05/06/2011 12:00PM

Sam-Son leads Canadian Hall of Fame candidates


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Sam-Son Farm, one of the most successful racing and breeding operations in the history of Canadian racing, is well represented on the 2011 list of nominees for induction into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

The organization announced Friday that ballots are being sent out to the 20 members of the election committee, who will select from three nominees who were determined by the nominating committee, in each of five categories.

Sam-Son has at least one nominee in each group, with the late Tammy Samuel-Balaz on the builder’s slate; Quiet Resolve and Soaring Free listed for male horse; Dancethruthedawn for female horse; Imperial Choice and Ruling Angel in the veterans category; and longtime trainer Mark Frostad on the jockey/trainer list.

Eight votes are necessary for induction, and in a case where two candidates tie with that number both will be inducted. In the event of a 7-7-6 split there would be a runoff vote.

The inductees will be announced on May 17 and the winners honored on Aug. 18 at the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame’s annual fundraising gala at the nearby Mississauga Convention Centre.

Samuel-Balaz, who died in January of 2008 at age 47 following a lengthy series of battles with breast cancer, had taken over as the president and general manager of Sam-Son following the death of her father, Ernie Samuel, in May of 2000. She also served in several industry positions and was a director of the family business.

Joining Samuel-Balaz on the builder list are the late Aubrey Minshall, founder of Minshall Farm, and Bruce Walker, former publicity director for the Ontario Jockey Club (now Woodbine Entertainment Group) and a winner of four Sovereign Awards in writing categories.

Quiet Resolve was Canada’s horse of the year in 2000 and Soaring Free followed suit in 2004. Both geldings took home Sovereign Awards as champion turf male in those respective years.

Soaring Free also was Canada’s champion sprinter in 2003.

Quiet Resolve won 10 of 31 starts and more $2.3 million while Soaring Free won 15 of 37 and more than $2.1 million.

Touch Gold, winner of the Grade 1 Belmont and Haskell International in 1997, is the third male horse nominee. He currently is enjoying a successful career at stud.

Dancethruthedawn won the Woodbine Oaks and Queen’s Plate in 2001 and became a Grade 1 stakes winner in Sarotoga’s Go for Wand the following season.

Her rivals in the female horse category are Arravale, Canada’s Horse of the Year and champion turf female in 2006 after winning Woodbine’s Grade 1 E.P. Taylor and the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, and One for Rose, winner of three consecutive Sovereigns in the older female division.

Imperial Choice, the only Sam-Son nominee who was not homebred, was Canada’s horse of the year in 1985, and Ruling Angel took home the same title one year later.

Ruling Angel also was Canada’s champion 2-year-old filly in 1986, while Imperial Choice won Sovereign Awards in the 3-year-old male and turf horse categories in his horse of the year season. Both Imperial Choice and Ruling Angel were trained by Jim Day.

Square Angel was Canada’s champion 3-year-old filly in 1973, in the pre-Sovereign Award era, after winning three stakes including the Woodbine Oaks.

Her most serious claim to fame, however, has come as a broodmare through exploits of fillies and mares such as Kamar, Love Smitten, and Stellarette and their respective offspring.

Frostad started training for Sam-Son in 1994 and, in addition to training four horses of the year and a host of divisional champions, has been voted outstanding trainer in 1997, 1999 and 2000 and continues to enjoy a high profile.

Phil England also remains active at Woodbine, but on a much smaller and relatively anonymous scale. His r é sum é includes Sovereign Awards as Canada’s outstanding trainer and as the trainer of horses of the year Afleet (1987), Benburb (1992), and Thornfield (1999).

Mickey Walls, an Eclipse Award-winning apprentice and a Sovereign Award winner in both the apprentice and journeyman divisions, is the third nominee in the category.

His continuing battle with weight led Walls to retire in 2002 with 1,453 career wins for purses of more than $37 million. But he continues to his gallop horses at Woodbine, primarily for the stable of his father, trainer Joe Walls.