08/28/2003 11:00PM

Newest Canadian Hall inductees honored


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Some of the greatest moments in this country's Thoroughbred racing history were celebrated Thursday evening when He's a Smoothie, Carotene, and trainer Roy Johnson were inducted into the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

A crowd of about 400 gathered at the Toronto Congress Centre, located close to Woodbine, to honor the 2003 inductees.

Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron, now an executive at Santa Anita, was the guest speaker. McCarron also played the part of jockey Charley Kurtsinger and was technical director and race designer for the movie "Seabiscuit."

The late Frank Selke Jr., an important breeder in Ontario and Quebec, and the late Jim Proudfoot, a longtime Toronto Star columnist who was a fixture at Ontario racetracks, were the other inductees on the Thoroughbred racing side. The talented pacer and top sire Camluck, and Murray Brown, a public relations director, sales executive, and breeding expert, were the Standardbred inductees.

He's a Smoothie probably is best remembered for his thrilling victory in Woodbine's Canadian International during his Canadian Horse of the Year campaign in 1967. He also was Canada's champion older horse in 1967 and 1968, the same year he won the Hialeah Turf Cup.

Warren Beasley, trainer of He's a Smoothie and son of the horse's late owner and breeder, Bill Beasley, was on hand to accept the Hall of Fame ring from former jockey Sam McComb, who was aboard for the Canadian International triumph.

Carotene won six Sovereign Awards, including three straight as champion turf horse, between 1986 and 1988.

Owned and bred by Kinghaven Farm and trained by Roger Attfield, Carotene defeated males on several notable occasions, including the Grade 1 Pan American Handicap at Gulfstream in 1988, and won Santa Anita's Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon in 1987.

David Willmot, a Kinghaven principal and now president and CEO of the Woodbine Entertainment Group, accepted the Hall of Fame honor on Carotene's behalf.

Johnson, who began his career as a jockey, later became the first trainer to win the Queen's Plate with a horse bred in western Canada, sending out Whistling Sea to win Canada's most prestigious race in 1965.

Three years later, Johnson was back in the Queen's Plate winner's circle with Merger, who remains just the second western Canadian-bred to win the Canadian classic.

Johnson, was based here at Woodbine from 1959 through 1979, then returned to Calgary, Alberta, where he trained for 10 more years before retiring.

Johnson, 76, who still resides in Calgary, was on hand for Thursday's induction.