Hall Of Fame Announces Finalists For Class Of 2024

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Published: April 9, 2024 02:00 pm EDT

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame (CHRHF) Standardbred and Thoroughbred Nomination Committees have determined the categories and finalists to appear on the ballot presented to the Election Committees, from which the Class of 2024 will be selected.   

Previously, the Board of the CHRHF agreed the Class of 2024 will be comprised of six inductees per breed and also provided the option for a Nomination Committee to use only five categories, and induct two individuals in one category to meet the total of six inductees per breed A 20-person Election Committee for each breed will determine, from the list of finalists the individuals to be inducted in each of the categories, with the results to be announced on Wednesday, April 24.

The individuals named to CHRHF Class of 2024 will be formally inducted in a ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 7.  

The Standardbred categories appearing on the 2024 Election Ballot include Builders, Driver, Trainer, Female Horse, and Veteran – Person or Horse.  The Standardbred Nomination Committee chose to double up the Driver category, allowing two of the three finalists to be inducted.

The finalists in the 2024 Standardbred Builder category include Brad Grant, Dr. Moira Gunn and Hugh Mitchell.

Following in the tradition of his CHRHF Honoured Member father John Grant, Brad Grant is a significant player within today’s harness racing world. Among the impressive list of Standardbreds owned either solely or in a partnership are two Hambletonian winners – Atlanta and Ramona Hill – and CHRHF 2023 inductee Bulldog Hanover. Other notable millionaire horses owned by Grant are Its Academic, Stay Hungry, Apprentice Hanover, Wheels On Fire and Sandbetweenurtoes. Grant has led all owners in purse winnings in seven of the last eight years on the Woodbine Entertainment circuit. He has been recognized within the industry as the recipient of the 2018 Humanitarian Award presented by the United States Harness Writers Association, Woolworth Owner of the Year at the 2022 Dan Patch Awards and appointed to the Board of Woodbine Entertainment in 2023. As a businessman, Grant is recognized as one of Canada's foremost trucking magnates.

Dr. Moira Gunn graduated from The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, in Edinburgh, Scotland followed by a postgraduate internship at Ontario Veterinary College at Guelph and a two-year large animal surgical residency. That education was followed by time working at Belmont Racetrack with Dr. Carl Juul Neilson. Her tenure at Canada's preeminent Standardbred breeding operation, Armbro Farms, began in January 1988 as the farm veterinarian. Gunn ascended to Manager, Vice-President, and from 2000 to 2004, President, following her mentor, Dr. Glen Brown. Other positions held in the industry include Director of the E.P. Taylor Equine Research Fund, Co-Chair of Equine Guelph Advisory Council, President of the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario, Director/Vice President of Canadian Standardbred Horse Society with multiple committee appointments, and Director of Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association and Standardbred Canada. She was heavily involved in the amalgamation of the Canadian Standardbred Horse Society and the Canadian Trotting Association to form Standardbred Canada. As part of Paradox Farm, Dr. Gunn, was a breeder of both Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds, including Queen’s Plate winner Lexie Lou. After her time at Armbro Farms, Dr. Gunn operated a private equine practice specializing in stallion management, embryo transfer and freezing, and she specialized in reproductive challenges of hard to breed mares. 

Hugh Mitchell has led the horse racing industry in prominent roles, including as the Chairman of the Board of Harness Tracks of America and a member and Chair of the Ontario Racing Board of Directors. In addition to his role as a current member of the Board of Governors at Fanshawe College, where he was a past Vice-Chair, Mitchell is also a past President of Tourism London and Director of both the London Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions. He worked for Woodbine Entertainment as the company's Senior Vice-President of Racing from 1998 to 2005. Mitchell has made significant contributions to racing in southwestern Ontario through his roles at Western Fair Raceway, starting out as COO of Western Fair for four years before being appointed CEO for nine years.  A member of the Woodbine Entertainment Board of Directors since 2018, he was appointed Chair in September 2022.  From mucking stalls nearly 50 years ago to his current roles, there has been one constant, best summed up by four words Mitchell often uses: "I love this sport."

In the Standardbred Driver category, the candidates are Sylvain Filion, Clare MacDonald and Ed Tracey. The Standardbred Nomination Committee has chosen to double up this category, which will result in the top two vote getters from the three finalists to become part of the CHRHF Class of 2024.

The current flagbearer for the venerable Filion harness racing family, Sylvain Filion has won more than 10,000 races, the only driver to reach that milestone while racing almost exclusively in Canada. In 1999, Filion was selected to represent Canada in the World Driving Championship and brought home the gold for Canada. As a world driving champion, he joined his illustrious uncle Herve, who had won the inaugural championship in 1970. Filion has won four O'Brien Awards as Canada's top driver (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016) and has won approximately $140 million in purses. At age 55, Filion is most certainly not slowing down because in 2023, he won more than 200 races and drove horses to purse earnings of almost $6 million.

A native of Antigonish, N.S., Mary Clare MacDonald is Canada’s winningest female harness driver in victories (1,529) and purse earnings of $4,976,185. Her stats, all achieved while racing in the Atlantic provinces, ranks her second among female drivers in North America, behind U.S. Hall of Fame member, the late Bea Farber-Erdman. A second-generation horseperson, MacDonald’s driving career began at age 17 with 19 wins in her first year. Since that time, in a career spanning over 40 years, she has surpassed $100,000 in annual earnings as a driver 25 times. Horses driven and/or trained by MacDonald have set track records at five tracks, and she also holds the honour of being the first driver to complete a sub-2:00 trotting mile in Atlantic Canada. In addition to training and driving, MacDonald has served terms as a Standardbred Canada Director and was a member of the Rules Working Group for the Atlantic Provinces Harness Racing Commission.

Weyburn, Saskatchewan-born Ed Tracey received his driving license at age 15. After getting his start in three-heats-a-day race meets in his home province, his passion for harness racing took him to six Canadian provinces and numerous states in the U.S. Over a span of 55 years, Tracey had 3,168 driving victories and more than $7.5 million in purse earnings. The pinnacle of his career came in 1978 when he won the ice racing championship on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal. The late Tracey was named Alberta Horseman of the Year in 1978 and in 1998 he was awarded the Dr. Clara Christie Award for his contribution to Alberta’s harness racing industry.

Female Horses on the 2024 ballot include Bee A Magician, Emilie Cas El and West Of L A.

The 2013 Horse of the Year in Canada and the U.S., two-time Breeders Crown winner and world champion trotting mare Bee A Magician has a lifetime race record of 45-14-3 in 72 starts achieved between ages two and six. As a two-year-old, Bee A Magician prevailed in the Peaceful Way Stakes and the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final en route to earning the O’Brien Award for Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year. The Breeders Crown, Hambletonian Oaks, Elegantimage, Delvin Miller Memorial, Moni Maker and Simcoe Stakes were added to her resume at age three, when she was crowned both the 2013 Dan Patch and O’Brien Horse of the Year as well as the Dan Patch and O’Brien Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year.  At age five, her list of 10 victories included the Maple Leaf Trot and Armbro Flight while once again taking home Dan Patch and O’Brien hardware. In 2016, her final year on the track, she had victories in the Yonkers Invitational Trot and the Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff. She retired with $4,196,145 in earnings, racing against the best open competition – male and female opposition – for her three seasons as an older competitor. Her lifetime earnings are the highest in harness racing history for a trotter racing exclusively on North American soil.  

Emilie Cas El, out of Hall of Fame mare Amour Angus, is a full sister to top trotting sires Andover Hall, Angus Hall and Conway Hall. She began her race career in owner Dustin Jones’ home province of Quebec, winning all 13 of her races and setting the Blue Bonnets track record for two-year-old trotting fillies. Her success continued in Ontario sweeping the Canadian Breeders Championship, equalling the track record at Mohawk and being named the O’Brien Award winner for both Two-Year-old Trotting Filly and Horse of the Year. Following a change in ownership and a move to Europe, she continued to race through age five. As a broodmare, her top earning offspring is Hambletonian winner Trixton, who earned $968,696 and set a lifetime mark 1:50.3 at age three, before moving to the stallion ranks in both Canada and the U.S. 

Following a race career at ages two and three, during which she earned $257,150, West Of L A became a top-performing broodmare. Bred and owned in partnership by Robert McIntosh Stables, C S X Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc., and trained by CHRHF Honoured Member Robert McIntosh, this daughter of Western Hanover, out of the Cam Fella mare Los Angeles, is the dam of horses with earnings of $4.9 million, including two horses with earnings of more than $1.7 million each. Her Somebeachsomewhere son, Somewhere In L A, boasts $1.87 million in earnings with a lifetime mark of 1:48.4. Her daughter L A Delight, by Bettors Delight, won the O’Brien Award for Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in 2015 and followed that up with an O’Brien Award in the Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly category in 2016. Her resume includes 26 wins in a 66-race career, a lifetime mark of 1:49.1 and earnings of $1.78 million.

The 2024 Standardbred Trainer ballot features Doug Arthur, Dr. Ian Moore and Richard Moreau.

Doug Arthur developed a reputation in harness racing as a “developer of champions” after taking Cam Fella, a $19,000 yearling purchase, and developing him into the Harness Horse of the Year in 1982 and 1983. The legacy of Cam Fella as a racehorse, a sire and a foundation to the Standardbred breed, relates directly to his original purchaser and developer, Doug Arthur. Over time, Arthur was deemed by his peers as an astute judge of horseflesh and being able to identify a yearling’s potential talent, spending a significant amount of time inspecting a vast number of yearlings. 

Dr. Ian Moore has competed for the past 20 years at the highest level in Canada as a trainer and has been very active and successful in the Ontario Sires Stakes. Dr. Moore has trained the winners of more than $23 million and has averaged more than $1 million per year racing mostly in Ontario, including a personal record of $3.1 million in 2023. He has not only accomplished his feat racing mostly in Canada, but he has also done it while averaging a stable size of only 10-15 horses. Dr. Moore’s training accomplishments include an impressive 69 horses that have each earned more than $100,000, 14 horses with earnings of more than $500,000, 20 horses that have earned more than $75,000 and seven horses that have earned more than $1 million – including one that earned in excess of $3 million  He has received 15 O’Brien Awards, including twice for Horsemanship and the Trainer of the Year title in 2023.

Between 2013 and 2022, Richard Moreau was named Trainer of the Year at the O’Brien Awards, and has been the leading trainer at Woodbine Mohawk Park on multiple occasions. He has reached the million-dollar earnings threshold every year since 2000 and he has surpassed $4 million five times. Late in 2023, Moreau won his 7,000th career race, becoming only the third trainer in North America to achieve that milestone. He currently leads all trainers in the country for Canadian racing wins. Among the O’Brien Award winners he has trained are Sandbetweenurtoes, Jimmy Freight, Fashion Frenzie, Wheels On Fire, Gaines Hanover and Grandma Heidi. 

The Standardbred Veteran Category ballot for 2024 includes two men known primarily as drivers, Ross “Cowboy” Curran and James “Roach” MacGregor, as well as pacing stallion Goliath Bayama.

Ross Curran was known for his raw talent and ability to handle hard to manage horses in a way no one else did. He raced at numerous tracks across Ontario and in the United States. ‘Cowboy’ Curran was the leading dash winner from 1964 to 1973 in Ontario and had an average winning percentage of .317 over a 10-year period. He was rated the second and third best driver in North America from his performance in those years. In his 8,686 starts, he finished in the top three almost 50 per cent of the time on his universal driver rating system stats. He drove 1,711 recorded winners and had more than $2.7 million in recorded lifetime earnings. Curran was inducted in the Sportsman Hall of Fame in Smiths Falls, Ont. in 1988 and he was given the Living Legend Award by the Ontario Harness Horse Association in 2009. He had proven successful partnerships with horses like JJs Tequila and owners such as John Grant. He was also known not only for his driving ability but he was one of the top trainers as well.

Bred by Bayama Farms Inc. of Lachute, Que., Goliath Bayama (p, 5, 1:48.1s; $1,509,163) became known as "The Monster from Montreal" after his thrilling wins in the Breeders Crown and U.S. Pacing Championship at The Meadowlands. He recorded 25 wins in 74 career starts giving driver Sylvain Filion his first opportunity in million-dollar races. Goliath Bayama finished second by a length to The Panderosa in the North America Cup in 1999 and was fourth in the Meadowlands Pace. Goliath Bayama is the fastest pacer in the history of Blue Bonnets, winning in 1:48.1s in an Invitational in August 2001. As a stallion, the Abercrombie son sired 181 foals with total earnings of $7,487,883.  

James “Roach" MacGregor started his career at Charlottetown Driving Park as a youngster, and by age 15, would be training at the local racetrack. From meagre beginnings, MacGregor gradually acquired a sizable public stable. As a 19-year-old, he drove Josedale Clipper to "Maritime Horse of the Year" honours, and soon was asked to accompany legendary Joe O'Brien to Foxboro, Massachusetts as trainer. Regarded by many as the Maritimes’ finest trainer-driver of his era, MacGregor would compile an amazing list of records and achievements over the next five decades, winning virtually every major stakes in the Maritime region and setting numerous stakes and track records at Quebec City, Blue Bonnets, Summerside and Sackville Downs in 1955 with Bay State Pat, a horse MacGregor switched from the trot to the pace. By 1954, his second season on the pace, MacGregor steered Bay State Pat to the winner's circle in 17 consecutive dashes, setting four track records along the way. The rags-to-riches saga of the "Maritime Diesel," would eventually lead to the induction of Bay State Pat in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1983.

The six categories selected by the Thoroughbred Nominating Committee for the 2024 Thoroughbred ballot are Builder, Female Horse, Jockey, Male Horse, Trainer and Veteran – Person or Horse.  Categories and finalist names in each are presented below in alphabetical order.

A Thoroughbred Builder ballot comprised of Sam Lima, Stanley Sadinsky and Glen Todd is offered for voter consideration.

The late Sam Lima’s involvement in racing included many decades as an owner and a promoter of the sport. He also held many positions with the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, where he was a leader and advocate for the services and resources available to track workers, not only while they were in the industry, but following their time on the backstretch. Lima founded and, for nearly 60 years, was the driving force behind the highly popular Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club. The club benefitted thousands of racing fans by educating them about the finer details of the game through regular interaction with racing’s many stars. Lima was the first Chairman of the Fort Erie Advisory Board from 1985-1994 and advocated diligently for the continuation of racing at Fort Erie Racetrack. In 1992, Lima played an important role in establishing a simulcasting policy that still remains today. Lima, who passed away in 2019, was recognized in 2018 by the Jockey Club of Canada with a special Sovereign Award for his lifetime contributions.

Chair of the Ontario Racing Commission for nine years, Stanley Sadinsky was commissioned by the Ontario government to review and recommend industry governance producing the “Sadinsky Report.” As a key advisor during the cancellation of Slots at Racetrack Program, he met with politicians and advised the Board of the  Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association on numerous issues. A retired professor at his first alma mater, Queen’s University, his extensive legal knowledge and understanding of gambling led to his current appointment as the Chair of the Accreditation Panel of the Responsible Gambling Council of Canada. Sadinsky has spoken all over Canada and the United States on both the horse racing and gaming industries. He has been internationally recognized for his contributions, receiving the Joan Pew Award from the Association of Racing Commissioners International in 2002 and the Distinguished Service Award from Harness Tracks of America in 2003. Sadinsky continues to be the Chair of the Horse Racing Appeals Panel, a position he has held for eight years.

Born on Dec. 20, 1946, the late Glen Todd fell in love with horse racing as a child, attending the races with his father who had met his mother at Hastings racecourse in 1939. “There is a lot of history of racing in my family,” he has said. Todd quickly immersed himself in everything about preparing a racehorse, educating himself from the shed row up. Todd was an exceptional businessman who took over his father Jack and mother Eileen’s Pacific Group of Companies, founded in 1954. Todd began training horses at Hastings in the early 1970s, doing so until 1985. In 2011, he won the Sovereign Award in a tie with Donver Stable for Canada’s Outstanding Owner. Behind the racing headlines, Todd worked tirelessly to promote and improve the B.C. racing industry. In 2009, he was part of the B.C. Horse Racing Industry Management Committee, which was formed to revitalize the sport and put it on firmer financial ground. He also extended an interest-free $1 million loan to fund purse money and keep races going at east Vancouver's Hastings Racecourse over the summer of 2021.

Thoroughbred Female Horse finalists include Careless Jewel, Hard Not To Like and Starship Jubilee.

Sired by Tapit, Careless Jewel reeled off five wins in her sophomore season for Alberta-based owner Donver Stables and conditioner Josie Carroll. Her highlights that year included 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. Her wins included the 2014 Jenny Wiley Stakes (Grade 1) at Keeneland, the 2015 Diana Stakes (Grade 1) at Saratoga 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 and out of Tactical Cat mare Like A Gem, herself a multiple graded stakes winner, was indeed bred for success. 

Starship Jubilee was one of the top race mares in North America throughout her career, despite her meager beginnings as a $6,500 yearling. Her honours and accomplishments were numerous, including being named the 2019 Canadian Horse of the Year and the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Champion Female Turf Horse in Canada. In addition to being a two-time Grade 1 stakes winner and six-time graded stakes winner in Canada, she earned more than $2 million. Most impressively, Starship Jubilee is the only horse ever to win the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor and the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, the latter in which she defeated male horses. Starship Jubilee was also highly successful in the United States winning the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at Saratoga, the Grade 2 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs and is the only three-time winner of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park.

The ballot for Jockeys is comprised of Richard Dos Ramos, Patrick Husbands and Emile Ramsammy.

Richard Dos Ramos was the senior member of the Woodbine Jockeys' Room in terms of years of service when he retired in 2013. The classy veteran began his riding career in the spring of 1981 at Greenwood Raceway. He claimed the rider’s title at both the Woodbine and Greenwood Autumn meets that same year, as well as being named top apprentice jockey for the first of two consecutive years. It was during the following decade that two of his finest riding accomplishments came for Hall of Fame owner Steve Stavro and his Hall of Fame trainer, Phil England. In 1992, he steered Benburb to a huge upset win over A.P. Indy in the Molson Export Million, as well as a stunning upset on Benburb in the Prince of Wales, beating 2022 CHRHF Veteran finalist Alydeed. In 1999, he guided longshot Thornfield to victory in the $1.5 million Canadian International (Grade 1). In 2002, Dos Ramos was honoured with the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award before winning the Canadian Oaks with Ginger Gold. His career statistics include 18,645 races with 2,159 wins, 2,242 seconds, 2,206 thirds and nearly $61 million in purse earnings.

Patrick Husbands became one of the most popular and productive jockeys in Canadian racing history during his 30-plus years riding at Woodbine Racetrack. Before emigrating to Canada in 1994 from his native Barbados, Husbands had already enjoyed considerable success at home as a champion rider and the youngest jockey to win the prestigious Gold Cup. Husbands would go on to capture eight Sovereign Awards as Canada's Champion Jockey from 1999-2014. His initial popularity came among the local Bajan community but quickly grew to universal acceptance with each passing race victory and ensuing championship season. Of Husbands' countless achievements, one of the most noted came in 2003 with his expert handling of Triple Crown winner and future Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Inductee, Wando, for the late Gustav Schickendanz and trainer Mike Keogh, both Honoured Members of the Hall. Husbands has maintained lofty standards throughout his spectacular career, winning 3,630 times with his mounts earning $178,477,012 USD through 2023.

Emile Ramsammy, considered a true gentleman and champion, began his career as a jockey in Trinidad in 1980. He achieved 500 wins and was named Caribbean Barbadian Champion Jockey in 1986 and 1989, winning the Barbadian Gold Cup in 1985, 1987 and 1988. In 1990, Ramsammy started riding in Canada. He was awarded the Sovereign Award as Outstanding Jockey in 1996 and 1997 and received the Avelino Gomez Award in 2011. His resume includes Queen’s Plate victories with Victor Cooley in 1996 and Edenwold in 2006 and he achieved stakes success with Wake at Noon, One for Rose and many others. HIs career statistics include18,753 starts (2,279-2,281-2,240) and earnings of $89,032,679.

The 2024 Thoroughbred Male Horse ballot includes Channel Maker, Fatal Bullet and Rahy’s Attorney.

Bred in Ontario by Ivan Dalos, Channel Maker is a Canadian and U.S. champion and multiple Grade 1 stakes winner. Trained by Bill Mott, Channel Maker was owned throughout his career by a combination of interests including Joey G Thoroughbreds, Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. Channel Maker is the third richest Canadian-bred racehorse of all time with earnings of more than $3.9 million. He raced an incredible eight years, from age two to nine, and set the record for the most Breeders' Cup starts by any single horse – a record six times. He won 2017 Sovereign Award as Canada's Champion Three-Year-Old Colt and 2020 Eclipse Award as top Turf Male. Channel Maker was a fan favourite during his eight seasons of racing that began in 2016 in Ontario with trainer Danny Vella. In 2020, the durable gelding swept two prestigious Grade 1 races – Sword Dancer S and Joe Hirsch turf Classic – to become an Eclipse Award as Turf Male. Following his retirement from racing, Channel Maker was donated to Old Friends Retirement Farm in Kentucky.

Fatal Bullet, bred by Adena Springs, owned by Danny Dion's Bear Stables and trained by Hall of Fame trainer Reade Baker, was one of Canada’s fastest sprinters in recent decades. He 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. He was a winner of his first career start as a juvenile in 2007 and his three-year-old year included three early season wins at Woodbine, track record performances at Woodbine in the Bold Venture Stakes, Presque Isle in the Tom Ridge Stakes and Turfway Park, earning a trip to the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint, where he placed second behind heavily favoured Midnight Lute in the quickest running of the race to date in 1.07.08. Fatal Bullet’s projected clocking would be the second fastest time in the history of the race.

Rahy’s Attorney was an underdog that just wouldn’t quit. The result of a $3,000 mating by a small Canadian breeder, Rahy’s Attorney defied all expectations and became one of the country’s most enduring fan favourites, all while earning $2,120,208 USD. In 2008, he landed a shocker of a victory in the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile over Kip Deville, a Breeders’ Cup champion and the continent’s best miler. That win contributed to Rahy’s Attorney being named Canada’s Champion Grass Horse of 2008. In 2009, he set a course record for 1-1/8 miles in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes at Woodbine in 1:44.73. He also won the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes and was a three-time winner of the Bunty Lawless Stakes. In 41 starts, he won 14 races, with 10 seconds and four thirds.

The 2024 Thoroughbred Trainer category features Michael (Mike) Doyle, Dale Saunders and Danny Vella.  

Mike Doyle has trained dozens of stakes winners which contributed to the success of owners like Bo-Teek Farms, Eaton Hall Farms, Windhaven Farms, Stronach Stables, Dura Racing, Scott Abbott Racing Stable and many exceptional local and international connections. Outstanding winners include champions Wavering Girl and Bessarabian, as well as Black Type winners Wild Gale (third in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes), Canadian Silver, Ada Prospect, Tee Game and Blondeinamotel. Doyle’s training talent attracted the world class Stronach Stables which led to him being hired as their Racing Manager. Doyle’s training statistics include 9,965 starts (1,164-1,256-1,199) and career earnings of $43,608,712.  

Alberta-based Dale Saunders began his career as a Thoroughbred trainer in the mid-1960s, racking up 2,177 wins in 12,915 starts and purse earning of more than $17.5 million. Named the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit winner by The Jockey Club of Canada in 2022, Saunders has been Alberta’s leading trainer a total of eight times and was named that province’s Horseperson of the Year in 2012. Some of his victories came from many of the top Thoroughbreds in Alberta racing history, including Dark Hours, Shady Remark, Highland Leader, Fair March and Mandalero, to name a few.

Danny Vella, a twice Sovereign Award winning trainer, has scored 135 career stakes win. He won the coveted Queen’s Plate twice in his career – in 1994 with Basqueian and in 2012 in “Canada’s Race” with Strait of Dover. He began his winning ways in 1985 but his breakthrough came in 1991 when he started training for the stable of Frank Stronach. Early successes came with Hero’s Love in the E. P. Taylor Stakes and Explosive Red in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. In 1994, Vella captured 19 Woodbine stakes in an outstanding season headed by Queen’s Plate winner Basqueian, King Ruckus, Champion Sprinter and Honky Tonk Tune. Fifteen more Woodbine stakes were won in 1996 giving Vella 58 added money wins in an outstanding three-year stretch. Other stakes winners trained by him include Hero’s Love, Cash Ticket, Phantom Light, Knights Templar, Field Commission, Strait of Dover and, most recently, Alpha Bettor. In 2012, Vella transformed Wally and Terry Leong’s Strait of Dover into a poly track winner with a victory in the Marine. The three-year-old set the pace in the Queen’s Plate that year to win. Vella’s statistics include 5,740 starts (869-841-7) and earnings of $39,438,727.

In the Thoroughbred Veteran category, voters will select from Bessarabian, Bold Executive and Richard Grubb.

U.S.-bred and Canadian-based Bessarabian was purchased at a Two-Year-Old in Training Sale in Florida for $122,000 USD by Tom Webb for Eaton Hall Farm. As a two-year-old, she was the best filly in Canada, easily beating local competition before going on to capture the Gardenia Stakes (Grade 1), earning herself a trip to run in the first Breeders' Cup for juvenile fillies. Her first-year stats include five wins in 10 starts. At three, she won seven of 12 starts including five stakes and placed in two others – one of those runner-up finishes was the prestigious Coaching Club American Oaks (Grade 1). In 1986, Bessarabian won six of 15 starts including another five stakes and she was third in the Grade 2 Arlington Matron Handicap in Chicago. She capped her brilliant racing career under the tutelage of trainer Mike Doyle by being named Champion Older Mare. In 37 career starts, Bessarabian had 18 wins, five seconds and four thirds, earning $1,032,640.

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. He was managed through much of his breeding career by Dr. Michael Colterjohn of Gardiner/Paradox, who was a strong advocate for the Ontario-sired and bred program. Dr. Colterjohn’s diligence paid off with Bold Executive taking his place as a top Canadian sire. The son of Bold Ruckus, Bold Executive sired more than 800 foals over 23 breeding seasons, producing multiple stakes winners including Blonde Executive, Simply Lovely and Sand Cove. From 2001-2012, he topped the Canadian Sires’ List six times, finished second three times and third three times. His offspring were genuine and put it all on the track. They were down-to-business horses and there were many, including Legal Move, Main Executive, Executive Flight, Timely Ruckus, Cocney Lass, Krz Exec, Top Ten List, Rushiscomingup, San Souci, Sambuca On Ice and Lynclar.

Raised in Ridgeway, Ont., Richard Grubb began his riding career in 1966. At the age of 16, he won the first race he ever rode as a professional followed by 1,606 more career trips to the winner's circle. The following year, he was Canada’s leading jockey with 230 victories. That same year (1967), he won seven straight races on an eight-race card, a feat never duplicated. Grubb rode some of the country’s most time-honoured stars including 1968 Horse of the Year Viceregal, Mary of Scotland and Rouletabille. During his career, Grubb won more than 100 major races and was presented the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award in 1997. Following his retirement from racing in 1989, he became a senior steward with the Ontario Racing Commission, a position in which he served for 24 years.

Additional information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame may be found at canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com.

(Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame)

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