The Canadian Horseracing Hall Of Fame formally inducted the 16 members that were elected for the classes of 2022 and 2023 at the Induction Gala on Wednesday night (August 9th) at the Mississauga Convention Centre.
Trotting mare Pure Ivory, by Striking Sahbra, has been successful both on the racetrack and as a broodmare. Bred by Diane Ingham and the late Harry Rutherford, of Mount Pleasant, ON, and owned throughout her racing career by Jerry Van Boekel, Christina Maxwell, Steve Condren and Rutherford, Pure Ivory’s racing stats include earnings of $1.44 million and a lifetime mark of 1:53.1. Trained by Brad Maxwell, the two-time O’Brien Award recipient (2005 & 2006), the mare 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 a broodmare owned by Steve Stewart of Paris, KY, 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 $2.3 million.
Stewart accepted Pure Ivory’s Hall of Fame induction. “She’s truly Canadian and when she was finally bred to Kadabra, who was one of the top trotting stallions in Canada, she produced a Hambletonian winner (Forbidden Trade). I’d like to thank the Hall of Fame for this wonderful honor. She is very deserving.”
One of the most talented and versatile colts of his generation, Court Vision was a multiple graded-stakes winner on both dirt and turf at two, and a Grade 1 winner at three, four, and five. His pedigree includes Champion Sprinter and classic sire (Gulch), out of a sister to a classic winner and classic sire (Summer Squall) and the immediate family of A.P. Indy. Of his eight graded-stakes, five came in Grade 1 races, including the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile and the 2010 Woodbine Mile – his first of two appearances in that race. In a career consisting of 32 starts, he accumulated 9 wins, 4 seconds and 4 thirds, with total earnings of $3,746,658.
In 2012 Court Vision began his career as a sire in at Michael Byrne’s Ontario-based Park Stud and he was Canada’s leading Freshman Sire in 2015 – both in earnings and stakes horses. Beginning in 2016 his stallion career continued in Kentucky and later in Louisiana. Among his stakes horses are 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and Eclipse Champion, Storm the Court, with 13 starts (2-2-3) and earnings of $1.365 million, and Grade 3 winner, Mr. Havercamp, 14 (8-1-0) $679,558.
Court Vision’s current owner, Judy Pryor of Pryor Ranch, accepted his Hall of Fame Induction. “I’m so proud of this,” she beamed. “With a Grade One winner retiring sound after 31 races. That’s kind of unheard of these days.”
A native of Russell, MB, Irwin Driedger launched his riding career in 1967, at age 11, as an exercise rider. He then honed his skills at fairs in Western Canada, before moving to bush tracks and eventually recognized tracks such as Assiniboia Downs in 1973, where he plied his trade until 1982. In 1979, Irwin set an Assiniboia record of 161 wins before surpassing his own accomplishment in 1980 with 180 victories. In 1981, Driedger made 214 trips to the winners’ circle, a record that stood for many years. Over the next 17 years, Driedger rode at major tracks across Canada winning 1,633 races for purse earnings of $14.6 million. The 1998 recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award, Driedger rode Sovereign Award Winners Liz’s Pride, Phoenix Factor, Classy ‘n’ Smart, In My Cap, Grey Classic and Imperial Choice. When CHRHF honouree Classy N Smart’s daughter Dance Smartly, was ready to start her race career, Driedger, was provided the opportunity to ride the future CHRHF Honoured Member for her first start, a five-furlong maiden race, which the pair won by a comfortable three and a half length margin.
In 1990, Driedger retired from competition and became the Secretary-Manager of the Jockeys Benefit Association of Canada, serving his first term until 2006. Under his direction Canadian Jockey’s became the first in North America to wear safety vests. Driedger was also instrumental in helping to install safety rails at Woodbine. From 2006 until 2018, Driedger held the position of Director of Thoroughbred Racing Surfaces at Woodbine. In 2019 he returned the Jockeys’ Benefit Association of Canada to again assume the role of Secretary-Manager, a position he held until his retirement in 2021. Driedger succumbed to a lengthy cancer battle earlier this year, but he did write and send an acceptance letter to the Hall of Fame prior to his passing.
“It is such an honor for me to be inducted into the Canadian Horseracing Hall of Fame,” his letter began. “I would like to thank those who nominated me, and I would like to acknowledge Emile Ramsammy and Gary Stahlbaum who were also nominated. It’s very exciting to be in this Canadian institution with all the great riders before me.” Driedger also acknowledged the many great horses he rode that included Dance Smartly and her dam, Classy N Smart and he thanked his career-long agent Lorne Spearman. Spearman remembered Dreidger as a “gentleman and a caring man.”
Gilles Gendron of Saint-Eustache, Quebec, started his illustrious driving career in the spring of 1967 at the age of 22. During his career, he drove in more than 37,000 races, posted 7,053 victories, finished second in 5,008 starts and recorded 4,819 thirds. He drove horses to earnings in excess of $36.9 million. Gendron was the dominant driver at Blue Bonnets racetrack during the 1970s and 1980s. At age 27 in 1972, Gendron won the Challenge of Champions hosted by Windsor Raceway, defeating the likes of Herve Filion, Ronnie Feagan and Carmine Abbatiello. Nicknamed “Le Chef”, he dominated the Blue Bonnets driving charts, leading the driving standings 10 times between 1972 and 1984. For 14 consecutive years, he won more than 200 races and ranked in the North American top 10 seven times. Among the equine stars he drove were Hall of Famers Grades Singing and Garland Lobell. In 2009, he drove a pair of winners at Rideau Carleton to put him at 7,000 career wins to join Quebec natives Herve Filion, Michel Lachance and Luc Ouellette in the select group of North American drivers who had posted 7,000 career wins.
“Hell yeah!” Gendron exclaimed. “You get in the Hall of Fame not because you’re lucky. You gotta be good. If you are good, it’s because you drive some good horses for good trainers and good grooms. That’s what happened to me. Those people work with the horses, and we pass our lives in the paddock, farm and racetrack. It’s a lot of hard work. Thank you very much.”
Shadow Play earned $1,559,822 with 20 wins, nine seconds and five thirds in 49 lifetime starts, and took a record of 1:47.4 as a four-year-old. The son of The Panderosa, out of the Matts Scooter mare Matts Filly was purchased as a yearling, trained and co-owned by Dr. Ian Moore along with R G McGroup Ltd. and Serge Savard for most of his racing career. His race career highlights include winning the 2008 Little Brown Jug and setting a world record for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers on a 5/8-mile track, of 1:48-2/5ths in the Elimination of the Coors Delvin Miller Adios.
As a sire standing at Winbak Farm of Canada, in partnership with Blue Chip Farms, and owned by the Shadow Play Syndicate, Shadow Play has sired six millionaires, including the fastest Standardbred in harness racing history, Bulldog Hanover (1.45.4) with earnings to date of nearly $2.2 million; three-time O’Brien Award winner and double millionaire Lady Shadow; 2021 Horse of the Year and North America Cup winner, Desperate Man; and O’Brien divisional winner, Percy Bluechip. In total Shadow Play sired horses have earned $56 million. Twenty horses sired by Shadow Play have records of 1:50 or better.
Co-owner and trainer of Shadow Play Dr. Ian Moore described his 2023 Hall of Famer as “tough, determined and unforgettable,” as he accepted his induction trophy.
The late Dr. Lloyd Salem McKibbin, DVM 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. A graduate of Ontario Veterinary College in 1952, Dr. McKibbin, decided to specialize in equine care, and more specifically lameness, treated patients with acupuncture, cryosurgery and laser therapy. He was also among the very first people to advocate swimming horses for therapeutic purposes. Horse owners travelled from far and wide to his small, unassuming clinic in Wheatley, ON 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 Rambling Willie’s owners had with Dr. McKibbin that provided the opportunity for the much-lauded horse to race in Canada and become a three-time winner of the Canadian Pacing Derby.
“Doc” also spent considerable time mentoring other veterinarians to follow in his path, many of whom went on to open their own successful practices. His books Horse Owners Handbook and Cryoanalgesia for Horses continue to be used as reference manuals. In recognition of his work, Dr. McKibbin was inducted to the Chatham-Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1989.
McKibbin’s son Terry accepted the honor on his father’s behalf. “Dad enjoyed teaching, that was his place on earth,” he began. “He wanted people to understand what he was doing and what their horse was doing. He always wanted to help horses and help people to get a better life than they were dealt. It’s a great honor for him.”
Ontario-bred Formal Gold entered the Hall of Fame as a Thoroughbred Veteran, with his induction received by co-breeder Cathie Griggs.
Bred by Rodes Kelly and Cathie Kelly (now Griggs), trained by William W. Perry and owned by John D. Murphy, Sr., during his race career, the son of Black Tie Affair consistently received Beyer speed ratings in the mid 120’s. As a four-year-old, when beaten a nose by Wills Way in the 1997 Whitney, Formal Gold earned a Beyer Rating of 126; a 124 rating for his win in the Philip Islen and a 125 rating when he won the Woodward Stakes that same year. By comparison, current racing superstar Flightline received a 126 Beyer Rating in the 2022 Pacific Classic and a 121 rating for his victory in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“He was on the farm with me until I sold him as a yearling, and so I got to watch him,” said Griggs. “Just from the moment I laid eyes on him, he was balanced, he could move, he was very professional, even as a foal. We knew great things were going to come.
“He was very serious, wasn’t really a people person, and all business.”
Formal Gold was ranked among the top handicap horses of 1997 with gate-to-wire efforts in two Grade 1 victories — the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream and the Woodward Stakes, defeating Horse of the Year and US Hall of Fame member, Skip Away, in both races. In total, Formal Gold finished ahead of Skip Away in four of their six meetings.
“It was so exciting, and Jack Murphy, the owner of Formal Gold, and Sonny Hine, who had Skip Away, both very outspoken and both very passionate about their horses,” said Griggs on the rivalry. “So that was always fun for the banter of going back and forth between them. And then the fact that Formal Gold did win four out of six times when they raced against each other and he won very decisively – that was always a wonderful, exciting thing.”
At stud, Formal Gold ranked among the top 1% as sire of 2-year-old winners from starters at 45% and sired progeny with global earnings of nearly $16 million (US), including 19 stakes winners. After initially standing at Gainesway Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, he was later re-located to Rancho San Miguel in California, and finally to Esquirol Farms in Alberta, Canada.
Charles E. Fipke, prominent award-winning owner and breeder, was inducted as a Builder as part of the 2022 class.
The Edmonton, Alberta-born Fipke, who is now based primarily in British Columbia, is a successful Canadian geologist and prospector involved in the discovery of the Ekati Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories. He entered the Canadian Thoroughbred Industry in 1981 and over the past forty-plus years, has bred and owned numerous horses that have been successful on the track and as part of his breeding operation.
His Canadian racing accomplishments include breeding and owning three Sovereign Award winners – 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. Additionally, he bred and owns racehorse Perfect Shirl, winner of the 2011 Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Turf (GI).
Other Fipke-owned Grade 1 winners include champion Forever Unbridled, Bee Jersey, Lemons Forever, Seeking the Soul, Jersey Town and Tale of Ekati. Fipke bred and owned Lady Speightspeare who received the 2020 Sovereign Award as champion 2-year-old-filly, was most recently victorious in the 2022 edition of the Seaway Stakes (G3). Horses owned by Mr. Fipke have earned over $35 million. In 2020 Charles Fipke was awarded the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit by the Stewards of the Jockey Club of Canada for his contributions to the Canadian Thoroughbred industry.
“I’d just like to say Mr. Fipke was honoured to receive this prestigious award, and it’s an honour for me to accept it on his behalf,” said Richard Hogan, who accepted for Fipke. “Thank you very much.”
Originally from Leamington, Ontario, Frank Salive was known for over 35 years as “The Voice” of Canadian harness racing. Before moving to the announcer’s booth, Salive was a successful junior hockey player as part of the Peterborough Petes and also participated in the very first World Junior Championships when the Petes represented Canada in the 1974 tournament held in the Soviet Union. Canada earned the bronze medal and Salive was named the top goaltender of the tournament. He then moved on to a broadcasting career, which included assignments in Sudbury and Windsor, where he began to call harness races in the late 1970’s. He continued at tracks throughout Ontario and the US, including 14 years at Ontario Jockey Club/Woodbine Entertainment Group harness tracks as well as at Pompano Park, Western Fair Raceway, Clinton Raceway and Fort Erie Racetrack before his most recent role as the voice of Ocean Downs in Maryland. During his career it is estimated Salive has called close to 200,000 races at an estimated 75 different tracks, becoming a fan and industry favourite for his knowledgeable, informative calls and silky voice. Salive was also a regular writer for the Canadian Sportsman for several years.
Salive credited U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Famer Stan Bergstein as being the greatest influence on his lengthy career and mentioned Hall of Fame announcers Dan Loiselle and Tom Durkin as having a “profoundly positive impact on my life and career.”
He concluded a speech full of entertaining anecdotes with a note of gratitude. “It has been an absolute honor and privilege to escape the tomato fields of Leamington, where I started, picking tomatoes for Heinz Ketchup.” Salive also compared his emotions as he stood on the stage to the same feeling of pride he got standing on the blue line representing Canada in those first World Junior Championships.
CHRHF inductee Roger Attfield took the stage to accept the induction for his trainee, Queen’s Plate winner Alydeed, as 2022’s Female Horse.
Bred by CHRHF 2015 Builder Inductee, Robert Anderson’s Anderson Farms, Alydeed was sold as part of the Three Chimneys Farm consignment in the 1990 Keeneland September yearling sale to David Willmot’s Kinghaven Farms. The son of English Two Thousand Guineas winner Shadeed, he was trained by Attfield throughout his career. In his only start at age two Alydeed won the Victoria Stake. The following year Alydeed developed into a prominent three-year-old in both Canada and the United States with five victories in 10 starts, including the Grade II Derby Trial at Churchill Downs. He was also a close second in the Preakness Stakes to Pine Bluff. Returning to Canadian soil, he won the Marine (GIII), Plate Trial and Queen’s Plate in succession by a combined 22 1/2 lengths.
“He was extremely talented, very precocious, and a very mentally challenged horse,” Attfield said. “As his racing career went on, he got more and more difficult to train because of his temperament, but he was an extremely talented horse.”
At four, Alydeed’s race success included wins in the Grade III Commonwealth at Keeneland and Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct. He concluded his race career with a record 9 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds from 18 starts and earnings of $930,689. He was retired to stand stud at Windfields Farm and became Canada’s Leading Sire in 2001.
“He was an exceptionally fast horse – I never had one person ever work that horse that had any idea how fast he went. (He was) extremely talented. I thought he’d go on and be a better stallion than he did, but he was a very very interesting horse to train and like I say, he was one of the most versatile horses that I ever trained.”
Jack Darling received his induction as a trainer from the 2022 class with his most famous horse, Bulldog Hanover, to be honoured later in the evening.
Cambridge, Ontario-based Darling has enjoyed a successful career as a harness horse trainer in southern Ontario over three decades campaigning 1,072 winners and conditioning horses to over $22 million in earnings and counting.
“When I was a little boy, I’d be asked by my parents ‘Jack, what do you want to be when you grow up?’,” Darling said. “My answer would always be the same: ‘I don’t know what I wanna do, but I wanna do something that I like doing.’ And of course, I had no idea what that would be, but when I went to the racetrack for the first time and discovered harness racing, my dream came true.”
For the first two decades of his career Darling focused on overnight horses, before getting involved in the yearling business. In 1995, four fillies put Darling in the spotlight – Diamond Dawn, a winner of $175,000, Low Places (winner of a 1996 O’Brien Award), Faded Glory (winner of more than $250,000 as a freshman) and Diehard Fan (over $200,000 as a two and three-year-old). Other top horses included Northern Luck ($907,984), North America Cup Champion Gothic Dream ($1,528,671) and Twin B Champ ($437,235).
Darling’s latest protégé, Bulldog Hanover, recently set a new world record of 1:45.4 to become the fastest horse in harness racing history and has to date earned nearly $2.2 million. Darling is also known for significant fundraising efforts on behalf of racing related causes and was the 2015 winner of the Lloyd Chisholm Memorial Award, presented by the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario, the United States Harness Writers Association Unsung Hero Award, and the Good Guy Award.
“I feel like the luckiest man in the world to have been able to make a living doing something that I love,” he said. “My thoughts always go back to my early days racing at Western Fair Raceway in London and how exciting it was just to be a part of it. Back then, I never would have dreamed I would be racing in big stake races like the Little Brown Jug, North America Cup, or Breeders Crowns. And for sure, I never imagined having a horse like Bulldog Hanover.
“But as exciting as it’s been racing in all of those classic races, it was just as exciting for me back when I was racing and driving my Raceway horses in those early years. I just loved the good old days.” Darling also recognized and thanked his loved ones.
“This is a tremendous honour for me – very humbling – and I really can’t express how much it means to me and my family,” Darling said.” And I’m lucky to have my family here tonight: my kids Jackie and Justin, my biggest supporters, and none of this would’ve meant anything without this little blond girl beside me every step of the way – my wife Anne.”
“Wow!” Chris Christoforou said as he took the podium to accept his induction in the 2022 class as a driver. “What a feeling. My whole life I’ve waited for this.”
Christoforou has been driving Standardbred horses for 33 consecutive years, beginning in 1990 and continuing until the present time. The opportunity to pilot his family’s homebred trotter, Earl, brought Chris into the spotlight early in his driving career, and that family connection to harness racing continues to this day. In 1993 at the age of 21, Christoforou became the second youngest driver to win a prestigious Breeders Crown race when he and Earl captured the Open Trot division at Mohawk.
“When my parents started in this business, my father bought a horse,” he said. “He couldn’t afford a race bike and a jog cart, so he went with the race bike so he could jog and race with it. And 50 years later – a little longer – here I am.
“I owe everything to my family – my wife Camilla, my kids – I wouldn’t be here without them and so many people in this room: Dr. (Ian) Moore, Jack (Darling), so many – Ronnie Waples has been an idol of mine – it’s just overwhelming.”
Among the many other horses Christoforou achieved major stakes success with include Grinfromeartoear (1999 Breeders Crown); CHRHF Member Astreos (2000 Little Brown Jug), as well as CHRHF Member Peaceful Way (2003 Goldsmith Maid and 2003 Oakville Stakes). He has also visited the OSS Super Final winner’s circle 10 times.
To date, Christoforou has steered 6,773 winners that earned more than $119 million and he has a .260 UDRS lifetime rating, and is a four-time recipient of the O’Brien Award as Canada’s Driver of the Year.
“When I was a kid, people in my school wanted to be Wayne Gretzky, they wanted to win a Stanley Cup, but honestly, and I say this with sincere honesty, my goal was to be here. And I’m truly thankful to the Hall of Fame for this induction, my family is truly grateful. This is one of the greatest moments of my life.”
The owner/operator of Hill ‘n’ Dale Canada, located in King, ON, R. Glenn Sikura, has contributed to Canadian Thoroughbred racing as a breeder, owner, and sales agent while also holding key positions with organizations representing various aspects of the Canadian Thoroughbred industry.
Glenn has served as Chief Steward of the Jockey Club of Canada since 2018 and is the Past-President of the National and Ontario Divisions of the CTHS, Past-President of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, a founding member and Past-President of OHRIA, former Director of both the Breeders Cup and TOBA.
As owner of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms Sales Agency, in Toronto, to date he has sold 148 stakes horses that have won over $80,000,000 and 2,500 races. In Kentucky, horses Glenn has sold include Arlington Million G1 winner, Jambalaya, and Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint Champion, Maryfield. Other successful sales graduates include Horse of the Year – A Bit o’ Gold, Dynamic Sky, Inglorious, and One for Rose. As an owner/breeder, Glenn campaigned champion Serenading, Handpainted, Painting and many others.
As a horse breeder who foals mares for clients across North America, it is estimated that he personally has delivered most of the approximately 1,500 horses foaled at the farm. Glenn is also the recipient of a Blood-Horse Mint Julep Cup for lifetime contribution to the Horse Industry in 2016, and an Award of Merit from the CTHS Ontario Division. Glenn becomes the third member of his family to be inducted to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, having been preceded by his father John Sikura, Jr, CHRHF Class of 2013 and brother, John G. Sikura, CHRHF Class of 2018.
“My dad was an immigrant,” said an emotional Sikura. “He taught us all so much and just a hardworking really brilliant guy. He raised us hard; he made us work for everything that we had, but I am also so blessed.
“I went into the horse business not necessarily because I loved horses – I’ve grown to love horses – but I wanted to be with my two heroes, my dad and my older brother. And to see what they both accomplished – I don’t put myself up to their level, I never will because it’s not attainable, but they were both brilliant at what they did.”
In a gracious and grateful speech that included many “thank yous”, Sikura expanded on his appreciation and love for his family. “To me, life’s about family, secondly it’s about horses, but that’s definitely the order – everything else comes next,” Sikura said.
“This award means everything to me for a number of reasons, some of which I’ll keep to myself,” Sikura said. “The two main reasons: one is I didn’t necessarily ever expect that this would happen, and the second was that from the bottom of my heart, you six (Sikura’s children) are my lifeblood, and you’re all so much more talented than me, like it’s not even close, and this award to me should show all of you guys that if you stick with your paths, you’re going to go a long way.”
An Ontario-bred foal of 2012, Pink Lloyd became one of the country’s most famous and popular racehorses during his career. Having missed out on his opportunity to race at age two and three due to growing pains, he certainly made up for it over his six years on the track, winning 29 of 38 starts and earning $2.4 million under the tutelage of Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Trainer, Robert Tiller. Bred by John Carey and owned by Entourage Stable, including principal owner, Frank Di Giulio Jr., the gelding’s first major win came early in 2017 when he captured the Jacques Cartier Stakes, a race he would remarkably win three more times. This win would be the start of a of an incredible career record of 26-career stakes wins, all accomplished at Woodbine at sprint distances. His perfect season of eight stakes wins earned him Sovereign Awards as Champion Older Horse, Outstanding Sprinter and Horse of the Year.
Over the course of the next four years, five more Sovereign Awards were earned while Pink Lloyd reigned as the perennial Sprint Champion, often competing in record time. Pink Lloyd’s thirty-eighth and final career start in the autumn of 2021 was in the Kennedy Road Stakes, when the venerable nine-year-old gelding saved his best for the final furlong and rushed late on the outside to snatch his twenty-ninth career score before an adoring audience. Following his retirement from the track, Pink Lloyd’s connections donated him to LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society, where he contentedly enjoys daily turnout and visits from his Hall of Fame trainer and his long-time groom. Now his connections will add another award to the mantle, that of Canadian Horse Racing Honoured member.
Tiller said he knew Pink Lloyd was a runner from day one and paid tribute to his 26 stakes wins. “I don’t think there will ever be another horse like him,” he said. “You know, when you think about it, it’s impossible. In my 54 years, I’ve never seen another horse like him. We were very lucky to have him. He had the heart and desire. He wanted to win and that made him very special.”
Bulldog Hanover’s induction as the Male Horse for 2023, just eight months after his final start, was accepted by co-owner Brad Grant.
Sired by 2022 CHRHF Inductee Shadow Play and out of Artsplace mare BJs Squall, Bulldog Hanover was purchased by CHRHF 2022 Trainer Inductee, Jack Darling, for $28,000 at the 2019 Harrisburg Black Book Sale. He began his race career at age two, winning four of six starts, including the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Super Final, with Jody Jamieson as his primary driver. Before the beginning of his three-year-old season, Grant was added to his ownership as a partner.
At three, Bulldog Hanover continued to impress with three Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg wins. He stepped into Grand Circuit competition with wins in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes and a North America Cup elimination, again with Jody Jamieson at the lines, before rounding out his sophomore year with four consecutive wins at Hoosier Park in the Monument Circle, the Star Destroyer Pace, the Circle City Pace and the Thanksgiving Classic, just a glimpse of what was to come.
During his 2022 campaign, Bulldog Hanover won four straight races in a 21-day period, at The Meadowlands, winning a Graduate leg in 1:47, the Roll With Joe in 1:46, the Graduate final in 1:46.1 and the William R. Haughton Memorial in a world record time of 1:45.4, all with Dexter Dunn in the bike. It was those 21 days from June 25 to July 16 that captured the world’s attention and catapulted Bulldog Hanover to a new status, as he became the fastest pacer of all time en route to Horse of the Year honours in Canada and unanimous Horse of the Year honours in the U.S.
“His races were phenomenal, his career’s been phenomenal,” Grant said. “But I think one of the things you learn when you have a horse like Bulldog Hanover is how he’s received by everybody. Jack (Darling) and Johnny (Mallia, Bulldog Hanover’s groom), never let anybody not see this horse. Everywhere he went there was lineups of people to see him – the Bulldog. ‘The Bulldog’ – that’s all you ever heard. They gave the world every opportunity to see this horse.
“The races are great, but the response from the people – the ordinary people, the bettors, just people that wanted to see the Bulldog because they heard about him – I think that was as high a light as any.”
When he retired from racing at the end of 2022, Bulldog Hanover’s lifetime stats included a record of 28-4-1 in 37 starts and earnings of $2,789,271. Before starting his 2022 campaign, Bulldog Hanover bred a limited number of mares, with his first foals beginning to arrive as their sire enters the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Bulldog Hanover continues his breeding career at Seelster Farms.
“When Jack said ‘we have a deal,’ that was big for me,” Grant said with a smile when asked for memories that stand out. “The other one was his four races at The Meadowlands. To go the miles he did – world record championship – and then three other miles 1:47 or under in a 22-day span – that was tremendous, that was big. That’s a great memory.”
Eurico Rosa Da Silva, the Jockey inductee for 2022, was the last to take the podium and did so with his mother, who came from Brazil to present him with the induction, by his side.
A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Da Silva was drawn to the idea of being a jockey from a very young age and enjoyed substantial success in his home country before relocating to Macau.
“When I was five, six years old, my family was very poor,” Da Silva said. “We didn’t even have a television at home. One day I went to visit my uncle Antonio, and the T.V. was on. It grabbed my attention immediately because there was a horse race on. When I saw the horses racing for the first time, I was mesmerized. My heart was beating so hard, and my passion was born. It was love at first sight that marked the beginning of my dream to become a champion jockey.”
In 2004, Da Silva moved to Canada making Woodbine his main base. “In 2004, I was ready for my big challenge – Canada,” Da Silva said. “A beautiful country that I love so much that I became a citizen, where people here receive me with an open heart. I’m ever so grateful.”
Da Silva had back-to-back wins in the Queen’s Plate with Eye of the Leopard in 2009 and Big Red Mike in 2010. Over the next decade, Da Silva won multiple Grade 1 Stakes and was awarded the Sovereign Award as Canada’s Champion jockey seven times. Other career highlights for the 2021 Avelino Gomez Memorial Award recipient include two Oaks wins, as well as upsets prior to his retirement at the end of the 2019 racing season with El Tormenta in the Woodbine Mile and with Bullard’s Alley in the Canadian International. Da Silva also had a remarkable partnership with multi-time champion, Pink Lloyd. On the international stage, Eurico claimed victory in the 2017 World All-Star Jockeys Championship in Japan. Admired by both racing fans and fellow jockeys, Da Silva was appreciated for his professionalism, unbridled joy and exuberant wishes of good luck to everybody”.
Out of the saddle, Da Silva’s generous spirit was evidenced by his long-time commitment to racehorse aftercare at LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society and supporting his community by volunteering with the “Out Of The Cold” program for the homeless. Statistically, Da Silva achieved 11,630 starts (2,286-1914-1567), and earnings of $102,764,264.
At the podium, speaking directly to his mother and sometimes translating to Portuguese, Da Silva said: “do you remember when I was seven, eight years old, and I was in the street, with a big plastic bag collecting cans and bottles to make some money for me to buy asthma spray? When you saw me, you started crying. And I ran to you and I gave you a big hug, and I said ‘mom, don’t cry. Because one day, you’re going to be proud of me.’ Today, mom, I feel in my heart I’m paying the promise, because now I belong to the best.”
In his speech, Da Silva also thanked his wife, children – William, Emelia, and Isabel – agents, valet, owners and breeders, trainers, grooms, exercises riders, gate crew, and ponies. He also expressed his love and appreciation for Pink Lloyd, whom he rode regularly. Da Silva, along with “I love you all,” finished his acceptance speech with his signature phrase: “Good luck to everybody!”
Release prepared by Garnet and Nicholas Barnsdale
Photos by New Image Media for the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.