08/29/2008 12:00AM

Tiller touched by induction to Canadian Hall


MISSISSAUGA, Ontario - Robert Tiller, one of Canada's all-time leading trainers with more than 1,400 victories, was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame at the 32nd annual dinner and ceremony Thursday evening at the Mississauga Convention Center.

Tiller was one of four members of the Thoroughbred industry inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Louis Cauz, who entered the builder category for those who have made lasting contributuions to the industry, and top Canadian-bred horses Smart Strike and Wilderness Song.

"It is an unbelievable, great feeling, I'm so very touched," said Tiller. "Respect is the best thing you can get in this game and it feels great that this game has respect for me."

Tiller credited fellow trainers Glenn Magnusson, John Calhoun, and Lou Cavalaris, plus longtime owner, client, and friend Frank DiGiulio Jr. and Woodbine Entertainment for his successes, which include three Sovereign Awards. He also credited his wife, Gail.

"This is a game of details," said Tiller. "You have to pay attention to every detail when it comes to the horse."

Cauz, the curator of the Hall of Fame who was instrumental in finding the physical home for the Hall at Woodbine 12 years ago, has been a journalist and author and is known as a leading historian of horse racing in Ontario.

Smart Strike, bred and owned by Sam-Son Farms, was a Grade 1 stakes winner on the track and is considered one of the world's top stallions.

Standing for a fee of $150,000 at Lane's End in Versailles, Ky., Smart Strike is the sire of champions Curlin and English Channel, both Breeders' Cup winners last year, plus close to 50 other stakes winners.

Wilderness Song, also bred and raced by Sam-Son Farms, was a millionaire racehorse who raced in the same year as her Hall of Fame stablemate Dance Smartly.

A daughter of Wild Again, Wilderness Song's major triumphs included the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes at Keeneland. She was the first Grade 1 winner for Sam-Son.

She was voted Canada's champion older female in 1992 and won 15 of 37 races.

Also entering the Hall of Fame were standardbreds Peaceful Way, a champion trotting mare; Real Desire, a champion pacer and sire; plus builders Cliff Chapman Jr. and Pierre Levesque.