The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2016 ballot. In this the 40th Anniversary of the CHRHF, a total of 30 horses and people comprised of 15 Standardbred racing candidates and 15 Thoroughbred racing candidates have been selected to appear on the voting ballot. A 20-person Election Committee for each breed will determine the winners in their respective categories. Results will be announced Tuesday, April 5.
The five categories selected by the nominating committee to appear on the Standardbred ballots are Female Horse, Male Horse, Builder, Communicator and Driver/Trainer
Blissfull Hall, San Pail and Shadow Play are nominated in the Standardbred Male Horse Category
In 1999, Blissfull Hall captured harness racing’s elusive Pacing Triple Crown for owners Ecuries Daniel Plouffe, Inc. of Bromont, Quebec, trainer Ben Wallace, and driver Ron Pierce. A 31 race career over two seasons amassed a record of 19-4-6, a mark of 1:49.2 and earnings of $1.4 million before he embarked on a successful career as a stallion. To date his progeny have won over $70 million in earnings, including 216 horses with earnings over $100,000, and average earnings per starter of $95,440.
San Pail, bred by co-owner Glenn Van Camp of Port Perry, Ontario and co-owned by trainer Rod Hughes of Dunsford, Ontario, is one of the sport’s most popular horses in recent years. He retired in September 2015 following a career that saw him win 52 of 114 races, record a mark of 1:50.4 and earn over $3.1 million. This three-time winner of the Maple Leaf Trot (2009-2011), also won multiple stakes on both sides of the border and beat a world class field in the 2011 Breeders Crown Championship for Older Trotters with regular driver Randy Waples. San Pail is the winner of multiple O’Brien and Dan Patch Awards, and was named Equine Canada’s Canadian Bred Horse of the Year in 2011.
Shadow Play earned $1,559,822 with 20 wins, 9 seconds and 5 thirds in 49 lifetime starts and took a record of 1:47.4 as a four-year-old. The son of Camluck, trained by co-owner Dr. Ian Moore and also owned by R G MC Group Ltd., and Serge Savard for most of his racing career, won several stakes events including the 2008 Little Brown Jug. As a sire standing in Ontario at Winbak Farm, and now owned by the Shadow Play Syndicate. He has sired the winners of over $9 million including O’Brien Award winners Lady Shadow and Arthur Blue Chip.
The Standardbred Female Horse Category features Chancey Lady, Odies Fame and Tricky Tooshie
Chancey Lady’s racing career spanned the years of 2007 through 2013. During that time the daughter of Camluck started in 143 races. She won 43, finished second in 22 races and posted 15 thirds, earning $2,083,514 and had a mark of 1:48.4 which was taken at Harrah’s Philadelphia. She was purchased as a yearling by Niele Jiwan of Surrey, British Columbia and was trained by Casie Coleman for her 2007 and up until just after her Fan Hanover victory in June, 2008, when she moved into the John Pentland Stable.
Odies Fame was purchased for $7,500 by Buddy (Harold) Wellwood and Dr. Norm Amos at the 1997 Forest City Yearling Sale. She raced 77 times from 1998 through 2001 and managed 26 wins, 13 seconds, 9 thirds, earnings of $1,410,720 and a mark of 1:52 while under the care of Wellwood. She received two O’Brien Awards in 1998 as Canada’s Horse of the Year and Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year, and then added another as the Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in 1999 following another profitable season which included a Breeders Crown Championship.
Tricky Tooshie was bred and owned during her racing career by Laurent Bergevin of Quebec. Jean L. Deblois, her co-breeder trained her during her two, three, four and part of her five year old seasons. She then moved into the Rick Zeron Stable from June 1995 through June, 1997 when Linda Bedard took over the training duties. Her racing career spanned from 1992 through 1998 with 142 starts and a record of 44 wins, 29 seconds, 24 thirds for $1,005,566 in earnings and a mark of 1:52.1 at Woodbine. She became the first Canadian- sired mare to reach $1 million in career earnings. In her second career as a broodmare, she has had 13 foals of which nine have made it to the races. Her offspring have earned $2.68 million and her starters average almost $300,000 in earnings. Her richest foal was True North Hanover, a winner of $732,912.
In the Standardbred Driver/Trainer category voters will select from Blair Burgess, Yves Filion and Trevor Ritchie.
Toronto-born Blair Burgess, began his 40+ year career in horse racing as a groom at age 11. He has amassed earnings of over $27 million with 1029 victories including the Hambletonian twice (Amigo Hall in 2003 and Glidemaster in 2006), the Meadowlands Pace twice (Frugal Gourmet in 1987, Real Desire in 2002), the Little Brown Jug (Tell All in 2007), the North America Cup (Tell All in 2007), the Kentucky Futurity, the Trotting Triple Crown (Glidemaster in 2006), and a Breeders Crown Championship (Real Desire, 2001). Burgess has been honoured with seven O’Brien Awards, including Trainer Of the Year in 2007 and Horse of the Year awards for both 2002 (Real Desire) and 2007 (Tell All in a tie with Somebeachsomewhere), and nine Dan Patch Awards between Amity Chef in 1986 and Tell All in 2007. Two of his trainees have been named the U.S. Pacer of the Year (Real Desire and Tell All), while Glidemaster was named U.S. Trotter of the Year in 2006.
Yves Filion, 69 of Saint-Andre-D’argent, Quebec was one of his province’s premier trainer-drivers for close to 30 years, driving in almost 18,000 races with 4,362 wins and $26.7 million in earnings. Training credits include 248 winners and horses earning in excess of $3.7 million. He bred many successful horses at his Bayama Farms, including millionaire pacing colts Runnymede Lobell and Goliath Bayama whom he also trained.
Before retiring from driving in 2014, Trevor Ritchie won just about all of the premier races in North America including the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, The Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Prix d’Ete, Provincial Cup, the Metro Pace, Canadian Pacing Derby, The Trotting Classic Final for mares, and the Champlain Stakes. Uring his career he had 3,710 driving wins and drove horses to over $70 million in purse earnings. Ritchie enjoyed a career year in 2000, won an O’Brien as Canada’s Driver of the Year, won the Hambletonian with Yankee Paco, the first Canadian-sired horse to win that event and won three Breeders Crown Championships, tying him with John Campbell as the only other driver in history at the time to accomplish that feat. Some of the top horses driven by Ritchie in addition to Yankee Paco include, Quite a Sensation, Frugal Gourmet, Road Machine, Armbro Agile, Peaceful Way, Majestic Son, Banker Hall, and Rotation.
Standardbred Builder Category candidates include John B. Ferguson, Dr. Gordon Gilbertson, DVM and Brian Webster.
The late John B. Ferguson may be best known for his time in the National Hockey League, but his passion for Canadian horse racing was drawn from early years spent with his father and grandfather at old Hastings Park in Vancouver, BC. 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 Raceway in Montreal, Quebec, and after leaving the NHL became the President of Windsor Raceway. He was also one of the driving forces behind the formation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
Dr. Gordon Gilbertson, DVM, now of Stratford, ON invented the Quick Hitch. Dr. Gilbertson began to act on a “dream” in the late seventies using his extensive experience of both treating horses as a Veterinarian, and his hands-on experience in training and driving harness horses to fuel his idea. In 1980 he secured Canadian and U.S. patents on his new “Quick Hitch” which would eventually be called “Rondeau Quick Hitch”, as a reference to the area where he lived in Kent County.
The contributions by Brian Webster of St. George, ON to the Canadian horse racing industry as a promoter, advisor, and an evaluator, are centered around his 20+ years building, managing and promoting successful yearling sales. In 1969 he was President of the first annual Mixed Canadian Standardbred Horse Sale; in 1980, he helped create the Select Yearling Sale, and ran it for 10 years; in 2000, he became President and Sales Manager of Forest City Yearling Sale, which he ran until 2009. Webster was then hired as Sales Consultant to the Standardbred Canada Yearling Sale. Webster was also involved in many industry associations at various times, including the Ontario Harness Horse Association and the North American Harness Racing Marketing Association. He’s worked in volunteer capacities with the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, the Ontario Racing Commission’s Standardbred Working Group, and several Ontario Sires Stakes committees, and was a mentor for the SBOA’s Ownership Mentoring program.
In the Standardbred Communicator category the election committee can vote for Paul Delean, Bruce Johnston and Dave Perkins
North Bay native Paul DeLean, began his career as a horse racing writer in the late 70’s at the Barrie Examiner where he met Bill Rowe and was in turn introduced to Standardbred racing. He has worked for The Gazette in Montreal since 1981 and was once referred to as the “English language voice of harness racing in Quebec”. For owners, breeders, trainers, drivers and fans, Delean was the man on the front line telling them what they needed to know about the racing game in the province. In addition, Delean was a frequent contributor to the many trade journals in racing. At age 62, Paul has compiled an impressive body of work in covering the sport in Canada.
In 1976, Bruce Johnston of Aylmer, Ontario, acquired The Canadian Sportsman, ‘the oldest turf journal in America’. His editorial policy was to promote harness racing and to suggest proposals, such as those that resulted in improvements to the Ontario Sires Stakes format in 1991. Under Johnston’s leadership, The Canadian Sportsman became one of the sport’s leading publications. Johnston was also involved in various lobbying efforts for racing and was an active member of the Ontario Agriculture and Horse Racing Coalition. He was posthumously named winner of the Canadian Standardbred Horse Society’s General Achievement Award for 1993, recognizing excellence, leadership and contributions to the Canadian Standardbred breeding industry. That same year the Johnston Cup was established in his memory and is awarded annually to the leading trainer in the Ontario Sires Stakes.
Award winning journalist Dave Perkins, of Toronto, Ontario, is one of the most widely respected sports writers in Canada. His tenure at The Toronto Star from 1977 through 2010, included assignment as “beat reporter” for harness racing from 1977 to 1986. He also wrote the Cam Fella movie, wrote features for TROT and The Canadian Sportsman and columns for Hoofbeats Magazine. Dave was a friend of horse racing and wrote numerous columns and stories on both Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing over the years. He was vocal in his stance on the end of the Ontario government’s Slots At Racetracks Program and penned many columns with thoughtful ideas on what the government could do.