07/18/2001 11:00PM

Sam-Son: Fear its power, love its effort


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Sam-Son Farm, the breeder and owner of Queen's Plate winner, Dancethruthedawn, has become such a power in Canadian racing that a portion of the crowd automatically cheers for the opposition.

They see Sam-Son much the same way that the New York Yankees are viewed - skilled, powerful, and forever at or near the top of their game. They want to see a David slay Goliath. This attitude saddens Tammy Samuel-Balaz, who took over as head of the Sam-Son organization after her father Ernie Samuel died last year.

"I hate to think that people actually do that," said Samuel-Balaz at the post-position draw for the Prince of Wales Stakes. "We have such an incredible team behind all those horses. To say that you are going to root against the horses is doing a disservice to [the team]."

Samuel-Balaz wasn't aware of any negative feelings during the Plate victory. "All I can remember at the time was leading [Dancethruthedawn] into the winner's circle and being asked to bring her by the stands. The people wanted to see her. And they erupted with applause.

"We're proud of her and our team and what they are doing. And I really hope that people will cheer for them because of the huge effort that goes into it. Dad started the breeding program 30 years ago. It's been many generations of horses and a lot of hard work and serious planning. It's not like we've just gone out and bought a horse and start running them. It was dad's number one love."

Ernie Samuel was a builder. In 1962, at the age of 29, he assumed the presidency of Samuel, Son, & Co., a family-owned one-plant metals company. Today it's the seventh largest processor and distributor of metal products in North America and operates from 19 locations in Canada, 25 in the U.S., and one in Australia.

Although Sam-Son is a giant in Canadian racing, with two farms and a large racing operation, it is small compared to the big U.S. outfits, which may own up to 300 broodmares.

"We have some 30 broodmares in our breeding operation and we're looking to foal anywhere from 18 to 25 yearlings a year," said Sam-Son trainer Mark Frostad. "To have the success that they have had year after year is a testament to the great broodmare band that Ernie assembled. He never sold the top mares and it's paying off now."

Sam-Son, which has amassed 45 Sovereign Awards over the years, has already captured seven stakes this year. The outfit will be after two more Sunday, the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie, and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy Stakes at Woodbine, where Quiet Resolve, last year's Canadian horse of the year, will be looking to repeat last year's victory.

There's not likely to be much rooting against Sam-Son on Sunday. Against International competition, Canadians are known to band together. In the Prince of Wales, the American-based Wild Years, although a Canadian-bred, could be considered a powerful invader. He's fresh from a 22-length maiden allowance win on June 25 at Belmont Park.

Wild Year's trainer, James Bond, stated that the only 3-year-old he feared in North America was Point Given.