08/19/2011 9:28AM

Canadian Hall of Fame induction ceremony honors Sam-Son legacy


MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – Sam-Son Farm was squarely in the spotlight at this year’s Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremonies as the late Tammy Samuel-Balaz, trainer Mark Frostad, and the champion filly Dancethruthedawn all were honored Thursday evening at the Mississauga Convention Centre.

A crowd of approximately 275 was on hand for the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame’s annual fund-raiser which featured dinner, silent and live auctions, a tribute to Northern Dancer on the 50th anniversary of his birth, and the induction ceremonies.

Frostad, 62, began training horses for Sam-Son Farm in 1994 and has overseen the careers of four Canadian horses of the year, including the repeating Chief Bearhart, among a total of 23 Sovereign Award winners.

“It has meant a lot to me, to contribute to the success of Sam-Son,” said Frostad, whose father, George C. Frostad, was inducted in the builder’s category in 1999.

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is an incredible feeling, and a great honor. The best news is that tomorrow I get to get up in the morning, and go see the horses again.”

Frostad also paid tribute to Samuel-Balaz, who took charge at Sam-Son Farm when her father, Ernie Samuel, died in 2000.

Samuel-Balaz, who died at age 47 in 2008, was at the helm when Sam-Son Farm won four Sovereign Awards as outstanding owner, five consecutive Sovereign Awards as outstanding breeder, campaigned horses of the year Quiet Resolve and Soaring Free, and won Queen’s Plates with Scatter the Gold and Dancethruthedawn.

She also was a member of several industry groups, including the Jockey Club of Canada and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and was on Woodbine’s board of directors.

Her son, Michael Balaz, and husband, Rick Balaz, spoke separately in accepting her award as an inductee in the builders category.

In addition to the Queen’s Plate, Dancetthruthedawn won the Woodbine Oaks and was Canada’s champion 3-year-old filly in 2001. She became a Grade 1 winner the following season in Saratoga’s Go for Wand and was inducted in the female horse category.

Mark Samuel, son of the late Ernie Samuel, accepted on the filly’s behalf and addressed Frostad in some of his remarks.

“Somehow it’s fitting that you and my sister, Tammy, have both been inducted in the same year,” he said. “You were such a great partnership, together.”

Samuel also pointed out that Dancethruthedawn was continuing a remarkable family tradition as her dam, Dance Smartly; granddam, Classy ‘n Smart; and great granddam, No Class, have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Touch Gold, in the male horse category, and Square Angel, veteran horse, were the other Thoroughbred inductees.

Purchased for $375,000 as a yearling by Stronach Stable, who later sold an interest to Stonerside Stable, Touch Gold put an end to Silver Charm’s Triple Crown bid by winning the 1997 Belmont.

Elfriede Stronach, wife of Frank Stronach, was among the Adena Springs North contingent at the ceremony and made the acceptance speech. Touch Gold is standing at stud at Adena Springs New York.

Square Angel won the 1973 Woodbine Oaks, defeating the prohibitive favorite La Prevoyante, and was Canada’s champion 3-year-old filly that year.

Her impact was even greater in the breeding shed as Square Angel was the dam and granddam of several top horses, including Kamar, Canada’s champion 3-year-old filly of 1979, and foaled Queen’s Plate winner Key to the Moon.

Entering the Canadian Horseracing Hall of Fame in the Thoroughbred legends category were breeder Lily A. Livingstone and jockey Thomas Burns.

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, which is located at Woodbine, is a dual-breed facility.

Owner/breeder Robert Burgess, driver Steve Condren, the trotter Westgate Crown, and pacers Burning Point, Silver Reign, and Invitro were elected this year.

Owner W.J. Hyatt and pacer The Eel were inducted as Standardbred legends.