The Moment of Enshrinement

What did the standardbred inductees to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame say during their official induction ceremony Wednesday in Ontario? HRU was there to record and transcribe their speeches.

The class of 2019 was officially inducted Wednesday into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame at a gala at the Mississauga Convention Centre in Ontario. Representing standardardbreds in the dual-breed Hall was: builder Ian Fleming, trainer Jimmy Takter, driver Trevor Ritchie, male horse Angus Hall and female horse Tricky Tooshie.

Here is the speeches made by the standardbred inductees:

Trevor Ritchie (who spoke last after enduring an evening full of good-natured

ribbing about his alleged frugality):

I’m not really happy with Linda (Rainey, the managing director of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame). I didn’t get the memo that this was a roast.

All kidding aside, this has been a fabulous evening. Linda, I’m sure, worked her butt off and we should give her a huge round of applause.

Earlier in the evening, (MC) Jim (Bannon) mentioned something about me and Ian Fleming being honorees and both wanting to be the first up here. Obviously, Ian is much better on his knees than I am.

I’d also want to congratulate all of tonight’s inductees and special congratulations to Angus Hall. I got to drive two of the greatest sons and daughters, the Dave Tingley-trained Peaceful Way and the Mark Steacy-trained Majestic Son. They both played a big role in me being here tonight, so way to go, Angus.

I’m very proud and very humbled at being inducted tonight. It’s really surreal knowing that my name will be joining all the other greats. It’s an exclusive club and it’s just sheer luck that I’m even in the business.

I lived right beside the Western Fair Raceway property and when I was nine or 10 years old I got hanging around in the barn, cleaning harness and joggers to make a little money. I have no idea why I needed any money, by the sounds of it.

So by the time I’m 15, I’m spending a lot of time in the pool hall and skipping a lot of school. Apparently, I skipped a little too many school days because one day the principal let me know that I was no longer invited back to his school, so that was really music to my ears.

I went right to the track and I think I got a job that very day and, shortly after that, I packed up my belongings and moved into the tack room. Now, here I am, standing here being inducted.

It’s been a hell of a ride. The chance to race all over North America. I’ve raced and represented Canada in races in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. I’ve had a chance to hold the trophies to some of the most coveted races in our sport.

First, I wanted to thank all of the hardworking and dedicated trainers and the owners that trusted me to drive their horses. I do need to mention a few special people, some that are here tonight and a few that aren’t.

The first, at the very top of my list, is a gentleman named Bill Herbert. He was inducted into this Hall of Fame back in 1977, I believe. To this day, Bill Herbert is the greatest horseman that I have ever met. I consider Bill to be like my second father and I’m pretty sure Bill considered me to be like his second son. Bill taught me how to be a horseman and he taught me how to be a better person and I’m sure I would not be here tonight if Bill was not part of my life.

Harold Lunde, a dear friend of mine, passed this spring. Harold put me on many winners, including Banker Hall, and the Breeders Crown. Rotation won the Maple Leaf Trot and so many more. Rest in peace, Harold.

Blair Burgess, one of my roastees and a fellow Hall of Fame member. I’ve been waiting all night to say that one. Blair Burgess put me on a long list of winners including Frugal Gourmet, as they mentioned before he won the Meadowlands Pace. Road Machine won the Metro, Blue Porsche won the Valley Victory. So, Blair, thank you very much for your support.

Doug McIntosh called me one day in the fall of 1999 and asked me to drive a 2-year-old trotting colt at Mohawk, I believe it was in a sire stake race. The next summer, that colt, named Yankee Paco, got us into the winner’s circle to – in my opinion – the Holy Grail of harness racing, the Hambletonian. It’s a day I will never forget and a dream come true. Until today, the proudest moment I’ve had in my professional career.

I just want to thank him for giving me the opportunity to drive such a wonderful animal.

To Cal Campbell, also here tonight, I’m glad he didn’t get a chance to roast me. Cal and me had a hell of a run. Cal put me on, I think, more winners than any other trainer. We had a lot of laughs and a lot of fun. I’m proud to call Cal Campbell my friend.
Of course, my wife Gemma. She loves horses as I do and Gemma has been my biggest fan forever. There was no better feeling that when Gemma would arrive to the winner’s circle with that great smile.

Gemma was also my nurse on more occasions than I’d like to remember, when I was busted up from a racing accident. Gemma would nurse me back to health and, believe me, I was no party as a patient. Thank you, Gemma, for putting up with me and Gemma is a big part of why I’m up here tonight. Love you, Gemma.

Thank you to both Gemma and my family for being here tonight and sharing this special night with me. Also, I’d like to thank Stephanie and Myron Bell over there. Murray Brown and Debbie and Donnie Hall. They all travelled a long way to share this special night with me and I really do appreciate it.

Thank everyone for their time tonight and thank you harness racing.

Linda Bedard (former caretaker for and then trainer of Tricky Tooshie):

I’m honored to be here tonight to accept on behalf of Tooshie and Hanover Shoe Farms and the owners. It was an honor to be part of her racing career.

Tooshie and I had a connection. She was my girl and I was hers. We both moved to Ontario from Quebec at the same time to face tough competition. We also retired from racing at the same time to go onto our second careers – her as a broodmare and me in the registration department at Standardbred Canada. So we both kind of went into the breeding business.

She went on to be a great broodmare, passing on determination to her offspring at Hanover Shoe Farms, where she still lives today at 29 years old in a field with retired mares

I went to visit Tooshie last month and I hadn’t seen her in 20 years. Went I got there, the gentleman that looks after the retired mares opened the paddock gate for me. When I saw her, I was about 30 feet away from her and I said, ‘Hello, Mommy,’ which is what I used to say to her every morning for five years. She turned her head towards me and walked up to me. I opened my arms and she put her head between them. I did not expect her to remember me, but she did. She was, and still is, a very smart mare. I spent some time with her, caressing her and feeding her carrots. I told her that she was getting into the Hall this year, in a place where she sure belongs.

Thank you.

Trainer Jimmy Takter:

First, I wanted to thank all the support we’ve had over the years. Thirty-seven years ago, my wife and me decided to cross the ocean over to the United States and we had our daughter (Nancy), who was a little baby.

People that know me, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have a great support from owners in the sport. John (Fielding) being my partner for many, many years. And it’s not just partners, but a great, great friendship that we have over the years. I can name all these people that are here this evening… it means so much for us. Frank Antonacci, the owner of Moni Maker and I’m very happy that Frank could meet up with us here.

We have Marvin (Katz) and Al Libfeld and David Anderson. David, I want to thank you for putting my name into this basket. I’m extremely proud. Believe it or not, I’m the first non-born Canadian to come into the Hall of Fame in harness racing.

Dave Anderson, thank you for the nice push for me coming in here. Canada has been a part of my life. I’ve been racing up here, basically since I started training my own stable. I always feel very welcome to race here. I’ve always, from Sweden versus United States, Canada is a little bit in between. I love the passion they have over here for horses in Canada, maybe a little stronger than in the U.S., it’s not just about racing for money, it’s for the love of the horses.

When I came over here 37 years ago, my father said one thing ‘Don’t forget the love for the horse.’ I believe that you’re not going to be great in any kind of horse racing, if you don’t have passion and love for the animal. If you don’t, you should not be in this.

I am so honored to come here into the Canadian Hall of Fame. It means a lot for me. I came into Sweden Hall a month ago and I’m in the United States Hall of Fame, too, so I’ve covered all the bases.

I’m proud of all the success my wife and I accomplished over 37 years. I could not do it without you guys. Unfortunately, Glen Brown is not here tonight. I invited him, but everybody knows Glen and he’s a big factor for me in this sport. He got me John Fielding. He got me the Andersons and he did a lot of good work for me and hopefully Glen is watching this… I love you, kid.

There are some American owners here and I could not have done it without them… Brittany Farm is a big factor for over 30 years. Fantastic people to train for. I’m just a lucky guy and I want to thank Perry Soderberg, who worked for me for many years. Conny Svensson, my blacksmith – two important people in my life.

Thank you for my family and everyone. Thank you.

Ian Fleming:

Ladies and gentlemen, fellow inductees, thanks for coming out this evening. I was talking to Trevor Ritchie in May when they announced we were inducted and we both agreed we’d be a little nervous about this speech.

No one should take the quality of this speech as an indication for how I feel about the award I’m getting tonight. I’m quite proud of the good things I’ve been able to accomplish in this business with all the help I’ve got from everyone in this room and this industry.

I don’t crave recognition, but this is the ultimate thank you. A special thanks to the nominating and voting committee that helped make this happen.

I got my start in racing 50 years ago at Clinton. The Kinsmen met over at Clinton Raceway. My dad was a Kinsmen, my mother was a Kinette, so I was at races every Sunday. Over the last 50 years, I’ve missed a handful of races there, which is a combination of dedication and stupidity, but I’m very proud of these efforts.

Of the thousands of people I’d like to thank, they can all be put into three groups – to shorten this up a little bit. The first group is my family, obviously. My mom and dad. My wife Jenn, we’ve been married 30 years next month. She has a great love of the horse and if you’re going to work in the horse business, you better love the horses or it’s going to be a long night. My kids, son Will, daughter Claire, they both were around the animals from the time they were old enough to walk. Through a very strong 4-H program in Huron County, we had every kind of animal there was as pets on our farm.

The mainstay was standardbred horses and Jenn was able to raise a lot of homebreds in the last 20 years that we own in partnership with Gregg McNair. We had great success racing these horses and experienced the great highs and the can’t-get-any-lower lows, as every horse owner knows. That’s group #1.

Group two is all the people who worked for me or with me over the years. I have employees that have worked over 30 years with me. I’ve had some that have lasted three hours. They all brought something to the table, so I’m quite thankful for that. And the horsepeople I’ve worked with are second to none. They are always there to fill races. They fight like hell when they are racing, but when we need something for the industry they all can’t chip in fast enough, so they are a special group of people.

And the third group, and certainly not the last group, are the people that worked against me over the years on several occasions. They don’t realize how much they are helping me… no one likes someone in their face spitting at them, but there’s two things to remember about that. First of all, they are usually right and, the second thing is, in that spit there are some good ideas that I’ve been able to use, so I’m very appreciative of that as well.

I’d also like to thank Linda Rainey for all the work she does for the Hall. She brings passion for the horse and it sure shows. The work she does with the Hall of Fame is noticed by me and many others, so I appreciate Linda’s help on that.

The best part of my speech is closing, which is a very sincere thank you. Thanks.

Pat Woods (farm manager of Winbak Canada where Angus Hall stands stud):

It’s my privilege to be here tonight to accept this award for Angus Hall. Although I am the one up here speaking tonight, I represent the many that Angus Hall has graced with his accomplishments.

If Angus was here tonight, he’d be the first one to thank the selection committee for this award and congratulate his fellow inductees. What a truly amazing honor and you should be very proud of yourselves. Congratulations to all.

Angus would secondly like to know if you are serving carrots with dinner and if there is any way he could get some extra?

Angus is a wonderful horse to have at Winbak Farm. He’s a distinguished old gentleman now and has always been a pleasure to work around. He loves interaction with people and he definitely gets spoiled.

He has done everything he’s ever been asked to do. He raced in the top of the game, broke records, sired champions and he will leave a legacy in our industry.

Although I’ve only had the pleasure of working with him for the last two years, I have had so many respected people in our industry tell me great Angus Hall stories.

Linda and Bob Stewart unfortunately couldn’t be here tonight due to a family commitment, but they asked me to convey how proud they are of Angus Hall. They also wanted to express how appreciative they are of everyone that has cared for him and supported Angus for the past 20-plus years.

Angus Hall will now enter the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame to be enshrined with his offspring, Peaceful Way and Majestic Son. Thank you very much for this honor. We are truly humbled and very appreciative of this award.