Racing hall of fame winners and an empty Belmont
The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame will be enriched by the presence of 10 new inductees Tuesday, including Canadian-bred Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop and the tremendous free-for-all pacer Mr. Big, second leading money-winning pacer in harness racing with more than $4 million banked.
Mel Lawson of Hamilton, the 87-year-old master of Jim Dandy Stables, will be inducted in the builders’ category, along with Peter Heffering of Port Perry, Ont., on the standardbred side. This announcement will be a double-dip for Heffering; his Tara Hills Stud Farm also stands Mr. Big.
Among trainers, standardbred standout Bob McIntosh gets the long-overdue nod, with British Columbia-based Frank Barroby, last year elected to the B.C. thoroughbred hall, joining the national wall of honour.
Among broodmares, the winners will be announced as Lady Angela on the thoroughbred side and Classic Wish, mother of two millionaire pacers so far, as the harness representative.
Voters in the veterans category opted for Victorian Era, the Lou Cavalaris-trained winner of 18 stakes from 40-plus years ago, and the good Ontario-sired trotter and top sire A Worthy Lad, now exported to Sweden.
Victory Gallop was second in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in then beat Real Quiet by a nose on the Belmont in 1999, preventing a triple crown winner. He was bred by Toronto's Ivan Dalos and foaled at Darrowby Farm in Loretto, Ont. He now is owned by the Jockey Club of Turkey.
As always, it’s a strong group of winners from a deep pool of talented nominees and congratulations are due one and all.
Speaking of horse racing, would anyone be surprised to hear that racing has shot itself in the hoof again?
It’s understandable that any trainer could win, say, the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness and then immediately point his animal in a different direction. But what does it say that both the Derby and Preakness winners have already blown off the Belmont in less than three weeks. How does the TV network get any casual fan interested enough to tune in to that race?
In these days of PVRs, will anyone sit through a long build-up to this race? Why would a network keep shelling out big money for the rights when this happens?