Woodward Stakes Day
Mohawk Million Night
Summer & Natalma Stakes
Prince of Wales Stakes
The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame ring given to human inductees.
On Wednesday night the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame welcomed its 2022 and 2023 classes at an induction ceremony and dinner held at the Mississauga Convention Centre with about 400 people in attendance. There were 16 new members voted into the Hall this year, seven equine and nine human. This is the 47th anniversary of the Hall of Fame which was founded in 1976. Due to pandemic gathering restrictions, no ceremonies were held in 2020 nor 2021 so the Hall decided to honour 2020 and 2021 in August 2022, and induct their 2022 and 2023 classes this year. With the large number of inductees, there were no "Legends" inductees this year.
A tradition at the ceremony is to gather all the Hall of Fame's Honoured Members present along with the new inductees and horse connections for a group photo. They posed for a group photo then toasted the new members.
To commemorate the career of Bulldog Hanover, London Brewing Co. and Western Fair District Raceway introduced Bulldog Brew in April 2023, a specially-made summer lager. The artwork for the special label was created by Western Fair District’s graphic designer Jake MacDonald and the photo was taken by Woodbine photographer Clive Cohen.
“Bulldog Brew is something we are excited to unveil and we think it will be a hit with fans,” said Amy O’Toole, Manager of Equine Programming. “Bulldog Hanover rallied the entire industry with what he accomplished on the track this past year and it’s amazing to have him standing locally at Seelster Farms. We wanted to commemorate him in a fun and unique way.” Western Fair District was the event's beer sponsor and provided Bulldog Brew for all attendees to enjoy.
Pure Ivory was inducted in the 2023 Standardbred Horse category. The trotting daughter of Striking Sabhra has been successful both on the racetrack and as a broodmare. Bred by Diane Ingham and the late Harry Rutherford, of Mount Pleasant, Ontario and owned throughout her racing career by Jerry Van Boekel, Christina Maxwell, Steve Condren and Rutherford, Pure Ivory's racing stats include earnings of $1.44 million and a lifetime mark of 1:53 1/5. Trained by Brad Maxwell, the mare won 22 stakes races during her career, including Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals at age 2 and 3, the Canadian Breeders Championship, and divisions of the Simcoe and Champlain Stakes.
Currently a broodmare owned by Steve Stewart of Paris, Kentucky, Pure Ivory produced the 2019 Hambletonian champion, Forbidden Trade, who was a divisional O'Brien Award winner at 2 and 3, Canada's Horse of the Year in 2019, and amassed career earnings in excess of $2.3 million. Stewart, her current owner, accepted her Hall of Fame trophy.
Court Vision was inducted in the 2022 Thoroughbred Horse category. The son of Gulch was a multiple graded stakes winner on both dirt and turf from his juvenile season through his 5-year-old campaign. Of his 8 graded-stakes wins, 5 came in Grade 1 races, including the 2011 Breeders' Cup Mile and the 2010 Woodbine Mile – his first of two appearances in that race. In a career consisting of 32 starts, he accumulated 9 wins, 4 seconds and 4 thirds, with total earnings of $3,746,658. Retired to stud in 2012, he started at Park Stud in Ontario and was Canada's leading freshman sire in 2015 both in earnings and stakes winners. Among his stakes horses are 2019 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner and Eclipse Champion Storm the Court and Grade 3 winner Mr. Havercamp.
Irwin Driedger was inducted in the 2023 Jockey category. The native of Russell, Manitoba started as a exercise rider at age 11, honing his skills at fair meets, bush tracks, and Assiniboia Downs. In 1981 he had 214 wins at Assiniboia, a record that stood for many years. He would move on to major tracks across Canada, winning 1,633 races with purse earnings of $14.6 million. Among his stakes winning mounts are Liz's Pride, Phoenix Factor, Classy 'n' Smart, In My Cap, Grey Classic, Imperial Choice, as well as future great Dance Smartly in her debut, a 5f maiden win. After retiring from the saddle in 1990, he became the Secretary-Manager of the Jockeys Benefit Association of Canada. Under his direction Canada made safety vests mandatory for jockeys, and was instrumental in bringing safety rails to Woodbine. In 1998 he received the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award. From 2006 until 2018, Driedger held the position of Director of Thoroughbred Racing Surfaces at Woodbine. In 2019 he returned to the Jockeys' Benefit Association of Canada to again assume the role of Secretary-Manager, a position he held until his retirement in 2021. Sadly, Driedger passed away on May 20 at age 66 after a lengthy battle with cancer. His longtime agent Lorne Spearman accepted the Hall of Fame ring on his behalf.
Gilles Gendron was inducted in the 2023 Standardbred Driver (Veteran) category. Nicknamed "Le Chef", the native of Saint-Eustache, Quebec started driving in 1967 at the age of 22, and was the dominant driver at Blue Bonnets (later known as Hippodrome de Montreal) in the 1970's and 1980's, leading the driving standings 10 times between 1972 and 1984. He won 7,053 times in over 37,000 drives with purse earnings of almost $37 million. In 1972, Gendron won the Challenge of Champions at Windsor Raceway, defeating the likes of Herve Filion, Ronnie Feagan and Carmine Abbatiello. For 14 consecutive years, he won more than 200 races and ranked in the North American top 10 seven times. Among the equine stars he drove were Hall of Famers Grades Singing and Garland Lobell. In 2009 at Rideau Carleton Raceway, he joined fellow Quebecers Herve Filion, Mike Lachance and Luc Ouellette in the 7,000-win club.
Shadow Play was inducted in the 2022 Standardbred Horse category. The son of The Panderosa, out of the Matts Scooter mare Matts Filly was purchased as a yearling, trained and co-owned by Dr. Ian Moore along with R G McGroup Ltd. and Serge Savard for most of his racing career. His race career highlights include winning the 2008 Little Brown Jug and setting a world record for 3-year-old male pacers on a 5/8-mile track, of 1:48 2/5 in the elimination of the Adios. He retired with 20 wins in 49 starts earning $1.56 million. Standing at Winbak Farm in partnership with Blue Chip Farms and owned by Shadow Play Syndicate, he sired 6 millionaires including Bulldog Hanover, Lady Shadow, Desperate Man, and Percy Bluechip. His horses have earned over $56 million, and 20 of them have records of 1:50 or faster.
Dr. Lloyd S. McKibbin was inducted in the 2023 Standardbred Builder category. He is considered a pioneer in the advancement of equine veterinary medicine; an innovator, teacher, and author as well as a very hands-on veterinarian. After graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1952, he decided to specialize in equine care, and more specifically lameness, treated patients with acupuncture, cryosurgery and laser therapy. He was also among the very first people to advocate swimming horses for therapeutic purposes. Horse owners travelled from far and wide to his small, unassuming clinic in Wheatley, Ontario for treatment using the ground-breaking methods he employed, all the while acting in the best interest of his equine patients. He is best known for treating Rambling Willie, three time winner of the Canadian Pacing Derby and 2020 Hall of Fame inductee. "Doc" also spent considerable time mentoring other veterinarians to follow in his path, many of whom went on to open their own successful practices. His books "Horse Owners Handbook" and "Cryoanalgesia for Horses" continue to be used as reference manuals. The late Dr. McKibbin was represented by his son.
Formal Gold was inducted in the 2023 Thoroughbred Veteran category. A quarter century after he retired from the track, he continues to rank among the fastest Thoroughbreds in North America in terms of Beyer Speed Figures. Bred in Ontario by Mr. and Mrs. Rodes Kelly, trained by William W. Perry and owned by John D. Murphy, Sr., the son of Black Tie Affair consistently received Beyer Speed Figures in the mid 120's. As a four-year-old, when beaten a nose by Will's Way in the 1997 Whitney, Formal Gold earned a Beyer of 126; a 124 for his win in the Philip Iselin and a 125 when he won the Woodward Stakes that same year. By comparison, 2022 superstar Flightline received a 126 in the Pacific Classic and a 121 in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Formal Gold was ranked among the top handicap horses of 1997 with gate-to-wire efforts in the Donn Handicap and the Woodward Stakes (both G1), defeating Horse of the Year Skip Away in both races. Formal Gold finished ahead of Skip Away in 4 of their 6 meetings. At stud, Formal Gold ranked among the top 1% as sire of 2-year-old winners from starters at 45% and sired progeny with global earnings of nearly $16 million, including 19 stakes winners. After initially standing at Gainesway Farm in Kentucky, he was later re-located to Rancho San Miguel in California, and finally to Esquirol Farms in Alberta.
Charles Fipke was inducted in the 2023 Thoroughbred Builder category. Born in Edmonton, Alberta and residing in British Columbia, he made his fortune in the diamond mining industry, discovering the Ekati Mine in the Northwest Territories. He got into racing in 1981, breeding and owning multiple champions and stakes winners including Not Bourbon, Impossible Time, Perfect Soul, Perfect Shirl, Forever Unbridled, Bee Jersey, Lemons Forever, Seeking the Soul, Jersey Town, Tale of Ekati, and Lady Speightspeare. In his over 4 decades in the business his runners have earned over $35 million. In 2020 Fipke was awarded the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit by the Jockey Club of Canada for his contributions to the Canadian Thoroughbred industry. Fipke was not able to attend the ceremony.
Frank Salive was inducted in the 2022 Standardbred Communicator category. The native of Leamington, Ontario was for 35 years "The Voice" of Canadian harness racing. Before going into broadcasting, he was a successful goaltender with the Peterborough Petes and played for Canada in the inaugural World Junior Hockey Championships in 1974, winning bronze. Moving into the announcer booth, he began at Sudbury and Windsor in the late 1970's, moving on to Woodbine and Mohawk as well as stints at Pompano Park, Western Fair Raceway, Clinton Raceway and Fort Erie Racetrack before his most recent role as the voice of Ocean Downs in Maryland. He has called close to 200,000 races at an estimated 75 different tracks, becoming a fan and industry favorite for his knowledgeable, informative calls and silky voice. Salive was also a regular writer for the Canadian Sportsman magazine. Salive spoke about how racecalling has evolved into "storytelling", a style he developed by shadowing Tom Durkin who was calling harness races at the Meadowlands in 1987.
Alydeed was inducted in the 2022 Thoroughbred Veteran category. Bred by Anderson Farms, the son of Shadeed was sold at the 1990 Keeneland September sale to Kinghaven Farms. In his only 2-year-old start for trainer Roger Attfield he won the Victoria Stakes, and then at age 3 he won 5 of 10 starts including the Derby Trial (G2) at Churchill Downs, followed by a close second in the Preakness to Pine Bluff. Back home at Woodbine he won the Marine (G3), Plate Trial, and Queen's Plate by a combined 22 1/2 lengths. As a 4-year-old he won the Commonwealth (G3) at Keeneland and Carter Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct. He retired with 9 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds in 1 starts, earning $930,689. He stood at Windfields Farm and was Canada's leading sire of 2001.
Jack Darling was inducted in the 2022 Standardbred Trainer category. Based in Cambridge, Ontario, over a three decade career he campaigned 1,072 winners to over $22 million in earnings and counting. His best horses include Diamond Dawn, Low Places, Diehard Fan, Northern Luck, Gothic Dream, and Twin B Champ, but he will always be known as the owner and trainer of the great Bulldog Hanover, who recently set a new world record of 1:45 4/5 to become the fastest horse in harness racing history and has to date earned nearly $2.2 million, joining his trainer as a Hall of Fame inductee tonight. Darling is also known for significant fundraising efforts and was the 2015 winner of the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario's Lloyd Chisholm Memorial Award, the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Unsung Hero Award, and the W.L. Haughton Good Guy Award.
Chris Christoforou was inducted in the 2023 Standardbred Driver category. A regular at Woodbine Mohawk Park for 33 consecutive years, he quickly got into the spotlight as the regular pilot for his family's homebred trotter Earl. In the 1993 Breeders Crown Open Trot at age 21, in the bike behind Earl he became the second youngest driver to win a Crown event. He achieved major stakes success with include Grinfromeartoear (1999 Breeders Crown), Astreos (2000 Little Brown Jug), Peaceful Way (2003 Goldsmith Maid and 2003 Oakville Stakes), and has 10 wins in the OSS Super Finals. He has won the O'Brien Award as Canada's Driver of the Year four times. At time of writing he has 6,758 wins, nearly $119 million in earnings, and a lifetime .260 UDRS rating. Christoforou said "I feel like the luckiest man in the world, to have been able to make a living doing something I love. I never thought I'd ever be racing in great stakes races like the Little Brown Jug and Breeders Crown."
R. Glenn Sikura was inducted in the 2023 Thoroughbred Builder category, and was presented with his ring by his brother John. The owner of Hill 'n' Dale Farm in King, Ontario, he has contributed to Canadian Thoroughbred racing as a breeder, owner, and sales agent while also holding key positions with organizations representing various aspects of the Canadian Thoroughbred industry. Sikura has served as Chief Steward of the Jockey Club of Canada since 2018 and is the Past President of the CTHS, Past President of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, a founding member and Past President of OHRIA, and is a former Director of both the Breeders' Cup and TOBA. Hill 'n' Dale Farms Sales Agency has sold 148 stakes winners that have won 2,500 races and over $80 million in earnings, including Jambalaya, Maryfield, A Bit O'Gold, Dynamic Sky, Inglorious, and One for Rose. As an owner-breeder he campaigned Serenading, Handpainted, Painting and many others. He joins his father John Sikura Jr. (2013 inductee) and brother John G. Sikura (2018) as Hall of Famers. Sikura thanked many people within the industry, especially the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association, which formed when the Slots at Racetracks program was cancelled by the government, which put the business in a precarious position for a number of years.
Pink Lloyd was inducted in the 2023 Thoroughbred Horse category. The Ontario-bred missed out on his opportunity to race at age 2 and 3 due to growing pains, but he more than made up for it over his 6 years on the track, winning 29 of 38 starts and earning $2.4 million under Hall of Fame trainer Bob Tiller. Bred by John Carey and owned by Entourage Stable led by Frank Di Giulio Jr., the gelding's first major win came early in 2017 when he captured the Jacques Cartier Stakes, a race he would remarkably win three more times. This win would be the start of a of an incredible career record of 26 stakes wins all accomplished at Woodbine at sprint distances. His perfect season of 8 stakes wins earned him Sovereign Awards as Champion Older Horse, Outstanding Sprinter and Horse of the Year. He would go on to win five more Sovereign Awards as the perennial Sprint Champion, often competing in record time. His 38th and final career start in the autumn of 2021 was in the Kennedy Road Stakes, when the venerable 9-year-old gelding saved his best for the final furlong and rushed late on the outside to snatch his 29th career score before an adoring audience. Following his retirement from the track, Entourage Stable donated him to LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society, where he enjoys daily turnout and visits from his trainer, owners, and long-time groom Michelle Gibson.
Bulldog Hanover was inducted in the 2023 Standardbred Horse category. The son of 2022 inductee Shadow Play was purchased by 2022 inductee Jack Darling for just $28,000 at the 2019 Harrisburg Black Book Sale. At 2 he went 4 for 6 including the OSS Gold Super Final. At 3 he won the Somebeachsomewhere, his North America Cup elimination (but was 4th in the final), Monument Circle Stakes, Star Destroyer Pace, Circle City Pace, and the Thanksgiving Classic. In 2022 he won 4 races in 3 weeks at the Meadowlands all with Dexter Dunn driving: a Graduate leg in 1:47, the Roll With Joe in 1:46, the Graduate final in 1:46 1/5 and the William R. Haughton Memorial in a world record time of 1:45 4/5. It was those 21 days from June 25 to July 16 that captured the world's attention and catapulted Bulldog Hanover to a new status, as he became the fastest pacer of all time en route to Horse of the Year honours in Canada and unanimous Horse of the Year honours in the U.S. He retired at the end of 2022 with a record of 28 wins, 4 seconds, and 1 third in 37 starts, earning $2.8 million, and stands at stud at Seelster Farms.
Eurico Rosa da Silva was inducted in the 2022 Jockey category, and was presented by his mother. The native of Sao Paulo, Brazil moved his tack to Woodbine in 2004 and "the rest is history". He won back to back Queen's Plates with Eye of the Leopard (2009) and Big Red Mike (2010), the latter with the late Queen Elizabeth II in attendance. He won the Sovereign Award for outstanding jockey 7 times, won the 2017 World All-Star Jockeys Championship in Japan, and closed out his racing career with two huge G1 upsets, the 2018 Canadian International on Bullards Alley and the 2019 Woodbine Mile on El Tormenta. He was also the regular rider of fellow inductee and crowd favorite Pink Lloyd. In 2021 he received the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award, for his on-track as well as off-track activities, most notably his involvement with the LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society and volunteering with "Out of the Cold" for Toronto's homeless. He retired with 2,286 wins in 11,630 rides, earning $102,764,264. Da Silva spoke about growing up poor in Sao Paulo, seeing a horse race on TV for the first time at his uncle's house, and deciding that riding would be his career.
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