11/16/2007 12:00AM

Ellie Boje Farm enjoying solid season

EmailThe year 2007 for Canadian-bred horses will be remembered mostly for the exploits of a trio of Grade 1 winners who made their country's horsepeople proud.

Jambalaya, bred by Gus Schickedanz of Schomberg, Ontario, and raced by Kingfield Farms, became the first Canadian-bred winner of the Arlington Million; Sky Conqueror, owned and bred by Bill Sorokolit, won the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day; and Maryfield, bred and sold by Mike Carroll and John Harvey Jr., won the inaugural running of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

There were dozens of other successful breeding stories from Canada during the season.

Joe and Ellen MacLellan's Ellie Boje Farm, located in eastern Ontario in Spencerville, did a lot with a handful of mares and racehorses.

In a list published this week by Thoroughbred Times through Equineline, Ellie Boje was the leading breeder of Ontario-bred runners by average earnings per starter. The farm's five starters earned more than $460,000, an average of more than $93,000.

Leading the pack was multiple stakes winner Rahy's Attorney (Crown Attorney-Rahy's Hope, by Rahy) who won the Vice Regent and Bunty Lawless stakes on turf this year.

The MacLellan's got involved in breeding racehorses soon after setting up their farm in 1993 through Bob Anderson, who guided them toward their mare purchases.

"Our first mare cost $7,500 and we sold the weanling the next year for $60,000 - we thought there was nothing to this," said Joe MacLellan. "It was a few years before we said that again."

Breeding strictly to sell, the couple had a modicum of success before Ellen was called back to full-time work at Health Canada.

"That was the end of our breeding business," said Joe, who has been confined to a wheelchair since breaking his back in a car accident years ago. "We decided to keep our horses and form a syndicate."

With his mother, Jean, brother Jim, and friends Mitch Peters and Dean Read on board, the couple burst onto the scene with trainer Ian Black in 2007, first with Rahy's Attorney and then with Glitter Rox, who recently placed in a stakes.

Glitter Rox, a Glitterman homebred, started out as a headache for the team, Her nervous and fractious tendencies caused her to fracture her withers early in her training.

"I read about this infrasound therapy that can calm horses and I bought one right away," Joe said. "She's had a complete turnaround."

The MacLellans do not have any mares currently but plan on getting back to the breeding business soon.

"I call the business a sickness that has no cure," Joe said. "We plan on buying at the upcoming Keeneland January sale."

Snowden breeding mares in Canada

Hal "Bubba" Snowden Jr. was in the news last month when the legendary John Henry, a horse he once owned, passed away at the age of 32.

Snowden, a native of Kentucky, is keen these days on breeding and racing his horses in Ontario.

"There are two reasons that brought me to Ontario and Woodbine," Snowden said. "The purses are very high for a wide variety of races that it offers. There is a lot on the menu in the condition book.

"I was also looking for a good place to race and market horses for sales, and Ontario has a super Ontario sire program and breeders' awards program."

Snowden sold his first yearlings in Ontario in September, including a Hold That Tiger filly for $72,000.

He had eight mares produce foals at Windfields Farm this year. At Woodbine in 2007, he raced the promising 2-year-old fillies Poco Uno (by E Dubai) and his Ontario homebred Dixieland Heat filly Bold 'n Trashy.