Owner Stavro, Trainer Day Among Nominees to Canadian Racing Hall of Fame

Edited press release
The late Steve Stavro, a prominent owner and breeder of champion Thoroughbreds, and Jack McNiven, one of leading breeders of Standardbreds in Canada, have been nominated for election in the Builders' category of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Stavro and McNiven were two of 16 nominees put forward by the Thoroughbred and Standardbred nominating committees. Four Thoroughbreds -- Bold Ruckus, Lauries Dancer, Peteski and Wilderness Song -- were nominated along with Standardbreds Armbro Feather, As Promised, Grandpa Jim and Run The Table.

Others nominated included Thoroughbred trainers James E. Day and Glenn Magnusson, jockey Chris Loseth, and driver/trainers Doug Brown, Keith Clark and Jacques Hebert. Nominees must receive at least 75 per cent (12 of 16) of the votes cast by the 16 electors in the two breeds. This year's successful nominees will be announced Tuesday, May 23.

Stavro, who passed away on April 24 at his Toronto home at the age of 78, owned six Canadian champions who earned his Knob Hill Stable eight Sovereign Awards. Two of them earned Horse of the Year titles -- Benburb and Thornfield. Stavro captured more than 50 stakes victories during a career that began in the late 1960s. In 1992, he earned the accolades of the industry when he was named Canada's leading owner and breeder.

McNiven and his Killean Acres bred superior horses for over 40 years in Ingersoll, Ont. His stallions included Frisco Byrd, Dallas Almahurst and Run The Table, a nominee this year who was a major stakes winner and has sired winners of over $86 million. Grandpa Jim won the Maple Leaf Trotting Classic three times and earned more than $500,000. Alberta-based As Promised excelled on the track and in the breeding shed, siring winners of $13.8 million.

The pacing mare Armbro Feather retired from racing with 56 wins and earnings of $1.4 million. She was a Breeders Crown champion.

Day carved out an exceptional career while training for Sam-Son Farm. He won a Sovereign Award as Canada's leading trainer four times and trained Triple Crown winner Dance Smartly, the first Canadian-bred to win the Breeders' Cup Distaff. She and Sky Classic were both Eclipse Award champions in the U.S. Day twice won the Queen's Plate, with Regal Intention and Dance Smartly. He also trained Pin Oak Stable's Peaks and Valley to Horse of the Year honors.

Magnusson, a native of Wynyard, Sask., has been training Thoroughbreds for over 55 years and won the Queen's Plate in 1980 with Driving Home, who was champion older horse in Canada in 1981.

Another Westerner, Chris Loseth, won over 3,600 races, mainly at Hastings Park in Vancouver. Loseth grew up in Fort Nelson, B.C., and made history when he became the first jockey to win Sovereign Awards as the leading apprentice and outstanding jockey. He also won the coveted Avelino Gomez Memorial Award in 2001.

Bold Ruckus was Canada's leading sire six times. Owned by Gerald E. Going, he was trained by J.C. Meyer. On the track he was a stakes winner, but his reputation grew as a sire of champions, that includedKiridashi, Bold Ruritana, Beau Genius and Krz Ruckus.

Lauries Dancer, a daughter of Northern Dancer, was Canada's Horse of the Year in 1971 when she captured the Canadian Oaks and the grade I Alabama Stakes at Saratoga and later the Delaware Oaks against some of the best fillies in North America.

Peteski, owned by Earle I. Mack of New York, won Canada's Triple Crown in 1993 and defeated Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero at Woodbine in the Molson Export Million.

Wilderness Song earned more than $1.4 million in a brilliant career for Sam-Son Farm. Among her victories was the grade I Spinster Stakes for flllies and mares at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. She also won stakes at Monmouth Park, Pimlico and Churchill Downs. Canada's champion older mare in 1992, her stakes victories in Ontario included the Princess Elizabeth, Mazarine, Fury, Bison City and Belle Mahone.

Veteran driver Doug Brown of Bowmanville, Ont., dominated the driving charts in the 1980s and 1990s and eight times was voted Canada's Driver of the Year. He had won 8115 races.

For over 30 years Keith Clark was one of the leading drivers in Western Canada. He won the O'Brien Award of Horsemanship in 2004. Clark, who is from DeWinton, Alta., has driven 5,006 winners and trained another 2,860 to victory.

Hebert, of Drummondville, Que., achieved a superior record in training and driving during the past three decades. He has over 5,800 wins and has trained 1,010 winners.

The Hall of Fame, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, will hold its annual induction dinner on Thursday, August 24, at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Derry Road in Mississauga, Ontario.