05/06/2008 11:00PM

Crown kings top nominees for Canadian Hall

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Wando and Peteski, the last two winners of the Canadian Triple Crown, head this year's list of Thoroughbred nominees eligible for induction to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

The Canadian racing Hall of Fame revamped its nomination and election procedures this year.

Three nominees for both Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds in each of an expanded four categories - male horses, female horses, persons (owners, trainers, and drivers), and veterans/builders (owners, breeders, media, and industry executives) - were presented to the election committees for consideration.

The election committees have been expanded from 16 to 20 members, who will vote for one nominee in each category. Any nominee who receives a minimum of eight votes will be inducted.

Wando won the Queen's Plate, Prince of Wales, and Breeders' Stakes in 2003 and retired two years later with a record of 11-2-2 and earnings of $2,566,060 from 23 starts.

His owner and breeder, Gustav Schickedanz, is one of the nominees in the veterans category. In addition to Wando, Schickedanz has owned and bred Canadian champions Langfuhr, Mobil, and Woodcarver.

Peteski romped through the Canadian triple in 1993 and retired that fall with a record of 7-2-1 and earnings of $1,287,866 from 11 starts.

Wando and Peteski both were voted Canada's Horse of the Year in their Triple Crown seasons.

The third male nominee, Smart Strike, won Monmouth's Grade 1 Iselin in 1996 and finished his career that fall with a record of 6-1-0 and $337,376 from 8 starts. Owned and bred by Sam-Son Farm, Smart Strike has gone on to be a very successful stallion, with his progeny including the mighty Curlin.

Alywow, Rainbow Connection, and Wilderness Song will present the voters with a difficult choice in the female horse category. Rainbow Connection and Alywow both finished second when facing males in editions of Woodbine's Grade 1 Canadian International, while Wilderness Song won the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland.

Alywow was Canada's Horse of the Year in 1994.

Trainers Bob Tiller, David Forster, and Robert A. "Red" McKenzie are the finalists in the persons category.

Tiller, 58, won Sovereign Awards as outstanding trainer in 2001, 2003, and 2004 and remains a major player at Woodbine.

Forster, 71, is plying his trade at Hastings, while McKenzie, 81, is based in Alberta.

Joining Schickedanz in the veterans/builders category are Bruce Walker, former publicity director of the Ontario Jockey Club, and Lou Cauz, a racing writer who is Woodbine's archivist and managing director of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

The inductees will be announced May 20 and will be honored at this year's gala on Aug. 28 at the nearby Mississauga Convention Centre.