Two-time U.S. Horse of the Year Wise Dan and seven-time Sovereign Award-winning trainer Mark Casse are among five Thoroughbred racing inductees into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will be held at the Mississauga Convention Centre Wednesday, Aug. 3. The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is located at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.
Additional inductees are Dahlia, Dr. Michael Colterjohn, and Daryl Wells Sr.
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 2012-13, 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 2012-13 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.
Casse is the winner of seven Sovereign Awards (to date) as Canada's outstanding trainer and 10 leading-trainer titles at Woodbine. Among the Sovereign Award winning horses, three were honored as Canadian Horse of the Year—Lexie Lou (2014), Uncaptured (2012), and Sealy Hill (2007), who was the only filly to win the Canadian Triple Tiara. Other champions include My Conquestadory and Marchfield. Casse saddled Lexie Lou to win both the Queen's Plate and Woodbine Oaks in 2014 and trained last year's North American champion female turf horse Tepin.
The late Dr. Michael Colterjohn, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, immigrated with his family to Canada at the age of 11, living in Lindsay, Ontario, where his father Duncan was a family physician. Colterjohn grew up surrounded by horses and developed an interest in show jumping and fox hunting en route to a career as one of Canada's top equine reproductive veterinarians. He joined Gardiner Farms in 1987 and was soon named farm president. Under his management, the Caledon East farm became one of the country's most well-respected and accomplished breeding operations.
The voice of Daryl Wells Sr. became as much a part of Ontario Thoroughbred racing as the Woodbine Racetrack, where he honed his craft. His career as announcer for the Ontario Jockey Club began when Woodbine opened in 1956 and he also called races at Fort Erie and Greenwood. He evenutally focused exclusively on races at Woodbine, providing an opportunity for his son Daryl, Jr. to take over at Fort Erie.
His calls of Northern Dancer winning the Queen's Plate in 1964 as well as Secretariat's final race at Woodbine in 1973, live on in the memories of racing fans everywhere. Following his death in 2003, the headline in the Toronto Sun read, "Woodbine loses legend. Long-time announcer dies."
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 48 starts. She was the first female horse to surpass $1 million in career earnings. As a broodmare, she produced three grade I winners.
Standardbred racing inductees include horses San Pail and Odies Fame and people John Ferguson Sr., Yves Filion, and Bruce Johnston.