The Canadian Horseracing Hall Of Fame formally inducted the 16 members that were elected for the classes of 2022 and 2023 at the Induction Gala on Wednesday night (August 9th) at the Mississauga Convention Centre. This was the 47th year of the Canadian Hall of Fame.
Current and new members of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame at the 2023 and 2022 induction ceremony on August 9 . (New Image Media Photo)
GLENN SIKURA has served as Chief Steward of the Jockey Club of Canada since 2018 and is the Past-President of the National and Ontario Divisions of the CTHS, Past-President of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, a founding member and Past-President of OHRIA, former Director of both the Breeders Cup and TOBA.
As owner of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms Sales Agency, in Toronto, to date he has sold 148 stakes horses that have won over $80,000,000 and 2,500 races. In Kentucky, horses Glenn has sold include Arlington Million G1 winner, Jambalaya, and Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint Champion, Maryfield. Other successful sales graduates include Horse of the Year – A Bit o’ Gold, Dynamic Sky, Inglorious, and One for Rose. As an owner/breeder, Glenn campaigned champion Serenading, Handpainted, Painting and many others.
As a horse breeder who foals mares for clients across North America, he is estimated to have delivered most of the approximately 1,500 horses foaled at the farm. Glenn is also the recipient of a Blood-Horse Mint Julep Cup for lifetime contribution to the Horse Industry in 2016, and an Award of Merit from the CTHS Ontario Division. Glenn becomes the third member of his family to be inducted to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, having been preceded by his father John Sikura, Jr, CHRHF Class of 2013 and brother, John G. Sikura, CHRHF Class of 2018.
“My dad was an immigrant,” said an emotional Sikura. “He taught us so much and was just a hardworking, brilliant guy. He raised us hard; he made us work for everything that we had, but I am also so blessed.
“I went into the horse business not necessarily because I loved horses – I’ve grown to love horses – but I wanted to be with my two heroes, my dad and my older brother. And to see what they both accomplished – I don’t put myself up to their level, I never will because it’s not attainable, but they were both brilliant at what they did.”
In a gracious and grateful speech that included many “thank yous”, Sikura expanded on his appreciation and love for his family. “To me, life’s about family, secondly it’s about horses, but that’s definitely the order – everything else comes next,” Sikura said.
“This award means everything to me for a number of reasons, some of which I’ll keep to myself,” Sikura said. “The two main reasons: one is I didn’t necessarily ever expect that this would happen, and the second was that from the bottom of my heart, you six (Sikura’s children) are my lifeblood, and you’re all so much more talented than me, like it’s not even close, and this award to me should show all of you guys that if you stick with your paths, you’re going to go a long way.”
IRWIN DRIEDGER launched his riding career in 1967, at age 11, as an exercise rider. He then honed his skills at fairs in Western Canada, before moving to bush tracks and eventually recognized tracks such as Assiniboia Downs in 1973, where he plied his trade until 1982. In 1979, Irwin set an Assiniboia record of 161 wins before surpassing his own accomplishment in 1980 with 180 victories. In 1981, Driedger made 214 trips to the winners’ circle, a record that stood for many years. Over the next 17 years, Driedger rode at major tracks across Canada winning 1,633 races for purse earnings of $14.6 million. The 1998 recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award, Driedger rode Sovereign Award Winners Liz’s Pride, Phoenix Factor, Classy ‘n’ Smart, In My Cap, Grey Classic and Imperial Choice. When CHRHF honouree Classy N Smart’s daughter Dance Smartly, was ready to start her race career, Driedger, was provided the opportunity to ride the future CHRHF Honoured Member for her first start, a five-furlong maiden race, which the pair won by a comfortable three and a half length margin.
In 1990, Driedger retired from competition and became the Secretary-Manager of the Jockeys Benefit Association of Canada, serving his first term until 2006. Under his direction Canadian Jockey’s became the first in North America to wear safety vests. Driedger was also instrumental in helping to install safety rails at Woodbine. From 2006 until 2018, Driedger held the position of Director of Thoroughbred Racing Surfaces at Woodbine. In 2019 he returned the Jockeys’ Benefit Association of Canada to again assume the role of Secretary-Manager, a position he held until his retirement in 2021. Driedger succumbed to a lengthy cancer battle earlier this year, but he did write and send an acceptance letter to the Hall of Fame prior to his passing.
“It is such an honor for me to be inducted into the Canadian Horseracing Hall of Fame,” his letter began. “I would like to thank those who nominated me, and I would like to acknowledge Emile Ramsammy and Gary Stahlbaum who were also nominated. It’s very exciting to be in this Canadian institution with all the great riders before me.” Driedger also acknowledged the many great horses he rode that included Dance Smartly and her dam, Classy N Smart and he thanked his career-long agent Lorne Spearman. Spearman remembered Dreidger as a “gentleman and a caring man.”
EURICO ROSE DA SILVA, the Jockey inductee for 2022, was the last to take the podium and did so with his mother, who came from Brazil to present him with the induction, by his side.
A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Da Silva was drawn to the idea of being a jockey from a very young age and enjoyed substantial success in his home country before relocating to Macau.
“When I was five, six years old, my family was very poor,” Da Silva said. “We didn’t even have a television at home. One day I went to visit my uncle Antonio, and the T.V. was on. It grabbed my attention immediately because there was a horse race on. When I saw the horses racing for the first time, I was mesmerized. My heart was beating so hard, and my passion was born. It was love at first sight that marked the beginning of my dream to become a champion jockey.”
In 2004, Da Silva moved to Canada making Woodbine his main base. “In 2004, I was ready for my big challenge – Canada,” Da Silva said. “A beautiful country that I love so much that I became a citizen, where people here receive me with an open heart. I’m ever so grateful.”
Da Silva had back-to-back wins in the Queen’s Plate with Eye of the Leopard in 2009 and Big Red Mike in 2010. Over the next decade, Da Silva won multiple Grade 1 Stakes and was awarded the Sovereign Award as Canada’s Champion jockey seven times. Other career highlights for the 2021 Avelino Gomez Memorial Award recipient include two Oaks wins, as well as upsets prior to his retirement at the end of the 2019 racing season with El Tormenta in the Woodbine Mile and with Bullard’s Alley in the Canadian International. Da Silva also had a remarkable partnership with multi-time champion, Pink Lloyd. On the international stage, Eurico claimed victory in the 2017 World All-Star Jockeys Championship in Japan. Admired by both racing fans and fellow jockeys, Da Silva was appreciated for his professionalism, unbridled joy and exuberant wishes of good luck to everybody”.
PINK LLOYD, an Ontario-bred foal of 2012, became one of the country’s most famous and popular racehorses during his career. Having missed out on his opportunity to race at age two and three due to growing pains, he certainly made up for it over his six years on the track, winning 29 of 38 starts and earning $2.4 million under the tutelage of Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Trainer, Robert Tiller. Bred by John Carey and owned by Entourage Stable, including principal owner, 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 an incredible career record of 26-career stakes wins, all accomplished at Woodbine at sprint distances. His perfect season of eight stakes wins earned him Sovereign Awards as Champion Older Horse, Outstanding Sprinter and Horse of the Year.
Over the course of the next four years, five more Sovereign Awards were earned while Pink Lloyd reigned as the perennial Sprint Champion, often competing in record time. Pink Lloyd’s thirty-eighth and final career start in the autumn of 2021 was in the Kennedy Road Stakes, when the venerable nine-year-old gelding saved his best for the final furlong and rushed late on the outside to snatch his twenty-ninth career score before an adoring audience. Following his retirement from the track, Pink Lloyd’s connections donated him to LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society, where he contentedly enjoys daily turnout and visits from his Hall of Fame trainer and his long-time groom. Now his connections will add another award to the mantle, that of Canadian Horse Racing Honoured member.
Tiller said he knew Pink Lloyd was a runner from day one and paid tribute to his 26 stakes wins. “I don’t think there will ever be another horse like him,” he said. “You know, when you think about it, it’s impossible. In my 54 years, I’ve never seen another horse like him. We were very lucky to have him. He had the heart and desire. He wanted to win and that made him very special.”
CHARLES FIPKE, the prominent award-winning owner and breeder, was inducted as a Builder as part of the 2022 class.
The Edmonton, Alberta-born Fipke, who is now based primarily in British Columbia, is a successful Canadian geologist and prospector involved in the discovery of the Ekati Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories. He entered the Canadian Thoroughbred Industry in 1981 and over the past forty-plus years, has bred and owned numerous horses that have been successful on the track and as part of his breeding operation.
His Canadian racing accomplishments include breeding and owning three Sovereign Award winners – 2008 Champion Three-Year-Old Male and winner of the 2008 Queen’s Plate, Not Bourbon; 2010 Champion Older Female, Impossible Time; and 2003 Champion Male Turf Horse, Perfect Soul, who went on to become a successful sire. Additionally, he bred and owns racehorse Perfect Shirl, winner of the 2011 Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Turf (GI).
Other Fipke-owned Grade 1 winners include champion Forever Unbridled, Bee Jersey, Lemons Forever, Seeking the Soul, Jersey Town and Tale of Ekati. Fipke bred and owned Lady Speightspeare who received the 2020 Sovereign Award as champion 2-year-old-filly, was most recently victorious in the 2022 edition of the Seaway Stakes (G3). Horses owned by Mr. Fipke have earned over $35 million. In 2020 Charles Fipke was awarded the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit by the Stewards of the Jockey Club of Canada for his contributions to the Canadian Thoroughbred industry.
“I’d just like to say Mr. Fipke was honoured to receive this prestigious award, and it’s an honour for me to accept it on his behalf,” said Richard Hogan, who accepted for Fipke. “Thank you very much.”
CHRHF inductee Roger Attfield took the stage to accept the induction for his trainee, Queen’s Plate winner ALYDEED, as 2022’s Male Horse.
Bred by CHRHF 2015 Builder Inductee, Robert Anderson’s Anderson Farms, Alydeed was sold as part of the Three Chimneys Farm consignment in the 1990 Keeneland September yearling sale to David Willmot’s Kinghaven Farms. The son of English Two Thousand Guineas winner Shadeed, he was trained by Attfield throughout his career. In his only start at age two Alydeed won the Victoria Stake. The following year Alydeed developed into a prominent three-year-old in both Canada and the United States with five victories in 10 starts, including the Grade II Derby Trial at Churchill Downs. He was also a close second in the Preakness Stakes to Pine Bluff. Returning to Canadian soil, he won the Marine (GIII), Plate Trial and Queen’s Plate in succession by a combined 22 1/2 lengths.
“He was extremely talented, very precocious, and a very mentally challenged horse,” Attfield said. “As his racing career went on, he got more and more difficult to train because of his temperament, but he was an extremely talented horse.”
At four, Alydeed’s race success included wins in the Grade III Commonwealth at Keeneland and Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct. He concluded his race career with a record 9 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds from 18 starts and earnings of $930,689. He was retired to stand stud at Windfields Farm and became Canada’s Leading Sire in 2001.
“He was an exceptionally fast horse – I never had one person ever work that horse that had any idea how fast he went. (He was) extremely talented. I thought he’d go on and be a better stallion than he did, but he was a very very interesting horse to train and like I say, he was one of the most versatile horses that I ever trained.”
One of the most talented and versatile colts of his generation, Court Vision was a multiple graded-stakes winner on both dirt and turf at two, and a Grade 1 winner at three, four, and five. His pedigree includes Champion Sprinter and classic sire (Gulch), out of a sister to a classic winner and classic sire (Summer Squall) and the immediate family of A.P. Indy. Of his eight graded-stakes, five 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.
In 2012 Court Vision began his career as a sire in at Michael Byrne’s Ontario-based Park Stud and he was Canada’s leading Freshman Sire in 2015 – both in earnings and stakes horses. Beginning in 2016 his stallion career continued in Kentucky and later in Louisiana. Among his stakes horses are 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and Eclipse Champion, Storm the Court, with 13 starts (2-2-3) and earnings of $1.365 million, and Grade 3 winner, Mr. Havercamp, 14 (8-1-0) $679,558.
Court Vision’s current owner, Judy Pryor of Pryor Ranch, accepted his Hall of Fame Induction. “I’m so proud of this,” she beamed. “With a Grade One winner retiring sound after 31 races. That’s kind of unheard of these days.”
Ontario-bred FORMAL GOLD entered the Hall of Fame as a Thoroughbred Veteran, with his induction received by co-breeder Cathie Griggs.
Bred by Rodes Kelly and Cathie Kelly (now Griggs), trained by William W. Perry and owned by John D. Murphy, Sr., during his race career, the son of Black Tie Affair consistently received Beyer speed ratings in the mid 120’s. As a four-year-old, when beaten a nose by Wills Way in the 1997 Whitney, Formal Gold earned a Beyer Rating of 126; a 124 rating for his win in the Philip Islen and a 125 rating when he won the Woodward Stakes that same year. By comparison, current racing superstar Flightline received a 126 Beyer Rating in the 2022 Pacific Classic and a 121 rating for his victory in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“He was on the farm with me until I sold him as a yearling, and so I got to watch him,” said Griggs. “Just from the moment I laid eyes on him, he was balanced, he could move, he was very professional, even as a foal. We knew great things were going to come.
“He was very serious, wasn’t really a people person, and all business.”
Formal Gold was ranked among the top handicap horses of 1997 with gate-to-wire efforts in two Grade 1 victories — the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream and the Woodward Stakes, defeating Horse of the Year and US Hall of Fame member, Skip Away, in both races. In total, Formal Gold finished ahead of Skip Away in four of their six meetings.
“It was so exciting, and Jack Murphy, the owner of Formal Gold, and Sonny Hine, who had Skip Away, both very outspoken and both very passionate about their horses,” said Griggs on the rivalry. “So that was always fun for the banter of going back and forth between them. And then the fact that Formal Gold did win four out of six times when they raced against each other and he won very decisively – that was always a wonderful, exciting thing.”
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 (US), including 19 stakes winners. After initially standing at Gainesway Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, he was later re-located to Rancho San Miguel in California, and finally to Esquirol Farms in Alberta, Canada.