On Wednesday (Aug. 3), the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame formally inducted its 16 newest members in a long-awaited event to recognize the CHRHF classes named in 2020 and 2021.
Those members and their connections celebrated this once-in-a-lifetime honour of reaching the pinnacle of their sport in front of a capacity crowd at the Mississauga Convention Centre in Mississauga, Ont. A replay of the live stream from the induction ceremony is below.
Representing Standardbreds in the Class of 2020 are Driver Paul MacDonell, Trainer Ben Wallace, Female Horse Amour Angus, Male Horse McWicked and Veteran Horse Rambling Willie.
Paul MacDonell’s driving career is highlighted by both consistency and superstars, with earnings surpassing $1 million for 33 consecutive years, due in part to piloting such horses as Hall of Fame honoured members Somebeachsomewhere, Admirals Express and Invitro. He has also been the primary pilot for millionaires Village Jiffy, Village Connection, Elusive Desire, Bigtime Ball and Laddie. The Guelph resident’s major stakes victories include three Metro Paces, five Confederation Cups, and eight Breeders Crowns as well as a record 16 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals to his credit. The popular and affable driver was awarded an O’Brien Award as the 2008 Canadian Driver of the Year chalked up more than 15,000 top three finishes, 5,623 wins and has driven horses to in excess of $122 million in purse earnings at the time of his induction in 2020.
"I missed a lot of important family engagements over the years while driving horses, so I want to take this opportunity to thank my wife and our daughters for their support and understanding," MacDonell said at the ceremony. "My parents got me started in the business [and] my father was the first one to bring me to the racetrack when I was just a boy. As for my extended family, I owe so many people, but particularly Doug and Nancy Brown, the Wellwood Family, John and Vicki Bax, Gord and Pat Irwin and Brent and Rhonda MacGrath. Those incredible people and many more were kind enough to put me up behind some phenomenal horses, and none of us would be here tonight without the horses."
Ben Wallace of Puslinch, Ont., honed his training skills working for Hall of Famers Keith Waples and the late Bill Wellwood before striking out on his own. He trained 1999 Pacing Triple Crown Winner and Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Member Blissfull Hall, Breeders Crown winners Totally Western (2002), Pans Culottes (2003), as well as a list of million dollar plus winners including Apprentice Hanover, Easy Lover Hanover, Zooka, Cam Swifty, Camotion and Lookout Victory. Awarded an O’Brien as Canada’s Trainer of the Year in 1999, Wallace had 1,947 wins and more than $38 million in purses at the time of his induction, surpassing the million-dollar mark in 18 consecutive seasons (1996-2013).
“Thank you very much, certainly to the Hall," Wallace said. "I’m going to cut right to the chase: I was not born into the horse racing business. I took the crazy idea in 1971 to go to Buffalo Raceway to see what horse racing was all about. The man who hired me at the time told me – this was November of the year – he said ‘If you make it through the winter, you will be in the horse business the rest of your life.’ Here I stand. I have to acknowledge one man: Bill Wellwood. I was very lucky he took me along for the ride. I’m just a cog in a very, very big wheel, and I’m very, very fortunate to be a part of it.”
Bred by Pierre Levesque’s Fermes Angus of Bedford, Quebec, Amour Angus made her mark on the Standardbred industry as a broodmare. Eleven of her 15 foals raced, earning in excess of $3.5 million. Of her eight foals sired by Garland Lobell, three went on to be top trotting sires in North America following successful race careers -- Andover Hall 3, 1:51.3 ($870,510), CHRHF 2019 inductee Angus Hall 3, 1:54.3 ($830,654) and Conway Hall 3, 1:53.4 ($818,884). Her daughter Emilie Cas El (also by Garland Lobell) was the winner of the 1994 O’Brien Award for Horse of the Year following her flawless 13-for-13 two-year-old race season before going on to be the dam of Hambletonian winner Trixton. Amour Angus is the grand dam of such horses as Nuncio, Peaceful Way, Donato Hanover, Pampered Princess, Majestic Son, Wishing Stone and Windsongs Legacy.
"She’s part of the success of the farms," said Pierre's son Claude Levesque, representing the connections of Amour Angus. "Angus Farms was unfortunately closed from the Quebec situation, but Amour was a big thrill and made the farm well known over the whole world at one point."
Recently retired from racing, McWicked earned $5.1 million during a race career that began in 2013 and included 40 wins in 110 starts while setting his lifetime mark of 1:46.2 at age seven. The ungelded son of McArdle - Western Sahara was purchased as a two-year-old by Ed James’ SSG Stables and trained for the majority of his career by Casie Coleman. McWicked’s stakes wins include the Max Hempt, Adios, Progress, Ben Franklin, TVG Open, William Haughton, Canadian Pacing Derby, Dan Rooney - twice; Roll With Joe, Breeders Crown - twice, Joe Gerrity, Jr - twice, PASS Finals, and the Jim Ewart - twice. He was the recipient of four O’Brien Awards -- Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt/Gelding (2014), Older Pacing Horse of the Year (2018 & 2019) and Horse of the Year (2018). His 2018 bankroll of $1.662 million made him the oldest horse to top North American harness racing's earnings standings at the age of seven, and his $5.1 million in career earnings makes him the richest pacing stallion in the history of the sport.
"He just refused to lose," Coleman said of her stable star. "It didn’t matter if he was parked that week, sick that week, sore that week, if I couldn’t train him that week. I’ve never seen a horse get so many first-over drives as him in my life, I don’t think. He usually won the majority of the time, but I was always like 'Why did you have to drive him like that again?' He’d just find a way to win no matter what."
The winner of 128 races in 305 starts during the 1970s and early 1980s, Rambling Willie was a three-time winner of the Canadian Pacing Derby -- 1975 in a dead heat with Pickwick Baron, 1976 and 1977. At the time of his retirement in 1983 he was the leading Standardbred money winner of all time earning more than $2 million, with most of his wins coming from overnight and invitational races. A $15,000 purchase by trainer/driver Bob Farrington, ownership was later split between Bob’s wife Vivian and Paul Seibert. Mrs. Farrington in turn pledged 10% of Willie’s earnings to the church where her father served as pastor, earning the gelding the nickname “The Horse That God Loved”. In 1981 a book titled with that nickname was published. Willie and his connections did a promotional tour that included races in 17 cities and appearances on television shows including 60 Minutes. Following his retirement from racing in 1983, Willie moved to the Kentucky Horse Park where he resided until his passing in 1995, when he was buried near his paddock at the Hall of Champions. Rambling Willie was inducted into the United States Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1997 and into the Indiana Standardbred Hall of Fame in 2003.
"I was in the right place at the right time," said trainer Doug McIntosh, who stabled the stateside star during his trips to Canada and helped with the horse's conditioning. "He was just jogging and training at my farm, and he was just a big unassuming, clumsy horse. But when you turned him the right way, he did it right. There was nothing flashy; he was an everyday guy. It was just a great story."
The Standardbred Election Committee inductee selections for 2021 included Builder Jim Bullock, Driver Randy Waples, and Female Horse Great Memories.
Erin, Ontario resident Jim Bullock has made immense contributions to the Canadian harness racing industry over the past 30 plus years as an owner, breeder, stallion syndicator, race track administrator and organization leader. Following his purchase of Glengate Farms in 1992, he stood three stallions that are now members of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame -- Balanced Image, Angus Hall and Apaches Fame, and each stallion has had immeasurable impact on the Canadian harness racing landscape. While Bullock has suspended the stallion division of Glengate, he continues to be active as a breeder with a broodmare band of approximately 30 top quality, trotting-bred mares, built largely by retiring some of his most successful race horses including Gramola, Juanitas Fury, Pepi Lavec and Oaklea Odessa. Bullock’s Glengate Farms can also lay claim to being co-breeder of double millionaire Art Official, world champion JL Cruze who went on to make over $1.6 million and CHRHF inductee Odies Fame. It also seems rather fitting that Glengate Farms-bred Great Memories is also included in the CHRHF Class of 2021.
"I’m delighted to join Glengate Farm’s stallions – Balanced Image, Angus Hall, Apaches Fame – racehorse Odies Fame and of course another honouree this evening, Great Memories," said Bullock at the ceremony. "But nobody achieves success without the assistance of others. I thank the hall for a great honour, and I close with the suggestion that it might be completely appropriate for the Hall to take its cue from Stan [Bergstein] and recognize me as Mr. Pat Bullock as he did."
Jim has worked with leading organizations in the industry such as the Woodbine Entertainment Group as a director and the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association where he served as the organization’s president for more than nine years. Jim also played a significant role in the SBOA New Owner Mentoring program, created to introduce and educate new owners to the industry. In 2013 he was recognized by the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association with the Van Bussel Award for exemplary service and the Lloyd Chisholm Achievement Award for meritorious service.
Although 2021 Driver Inductee Randy Waples was born with harness racing in his blood, he still needed to earn what he accomplished as a driver. After spending close to 10 years honing his craft at tracks throughout Ontario, the trajectory of his career changed in 1996 when he won 150 races in 1,197 starts in what would be the first of 22 consecutive years as a driver with earnings reaching into the millions. The three-time O’Brien Award as Canada’s Driver of the Year, Waples also has a long list of stakes victories on his resume including the 2012 North America Cup with Thinking Out Loud, three Maple Leaf Trot wins with San Pail (CHRHF Class of 2016), as well as Breeders Crown Championship wins with San Pail and Dreamfair Eternal (CHRHF Class of 2014) and two wins in the Canadian Pacing Derby with Strong Clan (1997) and State Treasurer (2016). Other notable accomplishments include four Battle of Waterloo wins and leading driver in Ontario Sires Stakes earnings in 2001, 2002 and 2010.
“I didn’t write anything because I didn’t really know what to write," Waples said. "I’m kind of in awe of the whole thing to tell you the truth. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the great horsemen that are already inducted already in this room. It’s an amazing experience; very humbling. We have standardbreds and we have thoroughbreds, but what we have is we have horses.
"I’ve always said horses were man’s best friend. Because I don’t think there would be a person in this room today that couldn’t trace back to the fact that we are here because of a horse – because at one time there weren't automobiles. The doctor was brought to the house to deliver the baby by a horse. Milk was brought to the house for a baby because of a horse. Horses went to war with us, horses did everything for us. They are an amazing animal and we owe everything to our four-legged friends."
In April 2018 when harness racing moved from Woodbine to permanently reside at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Randy Waples was declared the all-time leader in wins at the Toronto facility with 2,605 victories. Nationally Waples is the all-time leading money-winning driver of races held in Canada, sporting more than 6,600 wins and $131 million in purse earnings. While the majority of Waples career has been spent on Canadian soil, his name was also added to U.S. record books when he won the Kentucky Sire Stakes Final at The Red Mile in 2000 with Real Desire, for trainer Blair Burgess (CHRHF Class of 2017), in a time of 1:50.4, a world record at the time for two-year-old pacing colts.
The 2021 Standardbred Female Horse Inductee Great Memories is a daughter of CHRHF 2000 Inductee Apaches Fame and out of Armbro Emerson daughter Save The Memories. Purchased as a yearling by Kenneth Fraser and Duane Marfisi, who also trained the filly, Great Memories’ race career was cut short due to an injury at age three.. Bred by fellow CHRHF Class of 2021 inductee Jim Bullock at his Glengate Farm in Campbellville, she now resides a few kilometres up the road in Rockwood and is owned by Ontario Standardbred nursery Warrawee Farm.
“In talking to Michael [of Warrawee Farms], he was a small breeder; he never had more than 12 to 15 mares at a time," said Dr. Maurice Stewart, representing the owners of Great Memories. "He was always involved with genetics, that was his thing. The luck was him retaining Great Memories and raising the offspring, but he also thanks the people who have bought those offspring and went on, worked hard and made them world champions."
Among Great Memories’ offspring are two world champions: Warrawee Needy and Warrawee Ubeaut. A winner of 29 races and more than $1.25 million, Warrawee Needy was freakishly fast at two (1:49.4s), faster still at three (1:48.4s) and the fastest in the world at four (1:46.4) for trainer and CHRHF Inductee Carl Jamieson. Named the 2011 O'Brien Award winner for two-year-old pacing colts/geldings, Warrawee Needy was virtually unstoppable as a freshman, ending his nine-win rookie season by capturing the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack. At age three, Warrawee Needy duplicated his stakes-winning and record-setting ways. After setting an OSS speed record of 1:49.4 at two, he also set the record for three-year-olds with a 1:48.4 performance as a sophomore. At four, he won an Aquarius Series leg, his US Pacing Championship elimination and his William Haughton Memorial elimination at the Meadowlands Racetrack in world record time.
In her first season on the racetrack in 2018, Warrawee Ubeaut won seven of 12 races and earned a division-leading $646,995 en route to divisional honours in the U.S. Her wins included the $600,000 Breeders Crown and $207,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes. In addition, her 1:48.3 victory in a $61,250 division of the International Stallion Stakes at Red Mile made her the fastest two-year-old pacer (regardless of sex) in harness racing history. At age three Warrawee Ubeaut continued to impress matching her lifetime mark, again at Lexington, and winning 12 of 19 starts for earnings of $1,066,415, including an eight-race win streak. Notable wins included the Breeders Crown, the Jugette elimination and final and in doing so equalled the world record for a three-year-old pacing filly over a half-mile track. Her 2019 efforts were rewarded with a Dan Patch Award for her age category. As a four-year-old, Warrawee Ubeaut added the Roses Are Red title to her resume and lifted her earnings to nearly $2 million by season’s end.
Great Memories’ 10 racing age progeny earned more than $4.2 million at the time of induction with four horses -- Warrawee Needy, Warrawee Ubeaut, Warrawee Vital and Big Bay Point -- breaking the 1:50 barrier and two surpassing the $1 million earnings mark.
Thoroughbred inductees from 2020 include Builder Sue Leslie, Jockey Gary Boulanger, Trainer Michael Keogh along with horses Tepin and Play the King.
Sue Leslie has dedicated the better part of her life to the sport of horse racing -- breeding, owning and training thoroughbred horses in Ontario for almost 40 years. Positions she has held, both past and current include President/Chair of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Society of Ontario, President/Chair of Ontario Horse Racing Industry Alliance, Director on the Avelino Gomez Memorial Foundation, Director of LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society, as well as being a member of the Jockey Club of Canada and Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society. Leslie has been a proponent for horsepeople across all facets of the industry. She was involved in establishing Ontario Racing, with which she is currently a Director and member of the Executive. Her years of experience and knowledge have proven vital in programs and initiatives to sustain the industry -- ranging from assistance with government negotiations following the cancellation of the slots-at-racetrack program to ensuring the viability of racing at Fort Erie Race Track. In 2011 Leslie was honoured with a special Sovereign Award for her dedicated work and she continues to be a strong leader and a devoted advocate.
Born in Drayton Valley, Alberta, Gary Boulanger began his riding career in 1987, spending his early years at tracks in the U.S. and earning leading jockey status at Longacres Racetrack (1989, 1990, 1991) and Calder Race Course (1994, 1995). In 2000 Boulanger returned to Canada, riding primarily at Woodbine, he would frequently get the call to ride for Hall of Fame trainer Mark Frostad. In 2001, the top money-winning year of his career, he rode Sam-Son Farm’s Hall of Fame filly Dancethruthedawn to wins in the Canadian Oaks and The Queen’s Plate Stakes. In 2005 Boulanger suffered what could have been a career-ending injury in a racing accident at Gulfstream Park. His return to the track came in 2013 when he began to pick up rides for Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse. Gary continues to ride, splitting his time between Florida and Woodbine, and is considered an elder statesman in the jockeys’ room. The 2017 Avelino Gomez Memorial Award recipient has to date won 3,610 races, including 41 grades stakes, and earnings just shy of $80 million (U.S.).
As longtime private trainer for Hall of Fame Builder Gus Schickedanz, Mike Keogh is a two-time Queen’s Plate winning trainer, first with Woodcarver in 1999 and then with Triple Crown champion Wando in 2003. During that Triple Crown winning season, Keogh was also training stablemate Mobil who would earn a Sovereign Award at age four. Hall of Fame horse Langfuhr, also trained by Keogh, won three G1 Stakes and received the Sovereign in 1996 as Champion Sprinter. As an assistant to Hall of Fame Trainer Roger Attfield from 1986-1993, Keogh worked with a long list of Hall of Fame inductees including Alywow, Peteski, Carotene, Izvestia and With Approval. Among the many Attfield-trained horses Keogh traveled with was one of his favourites, the multiple graded stakes winning sprinter and 2008 Horse of the Year Play the King, who will also be inducted as part of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Class of 2020. Since 1993, Mike Keogh’s stats include 2,689 starts with 330 wins and more than $21.5 million in earnings.
Tepin, given the moniker “Queen of the Turf”, spent most of her race career under the direction of trainer Mark Casse and the ownership of Robert Masterson. Racing from age three to six, the striking bay filly accumulated a record of 13-5-1, including nine Grade 1/Group 1 wins or placings in three countries -- Canada, England and the U.S. In 2015 she won the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) against the boys. The following year, In what would be her final year of racing, she travelled to England and captured the prestigious Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. Her final career win came in the 2016 Woodbine Mile (G1) when she put an exclamation mark on her career with a half-length win, again over the boys. Tepin was twice presented with the Eclipse Award as American Champion Female Turf Horse; 2015 and 2016.
Play the King, was conditioned throughout his four year race career by Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield for breeder/owner Kinghaven Farms of King City, Ontario. In 29 starts, he made 19 trips to the winners’ circle and earned just shy of $1 million. Play the King’s stakes success began at age four with a win in the Toboggan Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct, and was followed by wins in the Jacques Cartier, Vigil Handicap and the Toronto Budweiser Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Woodbine, as well as wins in the Highlander Handicap, the Suffolk Sprint in Boston (G3) and finally the Nearctic Stakes (G3), to earn him the 1987 Sovereign Award for Champion Older Male Horse and Champion Sprinter. The following year brought repeat wins in the Nearctic Stakes (G3) at Woodbine and the Toronto Budweiser Breeders’ Cup before making his most noted performance, the Breeders Cup Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs. A strong 49-1 second-place finish contributed to him being presented Sovereign Awards as Champion Sprinter, Older Horse and Horse of the Year in 1988.
In 2021, the Thoroughbred Election Committee voted to induct Builder Vicki Pappas, Male Horse Heart to Heart, and in the Thoroughbred Veteran category, Not Too Shy.
Being recognized as a Thoroughbred Builder Inductee in 2021 is Montreal-born and Streetsville, Ontario resident Victoria (Vicki) Pappas, making her the third woman to be inducted to the CHRHF in as many years. Throughout a career spanning over 40 years, Pappas has been engaged in various elements of the Canadian Thoroughbred industry, starting first as a groom, she has also been a trainer, owner and breeder. In 2006 Edenwold, bred by Pappas along with her husband Bill Diamant and long-time friend Gail Wood, won the Queen’s Plate.
As the face of the Woodbine Sales Company, Vicki was involved in all aspects of the sale. As one of the first on-camera hosts for Woodbine's expanded simulcast show, Vicki handicapped races on air. And as Woodbine's stakes coordinator, Vicki worked tirelessly to encourage some of the world's top horsepeople and horses to make the trip to Woodbine for major races.
Vicki may however be best known as the passionately dedicated and hands-on chairperson of LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society. Under Vicki’s leadership, what began as a few people looking for ways to ensure Thoroughbred racehorses have a dignified and happy retirement, has grown into a registered charity, recognized as one of the continent's most respected horse retirement and adoption organizations and is also the first industry-funded adoption program in Canada. To date, LongRun has successfully retired and adopted over 1,000 racehorses, and continues to care for 50 horses on its farm in Hillsburgh, Ontario. Many of the farm’s resident equines are 'lifers' who will comfortably live out their days under the care of LongRun.
Bred by Darrell Bauder’s Alberta-based Red Hawk Ranch and foaled in Ontario, the 2021 Thoroughbred Male Horse Inductee Heart to Heart was a $25,000 purchase by Lethbridge, Alberta’s Terry Hamilton at the CTHS yearling sale in 2012. That investment proved lucrative with the horse earning over $2 Million (US) in a high-profile seven year racing career which included 15 wins and nearly $50,000 per start in 41 starts.
As a two-year-old, the son of English Channel out of the Silver Deputy daughter Ask the Question, made starts in both Canada and the U.S. His Canadian starts included a third place finish in the Vandal Stakes as well as finishing fourth in both the Simcoe Stakes and Coronation Futurity. Following his sophomore year which included finishing third in the Toronto Cup Stakes as well as starts in the Queen’s Plate and Marine Stakes, Heart to Heart was named the Sovereign Award Champion Three-Year-Old in 2014, on the merits of winning four of eoight races, including two Grade 3 scores at Churchill Downs.
Trained throughout his career by Brian Lynch, Heart to Heart won two Grade 1 races back-to-back in 2018 with a victory in the Gulfstream Park Turf in February of that year, followed by a decisive win in the Makers 46 Mile in April at Keeneland.
In total, Heart to Heart was victorious in 11 graded stakes at US tracks, including Belmont, Monmouth, Saratoga, and aforementioned Churchill Downs, Gulfstream Park, and Keeneland. During his seven year career, this Canadian bred and owned horse had triple-digit (100+) Beyer speed figures 18 times with 10 of his stakes wins achieved in gate-to-wire fashion. Impressively, he also had at least one graded stakes win each year from age three through age seven.
Bred and owned by Conn Smythe (CHRHF Class of 1977), and trained by D. P. (Donnie) Walker, 2021 Thoroughbred Veteran Inductee Not Too Shy won just two races in her initial year of racing (1968) but, in the next three years she would establish herself as one of the top stakes-winning fillies of her era. A 1966 daughter of Nearctic out of Twice Shy, she withstood a hard campaign in her sophomore year, going to the post 19 times.
Included in her accomplishments were victories in the Fury, Wonder Where, Maple Leaf, and Duchess Stakes, a race in which she defeated Kentucky Oaks winner, Hail to Patsy. Not Too Shy would lose the 1969 Canadian Oaks by a head to Kinghaven Farm’s Cool Mood (inducted in 2014) after a long stretch duel. However, these two fillies would battle three more times with Not Too Shy prevailing in each of those meetings to avenge her Oaks' setback. Later that year, she took on the boys in the Breeders' Stakes, finishing in third place.
Often racing against older males, and equally adept on both dirt and turf, Not Too Shy's four-year-old season included 15 starts with wins in the Seaway, Canadian, Belle Mahone, Maple Leaf (again) and Tattling Handicap. Not Too Shy, described as a big, strapping bay filly, was named Canada’s Champion Older Filly of 1970 for her efforts at age four.
At age five, she continued to race at a high level, earning six wins in 14 starts with victories in the Whimsical, repeating in the Seaway Stakes and a fourth-place finish against top fillies and mares in the Susquehanna Handicap at Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Not Too Shy retired with 11 stakes victories among her 23 wins. Her breeding career produced multiple stakes winner and 1978 Queen's Plate contender, Lucky Colonel S.
(with files from the CHRHF)