The colorful history of the Canadian Pacing Derby

by Bob Heyden

Let’s take a look at some fun facts/oddities/notes about the Canadian Pacing Derby.

1. Western Ideal won the Canadian Pacing Derby in 2000. His first crop appeared in a big way at 2, but more so at 3 as he had a huge Labor Day weekend in 2004. A world record with Cabrini Hanover in 1:51. Then at 3, Cabrini, Rocknroll Hanover and American Ideal — all sophs by Western Ideal — were the three biggest money makers of the entire season, topped by Horse of the Year (HOY) honors to Rocknroll and a 1:47 Red Mile scorcher by American Ideal.

2. Owner Bob Hamather apparently wasn’t satisfied in 1982 with Willow Wiper winning the CPD. He did it again, in style in 1993 with Staying Together, the HOY and fastest horse ever in 1:48.2 in a race.

3. Foiled Again, 11 years after Gallo Blue Chip, became the No. 1 pacing earner of all-time in 2001, took over the lead winning his richest ever race, the $787G 2012 Canadian Pacing Derby. Eleven years ago, also, he hit $7,635,588 lifetime with nobody in telescopic sight to unseat him any decade soon.

4. Albatross won the 1972 Canadian Pacing Derby en route to his second straight HOY title. Twenty-four and 26 years later, two of his sons won it, the second doing so 37 days after he Albatross away on 8/5/98. In 1996 Ball And Chain won it when Albatross was 28. He was, by the way, the first sub 1:50 winner on Canadian soil. Then in 1998 Noble Ability took it the year his dominant dad passed at age 30 as the No. 1 money-winning stallion of all time.

5. George Segal and Brittany Farms have, shall we say, more than held their own in this race. They won it in 1991 with Odds Against and then came right back in 1992 with undefeated HOY Artsplace, then with Western Ideal in 2000 and in 2002 HOY Real Desire.

6. Lis Mara won the richest edition in 2006 for Erv Miller ($933,000). He liked it so much he came back for some more in 2007. Brian Sears drove Lis Mara in both, and in 2008 made it a three-peat with Mister Big.

7. The CPD is basically a must for any horse, 4 and older, to be named Horse of the Year. Ten HOY have won the CPD and eight out of 10 did it the same year they won the CPD. Gallo Blue Chip won it the year after 2000-2001 as did Wiggle It Jiggleit 2015-2016. The other HOYs were Albatross (1972), Sir Dalrae (1973), Cam Fella (1983), Artsplace (1992), Staying Together (1993) Real Desire (2002), McWicked (2018) and Bulldog Hanover setting the stakes mark of 1:46.4 in 2022.

8. It’s been 19 years since the last trainer/driver won the CPD. It was Pat Lachance and he did it via the supplemental route with Casimir Camotion. The first 12 editions of the Canadian Pacing Derby were all won by trainer/drivers.

9. Clifford Chapman won the CPD in 1944, 1945 and 1947, his brother John Chapman won it in 1948.

10. Seven times a driver has won this race consecutively.

11. Going into 2023, the last 10 CPDs were under $700G. In the previous dozen, 11 of 12 were worth more.

12. Can Hanover Shoe Farms win this race for the fourth straight year? Prior to the recent hot streak — Dorsoduro Hanover (2020), Allywag Hanover (2021) and Bulldog Hanover (2022) — Hanover won it in 1974 with Otaro Hanover, 1970 with Horton Hanover and in 1951 with Malcolm Hanover.

13. A trotter finished last in the 1949 Canadian Pacing Derby. The one and only time this happened.

14. On 28 occasions the winning driver of the CPD was a U.S. Hall of Famer.


It debuted at Thorncliffe Park on Aug. 3, 1950.

In 1954, it moved to the Old Woodbine.

From 1963-93 it was hosted by Greenwood until they closed their doors.

Back-to-back HOYs won this. In 1975, Savoir and Delmonica Hanover both won it. It was the only time the race was ever split and two HOYs won it.

Who was the last 3-year-old to win the Maple Leaf Trot? It was Supergrit in 1997 with Mark Jordan.

In 2018 Crazy Wow posted the upset for Marcus Melander.

Mares Bee A Magician and Hannelore Hanover won it in 2015 and 2017, respectively and both were name HOY.

Tie Silk won three (1961, 1963 and 1964). Grandpa Jim won three straight (1969-71). No Sex Please also scored a hat trick (1989, 1990 and 1992). And San Pail had a natural hattrick (2009-11) the last of which was a lynchpin to his HOY season.

In 2004-05 Mr. Muscleman turned this into his own personal playground at 4-5 posting Canada’s fastest trotting mile in the process.