05/25/2006 11:00PM

Windways Farm to be honored


Jeff Begg's Windways Farm will receive the Breeder of the Year Award for 2005 at the Ontario Division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's annual awards dinner on June 19 at the Verdi Hospitality Centre in Etobicoke.

Also honored at the dinner will be all Ontario breeders of stakes winners last year. In a change from previous years, this year there will not be a recipient of the Mint Julep Cup, an award for lifetime contribution to the local industry.

Windways bred last year's Queen's Plate winner, Wild Desert - a son of Wild Rush out of Desert Radiance - who earned $759,000 in his 3-year-old campaign.

Desert Radiance was sold by Windways last fall for $50,000 in foal to Northern Afleet.

Another stakes winner in 2005 bred by the farm is Charming Ruckus, who raced in the green, black, and white colors of Windways.

Charming Ruckus, a gray filly by Silver Charm out of Tobie Ruckus, won the Jammed Lovely Stakes last fall and was third in the Grade 3 Selene Stakes in the spring.

Windways homebreds won 12 races from 85 starts last year and had purse earnings of $1,222,877 placing the farm eighth behind Adena Springs.

Horses wanted

Small fields continue to plague Woodbine this spring but local horsemen are trying to raise the numbers by continuing to pick up 2-year-olds at American sales.

Trainer Mike Doyle, who is off to a fast start in 2006, scooped up a full brother to his Queen's Plate hopeful Pyramid Park at the recent Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile sale in Timonium, Md. The Tethra-Heavenley Lark colt was consigned by M & H Training and Sales Agency and was purchased by Doyle for $43,000.

Stuart Hyman's Shyman Stables bought three Kentucky-bred juveniles - by Songandaprayer, Malabar Gold, and Holy Bull.

Quinn a horseman of many skills

The job of a farm manager is one of the toughest in the Thoroughbred industry, and if running a large breeding operation is not enough, Rodney Quinn also trains at Woodbine.

Quinn, 36, is a relative newcomer to farm management and oversees Frank Maida's sizable Pedigree Farm, just north of Nobleton, Ontario. He also trains some of the farm's runners as well as two of his own.

"I was born into horses," said Quinn, adding that his dad was a jockey at Picov Downs, a Quarter Horse track in Ajax, Ontario.

Quinn took up riding at a young age, participating in eventing and hunter-jumper classes while spending his spare time cleaning stalls at a neighboring farm.

He drove Standardbred horses for a spell before leaving horses to become a plumber.

But the horses drew Quinn back and he took out his Quarter Horse trainer license at Picov Downs before moving to Florida to learn more about the Thoroughbred business.

After working for Doug Cauthen and Woodbine-based trainer Ian Howard, Quinn headed back to Canada where he held prominent positions at Colebrook and Arosa farms.

"I've tried to gain a lot of knowledge along the way," said Quinn. "I worked for a lot of old-school horsemen, but I also try to keep up on new trends."

These days Quinn gallops and trains 11 Pedigree horses and his own runners at Woodbine before going to the farm where he foals mares, gallops the Pedigree horses in training, and does most of the shipping.

"I would not have made it this far without my help at the farm, that's the best part of my job," said Quinn, who has a half-dozen full-time employees.

"And I'd like to make a mark training at Woodbine one day. Horses are my children, they are my life."