Day At The Track


12:29 AM 08 May 2007 NZST
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Courtesy Of The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Fifteen nominees have been put forward by the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame's Thoroughbred and Standardbred Nominating Committees including three horses and four people from standardbred racing.

Breeder Jack McNiven from Killean Acres, drivers Keith Clark, Bill Gale and Dave Wall have been nominated along with horses Bettors Delight, Cathedra and Grandpa Jim.

Four thoroughbreds – Jammed Lovely, L'Enjoleur, Natalma and Quiet Resolve were nominated along with trainer Andy Smithers, and jockey Chris Loseth. Also in the Builders' category besides McNiven are British Columbia breeders Russ and Lois Bennett and publicist/writer Bruce Walker.

Nominees must receive at least 75 per cent (12 of 16) of the votes cast by the electors in the two breeds. This year's successful nominees will be announced on Tuesday, May 22. Induction ceremonies will be held Thursday, August 23, at the Mississauga Convention Centre.

McNiven and his Killean Acres have been breeding superior standardbred horses for over 40 years in Ingersoll, Ont. Their stallion roster included Frisco Byrd, Dallas Almahurst and 2006 Hall inductee Run The Table, who has sired winners of over $89 million. McNiven is a past winner of the Canadian Standardbred Horse Society's Achievement Award, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation's Service to Youth Awards and the Lloyd Chisholm Achievement Award.

For over 30 years, Keith Clark has been one of the most recognizable names in Western Canadian harness racing.

In 2004, the resident DeWinton, AB was honoured with the O'Brien Award of Horsemanship. Clark has driven horses to 5,269 wins and more than $24.8 million in purses. On the training side of things, Clark's students have won 3,025 races and earned more than $17.6 million.

One horse that Clark has significant ties to is Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee, As Promised, Alberta's leading standardbred stallion, whom Clark purchased, raised and raced before selling him to Skywest Farms.

Bill Gale, a native of Toronto, Ontario, has driven 6,401 winners and horses to over $42 million in purses.

After many years of dominating the driving standings at Windsor Raceway, Gale became a fixture at the Woodbine Entertainment circuit. During most of the '80s and '90s, Gale ranked among the top drivers in wins in North America, and for 16 consecutive years (1982-1997) he earned $1 million or more.

Some of the top horses he piloted include: Breeders Crown champions King Conch and Three Wizards, world record holder Botany Bay, Artistic Pleasure, Mystery Fund and Lustras Big Guy.

Dave Wall, a native of Komoka, Ontario, has driven horses to 6,550 wins to purses in excess of $54 million.

As a trainer, his students have notched 518 wins and $2 million in purses. Wall has driven numerous stakes winners including North America Cup winner Staff Director and Breeders Crown champion Lifetime Dream.

His best horse was Odies Fame, named Canada's Horse of the Year in 1998 after winning 11 consecutive races and numerous stakes events. She retired at the end of her 2001 season with over $1.4 million in earnings, making her the richest Canadian-bred pacing mare of all-time.

Wall also was the regular driver behind trotter Goodtimes, a Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame member who retired as the richest standardbred in Canadian history with over $2.1 million.

Bettors Delight, a $2.5 million career earner, was a multiple stakes winner that received an O'Brien Award for his division at both two and three.

He was a Breeders Crown champion at two and won the North America Cup and Little Brown Jug at three. Since being retired to Blue Chip Farms, he has enjoyed full books of mares in each of the past two seasons. From 178 starters, he has sired winners of over $8 million and 18 $100,000+ winners including multiple stakes champion, Darlins Delight, who won an O'Brien Award in 2006 as Canada's Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year.

Cathedra was a talented filly in her rookie season, winning nine of 10 races, over $330,000 and an O'Brien Award as Canada's top two-year-old pacing filly.

Lifetime she notched 19 wins and earned $733,789. She has excelled as a broodmare as the dam of eight foals with earnings of $4.6 million and an amazing average of $935,031 per starter. Included in this group are two millionaires, Cathedra Dot Com, a winner of $1.6 million and Canada's Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in 2001, and Cabrini Hanover, a winner of $1.4 million and Canada's Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in 2004.

Grandpa Jim was a three-time winner of the Maple Leaf Trotting Classic, the richest trotting event on the stakes calendar in the late '60s and early '70s and earned more than $500,000 in his career.

Natalma gained international acclaim when she gave birth to Northern Dancer, who went on to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Queen's Plate and become the preeminent sire of the 20th century.

Natalma also produced four stakes winners, including Arctic Dancer, the dam of champion La Prevoyante. The remarkable filly Jammed Lovely gained nomination largely due to her upset victory over the males in the 1967 Queen's Plate for owner Conn Smythe.

L'Enjoleur was Canada's Horse of the Year in 1974 and 1975, the first horse to win back-to-back titles.

He won the major races for two-year-olds, along with the Laurel Futurity at Pimlico, and at three captured the Queen's Plate, Prince of Wales, Quebec Derby, Manitoba Derby and Carling O'Keefe Invitational.

At stud he sired champions Avowal and Par Excellance. Sam-Son Farms' outstanding gelding Quiet Resolve was a superb grass horse and was named Canada's Horse of the Year in 2000. He won the Atto Mile and was a close second against a large field of the world's leading grass horses in the Breeders' Cup Turf. He was a stakes winner at ages four, five, six and seven.

Andy Smithers, touted by his contemporaries as best horseman on the grounds, was twice Ontario's leading trainer in wins and led all trainers in Canada in 1968.

Twice he ranked among the top five trainers in North America and won more than 1,000 races.

His best horse was multiple stakes winner Coup Landing. Chris Loseth, British Columbia's leading rider on numerous occasions and the first jockey to win Sovereign Awards as the leading apprentice and the country's leading jockey a few years later, retired in 2005 with 3,668 victories. He also won the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award for his contributions to the sport.

Like Smithers and Loseth, British Columbia is also represented by the Bennetts. For over 20 years their Flying Horse Farm at Westbank, B.C. has led the breeders' list. In 1983, Travelling Victor, a horse they bred, became the first horse not raced in Ontario to win Horse of the Year honours in Canada. The Bennetts won a Sovereign Award as the top breeder that year as well.

Lauded by his contemporaries for his contributions to the sport, Walker was director of the Ontario Jockey Club's publicity department for almost 30 years. In 1997 he was presented with the Turf Publicists of America Award of Merit. On three occasions he earned a Sovereign Award for the best feature story in Canadian racing.

For further information contact Managing Director Louis Cauz at 416 675-3993, ext. 2399, or email

Courtesy Of Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

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