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Takter, Ritchie inducted into Canadian Hall of Fame

August 08, 2019
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The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame welcomed its Class of 2019 at the Induction Gala on Wednesday at the Mississauga Convention Centre. Standardbred inductees include builder Ian Fleming, driver Trevor Ritchie and trainer Jimmy Takter, along with horses Tricky Tooshie and Angus Hall.

 

Fleming’s career in the horse racing industry began as race secretary at his home track in Clinton, Ont. That evolved into managing the racetrack and from there he went on to create a centralized race office for several Ontario tracks in the 1990s, which now services racetracks across the province.

Fleming was also the racing & gaming manager at Western Fair Raceway for a number of years. His business prowess is based on cultivating relationships, and his deep knowledge and understanding of the mechanics of racing and wagering is world-renowned.

 

“I'm quite proud of the recognition," said Fleming, who succinctly grouped those he needed to thank into three groups: his family, those who have worked with and for him over the years, and the horsepeople—even those that he hasn't necessarily seen eye-to-eye with over the years, because those people haven't always been wrong.

 

Before retiring from driving in 2014, Ritchie won many of North America’s premier races, including the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Prix d'Ete, Provincial Cup, Metro Pace, Canadian Pacing Derby, Trotting Classic Final for mares, and Champlain Stakes. During his career he had 3,710 driving wins and drove horses to over $70 million in purse earnings.

 

The year 2000 was a career best for Ritchie, as he won the Hambletonian with Yankee Paco, the first Canadian-sired horse to win that event. Later that year he won three Breeders Crown championships, which tied him with John Campbell as being the only other driver in history at the time to accomplish that feat, and he was voted Canada’s Driver of the Year.

 

“You didn't give me the memo that this was a roast!" chirped Ritchie before offering congratulations to the other inductees. "I'm very proud and very humbled at being inducted tonight. It's really surreal knowing that my name will be joining all the other greats in this exclusive club.

 

"I want to thank all of the hard-working and dedicated trainers and the owners that trusted me to drive their horses," continued Ritchie before paying homage to his mentor Bill Herbert, who was inducted into the Hall some four decades ago. "He was the greatest horseman I have ever met. I considered Bill to be like my second father, and I'm pretty sure Bill considered me to be like his second son. Bill taught me how to be a horseman, he taught me how to be a better person, and I'm sure I would not be here tonight if Bill Herbert was not part of my life."

 

Takter has seen tremendous success on Canadian soil. With 1,325 starts in Canada, he has visited the winner’s circle 266 times and collected purse earnings of more than $34.2 million.

 

Takter has won 103 stakes races on the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit. Horses trained by Takter have won a total of 19 O’Brien Awards, including at least one O’Brien Award in 15 of the 19 years between his first award in 1999 with Moni Maker and his most recent with The Ice Dutchess in 2018. Despite being based in New Jersey, Takter was Canada’s leading trainer by earnings in 2015 with over $4.2 million made in Canada and has ranked among the nation’s top 10 conditioners six times since 2011, including second-place finishes in 2014 ($2,643,455) and 2016 ($2,263,361).

 

"First, I want to thank everyone for all the support we've received over the years," said Takter. "It's been a long journey and I've been extremely fortunate.

 

"I love the passion they have for the horse in Canada," Takter continued. "When I came over here 37 years ago, my father said, 'Don't forget the love of the horse.' I couldn't have done it without you guys." (with files from SC)

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