The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2014 ballot. A total of 36 horses and people, including 18 Standardbred racing candidates and 18 Thoroughbred racing candidates, have been selected to appear on this year's ballot. A 20-person Election Committee for each breed will declare the winners in their respective categories. Results will be announced Tuesday, April 8.
Standardbred ballots representing this year's six voting categories are as follows: In the Standardbred Male Horse category, Blissfull Hall, JM Vangogh and Rocknroll Hanover are the candidates. B Cor Tamara, Dreamfair Eternal and J Cs Nathalie are nominated in the Female Horse category.
The three candidates in the trainer-driver category are Yves Filion, William Gale, and Wally Hennessey. Candidates in the builders' category include Dr. Ted Clarke, John B. Ferguson and Robert Murphy. Outstanding Standardbreds Albatross, Artsplace, and Happy Lady make up the Veteran Horse Ballot. In the Communicators category the election committee will make their selection from Harry Eisen, Bill Galvin and Frank Salive.
In 1999, Blissfull Hall captured harness racing's elusive Pacing Triple Crown. Owned by Ecuries Daniel Plouffe, Inc. of Bromont, QC, this champion was trained by Ben Wallace with Ron Pierce as regular driver. 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 embarking on a successful career as a stallion.
JM Vangogh, purchased as a yearling for $4,500 by Paul Chambers of Harrington, Delaware, made a remarkable recovery from an accident in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final as a two year old to earn $2.28 million in 206 starts over 8 seasons and the nickname "The Comeback Kid”.
Rocknroll Hanover banked more than $3 million during his race career, for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, ON; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC. Career highlights include victories in Canada's most prestigious races for two and three year olds, the Metro Pace and the North America Cup. He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America's most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013.
Before embarking on her second career as a broodmare, B Cor Tamara enjoyed a productive racing career, earning more than $185,000. Bred and owned by Peter Core of Dresden, ON, the daughter of Dream Of Glory was the dam of 19 foals, including star trotter B Cor Pete, and granddam of two champion juveniles, Banker Hall and Broadway Hall. Her offspring have earned in excess of $2.7 million.
Dreamfair Eternal retired from racing in 2012 after a career spanning seven years, 56 victories, including every stake event on the older pacing mare schedule, earning over $2.5 million and being named Canada's Horse of the Year in 2010. The daughter of Camluck was bred, raised and owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON with Patrick Fletcher receiving training credit.
As a broodmare, JCs Nathalie has produced two millionaires for owner John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON -- pacing colt Dreamfair Vogel, and pacing mare Dreamfair Eternal. Dreamfair Vogel was a winner of 19 races and over $1.1 million with a mark of 1:49.3. Dreamfair Eternal, a winner of 56 races and over $2.5 million in purse earnings was Canada's Horse of the Year in 2010.
Yves Filion, 67, 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 $26.5 million in earnings. Training credits include 248 winners and horses earning in excess of $3.4 million. Pacing colts Runnymede Lobell and Goliath Bayama each became millionaires with Filion responsible for both training and driving.
William Gale, 65, of Woodstock, Ontario, was one of Canada's leading drivers for a period that spanned the 70s, 80s and 90s. Between 1982 and 1997, Gale recorded 16 consecutive $1 million+ seasons. During his career, he won 6,375 races, started 32,134 times and earned $42.1 million.
Wally Hennessey, 56, of Prince Edward Island, has more than 8,200 victories to his name and has banked earnings in excess of $55 million. 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. In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York.
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 in Montreal and after leaving hockey became the President of Windsor Raceway. He was also one of driving forces behind the formation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
The late Robert Murphy, a native of Vancouver, BC, one of Canada's most respected horse breeders and owners, 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.
Albatross was votedUS Harness Horse of the Yearin 1971 and 1972. He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million. As a sire, Albatross's thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million.
Artsplace was the1992 O'Brien Award and Dan Patch Award winner as Horse of the Year following an undefeated four-year-old season. He was a two-year-old world record holder winning theBreeders Crownin a time of 1:51.1 at Pompano Park in Florida, soundly defeating champion Die Laughing. He won 37 races and bankrolled over $3 million during his racing career which saw him race many times in Canada before becoming a world class sire.
Happy Lady, a daughter of Most Happy Fella, raced in 1977 and 1978 for owners Myra Masterson of St. Catharines, ON and Linda Lockey of Ridgeville. Though her race career was brief, she won $528,825 in purse earnings and attained a mark of 1:55.2. Trained and driven by the late Jim Rankin, she was almost flawless in her juvenile campaign, winning 15 of 16 races. As a sophomore she won 19 of 24 starts.
The late Harry Eisen spent a lifetime loving and covering horse racing in Ontario. As a lifelong journalist, he spent many years exposing the sport to the public, including the majority of his 40 years at the London Free Press. Eisen who once said he saw his first harness race when he was "three or four years old”, sold tip sheets at Dufferin Park Racetrack as a boy. He was inducted into Western Fair's Wall of Fame in 1980.
As a publicist, promoter and author, Bill Galvin, a native of Arnprior, ON made a tremendous impact on horse racing in Canada. Galvin's promotions transcended racing. He led a charge to bring ice horse racing 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 health of horse racing during his career.
Leamington, ON native Frank Salive was known for over 35 years as "The Voice” of Canadian harness racing. During his career it is estimated he called over 100,000 races, becoming a fan and industry favourite for his knowledgeable and informative calls and silky voice. Frank's career as a track announcer began at Sudbury Downs in the late 70's and continued at tracks throughout Ontario, includin fourteen years at Ontario Jockey Club/Woodbine Entertainment Group harness tracks and concluding at Pompano Park, Florida. Salive was also a regular writer for The Canadian Sportsman for several years. (Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame)