The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2021 ballot. Due to Covid-19 restrictions resulting in the Hall not yet fully honouring the Class of 2020, the Board of Directors determined it best to reduce the number of inductees for the Class of 2021 to three per breed. This will allow for the 2020 and 2021 inductees to be properly recognized together, once public health guidelines permit.
The Board also decided additional inductees will be added in 2022 and 2023 to compensate for the smaller class of 2021.
A total of 18 people and horses comprised of nine Standardbred and nine Thoroughbred candidates have been selected to appear on the voting ballot. A 20-person Election Committee for each breed will determine the one individual to be inducted in each category, with the results to be announced on Tuesday, April 13th.
The three categories selected by the Standardbred Nominating Committee to appear on the CHRHF 2021 Standardbred ballots are: Builder, Driver and Female Horse. Categories and finalist names in each are presented below in alphabetical order.
In the Standardbred Builder category, the candidates are Jim Bullock, Al Libfeld, and Dr. Lloyd McKibbin.
Erin, Ontario resident Jim Bullock has made major contributions to the Canadian harness racing industry as an owner, breeder, stallion syndicator, race track administrator and organization leader during a career spanning over 30 years. He purchased Glengate Farm in 1992 and stood three stallions who have since been inducted to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame by virtue of their immeasurable impact on the Canadian harness racing landscape – Balanced Image, Angus Hall and Apaches Fame. 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 while producing the likes of millionaires Art Official and JL Cruze. Bullock served as a director of Woodbine Entertainment Group, and was the President of the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association for nine years. Beyond racing, he served as Chair of the Board of Governors at Ryerson University.
Al Libfeld’s first exposure to horse racing came through Marvin Katz and later on they would become business partners. Libfeld made his first foray into Standardbred ownership with the purchase of the Albatross yearling Keystone Hera in 1988 with Katz. From that point on, the successful homebuilder, whose Tribute Communities is one of the most prominent in Ontario, was hooked, focussing his efforts on breeding and owning primarily trotters. He considers his horses and racing a passion. In addition to his partnership with Marvin Katz, Libfeld has bred and owned a number of horses on his own including Define the World ($1,740,839; 1:51.4), 2008 O’Brien Award winner in the Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt/Gelding division; and his dam Venice Holiday.
The late Dr. Lloyd McKibbin is considered a pioneer in the advancement of Equine Veterinary Medicine. He was an innovator, teacher, and author as well as a very hands-on veterinarian. He focussed on Acupuncture, Cryosurgery and Laser Therapy, mentoring other veterinarians to follow in his path, many of whom went on to open their own successful practices with some who continue to work as veterinarians today. His books Horse Owners Handbook and Cryoanalgesia for Horses continue to be used as reference manuals. Horse owners travelled from far and wide to his small, unassuming clinic in Wheatley, Ont., for treatment using the ground-breaking methods he employed, all the while acting in the best interest of his equine patients. Among the numerous horses aided by Dr. McKibbin was CHRHF 2020 Inductee Rambling Willie who spent time under “Doc’s” care. It was the relationship Willie’s owners had with Dr. McKibbin that provided the opportunity for the much-lauded horse to appear at Dresden Raceway.
The 2021 Standardbred Driver ballot features Mary Clare “Clare” MacDonald, Ed Tracey and Randy Waples.
A native of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Mary Clare “Clare” MacDonald is Canada’s winningest female harness driver in victories (1,498) and purse earnings ($4,769,982). Her stats, all achieved while racing in the Atlantic provinces, rank her second among female drivers in North America, behind US Hall of Fame member, the late Bea Farber-Erdman. A second-generation horseperson, MacDonald’s driving career began at age 17 with 19 wins in her first year. Since that time, in a career spanning over 40 years, she has surpassed $100,000 in annual earnings as a driver 25 times. Horses driven and/or trained by MacDonald have set track records at five tracks, and she also holds the honour of being the first driver to complete a sub-2:00 trotting mile in Atlantic Canada. In addition to training and driving, MacDonald has served terms as a Standardbred Canada Director and was a member of the Rules Working Group for the Atlantic Provinces Harness Racing Commission.
Weyburn, Saskatchewan-born Ed Tracey received his driving license at age 15. After getting his start in three-heats-a-day race meets in his home province, his passion for harness racing took him to six Canadian provinces and numerous states in the U.S. Over a span of 55 years, Tracey had 3,168 driving victories and more than $7,500,000 in purse earnings. The pinnacle of his career came in 1978 when he won the ice racing championship on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal. The late Ed Tracey was named Alberta Horseman of the Year in 1978 and in 1998 he was awarded the Dr. Clara Christie Award for his contribution to Alberta’s harness racing industry.
Randy Waples’ career took off in 1996 when he won 150 races in 1,197 starts and he hasn’t looked back since. He is now the all-time leading money-winning driver of races held on Canadian soil, and sports more than 6,600 wins and $131 million in purse earnings. The three-time O’Brien Award Driver of the Year honouree is the all-time leader for wins at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario. His stakes victories include the 2012 North America Cup with Thinking Out Loud, three Maple Leaf Trot wins with San Pail as well as Breeders Crown Championship wins with San Pail and Dreamfair Eternal, both members of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. He also has many other stakes victories on his resume including four Battle of Waterloo wins and was the leading driver in Ontario Sires Stakes earnings in 2001, 2002 and 2010.
The Standardbred Female Horse Category features Great Memories, Pure Ivory and West Of LA
Great Memories, by Apaches Fame out of the Armbro Emerson mare Save The Memories, was bred by Glengate Farms and is now owned by Ontario Standardbred nursery Warrawee Farm. Among Great Memories’ offspring are two World Champions: Warrawee Needy, and Warrawee Ubeaut. Warrawee Needy was a winner of 29 races and more than $1.25 million. He took a mark of 1:49.4 at age two, was faster still at three (1:48.4) and at four was the fastest in the world (1:46.4). Warrawee Ubeaut, won the 2018 Breeders Crown for two-year-old pacing fillies, has a lifetime mark of 1:48.3 and earned $646,995 in 12 starts in her first year on the track. At the age of three Warrawee Ubeaut continued her winning ways earning $1 million, matching her lifetime mark and winning 12 of 19 starts, including the Breeders Crown for three-year-old pacing fillies. Her win in the Jugette Final equalled the world record for a three-year-old pacing filly over a half mile track. In total, Great Memories’ racing age progeny have earned over $4.2 million, with four offspring – Warrawee Needy, Warrawee Ubeaut, Warrawee Vital and Big Bay Point — breaking the 1:50 barrier.
Trotting mare Pure Ivory, by Striking Sahbra has been successful both on the track and as a broodmare. Bred by Diane Ingham and the late Harry Rutherford, and owned throughout her racing career by Jerry Van Boekel, Christina Maxwell, Steve Condren and Rutherford, Pure Ivory’s stats include earnings of $1.44 million and a lifetime mark of 1:53.1. The two-time O’Brien Award recipient (2005 & 2006), trained by Bradley Maxwell won 22 stakes races during her career, including Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals at age two and three, the Canadian Breeders Championship, and divisions of the Simcoe and Champlain Stakes. Currently owned by Steve Stewart of Paris, KY, as a broodmare, Pure Ivory produced the 2019 Hambletonian Champion Forbidden Trade, who was a divisional O’Brien Award winner at two and three, Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2019, and amassed career earnings in excess of $1.48 million.
Following a race career at ages two and three, during which she earned $257,150, West Of LA became a top-performing broodmare. Bred and owned, in partnership by Robert McIntosh Stables, C S X Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc., and trained by CHRHF Honoured Member Robert McIntosh, this daughter of Western Hanover, out of the Cam Fella mare Los Angeles, is the dam of horses with earnings in excess of $4.3 million, including two horses with earnings of more than $1.7 million each. Her Somebeachsomewhere son Somewhere In LA boasts $1.87 million in earnings with a lifetime mark of 1:48.4. Her daughter L A Delight, by Bettors Delight won the O’Brien Award for Two-Year-Old Pacing Fillies in 2015 and followed that up with an O’Brien in the Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly category in 2106. Her resume includes 26 wins in a 66 race career, a lifetime mark of 1:49.1 and earnings of $1.78 million.
The three categories selected by the Thoroughbred Nominating Committee for the 2021 Thoroughbred ballot are Builder, Male Horse, and Veteran Horse. (Categories and finalist names in each are presented below in alphabetical order.)
A Thoroughbred Builder ballot comprised of Charles E. Fipke, Sam Lima, and Vicki Pappas, is offered for voter consideration.
Edmonton, Alberta-born Charles E. Fipke, a successful Canadian geologist and prospector who was involved in the discovery of the Ekati Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories, has been involved in the Canadian Thoroughbred Industry for close to forty years. Among his accomplishments, he bred and owned three Sovereign Award-winners including 2008 Champion Three-Year-Old Male and winner of the 2008 Queen’s Plate, Not Bourbon; 2010 Champion Older Female, Impossible Time; and 2003 Champion Male Turf Horse Perfect Soul, who went on to become a successful sire. Also, Mr. Fipke bred and owned a number of other successful racehorses including winner of the 2011 Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Turf (GI), Perfect Shirl. Charles Fipke is one of the most successful Canadians campaigning in major races in the United States. In addition to Perfect Soul and Perfect Shirl, Fipke’s other Grade 1 winners there included; champion Forever Unbridled, Bee Jersey, Lemons Forever, Seeking the Soul, Jersey Town and Tale of Ekati. Fipke also enjoyed recent Grade 1 success at home when his Lady Speightspeare captured the 2020 Natalma.
The late Sam Lima’s involvement in racing included many decades as an owner, a promoter of the sport and in the many positions he held with the HBPA, where he was a leader and advocate for the services and resources available to track workers, not only while they were in the industry, but following their time on the backstretch. Sam founded and was the driving force for nearly 60 years behind the highly popular Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club which benefitted thousands of racing fans by educating them about the finer details of the game through regular interaction with racing’s many stars.
Sam was also the first Chairman of the Fort Erie Advisory Board from 1985-1994 and advocated diligently for the continuation of racing at Fort Erie. In 1992, Sam played an important role in establishing a simulcasting policy that still remains today. Mr. Lima, who passed away in 2019 was recognized in 2018 by the Jockey Club of Canada with a special Sovereign Award for his lifetime contributions.
Montreal-born Victoria (Vicki) Pappas, a longtime owner, breeder and trainer retired from her career at Woodbine that included a period of time spent as a simulcast broadcaster, so she could solely focus her time and energy on the development of the LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society (LTRS). Since its formation in 1999, LTRS has re-homed over 600 thoroughbred racehorses donated by owners and trainers who support the charity’s mandate, policies and the vision of its founder. Seventeen years after being granted charitable status, LTRS opened the stable doors to its own facility in Hillsburgh, Ontario where retired thoroughbreds are prepared for adoption to their forever homes.
The 2021 Thoroughbred Male Horse ballot includes Fatal Bullet, Heart to Heart and Joshua Tree.
Fatal Bullet, Bred by Adena Springs, owned by Danny Dion’s Bear Stables and trained by Reade Baker, was one of Canada’s fastest sprinters in recent decades. He was voted Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2008 on the strength of being named Canada’s Outstanding Sprinter that year. He captured 12 career races including five stakes and earned $1,377,256.00 in total. Winning his first career start as a juvenile in 2007, his three-year-old year included three early-season wins at Woodbine, followed by track-record performances at Woodbine in the Bold Venture Stakes, Presque Isle in the Tom Ridge Stakes and at Turfway Park, earning a trip to the Grade 1 Breeder’s Cup Sprint where he placed second behind heavily favoured Midnight Lute in the quickest running of the race to date in 1.07.08, which projects Fatal Bullet to having earned the second-fastest time in the history of the race.
Heart to Heart a $25,000 CTHS yearling sale purchase in 2012 by owner Terry Hamilton turned out to be a lucrative decision, with the horse earning over $2 million (US) in a high-profile seven-year racing career, the majority of which under the tutelage of Brian Lynch, with 15 wins, and racking upgraded stakes wins at ages 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. In 2014 he was named Sovereign Award Champion 3-Year-Old, winning 4 of 8 races, including two Grade 3 scores at Churchill Downs. While Heart to Heart never won in his homeland, he did score twice at the highest level in the United States capturing the Gr 1 Maker’s 46 Mile Stakes and the Gr 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Stakes.
Irish-bred Joshua Tree’s career statistics feature earnings of $3,851,594 in 37 starts (7-7-4). Three of those wins came at Woodbine in the Pattison Canadian International Stakes (G1) in 2010, 2011, and 2013, an unprecedented accomplishment. Other graded stakes wins for this world traveling son of Montjeu include the Qatar International Invitation Cup (G1) in 2011, the Judamonte Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) at Ascot in 2009 and the Darley Prix Kergorly (G2) in 2009.
In the Thoroughbred Veteran Category, voters will select from Formal Gold, Mt Sassafras and Not Too Shy
Ontario-bred Formal Gold remains the fastest Canadian-bred in terms of speed figures, even though his final year of racing occurred in 1997. Bred by Mr. & Mrs Rodes Kelly, trained by William W. Perry and owned by John D. Murphy, Sr., this son of Black Tie Affair, received an Equibase Rating of 136, one of the highest in history. Formal Gold was also ranked among the top handicap horses of 1997 with gate-to-wire efforts in two Grade 1 victories; the Woodward Stakes in September of that year after winning the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream in February, defeating HOY and US Hall of Fame horse Skip Away in both races. At stud, he ranked among the top 1% as sire of 2-yr-old winners from starters at 45% and sired progeny with global earnings of nearly $16 million (US), including 19 stakes winners.
Bred by Aubrey Minshall and owned throughout his career by Minshall Farms, Mt. Sassafras, was a winner of $1.3 million with a race record of 8-7-14 in 47 starts under the training of Barbara Minshall. The multiple graded stakes winner’s victories included the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G1) in 1997, the Dominion Day (G2) in 1999 as well as the Eclipse Handicap (G3) in 1996. Mt. Sassafras was named the Sovereign Award Champion Older Horse and Horse of the Year in 1996. He is fondly remembered for his courageous pace-setting effort in the 1996 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Woodbine where he lost the lead only late to be a tight fourth behind the outstanding trio of Alphabet Soup, Louis Quatorze and Cigar. When Mt Sassafras won the 1997 Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Handicap he defeated multiple champion Skip Away.
Nearctic daughter Not Too Shy was bred and owned by the late Conn Smythe. During a race career spanning from 1968-1971 that included 55 starts, 19 of which came in her sophomore year, she accumulated a total of 23 wins, 8 seconds and 10 thirds, establishing herself as one of the top stakes-winning fillies of her era. Her resume includes wins in the Fury, Wonder Where, Maple Leaf and Duchess Stakes. Three times Not Too Shy defeated CHRHF Honoured Member Cool Mood, to redeem herself following a hard-fought battle and close second-place finish in the 1969 Canadian Oaks.