04/09/2013 1:00PM

Attard, England, Secretariat top Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame class of 2013

Michael Burns
Trainer Sid Attard will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame on Aug. 13.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Two trainers will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame as Sid Attard and Phil England, both based at Woodbine, will be honored at the Aug. 13 ceremony at the nearby Mississauga Convention Center.

Attard and England were among three trainers nominated in this year’s jockey/trainer category, and both received at least eight votes, the standard for induction, from the 20-member election committee.

The Canadian Hall of Fame announced the inductees in a total of six categories, for both Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, on Tuesday.

Joining Attard and England will be Soaring Free, male horse; Sealy Hill, female horse; John Sikura, builder; Secretariat, veteran horse; and Bruce Walker, communicator.

Both Attard and England have appeared on previous ballots and are gearing up for the 2013 Woodbine meeting.

Attard has sent out the winners of 1,795 races and almost $53 million from 10,407 career starts. His 84 stakes winners include Numerous Times, who was Canada’s champion turf male after capturing the 2001 Woodbine Mile, and One for Rose, the Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s older mare in 2003 through 2005.

England has recorded 574 wins and purses of $17.5 million from 3,004 career starts. His 81 stakes winners included Canadian Horses of the Year Thornfield, in 1999; Benburb, 1992; and Afleet, 1987; and he was the recipient of the Sovereign Award as Canada’s outstanding trainer in 1992.

Trainer Jerry Lavigne was the other nominee in the jockey/trainer category.

Soaring Free, along with Mt. Sassafras and Peaks and Valleys, was one of three Canadian Horses of the Year nominated in the male horse category.

Bred in Ontario by his owners, Sam-Son Farm, and trained by Mark Frostad, Soaring Free was the Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s champion sprinter in 2003 and was Horse of the Year and champion turf horse the following season.

Soaring Free won 10 stakes races, including the 2004 running of the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, and more than $2.1 million.

Sealy Hill, a homebred who was owned by Eugene Melnyk and trained by Mark Casse, was Canada’s Horse of the Year, champion 3-year-old filly, and champion turf female in 2007.

Her victories that year included Canada’s triple tiara of the Woodbine Oaks, Bison City, and Wonder Where, and she concluded her career with a close second-place finish in the 2008 running of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita.

Apelia, who was trained by England, and One for Rose were the other female horse nominees.

The late John Sikura, founder of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, was the choice over owner/breeders Bill Graham and Jim Sabiston in the builder category.

Horses bred by Hill ‘n’ Dale, which also has become a renowned sales agency, include Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold (in partnership), Queen’s Plate winner Driving Home, and Blue Grass Stakes winner Granacus.

Horses who raced for Hill ‘n’ Dale included Grade 1 winner Gay Style.

The criteria for veteran horse were expanded this year to include any horse deemed to have made a significant contribution to Canadian racing.

Secretariat, who made his much-heralded final appearance with a victory in Woodbine’s 1973 Canadian International, fit that profile and outpolled fellow Canadian International winners All Along and Dahlia.

The communicator category was introduced this year, and Walker, who retired in 1997 after 30 years as publicity director for the Ontario Jockey Club, got the nod over journalists Curtis Stock and the late Wally Wood, long-time correspondent and columnist for the Toronto office of Daily Racing Form.

Walker, a founding member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1975, also has been the recipient of a record four Sovereign Awards for outstanding feature story.