Racing greats Secretariat and Niatross figure prominently on the 2013 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame election ballot which reflects the changes announced earlier this year. Eligibility now includes those people and horses who brought honour to Canadian horse racing.
Also new to this year’s ballot is the Communicators category, added to honour those who have been instrumental in telling the story of Canadian racing. A total of 36 horses and people, including 18 Thoroughbred racing candidates and 18 Standardbred racing candidates appear on the ballot. Two 20-person Election Committees will decide the winners in the respective categories and the election results will be announced on Tuesday, April 9th.
Standardbred ballots representing this year’s six voting categories are as follows:
In the Standardbred Male Horse category, Admirals Express, Blissfull Hall and Rocknroll Hanover are the candidates.
Admirals Express captured the hearts of Canadian racing fans during his career. The son of Admirals Galley known as the ‘Grey Gladiator’, won 86 races in 353 starts, and earned more than $2.1 million in his long race career.
In 1999, Blissfull Hall captured harness racing’s elusive Pacing Triple Crown. The Canadian owned and trained champion won 15 of 23 starts and earned more than $1.3 million before embarking on a successful career as a stallion.
Rocknroll Hanover earned more than $3 million during his racing career, highlighted by victories in Canada’s most prestigious races for two and three year olds, the Metro Pace and the North America Cup. He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America’s most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013.
B Cor Tamara, Eternal Camnation and J CS Nathalie are nominated in the Female Horse category.
Before embarking on her second career as a broodmare, B Cor Tamara enjoyed a productive racing career, earning more than $185,000. As a broodmare, the daughter of Dream Of Glory was the dam of 19 foals, including star trotter B Cor Pete, and granddam of two champion juveniles, Banker Hall and Broadway Hall. Her offspring have earned over $2.7 million.
Eternal Camnation earned more than $4.1 million, and won 47 of her 101 starts during her extraordinary career. The champion mare won numerous stakes races on both sides of the border dominating her division throughout the majority of her racing career. She retired in 2004 to pursue a career as a broodmare.
J Cs Nathalie has produced two millionaires as a broodmare — pacing colt Dreamfair Vogel, and pacing mare Dreamfair Eternal. Dreamfair Vogel was a winner of 19 races and over $1.1 million with a mark of 1:49.3. Dreamfair Eternal, a winner of 56 races and $2.5 million in purse earnings was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010.
The three candidates in the trainer-driver category are William Gale, Wally Hennessey, and Carl Jamieson.
William Gale, 64 of Woodstock, Ontario, was one of Canada’s leading drivers for a period that spanned the 70s, 80s and 90s. Between 1982 and 1997, Gale recorded 16 consecutive $1 million+ seasons. During his career, he won 6,375 races, started 32,134 times and earned $42.1 million.
Wally Hennessey, 56, of Prince Edward Island, has more than 8,200 victories to his credit and has banked earnings in excess of $55 million. In the late 1990s, he enjoyed success with the trotter Moni Maker, a winner of $5.5 million and numerous stakes including the Nat Ray in three different years, the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown. In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York.
Carl Jamieson, 62 of Rockwood, Ontario and a native of Nova Scotia, has established a reputation for selecting and developing young horses. He’s enjoyed considerable success, having trained 950 winners and horses to earnings in excess of $22 million. In 2011 Carl trained two Canadian champions – Up The Credit, Canada’s Three-Year- Old Pacing Colt of the Year and Warrawee Needy, Canada’s Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year.
Candidates in the builders’ category include Dr. Ted Clarke, John B. Ferguson and William Rowe.
Dr. Ted Clarke is recognized by his peers as a visionary in the horse racing industry. Highly regarded for his thoughtful insights, Clarke’s strong and steady leadership has helped guide Grand River Raceway to be a leader in innovation and growth. Before Grand River, Clarke led numerous initiatives to put Elmira Raceway on the path to stability, including the inauguration of Industry Day, the Battle of Waterloo and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network.
John B. Ferguson may be best known his time in the National Hockey League, but his passion was for Canadian horse racing. In addition to his role as a very active owner and breeder, Ferguson also took a role in track management. He was hired by Blue Bonnets in Montreal and after leaving hockey became the President of Windsor Raceway. He was also one of driving forces behind the formation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
William Rowe was involved in many facets of the harness racing industry. He enjoyed success as a breeder, trainer-driver and administrator, but it was as a builder of racetracks and racing executive that he made his greatest mark in Canadian racing. Rowe was responsible for the construction of Windsor Raceway, Barrie Raceway and Georgian Downs.
Outstanding Standardbreds Albatross, Artsplace, and Niatross make up the Veteran Horse Ballot.
Albatross was voted US Harness Horse of the Year in 1971 and 1972. He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million. As a sire, Albatross’s thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million.
Artsplace was the 1992 O’Brien Award and Dan Patch Award winner as Horse of the Year following an undefeated four-year-old season. He was a two-year-old world record holder winning the Breeders Crown in a time of 1:51.1 at Pompano Park in Florida, soundly defeating champion Die Laughing. He won 37 races and bankrolled over $3 million during his racing career which saw him race many times in Canada. He went on to become a world class sire.
Niatross won a remarkable 37 of 39 career starts. He was trained and driven by co-owner Clint Galbraith, who was born and raised in Ontario. Niatross set 15 world records and earned more than $2 million as a racehorse, including a win in Montreal’s Prix d’Ete. After retiring to stud, his most famous son, Nihilator earned more than $3 million on the racetrack.
In the newly added Communicators category the election committee will make their selection from Harry Eisen, Bill Galvin and Doug Harkness.
The late Harry Eisen spent a lifetime loving and covering horse racing in Ontario. As a lifelong journalist, he spent many years exposing the sport to the public, including the majority of his 40 years at the London Free Press. Eisen who once said he saw his first harness race when he was “three or four years old”, sold tip sheets at Dufferin Park Racetrack as a boy. He was inducted into Western Fair’s Wall of Fame in 1980.
As a publicist, promoter and author, Bill Galvin made a tremendous impact on horse racing in Canada. Galvin’s promotions transcended racing. He led a charge to bring horse racing on the ice to the Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans. He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the health of horse racing during his career.
The late Doug Harkness made unparalleled contributions to the harness racing industry in the Maritimes. He was the founder and editor of Atlantic Post Calls from 1979 – 2010. Doug was also involved in lobbying efforts with the government, and was a passionate spokesperson for harness racing on a regional, national and international level. Doug received the City of Charlottetown award for his promotional work in harness racing, and also received the President’s Award from the United States Harness Writers Association, the only Canadian journalist to be honoured.
The voting ballots for Thoroughbreds will feature:
AThoroughbred Male Horse ballot comprised of Mt. Sassafras, Peaks and Valleys and Soaring Free is offered for election committee consideration.
Mt. Sassafras, bred by 2012 Builder inductee Aubrey Minshall finished a very close 4th in the 1996 Breeders Cup Classic at Woodbine behind Alphabet Soup, Louis Quatorze and Cigar. Honoured in 1996 as Canada’s older horse of the year, and won the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Stakes in 1997.
Two time Grade 1 winner Peaks and Valleys, owned and bred by Pin Oak Farm’s Josephine Abercrombie of Kentucky and named Horse of the Year in Canada in 1995.
Sam Son Farms homebred Soaring Free was one of the earliest stars by Smart Strike. Under the tutelage of trainer Mark Frostadhe won 15 of his 27 starts with lifetime earnings in excess of $2 million
Fillies and Mares will be represented on this year’s roster by Apelia, One for Rose and Sealy Hill.
Apelia, owned by Steve Stavro’s Knob Hill Stables, a splendid sprinter conditioned by training category nominee Phil England, won stakes in New York, Kentucky and New Jersey and is the dam of champion mare Saorise.
One For Rosebred by John Sikura’s Hill ‘N’ Dale Farm and owned by the Tucci Stables family of Toronto, was a multiple Sovereign Award winner during her lengthy career. “Rosie” a popular fan favorite for trainer Sid Attard, fellow 2013 nominee, was sold to Japanese breeding interests and has produced her first stakes winner.
Ontario bred Sealy Hill was the first to win the Tiara Series (Woodbine Oaks, Bison City Stakes and Wonder Where Stakes) for breeder/owner Eugene Melnyk and trainer Mark Casse. She also finished 2nd in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
Sid Attard, Phil England and J. G. (Gerry) Lavigne have been chosen to appear on the Jockeys/Trainers ballot
Sid Attard has visited the winners circle over 1700 in his training career including 60 stake wins. Attard trained horses have earned over $47 million in purse money.
The list of nominee Phil England pupils include Knob Hill Farm horse of the year horses Benburb (1992), Thornfield (1999), and the Rick Kennedy owned Afleet in 1987.
J.G. (Gerry) Lavigne began his training career in 1958 and was the winning trainer of multiple graded stakes horses as well as winning the Queen’s Plate twice – 1970 with Almoner and again in 1982 with Son of Briartic.
Election Committee members will select between Thoroughbred Builders W. D. Graham, Jim Sabiston, and John Sikura Jr.
The late John Sikura Jr, emigrated from Czechoslovakia as a teenager in the 1950s, and built Hill ‘N’ Dale Farms into a highly successful breeding and stallion operation. He was the purchaser of the first yearling in history to sell for more than $1 million and twice was leading consignor at Keeneland. Additional honours include being recognized with the status of Kentucky Colonel and in 1994 was awarded the Mint Julep Cup for lifetime contributions to the Ontario Racing Industry.
W. (Bill) D. Grahamhas been an integral participant in the horse racing industry for almost half a century as an industry association executive as well as a breeder and owner. Owner of Windhaven Farms in Caledon, Ontario and Lexington, Kentucky, Bill has raced Sovereign Award winners, Wavering Girl, Fantasy Lake and Cotton Carnival.
Longtime Thoroughbred breeder and owner Jim Sabistonwound up his breeding business this past year after more than 50 years in the game. Sabiston spent many years in the sand and gravel business, and built his Longview Farms on a rehabilitated gravel pit.A prominent fixture at Woodbine, both as a breeder and owner, Sabiston bred Silent Fleet (Silent Screen-Fleet Way), who won the Canadian Oaks in 1996
The Veteran Horse category will be contested by All Along, Dahlia, and Secretariat.
French bred All Along, owned by Daniel Wildenstein not only won Prix de l’Arc de triomphe and the Rothmans she then went to New York to win the Turf Classic and then scored in the Washington D.C. International at Laurel in Maryland and was proclaimed Horse of the Year in America even though she was based in France
Dahlia,the flower of French racing, was owned by Nelson Bunker Hunt, trained by Maurice Zilber and ridden by the great Lester Piggot won Canadian International in 1974 as part of a career that also included wins throughout the US, Britain and France. She was also the first female to win $1 million.
Mrs. Penny Chenery’ssensational American Triple Crown Winner Secretariat concluded his race career with a win in the 1973 Canadian International.
The new Communicators ballot is populated by Curtis Stock, Bruce Walker and Wally Wood.
Writer Curtis Stock of Edmonton, Alberta, is a ten-time Sovereign Award winner for his coverage of thoroughbred racing.
Bruce Walker,a renowned publicist and Sovereign award winning writer, was also one of the founders of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
The late Wally Wood covered Canadian Thoroughbred racing on behalf of The Daily Racing Form for many years.
The Induction Ceremony will be hosted at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Thursday, August 15, 2013.
Additional information is available by contacting:
Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame