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Reaction From The Class Of 2019

Published: April 10, 2019 8:21 pm ET

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Trot Insider has gathered reaction from the 2019 Standardbred inductees into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

On Tuesday, the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame announced that six people and four horses were elected from an extremely deep ballot of candidates, five of those on the Standardbred side. Standardbred inductees include Builder Ian Fleming, Driver Trevor Ritchie and Trainer Jimmy Takter, along with horses Tricky Tooshie and Angus Hall.

Ian Fleming’s career in the horse racing industry began as race secretary at his home track in Clinton, Ont. That evolved into managing the racetrack and from there he went on to create a centralized race office for several Ontario tracks in the 1990s, which now services racetracks across the province. Fleming was also the Racing & Gaming Manager at Western Fair Raceway for a number of years. His business prowess is based on cultivating relationships, and his deep knowledge and understanding of the mechanics of racing and wagering is world-renowned. Fleming has helped every Ontario racetrack and many international organizations to shape and strengthen harness racing, and also volunteers his time in administrative capacities, as he sits on the Board of Directors for Standardbred Canada and the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. In addition to his racing-related responsibilities, Fleming continues to find ways to give back to the industry and his community through fundraising initiatives such as the bi-annual Legends Day at Clinton Raceway. The 2017 edition of Legends Day hosted harness racing fans from across North America to witness John Campbell’s final career race. Fleming was also an important part of the fundraising efforts following the Classy Lane Fire.

Fleming was taken aback by the news, received at his Clinton area home.

"I'm pleased and quite surprised, actually. Quite surprised...If you're not happy about that, you're not happy about much."

Before retiring from driving in 2014, Acton, Ont. based Trevor Ritchie won many of North America’s premier races, including the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Prix d'Ete, Provincial Cup, Metro Pace, Canadian Pacing Derby, Trotting Classic Final for mares, and Champlain Stakes. During his career he had 3,710 driving wins and drove horses to over $70 million in purse earnings. The year 2000 was a career best for Ritchie, as he won the Hambletonian with Yankee Paco, the first Canadian-sired horse to win that event. Later that year he won three Breeders Crown Championships, which tied him with John Campbell as being the only other driver in history at the time to accomplish that feat, and he was voted Canada’s Driver of the Year. Other top horses driven by Ritchie included Quite A Sensation, Frugal Gourmet, Road Machine, Armbro Agile, Peaceful Way, Majestic Son, Banker Hall, and Rotation. Ritchie’s quiet demeanour, immense talent, and great respect for his clients and fellow competitors served him well throughout his near 40-year driving career.

"Well, it's an honour to be a part of that class. When my name gets thrown around with all of the other greats...what can you say? I'm humbled," admitted Ritchie, who was reached after dinner on Monday night.

"I thought about this, and when I won the Hambletonian I never thought I'd be prouder. And thinking about this I said 'well, if I ever did make it -- I know this was the second time I was nominated -- that would move up to my proudest moment, for sure."

Swedish-born, U.S.-based Standardbred trainer Jimmy Takter has seen tremendous success on Canadian soil. With 1,325 starts in Canada, he has visited the winner’s circle 266 times and collected purse earnings of more than $34.2 million. Takter has won 103 stakes races on the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit. Horses trained by Takter have won a total of 19 O’Brien Awards, including at least one O’Brien Award in 15 of the 19 years between his first award in 1999 with Moni Maker and his most recent with The Ice Dutchess in 2018. Despite being based in New Jersey, Takter was Canada’s leading trainer by earnings in 2015 with over $4.2 million made in Canada and has ranked among the nation’s top 10 conditioners six times since 2011, including second-place finishes in 2014 ($2,643,455) and 2016 ($2,263,361) Takter has also trained for a long list of prominent Canadian owners, including five members of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame: John Fielding, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Charles Armstrong (CHRHF), Dr. Glen Brown (CHRHF), Herb Liverman, Bob Anderson (CHRHF), David Anderson, David Willmot (CHRHF), Lou Camara, John Florens and Peter Heffering (CHRHF).

Takter was out shopping with his wife Christina when he received the news.

"I'm very honoured. Especially because I'm the first U.S. based trainer inducted. It's a big honour, I'm very happy.

"Christina says now we have to buy champagne," Takter said with a laugh.

Tricky Tooshie was bred and owned during her racing career by Laurent Bergevin of Québec. Trainers included her co-breeder Jean L. Deblois, followed by Rick Zeron and then Linda Bedard.

As a two-year-old she raced in Québec where she dominated the Québec Sires Stakes, was the divisional leader and won the $197,000 Coupe des Eleveurs final at Blue Bonnets in a track record 1:55.1. As a sophomore she once again dominated her division in Québec. After a second-place finish in her first start, she then reeled off 15 consecutive wins including the $177,000 Coupe des Eleveurs and several Québec Sires Stakes. She won 15 of 17 races at six different tracks, almost $300,000 in purses and was a finalist in her division for an O’Brien Award. In seven years of racing she made 142 starts for a 44-29-24 record, posted a mark of 1:52.1 at Woodbine Racetrack and earned $1,005,566, becoming the first Canadian-sired mare to reach $1 million in earnings. As a broodmare, 11 of her 13 foals made it to the races to earn over $3 million for average earnings per starter of $284,441. Her richest foal was True North Hanover, a winner of $732,912.

"That's fantastic," said Hanover President Russell Williams. "She's one of my favourite mares, I have a very high opinion of her and I'm glad to be confirmed in this way."

As a racehorse, Angus Hall earned $830,654 from 26 lifetime starts and took a mark of 1:54.3. In 26 lifetime starts over two racing seasons, the regally-bred son of Garland Lobell-Amour Angus, bred by Québec's Ferme Angus, won eight races and finished in the top three in all but four outings. He was the first trotter to break the 1:55 barrier as a two-year-old, winning in 1:54.4 at Colonial Downs.

Angus Hall has sired over 1,700 horses during a stallion career spanning 18 years, with 71.5 per cent of his foals having race careers. His offspring have earned over $102 million, and include six millionaires: 2008 CHRHF inductee Peaceful Way, Majestic Son, Elusive Desire, Winning Mister, Frenchfrysnvinegar and Laddie. His contribution to trotting bloodlines continues through top broodmares whose offspring have earned over $45 million.

"That's amazing. "He's definitely benefited the Canadian racing scene by producing great quality racehorses and broodmares," said Pat Woods, Winbak of Canada's Farm Manager. "We couldn't be happier."

The Induction Ceremonies will take place at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Wednesday, August 7, 2019. Additional information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame may be found at www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com

(with files from the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame)


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