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Ten Enshrined Into Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame

Published: August 16, 2012 8:08 pm ET

Last Comment: August 18, 2012 10:10 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Standardbred stars Astreos, Kadabra and Mystic Mistress headlined this year’s class of inductees into Canada’s Horse Racing Hall of Fame tonight (Thursday) in a ceremony at the Mississauga Convention Centre in Mississauga, Ont.

The 2012 Standardbred Inductees are: Astreos - Male Horse Category; Kadabra - Male Horse Category; Mystic Mistress – Female Horse Category; Dave Wall - Trainer/Driver Category; Charles Juravinski – Builder Category.

Astreos, a son of Artsplace, won several stakes events, including the 2000 Little Brown Jug during his million dollar race career and took a record of 1:49.3. In his second career, as a stallion, he has produced winners of over $50 million to date, and many top performers including Zooka, Astronomical, To Helen Back and Voelz Hanover.

"When you're a young guy growing up in the standardbred business the Little Brown Jug is the race you want to win," said driver Chris Christoforou, Jr. "To win that race with Astreos, I could never describe that feeling.

"Sadly we lost Astreos too early," Christoforou added. "Our time with him was the greatest time of our life and we will never forget it. We are very happy he has been inducted into the Hall Of Fame and we are very grateful."

As a race horse, Kadabra enjoyed incredible success, winning 25 of 36 lifetime starts for earnings in excess of $2.1 million. In the years since his entrance to the breeding shed, he has sired the winners of more than $26.5 million including stars Poof Shes Gone and Daylon Magician; and in 2011 he was No. 1 in Canada for his progeny’s all-age earnings of $8,408,950.

"I think we should thank Pete [the late Peter Heffering]," said Apryll Heffering. "After flying to Chicago to see him, he just had to have him. Pete went with his gut. He contacted four of the best owners in the business and they were all willing to come on board.

"He didn't disappoint on the track or in the breeding shed," she added.

Mystic Mistress has established herself as a top broodmare in the sport, producing the winners of more than $3.8 million, including Mystician, the 2010 Metro Pace Champion and a winner of over $1.6 million, and Camystic, a proven sire and a winner of over $779,000 on the track. Mystic Mistress, owned by Bru Mar Rich Stables & Ed Howard and managed by Warrawee Farm, received the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association’s award as Broodmare of the Year for 2011.

"Horse racing is like a lottery with a variably-priced ticket," said Dr. Michael Wilson. "Mystic Mistress is like winning the lottery with a free ticket.

"Thank you to the Hall of Fame for recognizing Mystic Mistress," he added.

Dave Wall, 65, of Komoka, Ontario, and a former top campaigner on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit, has driven 7,117 winners and horses to earnings in excess of $59.6 million during his career. He has also dabbled in training, sending 518 winners postward and horses with over $2.4 million in earnings. Two outstanding horses that he drove were pacing filly Odies Fame, a winner of $1.4 million, and Hall of Fame trotter Goodtimes, a winner of more than $2.2 million.

"I certainly never though much of it, but since it happened every day's been a big moment...every day," said Wall. "Makes you believe what you work for. It's been a great life for me and a great ride.

"We will not give up hope on this industry," Wall added. "It's too great a thing."

Charles Juravinski, 82, of Dundas, Ontario, was involved in harness racing as a racetrack operator and owner-breeder. With no prior knowledge of racetracks or horse racing, Charles took a chance and turned a farmer's field into Flamboro Downs, a multi-million dollar half-mile racetrack which opened in 1975 and soon became one of Canada’s premier racetracks and home to the Confederation Cup. He raced horses and ran the racetrack devotedly for the next 30 years until 2003. He also raced two world champion horses who are also members of the Hall of Fame – the top pacing mare Ellamony which he also bred, and pacing horse Matts Scooter.

"Ladies and gentlemen, and other inductees current and past, it is an honour without a doubt," said Juravinksi. "I want to thank the nominating committee and the election committee. Someone said it was a longtime coming, but I just think to myself how a kid growing up in Blaine, Saskatchewan ended up on this podium being inducted to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Just think of the impact of that on a somebody like myself. It's unbelievable. Thank you.

"I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for Bill Rowe," he added. "He was also nominated to the Hall Of Fame and I said to Kathy Wade Vlaar my vote is for Bill Rowe and not some Charles Juravinski guy. I would not be standing here if it wasn't for Bill, my mentor. In the early stages I didn't think you could make money in racing and he convinced me. He opened his books, he let me see inside the operations and we revised our numbers. The rest is history. In our heyday, we had an on track handle of $325,000 per day with 3,325 people in attendance per day. I now wonder where all those people went. Having said that, I want to pay tribute to the staff at Flamboro Downs that stuck through thick and thin in the 80s and 90s."

Juravinski also shared the moment with a number of people who played a role in the success of a number of his star performers.

"I want to pay tribute to the drivers and trainers," he said. "Stephen Doyle, John Hayes and Mike Saftic. Hayes trained and drove a horse called Conquered in 1981 and I was happy to be partners with Mr. Hayes, Sr. John mentored me in the horse business and I am very appreciative. Doyle trained Ellamony and Mike Saftic drove winning substantial races."

Juravinski also took a few moments to pay tribute to one of the sport's greatest visionaries.

"I could tell stories for days. I want to backtrack a little and tell you how slots came into effect. If it wasn't for Mr. David Wilmott I question whether any of us would be in this room today. He is not here, but I would appreciate it if you put you hands together for him.

"I'm done for the present time, he added." But something I want to note is that all of you here tonight, you have gone out of your way to come out tonight and support the Hall of Fame and listen to a guy like me shoot my mouth off. So stand up and take a seventh inning stretch."

In closing, Juravinski gushed about his wife, Margaret, who later joined him on stage.

"Somebody always says behind a great man - and I don't mean me - there is a great woman. I have my own Hall of Fame at home and I have my own executive director and I wish to present her with a Hall Of Fame ring. Margaret would you come up here? And I won't let Margaret near this mic. God bless you all. Keep the faith. I'll tell you, this industry is not going to die."

The five Thoroughbred representatives in Hall of Fame class of 2012 include: Jambalaya – Male Horse Category; Arravale – Female Horse Category; L’Alezane – Veteran Horse Category; Russell Baze – Jockey/Trainer Category; Aubrey Minshall – Builder Category.

Elected in the Filly/Mare Category is Robert Costigan’s Arravale. This fine mare was winner of the prestigious E.P. Taylor Stakes (GR 1) against top female turf stars, and was Canada’s champion turf female in 2006. Trained by Hall of Famer Mac Benson, she won stakes at the highest level in both California and Canada.

“Thank you to the committee for the wonderful recognition,” said Arravale’s owner, Robert Costigan. “As an owner you hope that you've have something to cheer coming around that bend. It took me four years to get my first winner. It's been thrills and spills since. Arravale has been the highlight. It was a wonderful, wonderful ride.

“I think everybody has one thing in common: love and passion of the horse,” he added. “It's going to be reconnecting with the horse that helps us. We need to reconnect with people. Introduce people to a horse for five minutes and watch the soothing effect. Hastings Park had a connection to I'll Have Another through the jockey and that's what we need to bring back.”

Elected in the Male Horse Category is Jambalaya, who follows in the footsteps of his daddy Langfuhr as a Hall of Fame inductee. Jambalaya was an upset winner of the 2007 Arlington Million as well as the Gulfstream Park Breeders’ Cup Turf Stakes that same year for owner/trainer Catherine Day.

"When looking at his racing form, the Dr. Seuss book 'Oh, The Places You Will Go' comes to mind with his tremendous career of stakes victories," said Day. "Throughout his seven years in training, he touched the lives of so many people.

"He's now retired, lives at our farm and is turned out daily," Day added.

Vancouver born Russell Baze who has won more races than any jockey in history, will take his place of honour in the Jockey/Trainer category. The 53-year-old Baze, is a member of the U.S. Hall of Fame and winner of over 11,500 races has campaigned mainly in the United States and California. He was the leading rider in the U.S. on ten occasions and his awards include the Eclipse, George Woolf and Isaac Murphy. During his prolific career, he won more than 400 races in a season eleven times

"I come from a large family," said Baze. "They say there's a Baze for every pine tree in Washington State. My father used to say that we came from a family of horse thieves which is why we can ride so well. He was only joking, at least I think he was joking.

"You cannot get to the Hall Of Fame without passion and dedication," Baze added. "What a distinguished collection of horsemen here in the Hall of Fame in Canada and I'm thrilled to join them.

Representing Veteran horses in the class of 2012 is Jean Louis Levesque’s juvenile star L’Alezane. This impressive filly won stakes races in New York, Kentucky, Manitoba and Ontario. She captured victory in her first five starts, and received Sovereign Award honours as not only Champion two-year old filly, but also as Canada’s Horse of the Year in 1977.

"I'd like to thank the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame committee," said Pierre-Louis Levesque, the son of Jean-Louis Levesque. "I could tell stories of how L'Alezane is my favourite horse, I could tell stories of racing in Quebec, and I could give opinions of the Ontario racing situation, but because it is past your bedtime I will wish you well. Don't give up. Thank you."

Respected Ontario breeder, Aubrey Minshall has been voted into the Hall of Fame in the Builder category. Minshall, a native of Guyana, lived in Trinidad before he arrived in Canada. In 1996 he was posthumously recognized by the industry when his Minshall Farms was named both the leading owner and breeder in Canada. He also was owner of Horse of the Year, Mt. Sassafras. Unfortunately his sudden death in 1993 did not let him enjoy some of his best stock, but the years of devotion did.

"It's really something he worked for for a long time," said Barbara Minshall. "He made it all happen, he came from Trinidad with nothing. His dreams and determination made it come true. He had the long term vision needed to be a thoroughbred breeder.

"It was so unfortunate that he didn't get to see these horses, never got to see the true result of his breeding program," she added.

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is a Not for Profit organization founded in 1976. For 20 years this was a Hall of Fame without a “home”. In 1997, the dream of the founders finally became a reality when the Ontario Jockey Club provided a permanent site at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is a dual hall representing both Standardbreds and Throroughbreds. Inductees are added annually to build an ever-growing honour roll in the category of Builders, Drivers/Trainers, Jockeys/Trainers and Veterans. The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is located by the West Entrance of Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario.

August 18, 2012 - 10:10 pmCongratulations to all the

Congratulations to all the inductees.

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