May 23, 2017

Hall Of Fame Announces 2017 Class

April 4, 2017 – The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2017 inductees. In this the 250th anniversary year of horse racing in Canada, a total of 10 horses and people have been elected from a very strong list of candidates.

Standardbred inductees include trainer/driver Blair Burgess and builder Dr. Gordon Gilbertson along with Mach Three, Elegantimage and Happy Lady.

Blair Burgess of Campbellville, Ont., has accumulated more than 1,040 wins and earnings in excess of $27.6 million as a trainer, including two victories in the Hambletonian (Amigo Hall in 2003 and Glidemaster in 2006), two in the Meadowlands Pace (Frugal Gourmet in 1987, Real Desire in 2002), plus wins in 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).

Blair, son of Robert Burgess who was inducted to the CHRHF in 2011 as a builder, received an O’Brien Award as Canada’s Trainer of the Year in 2007, while he also trained winners of seven O’Brien Awards, and nine Dan Patch Awards. Two of his trainees have been named the U.S. Pacer of the Year (Real Desire in 2002 and Tell All in 2007), while Glidemaster was named U.S. Trotter of the Year in 2006. Burgess- trained horses who earned in excess of $1 million include Real Desire, Glidemaster, Tell All, Western Ideal, Amity Chef, Quality Western and Amigo Hall.

The late Dr. Gordon Gilbertson, DVM, originally from Hagersville, Ont., revolutionized an aspect of the Standardbred racing industry when he invented the Quick Hitch, a new style of harness. He used his extensive experience treating horses as a veterinarian, and his hands-on experience in training and driving harness horses to fuel his idea to eliminate the use of a ‘thimble’ placed over the shaft ends and wrapping straps around the straight portion of the shaft to secure the horse in the sulky.

In 1980, Dr.Gilbertson secured Canadian and U.S. patents on his new ‘Quick Hitch’ eventually named the ‘Rondeau Quick Hitch,’ in homage to where he lived in Kent County. After much hard work, and several slight modifications, top horsemen in Canada and the U.S. became converts to the new invention to the point where it became the standard used at racetracks and training centres around the world and is still used today.

Bred by Karl Magid of Cambridge, Ont., and owned throughout much of his race career by the late Joe Muscara Sr. of Pennsylvania, Mach Three was trained by Bill, Brett, and Shawn Robinson, along with Monte Gelrod. In 2001, at age two, Mach Three posted a record of 7-2-0 in nine starts, winning the $1.1 million Metro Pace at Woodbine Racetrack in 1:51.4. In 2002, Mach Three won the $1 million Meadowlands Pace in a career-best 1:49 and was the first colt to win both of those races. He had a record of 11-2-2 in 18 starts to give him a career record of 18-4-2 in 27 starts and earnings of $2,376,700. In a stallion career split between Tara Hills Stud Farm in Ontario and Alabar Farms in New Zealand, he produced 1,300 plus offspring to date, with total progeny earnings of $105.4 million for average earnings per starter of $113,990, including 306 horses with earnings of $100,000 or more.

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.

Representing Thoroughbreds in the Class of 2017 are builder Eugene Melnyk, trainer Harold Barroby, and communicator Curtis Stock as well as horses Quiet Resolve, and South Ocean.

Toronto-born Eugene Melnyk’s, biography includes businessman, sports team owner and racehorse breeder/owner. He is the receipient of 12 Sovereign Awards, including Outstanding Owner in 2007 and both Outstanding Owner and Breeder in 2009. A resident of Barbados since 1991, at the height of his career in racing and breeding, he owned more than 200 horses, mostly based in North America. His racehorses were named after Barbados landmarks and carry that country’s national colours of blue and gold. In 1998, his colt, Archer’s Bay, won the Queen’s Plate, and in 2007 his homebred, Sealy Hill, became the first filly to win the Canadian Triple Tiara, which includes the Woodbine Oaks. Sealy Hill would also go on be named Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2007 and was inducted into the Candian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2013.

Other top horses included Speightstown (Eclipse Award winner of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint), Marchfield (2007 Breeders’ Stakes), Roxy Gap (multiple Sovereign Award winner in 2012), Leigh Court (Champion three-year-old filly in 2013), Flower Alley (2005 Travers and sire of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another), Lukes Alley, (2016 Gulfstream Park Turf Hcp; Gr 1), Lodge Hill, Graeme Hall, and a host of other stakes winners.

Melynk’s horses won a total of 62 graded stakes and two Barbados Gold Cups.
Melnyk was also involved in many horse industry philantropic endeavours, most notably as founding donor of Anna House, located at Belmont Park, which opened in January 2003.

In February of 2013, he reduced his equine operation substantially and changed the business model from breeding to purchasing yearlings and racing those instead.

Originally from London, Ont., Curtis Stock’s affection for the horses, jockeys, trainers and horsepeople in general is reflected in his writing, He began to follow racing in Calgary during his high-school days and gained valuable experience covering racing there while attending university. That soon led to an opportunity in Toronto, working with honoured Canadian Horse Hall of Fame member Bruce Walker in the Ontario Jockey Club Publicity Department. Stock would later return to Alberta and take over publicity, marketing, and advertising at Northlands Park in Edmonton, later moving to the Edmonton Journal where he covered racing for 32 years and also plied his craft for the Daily Racing Form for 20 years. His reporting has resonated with the judges in Sovereign Award voting. His record run of Sovereigns started in 1985 and in 1993, he swept both Feature Story and Newspaper categories Stock was the recipient of back-to-back Sovereign Awards for Outstanding Feature Story in 1993-94 and took home an unprecedented eighth Sovereign Award for Outstanding Newspaper Story in Canada. Most recently Stock was the recipient of the 2015 Sovereign Award in the Outstanding Writing Category. His story, ‘Love of Horses,’ appeared earlier that year in the Edmonton Journal. It was his 11th Sovereign Award overall; a record total. He has received this most-coveted award at least once in each of the past five decades, an achievement unmatched.

Harold Barroby, a native of Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan, followed his older brother, Frank, to Alberta to become leading trainer in 1969 and 1970 before moving further west to British Columbia in 1974, where the great Love Your Host won 13 stakes under his tutelage, and horses Pampas Host and Delta Colleen were both multiple stakes winners. He was BC’s leading trainer a record 10 times and was previously inducted into the BC Hall Thoroughbred Hall of Fame. Barroby remains the all-time leader in terms of wins and stakes wins, inlcuding graded stake wins with Fortinbras in the 1986 British Columbia Derby (G3) and 1986 BC Premier’s Championship Handicap (G3). While he remains an active trainer, he’s operating with fewer horses these days. Harold now joins Frank as a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Quiet Resolve, the Sam-Son Farm homebred and Mark Frostad-trained son of Affirmed earned $2.3 million in a 31-start race career between 1998 and 2002 with a record of 10-6-4, which included multiple graded stakes wins. He was recipient of the 2000 Sovereign Award as Canada’s Horse of the Year and Champion Turf Horse, following a season highlighted by victories in the Atto Mile (G1), and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy Stakes (G2). During that championship year, Quiet Resolve ventured south of the border and won the Dixie Stakes (G2) at Pimlico, was second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs and third in the Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes (G2).

South Ocean‘s win in the 1970 Canadian Oaks and later her prowess as a broodmare in producing the sire of Storm Cat was a precious parlay. Bred by E.P.Taylor and sold through auction to his son, Charles, who also raced her, South Ocean’s genetic magic is still in production, as this granddaughter of Bull Page was the dam of Storm Bird, whose son was the powerful Storm Cat. Trained by CHRHF member G. ‘Pete’ McCann, South Ocean was a dual stakes winner, both as a two-year-old and as Oaks Champion and top three-year-old filly contender. That year she also placed in the five other stakes, including the Bison City and Wonder Where. However, it was as a producer that she excelled. She was by New Providence out of a Chop Chop mare and her pedigree matched up perfectly with the Northern Dancer line. Hence, she was bred to that prolific sire eight times, producing the great Northernette, herself an Oaks winner, Canadian Champion filly and 1987 CHRHF member. South Ocean’s impact on Canadian breeding over nearly five decades is immeasurable.

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 2017 Induction Ceremony will be hosted at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Wednesday, August 9, 2017.

Additional information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame may be found at canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com


STANDARDBRED INDUCTEES


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).


THOROUGHBRED INDUCTEES


Builder: Eugene Melnyk, born in Toronto, ON; resident of Barbados.

Communicator: Curtis Stock, born in London, ON; resident of Edmonton, AB.

Trainer: Harold J. Barroby, born in Ravenscrag, SK, resident of Vancouver, BC.

Male Horse: Quiet Resolve. Bred and owned by Sam-Son Farm, Milton, ON; Trained by Mark Frostad, Toronto, ON.

Veteran Horse: South Ocean. Bred by E.P. Taylor (deceased). Owned by Charles Taylor (deceased). Trained by Gordon ‘Pete’ McCann (deceased).

(Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame)

Horsepeople Speak Out Against Liberal Government’s Actions, Urge Support of OFL Rally, April 21

As Ontario’s budget vote comes in less than one week, horsemen are urging the
industry to help keep the province’s valuable horse racing industry on the minds
of the MPPs that will vote on the Liberal budget.

Anthony MacDonald issued the following letter asking for horsemen to support
the Ontario Federation of Labour rally, set for Queen’s Park this Saturday.
MacDonald’s plea comes with comments from some of Canadian harness racing’s most
recognizable participants. The message to the Government is clear. Don’t destroy
Ontario’s horse racing industry and the 60,000 full and part-time employees it
supports. Don’t damage rural Ontario and the economic benefits horse racing
provides.

—————————————————————————

As most are aware our industry has come under heavy attack in the last two
months. All of us feel picked on and the focus of an unprovoked and fiscally
confusing maneuver by our own provincial liberal government.

We are not alone.

All facets of rural ontario are up in arms over the way our government plans
on tackling our mounting $16-billion debt, particularly the “modernization” of
the OLG. The first step was to announce that the slots at racetracks program was
finished. Ripples were sent out all over Ontario and it didn’t take long for the
Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) to speak on our behalf.

Next the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) spoke out at our last
rally with the OFA at Queens Park. The Canadian Auto Workers and now the Ontario
Federation of Labour (OFL) have voiced their strong opinions against this
“morally challenged” move from Mr. McGuinty and his Liberals. The OFL has a
massive rally planned for Saturday, April 21 at Queens Park from 3:00 – 5:00
p.m.

All the following quotes are from people all throughout our industry; our
friends and co-workers who can all see what kind of a negative future the
collapse of our industry in any way, shape, or form will bring to all of our
households.

Come to the rally on Saturday, we are not just 60,000, we are not just horse
racing. We Are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS all over Ontario. WE ARE ONTARIO.

Anthony MacDonald


“Horse racing is a vital part of the rural economy. Ontario farmers rely on
this industry — this is a province-wide issue! Our lives and livelihoods are in
serious jeopardy. I’m a second generation horseman and I have always taken pride
in what this industry has allowed me to accomplish. But my biggest
accomplishment is my family. The family values that I instill are trust and
honesty. How can I trust our government when they are  far from honest in this
respect?”

– Paul MacDonell

“My father worked hard to raise a family in this business and I would like
the chance to do the same. To raise a family in a business that has already
given so much to the Zerons has always been a goal of mine.

“Why would our government chose unemployment over employment? Where do we go
in society? What are the farmers to do if we go?”

Scott Zeron

“My family has been involved in horse racing for generations. We get up
early, work hard, pay our taxes and support our communities. As horse people we
recognize the importance of hard work, our business is built around gambling,
but we don’t gamble our way out of debt. Why does our government feel they
should?

“Cutting vital organs to our agricultural sector and leaving horse people
unemployed is no way for a responsible government to reduce debt. We all work
together, not just horse people but all of rural Ontario, the position my family
and your family has been put in is unacceptable.”

– Randy Waples

“This industry is and always will be in my blood. For generations my family
has supported ourselves and our community with the revenue generated from
racing. I have a breeding farm and have raised my foals like I raised my
daughter, with love and affection. What do I tell my daughter if there is no
more business? When I have to sell my farm?? And she doesn’t have a legacy to
uphold and continue?

“We horse people work hard, always have. All we ask is for an opportunity to
continue to raise our families, and keep the jobs we have worked in since we
were all young. Don’t throw such a viable healthy partnership away, grow it and
we can all work our way out of debt together.”

– Joanne Coville

“When I was 17 I got into a terrible car crash, I had extensive injuries to
my body and I was in a coma. The doctors said I would never walk again but I did
because my passion for harness racing and my will to become a driver pushed
me.

“I learned everything I know from my father who has been in this business his
whole life. I haven’t reached my goals in harness racing yet but I have every
intention to do so. Can I live without harness racing, can any of us? It’s what
I live and breathe and I hope the government sees our industry for what it
is….a lifeline for me, my family and all of rural Ontario.”

J Harris

“My entire family is involved or works in horse racing in one facet or
another. Our farm has probably had almost $1 million in capital Improvements in
the last seven or eight years. Many of its features are race horse-specific and
its value has definitely been affected by the recent Liberal government
decision. In an often volatile business its equity was one of the things I could
count on.

“Also at my farm I employ between 15 to 20 people at all times. This does not
count the seasonal students I hire every summer. With the Government forcing
such a downturn in my business, I will definitely be cutting back my number of
employees as racing opportunities in Ontario decrease and I am either forced to
sell horses OR race in other jurisdictions. I have already noticed that
potential customers of the horses I sell are less interested in my Ontario-Bred
horses. At one time this was almost a prerequisite.

“This whole calamity with the OLG and Liberal government has even made my
family and I consider SELLING the farm and either getting out of the business or
setting up elsewhere. At one time selling such a thing so beloved by my family
would have never entered into the dinner time conversation.”

– Blair Burgess

“Harness racing is my whole life. It’s all I know how to do. And all I ever
wanted to do. When I win races I reinvest in the business. I bought a new
trailer last year, new jog carts, a new race bike, new horses, and with that new
equipment. Without harness racing I don’t know what I’d do. I’d be among
thousands of my fellow horsemen. Lost. ”

– Jason McGinnis

“It really hit home for me at the track shortly after the announcement was
made to cancel the slots agreement, talking to the horse people and seeing the
confusion, the anger and worry in their faces and all the while I’m trying to be
positive. Then I look around and see a young girl crying worried about her
future, it broke my heart. It’s hard to see so many people, so many families
have their lives destroyed by a greedy, callous out of touch government.”

– Dave Gibson

“To my family and I, keeping the “slots at racetracks program” versus
accepting the proposed budget is the difference between Food Basics and the food
bank. It’s the difference between a roof over our heads and a shelter. It’s the
difference between hugging my babies because I love them and hugging them to
keep them warm from the harsh elements. It is the difference between seeing my
husband on a daily basis and seeing him in six-month increments because he had
to relocate to find work. It’s the difference between having a choice and being
forced to choose!

“Mr. McGuinty and Mr. Duncan keep using the phrase ‘it was a tough decision’
but we don’t get to decide.”

Christine Arlidge

“As a participant in various aspects of the horse racing industry with a
young family, I am deeply concerned for our future. We have already seen a
drastic decline in stallion bookings with the worst yet to come unless something
is done to save our sport and jobs.”

Jeff Gillis

“My husband and I got into the standardbred business because we love working
with horses. Both of our lives are interwoven in many aspects; from standing
stallions, freezing horse semen for export, running a reproductive veterinary
practice, freelance writing and working at the racetrack as an official
veterinarian.

“We spend many months watching diligently as a new foal is born and get up
the next day putting in a full work day because this is the way of life we have
come to know and love. Our farm, our investments, our horses, our livelihood is
now in jeopardy.

“As breeders, we have written to every MPP to explain how the breeding
industry is reeling from the effects of the announcement ending the slots at
racetracks program in March 2013. We are left asking ‘does government care’
about the impact of these decisions? All revenue streams are being effected;
from cancelled bookings, to mares being relocated to other racing jurisdictions,
to fewer mares being bred and boarded due to the uncertainty of the situation in
Ontario. Add the fact that the investment we have made in stallion shares,
yearlings, foals, mares may be greatly devalued or wiped out and you begin to
see how dire the situation is.

“Our situation is similar to those of breeders across this province.
Investment is leaving this province each day and we are worried about what will
be left of the breeding industry and the racing industry, an industry we love. I
have to believe that things won’t be left this way and can only hope that those
that we elect in government will do the right thing. That they will stop, sit
down with industry and take the time to really understand what this really means
and come up with some practical solutions that are in the best interest of this
province and for its people.

“Maintaining 60,000 jobs, many in rural area,s along with the economic
spinoff of $2B annually must be important. If this isn’t…then this province is
in real trouble and has lost sight of what is important!”

– Anna Meyers

(Standardbred Canada)