Updated on 09/15/2011 12:28PM

Awesome Again in Canada Hall of Fame


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - and Runaway Groom, who both struck major blows for Canadian racing in premier U.S. events, will be among this year's new members elected to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

The pair, both Canadian-bred, will be joined by Larry Attard, who retired from a highly successful riding career following the 1997 season and now is a trainer here at Woodbine, and the late Jack Hardy, who is remembered as the savior of Thoroughbred racing in Manitoba.

The inductees, chosen by a committee of voters from a list provided by a nominating committee, were announced at a gathering at Woodbine Friday evening. And, in keeping with the prevailing theme of the week, Awesome Again, Runaway Groom, and Attard all have close ties to the Queen's Plate, which will be run here Sunday.

Awesome Again, owned and bred by Frank Stronach, was making just his third career start and earning his first stakes win in the 1997 running of the Plate. He also won Saratoga's Grade 2 Jim Dandy later that year for trainer David Hofmans.

But the best was to come as Awesome Again, trained by Patrick Byrne as a 4-year-old, was undefeated in six starts. His successes included Saratoga's Grade 1 Whitney and, in the piece de resistance, the $5.12 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, which turned out to be the last start of his career.

Awesome Again, who went to stud with a record of nine wins, two thirds, and earnings of $4,374,590 from just 12 career starts. Although he never raced in Canada as a 4-year-old, he was honored with a special Sovereign Award for his accomplishments that season.

Unraced at 2, Runaway Groom was making just his fifth career start and his first beyond seven furlongs when he finished second to Son of Briartic in the 1982 Plate.

A son of Blushing Groom, Runaway Groom went on to win the last two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales and Breeders' Stakes. But his most historic score came in Saratoga's Travers where Runaway Groom defeated Aloma's Ruler, Conquistador Cielo, and Gato del Sol, respective winners of that year's Preakness, Belmont and Kentucky Derby.

Runaway Groom was voted Canada's champion 3-year-old male that year but failed to win at 4. He was sent to stud with a career record of six wins, five seconds, and a third, and earnings of $347,537 from 18 starts.

Winner of the Plate aboard Bompago in 1983, Attard was the Sovereign Award recipient as Canada's outstanding jockey that year and again in 1986. He was Ontario's leading rider in 1986, 1987, and 1989 and retired with a career record of 2,366 wins and purse earnings of more than $34 million from 19,126 rides.

Attard, now 49, was the 1993 recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award and was inducted into Ontario's Mississauga Sports Hall of Fame this spring.

Hardy, who died in 1991, was the founder of Winnipeg's Assiniboia Downs, which was built in 1958.

The four inductees, along with this year's three new Standardbred representatives, will be honored at a ceremony here Aug. 23.

for Awesome Again Past Performances.