On Wednesday night the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inducted its class of 2014 and welcomed its newest members both horses and individuals.
Albatross, Dreamfair Eternal and Rocknroll Hanover are the Standardbreds that made up part of the 2014 class. Joining these Standardbreds in the Hall Of Fame are the late Robert Murphy (breeder/owner); Dr. Ted Clarke, in the builder category; trainer/driver Wally Hennessey, and communicator Bill Galvin.
Apelia, Cool Mood and Wando are the Thoroughbreds that make up part of the 2014 class. Trainer Horatio Luro, jockey Robert Landry and breeders William ‘Bill’ Graham and Arthur Stollery are also 2014 inductees on the Thoroughbred side.
The Induction Ceremony was held at the Mississauga Convention Centre in Ontario.
Male Horse Category: Rocknroll Hanover – bred by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc, Hanover, Pennsylvania. Owned by Jeffrey Snyder of New York, New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, Ontario; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC, Cream Ridge, New Jersey.
RocknRoll Hanover banked more than $3 million during his racing career, for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York, New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, Ontario; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC, Cream Ridge, New Jersey. Career highlights included victories in Canada’s most prestigious races for two and three-year-olds, the Metro Pace for two-year-old pacers and the North America Cup for three-year-olds He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America’s most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013. To date, the son of Western Ideal, out of Hall of Fame mare Rich N Elegant, has sired winners of $60.7-million, including eight million-dollar-plus winners.
"My job was to bring the best out in my horses and he made it easy, said Sarah Lauren Scott, Rocknroll Hanover's caretaker. "He brought out the best in all of his connections. He was a once in a lifetime horse and his legacy will live on."
Female Horse Category: Dreamfair Eternal – bred by Mary and John Lamers, and owned by John Lamers, Ingersoll, Ontario.
Dreamfair Eternalretired from racing in 2012 after a seven-year career that included 56 victories, and every major stakes event on the older pacing mare schedule, earnings of over $2.5-million and Horse of the Year honours in Canada in 2010. During that year, she racked up wins in the final of the Masters Series, an elimination of the Roses are Red Stakes, elimination and final of the Milton Stakes, the elimination and final of the Forest City Pace and the Breeders Crown. The daughter of Camluck was bred by John and Mary Lamers and owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, Ontario. Patrick Fletcher trained her for most of her career.
"This is certainly a great honour for myself and my family. 'Eternal' is a large part of our family," said owner John Lamers. "I want to thank Pat and Karan Fletcher for the amazing job they've done with Dreamfair Eternal over her racing career.
"She's an outstanding race mare and she's equally as good a mother," noting that Lamers has a filly sired by fellow Hall Of Famer Somebeachsomewhere on the ground that might have a "bit better conformation" than her Mom. Lamers hoped that the filly has just as good of a career.
Veteran Horse Category: Albatross – bred by John E Wilcutts, Aberdeen, North Carolina; Charles A Kenney, Lexington, Kentucky; Elizabeth B Peters, Wilmington Delaware; and Mark Lydon, Abington, Massachusetts. Owned by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc, Hanover, Pennsylvania; George Segal, Versailles, Kentucky; Castleton Farm, Lexington, Kentucky; Hal S Jones, Montgomery, New York.
A champion on the track and in the breeding shed, Albatross was a major influence on the Standardbred breed. He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million. Two of his major stakes wins in Canada included the Prix d’Ete and Canadian Pacing Derby. He retired as both the fastest and richest horse in the history of the breed. As a sire, Albatross's thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million, including Niatross, who is considered by many to be the greatest pacer of the 20th Century, and Fan Hanover, who is the only filly to ever win the Little Brown Jug.
"This is a very distinct honour for me," said Hanover Shoe Farms' Murray Brown, who was around Albatross his entire life.
Brown considers Albatross "probably the greatest two-year-old of any breed that's ever lived," recalling how he'd have to race against aged horses in his freshman year.
"It's unheard of for a two-year-old to race against aged horses. He did it with regularity."
Noting that Albatross was the first sire of any breed to sire progeny with more than $100 million in earnings, Brown called Albatross "the perfect horse" and stated that "his name is a fixture in the breed and will continue to be. "
Wally Hennessey, 58, born in Prince Edward Island and now a resident of Coconut Grove, Florida, has more than 8,500 victories to his credit and has banked earnings in excess of $57 million. During the early stages of his career, Hennessey re-wrote the record books, setting new standards in both wins and earnings. In the late 1990s, he enjoyed success with the trotter Moni Maker, a winner of $5.5 million and numerous stakes including the Nat Ray in three different years, the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown. Throughout his career, Hennessey has been remarkably consistent, winning at least 200 races in each of the last 25 years, and driving horses to earnings in excess of $1 million for 24 straight years. In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York.
"To be inducted takes hard work and dedication from many," said Hennessey. "I was blessed to grow up with four great brothers and sisters. They were very supportive and competitive and loving. We were all on each other's team.
"Not to point out one person, but my brother Dan has been with me my whole career. Without Dan I definitely would not be standing here. I had a father I was so proud of. I never wanted to let him down. He was so talented. I learned my early lessons from my father. My greatest influence could not be here. My mom, I wish she was here, but she could not travel to be here. Without her love and what she taught me, I would not be here. To my wife Barb and daughter Christie -- you're my greatest supporters and Barb you hung in with me and that was hard to do. And my daughter is my inspiration."
"It's been a journey one could only dream about and I'm so glad dreams do come true."
Dr. Ted Clarke is recognized by his peers as a visionary in the horse racing industry. Clarke’s strong and steady leadership has helped guide Grand River Raceway to be a leader in innovation and growth. Prior to Grand River’s opening, Dr. Clarke led numerous initiatives to put Elmira Raceway on the path to stability, including the inauguration of Industry Day, the Battle of Waterloo and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network. He was honoured for his innovative thinking and leadership with the Lloyd Chisholm Achievement Award in 1999 from the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association.
"The fact of the matter is, with the industry being in the state it's in, it's important to remember the things that got us to where we are," said Clarke, imploring the industry to pull from the same end of the rope going forward.
The late Robert Murphy, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, was one of Canada’s most respected horse breeders and owners, and was known by his popular ‘Red Star’ moniker. First introduced to racing at Cloverdale Raceway in 1980, he rapidly became one of Canada’s most prolific owners. He averaged 935 starts as an owner each year between 2005 and 2009. In 2007, at the age of 74, Murphy owned more Standardbreds than anyone else in Canada. Murphy had a great impact on harness racing in BC with both his breeding and training centres, but that impact extended across the continent as his horses raced all over North America.
William ‘Bill’ Galvin, a native of Arnprior, Ontario and now a resident of Mississauga, Ontario, made a tremendous impact on horse racing in the country as a Canadian horse racing historian, poet, author, publisher, educator, horseman, humanitarian, publicist and former Thoroughbred racing official. Galvin’s promotions transcended racing. He led a charge to bring harness racing on ice to the Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans. He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the well-being of horse racing during his career. He was also the executive editor of Trot Magazine and a member of the Advisory board for the School of Equine Studies at Toronto's Humber College of Applied Arts.
"What a special and memorable occasion this is tonight," said Galvin. "I congratulate you all and thank each and every one responsible for this tremendous honour.
"This evening is especially memorable with the presence of Dr. John Findlay, who presented to me. I received my an introduction to horse racing in the standardbred sport as a very young lad in Arnprior, Ontario. Those early days at Madawaska Farms with Dr. John Findlay would define and shape my career.
"Tonight, my life comes full circle from those unforgettable country fairs in the Ottawa Valley, to the glory day of Canadian harness racing in the 1980s, to the pinnacle of my career tonight at the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, with the man who introduced me to the sport - Dr. John Findlay."
By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com with files from the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame