London region has four of 10 horse racing hall of fame inductees
Published Friday, May 15, 2015 6:08PM EDT
The London region is home to four of this year’s inductees to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
The hall was established in 1976 and has a ceremony each year to honour those who have made a substantial contribution to harness racing and thoroughbred horse racing.
The late London writer Harry Eisen is an honouree this year, along with the late St. Thomas thoroughbred breeder and owner Bob Anderson, Woodstock standardbred driver and trainer Bill Gale and broodmare J Cs Nathalie, owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll.
The induction ceremony will take place in Mississauga on August 5.
Eisen loved the sport and was a pioneer of horse racing journalism in Ontario, spending most of his career at The London Free Press.
His column, Mostly About Horses was widely read.
The tales about Eisen were legendary as he was also a handicapper of extraordinary ability. He was well known at the tracks across Ontario.
Eisen once said he went to his first horse race when he was only three or four years old. He sold tip sheets at Dufferin Park Racetrack as a youngster.
He was inducted to the Western Fair Raceway Hall of Fame in 1980, the first non-horseperson to be inducted.
He was a longtime owner of Anderson Farms in St. Thomas and was involved with breeding, racing and selling both thoroughbred and standardbred horses for more than 40 years.
He bred and matured over 1,400 horses including champions Pinafore Park, Larkwhistle, and Prince Avatar. Some of the sires he bred included Ascot Knight, National Assembly and Alydeed.
Anderson once told me the secret to success is to pay for quality.
"I very seldom regretted buying quality. Sometimes it's worth reaching a little bit."
He was a leading driver in Canada for a three-decade period, beginning in the 1970s.
He had 16 consecutive seasons earning more than $1 million.
Gale won many big races including a pair of Breeders Crown championships. He drove King Conch to a World Record 1:56.2 in the two-year-old trotting colt category.
In 1991, Gale won an O’Brien Award as Canada’s top driver.
J Cs Nathalie
Owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, this mare produced two million-dollar earners - Dreamfair Vogel and Dreamfair Eternal.
J Cs Nathalie will join her daughter, Dreamfair Eternal, in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
Dreamfair Eternal won an O’Brien as Canada’s horse of the year in 2010 and received her induction to the hall last year.
J Cs Nathalie has produced 13 horses and 11 of them together have banked more than $4.5 million in purse earnings.