Frank R. Conklin

Hall of Fame Inductee, 2003

Legend – Builder


From 1946 until his death in 1963, Frank R. Conklin of Brantford, Ont., was one of the leading commercial breeders of thoroughbred yearlings in Canada. They annually attracted the top bids at auctions in both prices and overall average. Conklin’s 420-acre Midway Farm was the most modern of its time with its large foaling stalls, breeding shed, lush paddocks and railed fences. It was here that he bred Crafty Lace, Canada’s Horse Of The Year in 1962, along with a long list of stakes winners that included Ali’s Pride, Argent, Doug’s Serenade and Later Mel.

The best horse he ever bred was the multiple stakes winner Jet Traffic ($146,078), the colt that aroused heated controversy when it was declared ineligible on a minor technicality for the 1963 Queen’s Plate by the OJC. It ruled that it had been nominated incorrectly. Conklin paid the original nomination fee before selling the colt and its mare to Warren Jones of Kentucky, who then sold Jet Traffic to Russell Firestone Jr., the American rubber tire tycoon from Dallas. Jet Traffic was a leading winter-book favorite following his impressive record in the U.S. as a 2-year-old and after winning the one-mile Bay Shore Stakes (1:34.1) at Aqueduct the following spring, it appeared that an American -owned horse might win the Plate.

In 1958 Conklin made headlines when he acquired Preakness Stakes’ winner Blue Man, who at that time was the richest horse ever to stand in Canada. The Thoroughbred of Canada, said “This is just the kind of progressive and forward-looking step that has come to be expected of the man who has been Canada’s most successful breeder for the past dozen years. He has long made it a practice to seek out the best stallions in Kentucky and even in California as worthy mates for his aristocratic broodmares.”