on races at Woodbine, allowing his son, Daryl Jr., to take over at Fort Erie. Wells’ broadcast career began as a disc jockey at the age of 15 in B.C., moving east several years later, working in the sports department at radio station CHML in Hamilton in the 1940s and '50s. He eventually became the sports director for CHCH-TV. Working with another radio/TV legend Norm Marshall, Wells co-hosted the first four races live from Woodbine during weekday afternoons. In so doing, he provided easy-to-understand commentary which truly enhanced racing's image and dramatically boosted its popularity and increased the sport's fan base.
His calls of Northern Dancer winning the Queen’s Plate in 1964 as well as Secretariat's final race at Woodbine in 1973 live on in the memories and archives of racing fans everywhere.
Following his death in 2003, the headline in the Toronto Sun read, "Woodbine loses legend. Long-time announcer dies”
The three Trainers on the 2016 Thoroughbred Election ballot are Reade Baker, Harold J. Barroby and Mark Casse.
Reade Baker's racing career now spans four decades and in June 2014 he notched his 1,000th career win as trainer; 122 of those wins have come in stakes events, 27 of which were graded races. Voted the Sovereign Award Outstanding Trainer in 2005, Baker has developed numerous stakes winners including Horse of the Year champions Fatal Bullet who won in 2008 and Biofuel, who won in 2010. Baker also conditioned Bear Now who won the 2008 Sovereign Award for Older Female and Tu Endie Wei winner of the 2011 Sovereign Award as Champion Two-Year-Old Filly. Baker continued to saddle winners in 2015 with Academic being victorious in the Woodbine Oaks and Breaking Lucky winning the Prince of Wales Stakes, the second-jewel in Canada’s Triple Crown. In 2013, Reade Baker was inducted into the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame.
Harold Barroby a native of Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan followed his older brother, Frank, to Alberta, where he eventually became leading trainer in 1969 and 1970. He moved further west in 1974 to British Columbia. The great Love Your Host won 13 stakes under his tutelage and other good horses were Pampas Host and Delta Colleen, both multiple stakes winners at Hastings Park. He has been leading trainer there a record 10 times and remains the all-time leader in terms of wins and stakes wins.
Graded stakes wins include Fortinbras in the 1986 British Columbia Derby (G3) and 1986 B.C. Premier's Championship Handicap (G3).
Mark Casse, to date is the winner of seven Sovereign Awards as Canada’s Outstanding Trainer and ten leading-trainer titles at Woodbine. Born in Indiana in 1961, he took over his father’s Kentucky operation at the age of 18 and scored his first winner as trainer at Keeneland. A 69-win season in 2002 earned Casse his first Woodbine trainers’ title. Since then, he’s trained a number of Sovereign Award winning horses including three Horses of the Year – Lexie Lou (2014), Uncaptured (2012), and Sealy Hill (2007), the only filly to win the Canadian Triple Tiara. Other champions include My Conquestadory and Marchfield. In 2011, Casse won a record 119 races, surpassing the previous mark of 89 victories by Frank Passero in 1995 and collected a then-record over $6.6 million in purses. He saddled Lexie Lou to win both the Queen’s Plate and Woodbine Oaks in 2014. 2015 was Casse’s biggest year yet, as he amassed $13.6 million in purses with 159 winners including Breeders’ Cup Grade 1 wins with Tepin, 2015 Eclipse Award winner as Champion Turf Female, and Catch a Glimpse, who is a 2015 Sovereign finalist as Canada’s Outstanding two-year-old Filly.
The Thoroughbred Male Horse category will be contested by Quiet Resolve, Wake at Noon and Wise Dan.
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, including 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).
Bred and owned by Bruno Schickedanz and trained by Abraham Katryan, Wake at Noon won six of 10 starts in 2002, earning him Sovereign Awards as Champion Sprinter, Champion Older Horse and most importantly, Horse of the Year. His major wins that year included the Vigil Handicap (G3), Highlander Handicap (G3), Jacques Cartier Stakes, and Briartic Handicap. In 2000 at the age of three, he won the Highlander Stakes (G3), Achievement Hcp., Queenston Stakes, Woodstock Stakes and Kennedy Road Stakes. Lifetime, the Ontario-bred horse by Cure the Blues, out of the Silver Deputy mare Sermon Time won 21 races in 67 starts, including 10 stakes for earnings of $1.6 million.
Wise Dan’s racing career concluded in 2014 at the age of seven after 23 wins and two seconds in 31 starts, amassing a bank account of $7,552,920 for breeder/owner Morton Fink and trainer Charles LoPresti. Included in these impressive statistics for the multiple graded stakes winner were back-to-back wins in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile Stakes (G1) in 2012 and 2013. His 2013 victory in that race in an impressive course record of 1:31.75. Wise Dan also had back-to-back wins in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) 2012, 2013 and was honoured as Eclipse Award Horse of the Year in both 2012 and 2013 as well as Champion Grass Horse and Champion Older Horse in the U.S. those two years.
Thoroughbred Veteran Horses All Along (FR), Dahlia and South Ocean will the nominees voters will select from.
The French-bred filly All Along, was the first winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) to race in Canada where she won the Rothmans International (G1) as part of a torrid international tour spanning 41 days that also included wins in the Turf Classic (G1) at Aqueduct and the Washington, D.C. International (G1) at Laurel. During her race career, she earned Horse of the Year honours on two continents for owner Daniel Wildenstein and family. She 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. She also finished 2nd in 1984 Breeders' Cup Turf Stakes.
Bred in Kentucky by Nelson Bunker Hunt, the French-trained Dahlia spent much of her race career taking on the boys, doing so 35 times in her 48 starts, and was the first female horse to surpass $1 million in career earnings. She is still the only horse to win Group or Grade 1 stakes in five different countries including Canada, where she won the Canadian International in 1974. That Canadian victory brought international attention to the race and subsequently resulted in other European horses making the trip. Her career stats include a record of 15-3-7 in 48 starts with earnings of $1,489,105. As a broodmare, she produced three Grade 1 winners.
South Ocean won the 1970 Canadian Oaks and later as a broodmare produced the sire of Storm Cat. She was bred by E.P.Taylor and sold through auction to his son Charles, who also raced her. Trained by G. ‘Pete’ McCann, South Ocean was a dual stakes winner, taking the 1969 Yearling Sales Stakes in her first year racing and following up as Oaks Champion and top three-year-old filly contender in 1970. That year she also placed in five other stakes including the Bison City and Wonder Where Stakes.
Her legacy as a broodmare is even more impressive. The daughter of New Providence out of a Chop Chop mare matched perfectly with the Northern Dancer line. One of her eight pairings with Northern Dancer produced the great Northernette, herself a Canadian Champion filly and 1987 CHRHF inductee. Another mating resulted in Storm Bird, who went on to stand stud in Kentucky and sired 63 stakes winners, including Storm Cat.
The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 2016 Induction Ceremony will be hosted at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Wednesday, August 3, 2016.
Additional information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame may be found at canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com