Two-time U.S. Horse of the Year Wise Dan and seven-time Sovereign Award-winning trainer Mark Casse are among the 15 Thoroughbred candidates on the ballot for the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
There are also 15 Standardbred candidates on the ballot, and a 20-person election committee for each breed will determine the winners in their respective categories that will be announced Tuesday, April 5. The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 2016 induction ceremony will be hosted at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Aug. 3.
The five categories chosen for the 2016 Thoroughbred ballot are “builder”, “communicator”, “trainer”, “male horse”, and “veteran horse.”
Trained by Charles LoPresti for owner/breeder Morton Fink, Wise Dan tallied 23 wins and two seconds in 31 starts, amassing a bank account of $7,552,920 before his retirement in 2014. Included were back-to-back wins in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile Stakes (Can-I) in 2012 and 2013, the latter in course record time of 1:31.75. Wise Dan also had back-to-back wins in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) in 2012 and ’13 and was honored with Eclipse Awards as Horse of the Year both of those years, as well as champion turf male and champion older horse.
Other male horses on the ballot are Quiet Resolve, the Sam Son Farm homebred trained by Mark Frostad and voted 2000 Sovereign Awards as champion turf horse and Canada’s Horse of the Year; and Wake At Noon, Canada’s 2002 Horse of the Year for owner/breeder Bruno Schickedanz and trainer Abraham Katryan.
Casse is the winner of seven Sovereign Awards as Canada’s outstanding trainer and 10 leading-trainer titles at Woodbine. Among the Sovereign Award winning horses have three honored as Canadian Horse of the Year—Lexie Lou (2014), Uncaptured (2012), and Sealy Hill (2007), the only filly to win the Canadian Triple Tiara. Other champions include My Conquestadory and Marchfield. He saddled Lexie Lou to win both the Queen’s Plate and Woodbine Oaks in 2014 and last year trained North American champion female turf horse Tepin.
Other trainers on the ballot are: Reade Baker and Harold Barroby.
Baker, voted the Sovereign Award outstanding trainer in 2005, has developed numerous stake winners including Horse of the Year champions Fatal Bullet (2008) and Biofuel, who won in 2010. Baker also conditioned Bear Now, the 2008 Sovereign Award winner for older female, and Tu Endie Wei, winner of the 2011 Sovereign Award as champion 2-year-old filly.
Barroby a native of Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan followed his older brother Frank to Alberta, where he eventually became leading trainer in 1969 and ‘70. Love Your Host won 13 stakes under his tutelage and among his other multiple stakes winners were Pampas Host and Delta Colleen. He has been leading trainer at Hastings Park a record 10 times and remains the all-time leader in terms of wins and stakes wins.
Candidates for communicator are author Joe Hirsch, who was the founding president of the U.S.-based National Turf Writers' and Broadcasters Association and long-time Daily Racing Form columnist and author; Curtis Stock, who got his start as a horse racing reporter while still in college and went on to work at Woodbine with CHRHF member Bruce Walker; and Daryl Wells Sr., veteran announcer for the Ontario Jockey Club and Woodbine Racecourse.
The builder category consists of the late Dr. Michael Colterjohn, one of Canada’s top equine reproductive experts; the late James B. Irvine, a long-time employee of the Ontario Racing Commission and the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association; and James Sabiston, who has spent more than 60 years in the business as a breeder, owner and a consignor to the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Sales.
Thoroughbred veteran horses All Along, Dahlia, and South Ocean round out the ballot.
The French-bred filly All Along won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) and was named champion older horse in France and 1983 Horse of the Year in the U.S, the first female and foreign-based horse to win an Eclipse award as Horse of the Year.
Bred in Kentucky by Nelson Bunker Hunt, the French-trained Dahlia spent much of her race career taking on the boys, doing so 35 times in her 48 starts, and was the first female horse to surpass $1 million in career earnings. As a broodmare, she produced three grade I winners.
South Ocean won the 1970 Canadian Oaks and later as a broodmare produced Storm Bird, the sire of Storm Cat. She was bred by E.P. Taylor and sold through auction to his son Charles, who also raced her. Trained by G. "Pete" McCann, South Ocean was a dual stakes winner, taking the 1969 Yearling Sales Stakes in her first year racing and following up as Oaks champion and top 3 year-old filly contender in 1970.
Her legacy as a broodmare is even more impressive. The daughter of New Providence out of a Chop Chop mare matched perfectly with the Northern Dancer line. One of her eight pairings with Northern Dancer produced the great Northernette, herself a Canadian champion filly and 1987 CHRHF inductee.