“We didn’t have big races that ballooned our earnings this year, we did it very honestly. We won a fair number of allowance and small stakes wins. The stable just performed consistently very well,” Dave Whitford said.

Sam-Son Farm, winner of the Outstanding Owner Sovereign Award for 2015, is a family-owned and operated farm founded over 40 years ago. Originally a hunter/jumper farm, successful in its own right on the International stage, founder Ernie Samuel shifted to thoroughbreds with the claiming of Takering from Fort Erie in 1972.

He went on to create one of the top thoroughbred breeding farms in Canadian history. There have been 10 Sovereign awards for Outstanding Owner, nine as Outstanding Breeder, an Eclipse award, and nine Horses of the Year — among many other Sovereigns.

Last year showed the famous red and gold silks are still going strong. Sam-Son was the leading owner in Canada, winning over $2.2 million in purses.

Sam-Son had five stakes winners during the season, including the farm’s highest profile win of the year in 2015, when Golden Sabre won the Grade 3 Durham Cup.

“He had been very unlucky in a few races. It looked like it wasn’t meant to be,” said Whitford. “So, it was exciting when he broke the track record. We were really happy for the horse.”

Although Golden Sabre’s win was a bona fide highlight for the farm, seeing other wins, like Southern Ring’s success in the Ruling Angel Stakes, held a lot of excitement as well.

“Watching Southern Ring get a stakes win under her belt was a highlight. She has a lot of potential and this year could be a big year,” said Whitford. “She’s out of a mare who hadn’t really produced and we didn’t expect it.”

Whitford is understandably proud of the horses they’ve bred and how they are performing.

“It takes a lot of time. We breed to the best stallions available. We usually have three to four stallions in mind. We want to breed nice-looking foals, athletes that have some balance and straight legs,” he said.

Whitford talks about the care that the horses receive, and it’s clear the attention to detail and genuine concern for their well-being plays out on the track.

Sam-Son Farm’s legacy is sure to continue and it will be interesting to watch the progress of the 2015 winners this year, as well as to keep tabs on new additions to the their stable.