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Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Announces Class Of 2024 

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Voting by the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame (CHRHF) Standardbred and Thoroughbred Election Committees has been tallied and the CHRHF Class of 2024 is now confirmed.  

Previously, the Board of the CHRHF agreed the Class of 2024 would be comprised of six inductees per breed and was also provided the option for a Nomination Committee to use only five categories, with two inductees selected in one category, in order to meet a total of six inductees per breed. The 20-person Election Committee for each breed voted on the list of finalists in the selected categories. The following people and horses are named to the CHRHF Class of 2024 and will be formally inducted in a ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 7. Details about the event, including ticket information will be announced in early May.

Class of 2024 – Standardbred Inductees

Dr. Moira Gunn, BVM&S – Builder

Sylvain Filion – Driver

Ed Tracey – Driver

Bee A Magician – Female Horse

Dr. Ian Moore, DVM – Trainer

Ross “Cowboy” Curran – Veteran 

Dr. Moira Gunn graduated from The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, in Edinburgh, Scotland followed by a postgraduate internship at Ontario Veterinary College at Guelph and a two-year large animal surgical residency. That education was followed by time working at Belmont Racetrack with Dr. Carl Juul Neilson. Her tenure at Canada’s preeminent Standardbred breeding operation, Armbro Farms, began in January 1988 as the farm veterinarian. Gunn ascended to Manager, Vice-President, and from 2000 to 2004, President, following her mentor, Dr. Glen Brown. Other positions held in the industry include Director of the E.P. Taylor Equine Research Fund, Co-Chair of Equine Guelph Advisory Council, President of the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario, Director/Vice-President of Canadian Standardbred Horse Society with multiple committee appointments, and Director of Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association and Standardbred Canada. She was heavily involved in the amalgamation of the Canadian Standardbred Horse Society and the Canadian Trotting Association to form Standardbred Canada. As part of Paradox Farm, Dr. Gunn was a breeder of both Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds, including Queen’s Plate winner Lexie Lou. After her time at Armbro Farms, Dr. Gunn operated a private equine practice specializing in stallion management, embryo transfer and freezing, and she specialized in reproductive challenges of hard to breed mares. 

The current flagbearer for the venerable Filion harness racing family, Sylvain Filion has won more than 10,000 races, the only driver to reach that milestone while racing almost exclusively in Canada. In 1999, Filion was selected to represent Canada in the World Driving Championship and brought home the gold for Canada. As a world driving champion, he joined his illustrious uncle Herve who had won the inaugural championship in 1970. Filion has won four O’Brien Awards as Canada’s top driver (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016) and has driven horses to more than $140 million in purses. At age 55, he is most certainly not slowing down because in 2023, he won more than 200 races with horses he drove earning almost $6 million in purses.

Born in Weyburn, Sask., in 1943, the late Ed Tracey came from a family of Standardbred owners, trainers and drivers. He obtained his driving license at age 15. After getting his start in three-heats-a-day race meets in his home province, his passion for harness racing took him to six Canadian provinces and numerous states in the U.S. Over a span of 55 years, Tracey had 3,168 driving victories and more than $7.5 million in purse earnings, with the pinnacle of his career coming in 1978 when he won the ice racing championship on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal. Tracey was named Alberta Horseman of the Year in 1978, and in 1998, he was awarded the Dr. Clara Christie Award for his contribution to Alberta’s harness racing industry. A race named in Ed Tracey’s honour is held annually at Century Downs in Alberta.

The 2013 Horse of the Year in Canada and the U.S., two-time Breeders Crown winner and world champion trotting mare, Bee A Magician, has a lifetime race record of 45-14-3 in 72 starts during a career that lasted from age two to age six. As a two-year-old, Bee A Magician prevailed in the Peaceful Way Stakes and the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final en route to earning the O’Brien Award for Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year. The Breeders Crown, Hambletonian Oaks, Elegantimage, Delvin Miller Memorial, Moni Maker and Simcoe Stakes were added to her resume at age three, when she was crowned both the 2013 Dan Patch and O’Brien Horse of the Year as well as the Dan Patch and O’Brien Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year, following a perfect record of 17 wins. At age five, her list of 10 victories included the Maple Leaf Trot and Armbro Flight while once again taking home Dan Patch and O’Brien hardware. In 2016, her final year on the track, she had victories in the Yonkers Invitational Trot and the Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff. She retired with $4,196,145 in earnings, racing against the best open competition — male and female opposition — for her three seasons as an older competitor. Her lifetime earnings are the highest in harness racing history for a trotter racing exclusively on North American soil.  

Born and raised in Prince Edward Island, Dr. Ian Moore’s life has been a blend of being a veterinarian and being a Standardbred trainer. In his early years of involvement with Standardbreds, his horses helped pay his way through vet school. His training career officially began in 1971, although it has been over the past 20 years Dr. Moore has trained horses at the highest level and has been very active and successful in the Ontario Sires Stakes. To date, Moore has trained the winners of more than $23 million and has averaged more than $1 million per year racing mostly in Ontario, including a personal record of $3.1 million in 2023. He has not only accomplished his feat racing mostly in Canada, but he has also done it while averaging a stable size of only 10-15 horses. Moore’s training accomplishments include an impressive 69 horses that have each earned more than $100,000, 14 horses with earnings of more than $500,000, 20 horses that have earned more than $75,000 and seven horses that have earned more than $1 million — including one that earned more than $3 million.  Among the stable stars he has trained are Astronomical, Malicious, State Treasurer, Arthur Blue Chip, Rockin In Heaven, Percy Bluechip, Century Farroh, Lawless Shadow, Stockade Seelster, Tattoo Artist and CHRHF 2022 Inductee Shadow Play, who has gone on to a be a an outstanding sire of some of today’s top racehorses. Moore has received 15 O’Brien Awards, including twice for Horsemanship and the Trainer of the Year title in 2023.  

The late Ross Curran was known for his raw talent and ability to handle hard-to-manage horses in a way no one else did. Curran’s harness racing career began at the age of 16 in Smiths Falls, Ont. By the age of 20, he won his first driving title at Connaught Park, before going on to win many driving titles and becoming a leading driver at Mohawk, Greenwood, Garden City, Blue Bonnets, Richelieu Park and Rideau Carleton while competing against the likes of Hall of Famers Keith Waples, Bill Wellwood, Ron Feagan and Ron Waples. He raced at numerous tracks across Ontario and in the United States. ‘Cowboy’ Curran was the leading dash winner from 1964 to 1973 in Ontario and had an average winning percentage of .317 over a 10-year period. He was rated the second and third best driver in North America from his performance in those years. In his 8,686 career starts, he finished in the top three almost 50 per cent of the time based on his universal driver rating system stats. He drove 1,711 recorded winners and had more than $2.7 million in recorded lifetime earnings. Curran was inducted in the Sportsman Hall of Fame in Smiths Falls, Ont. in 1988 and he was given the Living Legend Award by the Ontario Harness Horse Association in 2009. He had proven successful partnerships with horses like JJs Tequila and owners such as John Grant. He was known not only for his driving ability but he was one of the top trainers as well.

Class of 2024 – Thoroughbred Inductees

Glen Todd – Builder

Starship Jubilee – Female Horse

Patrick Husbands – Jockey

Channel Maker – Male Horse

Danny Vella – Trainer

Richard Grubb – Veteran

Born on Dec. 20, 1946 in British Columbia, the late Glen Todd fell in love with horse racing as a child, attending the races with his father who had met Todd’s mother at Hastings Racecourse in 1939. “There is a lot of history of racing in my family,” he said. Todd quickly immersed himself in everything about preparing a racehorse, educating himself from the shedrow up. Todd was an exceptional businessman who took over his father Jack and mother Eileen’s Pacific Group of Companies, founded in 1954. Todd began training horses at Hastings in the early 1970s, doing so until 1985. In 2011, he won the Sovereign Award in a tie with Donver Stables for Canada’s Outstanding Owner. Throughout his life, he was an owner of hundreds of racehorses. Behind the racing headlines, Todd worked tirelessly to promote and improve the B.C. racing industry. In 2009, he was part of the B.C. Horse Racing Industry Management Committee, which was formed to revitalize the sport and put it on firmer financial ground. He also extended an interest-free $1 million loan to fund purse money and keep races going at east Vancouver’s Hastings Racecourse over the summer of 2021, and at the time, he said he was not looking for accolades, just that he wanted to keep jobs in place and horses running. He has been described as an owner, trainer, breeder, builder, innovator, communicator, betting shop owner, employer, mentor and friend.

Throughout her career, Starship Jubilee was one of the top race mares in North America, despite her $6,500 yearling purchase price. The filly’s honours and accomplishments were numerous, including being named the 2019 Canadian Horse of the Year and the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Champion Female Turf Horse in Canada. In addition to being a two-time Grade 1 winner and six-time graded stakes winner in Canada, she accumulated more than $2 million in purse earnings. Most impressively, Starship Jubilee is the only horse ever to win the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor and the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, the latter of which saw her defeat male horses. Starship Jubilee was also highly successful in the U.S. winning the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at Saratoga, the Grade 2 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs, and is the only three-time winner of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park.

Patrick Husbands became one of the most popular and productive jockeys in Canadian racing history during his 30-plus years riding at Woodbine. Before emigrating to Canada in 1994 from his native Barbados, Husbands had already enjoyed considerable success in his country of birth as a Champion rider and the youngest jockey to win the prestigious Gold Cup. Husbands went on to capture eight Sovereign Awards as Canada’s Champion jockey from 1999-2014. His initial popularity came among the local Bajan community but quickly grew to universal acceptance with each passing race victory and ensuing championship season. Of Husbands’ countless achievements, one of the most noted came in 2003 with his expert handling of Triple Crown winner and future Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Inductee, Wando, for the late Gustav Schickendanz and trainer Mike Keogh, both Honoured Members of the Hall.  Additionally, CHRHF Honoured Member, Mark Casse has been a strong supporter of Husbands, with Hall of Fame horse Sealy Hill, 2023 King’s Plate winner Paramount Prince as well as Queen’s Plate winner Lexie Lou, who was inducted to the CHRHF in 2019.  Throughout his spectacular career, Husbands has won 3,630 times earning $178,477,012 USD through the end of 2023.

Bred in Ontario by Ivan Dalos, Channel Maker is a Canadian and U.S. Champion and multiple Grade 1 stakes winner. Channel Maker was a fan favourite during his eight seasons of racing that began in 2016 in Ontario under the tutelage of trainer Danny Vella, also an inductee of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2024. Later trained by Bill Mott, Channel Maker was owned at various times throughout his career by a combination of interests, including Joey G Thoroughbreds, Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. Channel Maker is the third richest Canadian-bred Thoroughbred racehorse of all time with earnings of more than $3.9 million. He raced an incredible eight years, from age two to nine, and set the record for the most Breeders’ Cup starts by any single horse — a record six times. He won the 2017 Sovereign Award as Canada’s Champion Three-Year-Old Colt of the Year and the 2020 Eclipse Award as North America’s Turf Male of the Year. In 2020, the durable gelding swept two prestigious Grade 1 races — the Sword Dancer and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, to become an Eclipse Award winner as Turf Male Horse. Following his retirement from racing in 2023, Channel Maker was donated by his connections to Old Friends Retirement Farm in Kentucky where he now resides.  

Conditioner Danny Vella was twice named Sovereign Award-winning trainer and has scored 135 career stakes win. He won the coveted Queen’s Plate twice in his career, in 1994 with Basqueian and in 2012 with Strait of Dover. Vella began his winning ways in 1985 but his breakthrough came in 1991 when he started training for the stable of Frank Stronach. Early successes came with Hero’s Love in the E. P. Taylor Stakes and Explosive Red in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. In 1994, Vella captured 19 Woodbine stakes in an outstanding season headed by Queen’s Plate winner Basqueian, King Ruckus, Champion Sprinter and Honky Tonk Tune. Fifteen more Woodbine stakes were won in 1996 giving Vella 58 added money wins in an outstanding three-year stretch. Other stakes winners trained by him include Cash Ticket, Phantom Light, Knights Templar, Field Commission and, most recently, Alpha Bettor.  In 2012, Vella transformed Wally and Terry Leong’s Strait of Dover into a poly track winner with a victory in the Marine. Vella’s statistics during a training career that concluded in 2022 include 5,740 starts (869-841-7) and earnings of $39,438,727.

Raised in Ridgeway, Ont., veteran category inductee Richard Grubb began his riding career in 1966. At the age of 16, he won the first race he ever rode as a professional followed by 1,606 more career trips to the winner’s circle, before concluding his riding career in 1989. In 1967, he was Canada’s leading jockey with 230 victories. That same year, he won seven straight races on an eight-race card, a feat never duplicated. Grubb rode some of the country’s most time-honoured stars, including Mary of Scotland, Rouletabille and 1968 Horse of the Year Viceregal.  Among his stakes wins was the 25th edition of the Manitoba Derby in 1973 aboard Zaca Spirit. During his career, Grubb won more than 100 major races and was presented the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award in 1997. Following his retirement from racing in 1989, he became a senior Steward with the Ontario Racing Commission, a position in which he served for 24 years.

Additional information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame may be found at canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com.

(Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame) 

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