The class of 2008 includes world champion thoroughbred sire Smart Strike and Sovereign Award champion older mare Wilderness Song, both owned by Sam-Son Farms of Milton, Ontario.
Robert Tiller, a multiple Sovereign Award-winning thoroughbred conditioner, was elected in the trainer's category. Louis E. Cauz, Managing Director of the Hall of Fame and Woodbine Entertainment's archivist and historian, Quebec-based breeder Pierre Levesque, founder and owner of Angus Farms, and the late Cliff Chapman, Jr., a legendary horseman and former publisher of The Canadian Sportsman, will join the Hall's Builders' category.
The newest inductees were elected by the respective 20-member thoroughbred and standardbred Election Committees.
Guest speaker at the gala induction ceremonies will be noted actor and horse racing enthusiast Nicholas Campbell, who played the lead role in CBC-TV's long-running series, Da Vinci's Inquest. Post time for the function is 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and silent auction before dinner at 7 p.m.
Smart Strike, a lightly-raced son of Mr. Prospector and a half-brother to Hall of Fame champion mare Dance Smartly, gained global recognition in 2007 when his progeny set a single-season world record in earnings, more than $14 million. Sons of Smart Strike include world champion Curlin, who runs in this weekend's Woodward Stakes, and English Channel.
Wilderness Song earned almost $1.5 million, winning graded stakes races in Canada, Kentucky, Maryland and New Jersey. Her biggest win was the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland in 1991. She was Canada's champion older mare in 1992.
Consistency has been a trademark of Tiller's career. For 19 seasons he ranked in the top five trainers in wins at Woodbine and won 50 or more races for seven years in a row. His top horses and Sovereign Award winners include Win City, Rare Friends, Simply Lovely, Near the High Sea, Elated Guy, Twisted Wit and Dave The Knave.
Author of the Sovereign Award-winning book, The Plate: A Royal Tradition, Cauz was a journalist with The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and CBC TV and radio before taking on the task in 1996 of coordinating the building and development of the Hall of Fame. He has had a long and significant involvement in the racing industry in Canada since 1966.
Peaceful Way is currently the richest Canadian-bred trotter with earnings of $3.2 million. Bred and owned by Angie Stiller of Stonebridge Farms and trained by Dave Tingley, she was a four-time O'Brien Award winner. A stakes race was named in the 52-time winner's honor at Mohawk last year.
Real Desire became one of the leading money-winning pacers in history and a successful stallion. Trained by Blair Burgess, Real Desire set a world record of 1:50.4 as a two-year-old. The Meadowlands Pace winner retired with a lifetime mark of 1:48.2 and earnings in excess of $3.1 million.
Chapman wore many hats during his colorful career in the harness racing industry. He was a legal bookmaker at small racetracks and rural fairs as well as a legendary bid spotter at horse auctions and racing secretary at numerous Ontario tracks.
Levesque's Angus Farms was one of Quebec's largest breeding operations. At one time it was the home for five stallions and almost 100 broodmares. Stallion Bye Bye Pat put the farm on the map, but trotting mare Amour Angus had the greatest influence on the sport. Amour Angus was inducted into the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame this summer.