In this the 250th anniversary year of horse racing in Canada, the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame welcomed a total of 10 horses and people as its Class of 2017.
The induction ceremony took place on Wednesday (August 9) at the Mississauga Convention Centre. Standardbred inductees include trainer/driver Blair Burgess and builder Dr. Gordon Gilbertson along with Mach Three, Elegantimage and Happy Lady.
Mach Three’s influence on the Standardbred breed will forever be cemented as the sire of the legendary Hall of Fame racehorse and supersire Somebeachsomewhere ($3.3 Million, 1:46.4 World Record). To date Mach Three has sired five millionaires including Mach It So, Monkey On My Wheel, Solar Sister, Camaes Fellow and the aforementioned Somebeachsomewhere.
Trotting filly Elegantimage, was bred by Diane Ingham and Harry Rutherford of Mount Pleasant, Ont. Trained throughout her career by Brad Maxwell, and driven primarily by CHRHF member Steve Condren, she was a standout from age two when she recorded three Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) wins in five starts. In addition to her OSS victories, she also won the Oakville Trot, Robert Stewart Memorial Final, two Trillium Series events and the Canadian Breeders Championship Final. She won the 1996 O’Brien Award as Canada’s Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year following a season that included nine wins and three seconds in 15 starts for earnings of over $352,000. The Balanced Image daughter continued her dominance at age three, winning eight of ten OSS starts, setting a lifetime mark of 1:55.4, and winning the 1997 Canadian Breeders Championship final en route to receiving the O’Brien Award in the three-year-old trotting filly division.
During her race career, she posted a race record of 20-7-3 and lifetime earnings of $955,368 in 41 races for owners Hyatt Holdings, Doug Millard, Jerry Van Boekel and Steve Condren Stable, all of Ontario. As a broodmare, her progeny have earned $986,223 with average earnings per starter of $140,889. Her top performer was the Kadabra filly, Elegant Serenity, a winner of over $500,000 with a mark of 1:53.2.
Happy Lady, a daughter of Most Happy Fella, raced in 1977 and 1978 for owners Myra Masterson of St. Catharines, and Linda Lockey of Ridgeville, Ont. She was bred by J William Masterson of St. Catharines and though her racing career was brief, she won $528,825 in purse earnings and attained a mark of 1:55.3. Trained and driven by the late Jim Rankin, she was almost flawless in her juvenile campaign, winning 15 of 16 races and was named the two-year-old pacing filly of the year by both the Canadian Trotting Association (CTA) and the United States Trotting Association (USTA).
As a sophomore she won 19 of 24 starts and was one of only two fillies to ever win the Monticello OTB Classic. Her 1:58.4 victory in the Lady Maud at Roosevelt Raceway was a stakes and track record. Year-end honours included three-year-old pacing filly of the year for the Canadian Trotting Association, United States Trotting Association and Harness Tracks of America, as well as Horse of the Year for the CTA. Tragically, on January 10, 1981 at Castleton Farms in Kentucky, she perished in a barn fire, along with 13 other mares, while in foal to Bret Hanover.
Driver/Trainer: Blair Burgess. Born in Toronto, ON. Resident of Campbellville, ON.
Builder: Dr. Gordon Gilbertson (deceased) Born in Hagersville, ON.
Male Horse: Mach Three, Bred by Karl Magid of Cambridge, ON. Owned during much of his racing career by the late Joe Muscara Sr. of PA. Trainers include Bill, Brett, and Shawn Robinson, along with Monte Gelrod.
Female Horse: Elegantimage. Bred by Diane Ingham and Harry Rutherford – Mount Pleasant, ON. Trainer – Brad Maxwell. Primary driver – Steve Condren.
Veteran Horse: Happy Lady. Owned by: Myra Masterson of St. Catharines, ON, and Linda Lockey of Ridgeville, ON. Trained and driven by Jim Rankin (deceased).
(Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame)