08/21/2001 12:00AM

Canada's day of enshrinement


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Former rider Larry Attard, Awesome Again, Runaway Groom, and the late Jack Hardy, an owner-breeder and racetrack operator, will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in the Post Parade Court at Woodbine on Thursday.

The inductees, who were chosen by a committee of voters from a list provided by a nominating committee, were announced here June 22. Julie Krone, who was inducted into the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs last year, will speak at the ceremony, which will begin at 11:45 a.m.

Attard, a mainstay on the local circuit for 25 years, retired after the 1997 season with a career record of 2,366 wins and purses of $34 million from 19,126 rides.

Now a trainer here at Woodbine, Attard won Sovereign Awards as Canada's outstanding jockey in 1983 and 1986. He also was the recipient of the 1993 Avelino Gomez Memorial Award, which goes to a jockey who has made a significant contribution to Thoroughbred racing in Canada, and was inducted into the Mississauga Sports Hall of Fame this spring.

Owned and bred by Frank Stronach, Awesome Again scored the biggest win ever for a Canadian-bred when he captured the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in 1998 to top off a season in which he went undefeated in six starts.

Awesome Again ran only once in Canada, winning the Queen's Plate here in 1997. As a result he was never eligible for a regular Sovereign Award, having not made the requisite three starts in Canada in either of his campaigns, but he was honored with a Special Sovereign Award in 1998.

The Classic turned out to be his last race and Awesome Again went to stud with a record of nine wins, two thirds, and earnings of $4,374,590 from 12 starts.

Runaway Groom also engineered one of Canadian racing's greatest moments, winning Saratoga's 1982 Travers while leaving Preakness winner Aloma's Ruler, Belmont winner Conquistador Cielo, and Kentucky Derby winner Gato del Sol in his wake.

Owned by Albert Coppola, Runaway Groom also finished second here in the Queen's Plate and won the final two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie and the Breeders' at Woodbine, en route to being voted Canada's champion 3-year-old colt.

Following a quiet 4-year-old campaign, Runaway Groom went to stud with a record of six wins, five seconds and a third, and earnings of $347,537 from 18 starts.

Jack Hardy, an owner and breeder who died in 1991, also is remembered as a founder of Assiniboia Downs, the Winnipeg, Manitoba, racetrack that opened in 1958.

Trainer-drivers Bill Wellwood and David Pinkney, along with the late Jim Keeling Sr., a racetrack owner and operator, are this year's Standardbred inductees.