08/16/2011 12:20PM

Touch Gold heads Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame's 2011 class

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Touch Gold wins the 1997 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Touch Gold, winner of a particularly memorable running of the Belmont Stakes in 1997, will have a contingent of Team Stronach supporters on hand Thursday when he is inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

The Mississsauga Convention Centre again will be the site of the annual induction ceremonies and fund-raising dinner for the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, a dual-breed facility that is located here at Woodbine.

Touch Gold was the choice as the male horse inductee by the Hall of Fame’s election committee, who selected from the nominating committee’s three candidates in each of five categories.

The late Tammy Samuel-Balaz, of Sam-Son Farm; trainer Mark Frostad, who has trained for Sam-Son since 1994; and Dancethruthedawn, a homebred whom Frostad trained for the famed Canadian outfit; also are among the Thoroughbred inductees along with Square Angel.

Touch Gold, who raced at Woodbine as a 2-year-old with trainer Danny Vella, was sent to David Hoffmans at Santa Anita the following year.

After winning Keeneland’s Grade 2 Lexington, Touch Gold bypassed the Kentucky Derby and finished a troubled fourth, beaten just 1 1/2 lengths, in the Preakness before putting an end to Silver Charm’s Triple Crown bid in the Belmont.

Touch Gold then completed a Grade 1 double in Monmouth’s Haskell Invitational and finished the season with earnings of more than $1.5 million.

The Kentucky-bred Touch Gold also has enjoyed a successful career at stud for Team Stronach and currently stands at Adena Springs New York. His progeny include Grade 1 winners Seek Gold, Composure, Midas Eyes, and Mass Media.

Samuel-Balaz, who died in 2008 at age 47, was inducted in the builder’s category. She took over as Sam-Son Farm’s president and general manager in 2000 following the death of her father, Sam-Son founder Ernie Samuel.

Frostad, inducted in the jockey/trainer category, has won three Sovereign Awards as outstanding trainer and conditioned Canadian champions Chief Bearhart, Quiet Resolve, and Soaring Free.

Dancethruthedawn, the female horse inductee, won the 2001 Woodbine Oaks and came back 15 days later to win the Queen’s Plate en route to a divisional championship. At age 4, she became a Grade 1 stakes winner in the Go for Wand at Saratoga.

Square Angel, Canada’s champion 3-year-old filly in 1973, was inducted in the veteran’s category. The Canadian-bred also was a force in the breeding shed, with her offspring including Canadian champion Kamar, who in turn produced multiple Grade 1 stakes winner Gorgeous and Queen’s Plate winner Key to the Moon.

Others who will be honored Thursday include Lily A. Livingstone and Thomas Burns, both of whom are entering the Hall of Fame as the choices of the veterans committee.

◗ Items from the evening’s silent auction are available for viewing at canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com and bidding will begin with the commencement of the cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m. A live auction also will be held.

Featured offerings include a season to Langfuhr, donated by Gustav Schickedanz; and a halter worn by Sadler’s Wells, donated by Reade Baker.