Updated on 09/17/2011 2:48PM

Industry titans have Oaks reps


Four of Canada's all-time leading breeders are represented in Sunday's $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks, the nine-furlong classic race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

The smallest field in 11 years will start, but what the race lacks in quantity, it makes up in pedigree power.

Elizabeth Samuel's Sam-Son Farms, which owns six Oaks trophies and has started fillies in 26 editions of the race, sends out the undefeated Smart Strike filly Eye of the Sphynx, the ninth foal of stakes winner Queen of Egypt, who finished seventh in the 1995 Oaks.

Other fillies in Eye of the Sphynx's immediate pedigree have tried the Oaks, including Roman Briar, who was fifth in 1989.

John and Glenn Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Farms is the breeder of a fast and undefeated Oaks entrant, Hong Kong Dancer, a Tejano Run filly from the stakes-placed mare Token Gift, a beautifully bred daughter of Lyphard and a descendant of the blue hen mare Toll Booth.

Hong Kong Dancer was a $32,000 yearling purchase from the 2002 Fasig Tipton Woodbine sale by Peter Ho.

Frank Stronach's Adena Springs, breeder of the 1999 Oaks winner, Touch Dial, produced this year's Oaks entrant Silver Bird, owned by Jim McAlpine.

Silver Bird is a daughter of the Adena Springs stallion Lit de Justice and is the sixth foal from the Grade 1-winning mare Family Enterprize. Both the sire and dam of Silver Bird were at their best in sprint races.

Gus Schickedanz, in partnership with Paul and Tina Coulter, is the breeder of My Vintage Port, a bargain yearling purchase at $8,500.

My Vintage Port is from the first crop of Schickedanz's stallion Porto Foricos, a son of Mr. Prospector, from the winning mare My Intended, a half-sister to stakes winner Silver Taler.

George Strawbridge, a longtime supporter of the Canadian breeding industry, just missed winning the 1995 Oaks with homebred Autumn Slew. He appeared to have a good chance to win his first Canadian classic with Nashinda, a full sister to the 1998 Queen's Plate winner, Archers Bay, but she will miss the race with a bruised foot.

Strawbridge bought Nashinda's dam, Adorned, for $350,000 in foal to Bold Ruckus at the Windfields Farm dispersal in 1996. Nashinda is the fifth foal the mare has produced for Strawbridge.

Schickedanz, Jones honored

Schickedanz will be honored by the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario division) as its 2003 Breeder of the Year at the annual Awards Dinner on June 18.

Schickedanz bred Wando, the Canadian Triple Crown winner of 2003 and the country's Horse of the Year.

Phil Jones, who launched the International Thoroughbred Digest with his late wife Vivienne in 1981, will be presented the Mint Julep Cup, sponsored by The Blood-Horse and presented annually to an individual who makes a lifetime contribution to the horse industry.