05/11/2005 12:00AM

Cool Reception one of three enshrined


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Cool Reception, who is regarded as one of the best Canadian racehorses of all time, is one of this year's Thoroughbred racing inductees into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Cool Reception, who died two days after his second-place finish to Damascus in the 1967 Belmont, was honored along with Norcliffe and owner, breeder, and racetrack executive David Willmot as one of three inductees from Thoroughbred racing at a formal ceremony here at the Hall of Fame site Wednesday.

Those three nominees gained induction after receiving at least 75 percent of the votes from the 16 members of the election committee.

It also was announced that Anita's Son would be inducted, as the choice of the veterans committee, at this year's gala awards dinner at the nearby Toronto Congress Centre on Aug. 25.

Cool Reception, owned by Joan Reid and the late Margaret Seitz and trained through all but his first two career starts by Lou Cavalaris, fractured a cannon bone in his right foreleg during the running of the Belmont. After undergoing apparently successful surgery the following Monday, Cool Reception shattered the same leg in an accident and had to be euthanized.

Cool Reception was Canada's champion 2-year-old in 1966, when he won seven straight races, including the Cup and Saucer and Coronation Futurity here at Woodbine.

At 3, Cool Reception won Woodbine's Marine and finished second in the Derby Trial. In all, he won 10 of 18 starts and was in the money 15 times.

Norcliffe was Canada's Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male in 1976 following a campaign that included victories in the Queen's Plate at Woodbine and Prince of Wales at Fort Erie. Owned by Col. Charles Baker and trained by Roger Attfield, Norcliffe also was Canada's champion older male in 1977. He retired to stud with 14 wins and 25 in-the-money finishes from 33 starts.

Willmot and his father, the late D.G. Willmot, made their mark on racing and breeding under the banner of the powerful Kinghaven Farm. Kinghaven's highlights include back-to-back Canadian Triple Crown and Horse of the Year honors, with With Approval in 1989 and Izvestia in 1990. Kinghaven's numerous other Sovereign Award achievements include Horse of the Year titles with Play the King and Alywow, five awards as outstanding owner, and nine awards as outstanding breeder.

Willmot, the chairman and chief executive officer of Woodbine Entertainment Group, has been widely recognized for his accomplishments within the industry and was the first Canadian to be president of Harness Tracks of America. In recent years, Willmot also has become active as a Standardbred owner and was a partner in Canadian champions Cabrini Hanover and Southwind Allaire.

Anita's Son, whose career began in 1958, won 16 stakes on the Ontario circuit and finished second or third in nine others for owner Jim Boylen's Lanson Farm.

* The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame will also add four Standardbred inductees this year. Trainer Stew Firlotte and trotters Glorys Comet and Garland Lobell were elected, and Armbro Omaha comes in via the veterans committee.