One of the most important figures in Ontario racing since Woodbine opened in 1956…



Charles Baker

Hall of Fame inductee – Builders 1993

The first horse to carry the red and blue silks of Charles (Bud) Baker’s Norcliffe Stable in the Queen’s Plate was aptly named Norcliffe. The bay colt won the 1976 Plate as the heavy favorite for the Chairman of the Board of the Ontario Jockey Club, a man with long and devoted history with equines, a history that dated back to his grandfather, The Reverend Dr. Edward Norcliffe Baker. The harness racing silks that Rev. Baker used in the 1870s while racing at local fairs in the Oakville area were made of the Union Jack flag. Born in 1920 in Toronto, Baker grew up riding ponies and hunting mounts. At age 19 he enlisted in the service. Twice wounded and three times mentioned in dispatches during European campaigns with the Canadian Armoured Corps, Baker reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

After the war he rejoined his father’s firm before forming his own outdoor advertising company in 1949. Concurrent with his business career, Baker pursued horses as a hobby, and sometimes as a full-time occupation. After the war he bought a horse by Archworth, the 1939 Plate winner, and started riding and hunting again. He was a member of Canada’s International Equestrian team (1948-1960) and Chef d’Equipe of Canada’s Olympic Games team, winning a bronze medal at the 1956 Olympics in Sweden and a gold medal at the 1959 Pan American Games. At Madison Square Garden he won the West Point Challenge Trophy on Starclift. In 1961 trainer Gord Huntley got Baker into thoroughbred racing. With his first runner Baker had a short-course on the luck of racing. The colt won his first two races and then was haltered out of a $10,000 claiming race. Baker later purchased yearlings, racing a small stable under the name of Norcliffe, the name of his farm and home in the hunt country around King, Ont. He often broke and galloped his own runners.

Elected as a director of the OJC in 1967, he was appointed Chairman of the Board in 1973, a position he held until 1991. Baker was excellently prepped for his new job, both in the spheres of horses and business. He was in the forefront of change in way the business was conducted by the OJC. He was first to broach Taylor with the thought of non-profit status in order to further enhance racing’s growth. Baker also encouraged President Jack Kenney’s innovative efforts to develop a modern pari- mutuel system, which is now in use around the world, and spearheaded international racing and sponsorship through the 1970s and 1980s. He was determined to bring the world’s finest horses to Woodbine. The inauguration of the $1 million North American Cup, Canada’s richest harness race, was largely due to his efforts after the concept was presented. Baker was a former Steward of the Jockey Club of Canada and a member of The Jockey Club, New York.


BAKER, Lt. Col. Charles Franklyn – At Norcliffe Farm on Tuesday, August 4, 2009. Born in Toronto June 10, 1920, Charles Baker was a man of unwavering character, fortitude and charm. He used these attributes to achieve success in his military career, business life and in his pursuit of his passion – horses.

He was also a devoted husband and always put his family first. He will be missed by a great many, but his achievements and legacy will live on. He is survived by his children Susanne (Bobby) Young, Charles Baker III and was married to the late Susanne Gaby Baker.

Founder and President, Ontario Outdoor Advertising, Ltd. and Airport Advertising V.I.P. Ltd. 1949 – held the advertising franchise for all Canadian air terminals from the Department of Transport. Chairman, Senior Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Committee: The Ontario Jockey Club and subsidiaries; The Fort Erie Jockey Club Ltd.; Greenwood Racing Club Ltd. 1973-93. Director of Holt Renfrew and Co. Ltd.; The Quaker Oats Co. of Canada Ltd.; Ritz Carlton Hotel Co. of Montreal Ltd.; The Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America; AGF Special Fund Limited. President, Director and Member of The Executive Committee of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Member of The Board of Trustees of The Govenor General’s Horse Guards. Steward, The Jockey Club of Canada. Member, The Jockey Club, New York

Inductee the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 1993. Member of Canada’s International Equestrian Team 1948-60; Chef d’Equipe of Canada’s Olympic Team; Bronze medal 1956 (Olympics); Gold Medal 1959 Pan-American Games. Honorable Mention Rome Olympics 1960. Canadian Armoured Corps, Governor General’s Horse Guards, 1940, overseas as Lieutenant; served in Italy, France, Belgium and Holland. Twice wounded, three times mentioned in dispatches; demobilized in 1945 and retired as Lt. Colonel.

A graveside service will be held at Mount Pleasant Cemetery on Friday, August 7, 2009 at 10:30 a.m.

Followed by a reception at Norcliffe Farm, 13700 Dufferin Street, King City at two o’clock. Condolences and memories may be forwarded through


$62,500 claim wins stake


JOCKS are high the saddle but the wire is nearing. DRUNKEN LOVE (middle) wins the SHEPPERTON last night at Woodbine. Thanks as always to NORM FILES for his super photos. See all of his stuff from many different tracks at

DRUNKEN LOVE, claimed by Tallyho Racing and trainer Norm McKnight on June 21 is 2 for 2 for the new barn and both wins were in stakes.

Last night, the 4yo Whiskey Wisdom – No Sugar Tonight gelding, bred by Rise ‘n Shine Stable, rallied off the fleet Stuck in Traffic and won a 3 horse photo at the wire.

Gerry Olguin, in the midst of an astonishing season after so many troubles in 2008, rode the winner.

DRUNKEN LOVE was bought privately by Bud Malette and trainer Terry Jordan in 2008 deom Mark Casse.

The gelding was 2nd in the Kenora Stakes and he won his ’09 opener for no tag.

After the 4th place finish in the New Providence, he was dangled in for the tagm lost to Lake Secret, and changed barns.

It was the 7th win in 18 races for the gelding.

SAND COVE, overbet at  9 to 5 in the race and DANCER’S BAJAN were both outrun and thetrime was a sizzling 1:15. 56 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

“We were hoping someone would go to the lead and it would set up for a nice, stalking trip,” said McKnight, of the game plan. “We were a little concerned about the distance, but Gerry gave him a great ride and

we got there.”

On claiming the gelding:

“Actually, it was my son, Bradley, who is my assistant, that suggested we give him a look,” explained McKnight. “He said, ‘What about this one?’ We decided to claim him and mapped out a plan in terms of where we could race him. It’s worked out well.”


ALMOSTOUTHEBLUE gave trainer Terry Jordan win no, 24 on the meeting when he doubled up for $12,500 claiming. He is a British Columbia bred by Stephanotis.

Interesting in that race – LONG PANTS, dropping from ONtario sired allowance to $12,500 was 15 to 1!!

BOBBY FRANKEL won his 2nd race of the Woodbine meeting with EAGLE POISE, a Juddmonte Farms homebred by Empire Maker out of Reams of Verse. The 3yo colt had won his maiden in his previous race on Polytrack, was bloasted in a lone grass race, but took the 1 3/8 miles turf jaunt last night by 3/4 of a length under Todd Kabel.

More longshots in race 3 – 8 to 1 IT’S RIDICULOUS, by Tactical Cat, took his first ever win on the grass in his 4th attempt. The grey 4yo, trained by John Mattine for Howard Walton had been 2nd in a $37,500 claiming race in June on the grass and 4th in a similar race last time.

A nice prospect won the 5th race – FABRIC, an Elajjud filly owned by D. John Brown’s Spring Farm, who also bred, rallied inside to win the maiden allowance at 7 furlongs in only her 3rd career start.

aug7fab1.jpgFABRIC puts everything into her races. Norm Files photo.

“Since her first work she knew what she was supposed to do,” said winning trainer Bev CHubb. “Her first race she freaked out by the big crowd, it was Woodbine Oaks day so now we keep her away from the walking ring.”


MARKO MESIC – had MORO MOO freshened since June and the honest 5yo mare was lowered to $11,500 claiming (a new low in the last year) and she won a roughtly run 7 furlong event after crashing back and forth with runner-up LADYINBLUE.

Mesic was 0 for 22 at Woodbine heading into last night.

PHIL ENGLAND, champion trainer, also won his first race of the year when SEDONA MISS just barely got up to win a close photo in the finale, a maiden claimer for $12,500. The Sky mesa Ontario bred, a half sister to stakes winner Sweetest Thing, lost at odds on in a route race last time and then paid off nicely last night on the turn-back to 7 furlongs and her time was fast. MALLORY led all the way for trainer Peter Berringer and just got edged at the wire.



Presious Passion gets good Arlington Million post, but Gio Ponti and Einstein are favored

By Neil Milbert Special for the Tribune

The post position draw for Saturday’s Arlington Million XXVII puts Presious Passion in an ideal position to follow the front-running trail to the winner’s circle that Spirit One blazed last year.

Presious Passion has acquired a passion for running on the lead. In winning last month’s Grade I United Nations Stakes in Monmouth Park grass course record time of 2:10.97 for 1 3/8 miles the 6-year-old gelding led by 20 lengths at the half-mile call.

While it seems inconceivable he will be able to get that far in front of his eight opponents in the 1 1/4 -mile Million, the No. 2 post position that he drew Tuesday seems tailor-made for him to flaunt his extraordinary early speed.

However, at Monmouth, Presious Passion didn’t have to cope with Einstein and Gio Ponti, the top-ranked male horses (and the third and fourth choices overall) in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s weekly poll.

Einstein is a versatile horse whose forte is striking from just off the pace. Gio Ponti, on the other hand, excels in coming from behind and his stretch-running ability has enabled him to win three straight Grade I races.,0,4578672.story



by Vanessa Ng, through










In town for the Duchess is SHE’S EXTREME,  stakes placed Unbridled’s Song filly trained by Grey Foley. Riding that filly is MIGUEL MENA, who was in the Times Union news this week written by Tim Wilkin:

Jockey Miguel Mena, winner of the July 30 Sanford Stakes aboard the Tom Amoss-trained Backtalk, will return to Kentucky Thursday. Mena’s hopes for a solid first meet at Saratoga were dashed when a drinking problem caused him to miss his flight to Mountaineer Race Track last Saturday and he conceded his mount aboard Soul Warrior, winner of the $750,000 West Virginia Derby. Today is Mena’s last day in New York; he’ll resume racing at Ellis Park over the weekend and will begin an intense outpatient treatment program for alcoholism, said his agent, Steve Elzey.