08/25/2008 11:00PM

Tiller leads Hall inductees


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Bob Tiller, who is in the midst of his 37th season as a trainer here at Woodbine, will be at the nearby Mississauga Convention Centre on Thursday evening for his induction into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Tiller, elected in the category that includes trainers and jockeys, will join fellow Thoroughbred inductees Smart Strike (male horse), Wilderness Song (female horse), and Lou Cauz, managing director of the Hall of Fame, who is entering in the category that includes breeders, owners, media, and industry executives.

The inductees were chosen through the votes of 20 members of a selection committee who were asked to vote for one of the three candidates in each category as determined by a nominating committee. To be inducted, a minimum of eight votes was required.

Tiller, 58, has sent out 1,478 winners and 110 stakes winners since beginning his career in 1972.

He trained Win City, Canada's Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old in 2003, and Sovereign Award winners Rare Friends and Simply Lovely.

In addition, Tiller himself took home Sovereign Awards as outstanding trainer in 2001, 2003, and 2004 and was Woodbine's leading trainer in 1994, 1997, 2001, and 2003.

Smart Strike, a Sam-Son Farm homebred, had a brief but very successful career as a racehorse, winning 6 of 8 starts and $337,376 with his finest hour a victory in Monmouth's Grade 1 Iselin in 1996 for trainer Mark Frostad.

His career at stud has been remarkable, as Smart Strike's progeny set a North American record with earnings exceeding $14.3 million last year, with his top runners including champions Curlin and English Channel.

Wilderness Song, also a Sam-Son homebred, won 15 of 37 starts and $1,248,734 in a career that ended in 1993.

Trained by Jim Day, Wilderness Song became Sam-Son's first Grade 1 stakes winner when she won Keeneland's Spinster in 1991.

Wilderness Song, often overshadowed by her contemporary stablemate Dance Smartly, was Canada's champion older female in 1992.

Cauz was one of the driving forces in the creation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, which was launched in 1976, and also is Woodbine's official historian and archivist.

He was the recipient of the first Sovereign Award for feature writing following publication of his book "The Plate: A Royal Tradition" and currently is working on a follow-up covering the last 25 runnings of the Queen's Plate.

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, which is located here at Woodbine, is a dual-breed facility. Four Standardbred inductees also will be honored on Thursday evening.