Oliver B. Sheppard

Hall of Fame Inductee, 2000

Legend – Standardbred Builder


Born in 1848, Sheppard’s early life was spent on a farm in North Gwilliambury, Ontario, where he developed a love for horses. He was a founding member and charter director of the Canadian Standardbred Horse Society which was organized in 1909 as the official registration authority for Standardbred horses in Canada. Sheppard was instrumental in the organization of the first harness racing regulatory body in Canada, the Canadian National Trotting and Pacing Harness Horse Association, in 1913 and was president of the association until his death in 1928.

His most outstanding horse was Maud Keswick that set a world record for the three fastest heats by a pacing mare when she won in 2:04 1/2, 2:03 3/4 and 2:06 in 1905 at Columbus, Ohio. Earlier that year, Maud Keswick took a record of 2:03 3/4 while winning a seven-heat race at lexington, Kentucky.

Sheppard was also prominent in the business and social circles of Toronto. After starting out as a school teacher, he moved to construction, including the construction of the old Northern Railway; then became a grain buyer and later manager of the Grand Opera House and Princess Theatre in Toronto. He was a Toronto alderman for 13 years, including two years as controller.