Thoroughblog’s TOP TEN LIST on its homepage will be updated by week’s end to this:


Queen’s Plate Top Ten

1. State of Honor
2. Tiz a Slam
3. Time to Travel
4. Megagray
5. Woodbridge
6. Stallion Heiress
7. Escondera
8. Ellan Vannin
9. Malibu Secret
10. Guy Caballero
In the latest QUEEN’S PLATE NEWS, will 2 of the top 3 leading contenders have to pass up a Plate trip?

TIME TO TRAVEL, the grey colt owned and bred by Garland and Marie Williamson, has been transferred from trainer RACHEL HALDEN to MICHAEL MATZ in the U.S. according to Halden.
The son of Hard Spun and a full brother to Grade 1 grass winner Hard Not to Like, won his maiden with an 88 Beyer Figure last weekend at Gulfstream at 7 furlongs on the dirt in his second start for Halden.
Matz has trained for Williamson in the past: he was also given Hard Not to Like in the spring of 3-year-old season following her 6th place finish in the Kentucky Oaks under trainer Gail Cox. The filly had won the Cup & Saucer on grass as a 2-year-old at Woodbine and was 2nd in the Grade 1 Ashland on Polytrack at Keeneland. Hard Not to Like went on to compete strictly in the US.
As Time to Travel is now US based, it seems as if the colt will be pointed to a US campaign rather than a journey to the Plate.

STATE OF HONOR, the big Ontario bred for Manfred and Penny Conrad, had another super effort this spring. The son of To Honor and Serve was 2nd in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, chasing Always Dreaming to the wire just about 4 1/2 with a 90 Beyer Figure.
That was the 5th straight race State of Honor has been 2nd or 3rd in since he was 2nd in the Coronation Futurity to King and Court last year.

The Mark Casse stable has reported that State of Honor will now go to the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May and that suggests a Plate start might be unlikely for the bay colt.

KING AND HIS COURT has been taken off the top 10 list as the son of Court Vision was eased in the Spiral Stakes on Polytrack at Turfway Park.

Chiefswood Stables’ TIZ A SLAM, 5th in the Columbia Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in his season debut, had a quick grass workout on April 1 at Payson Park – 47.40 for 4 furlongs. The Roger Attfield is nominated to the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in a couple of weeks.

Promising Sam-Son farms colt MALIBU SECRET recently returned to the worktab after he left Tampa Bay Downs for Sam-Son Farm in ocala. He worked 3 furlongs last weekend in 38.

ELLAN VANNIN, the second top rated filly, worked half a mile in 48.40 last weekend and is likely pointing to the Fury Stakes.

JOHNNY BEAR’s 95 Beyer Speed Figure from his victory at Tampa Bay Downs on March 24 matched his lifetime best effort from 2 starts ago as the 6-year-old gelding by English Channel – In Return has really taken to the Tampa turf this winter. Owned by Colebrook farms and Bear Stables and trained by Ashlee Brnjas, Johnny Bear won the $61,500 optional claiming race in 1:41 .81 under Pablo Morales for his 2nd win in his last 3 races.

The chestnut gelding was the most expensive yearling sold in Canada 5 years ago when breeder Ivan Dalos received $325,000 for him.

Another Canadian bred hitting the 95 mark in Beyer Figures recently was MARITIME PULPIT, who sizzled 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream on the dirt in 1:43.35 for Monster Stable. The Pulpit fellow, a favourite character in his previous barn of trainer Mike DePaulo, was bred by Ben Hutzel.


Other recent winners include Scott Fairlie’s filly SICK LOVE, an allowance winner at Penn National on March 29. She is a 5-year-old by Where’s the Ring.

The 2015 CHAMPION OLDER MALE horse in Canada, LUKES ALLEY, owned and bred by Eugene Melnyk, newly inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, got a dead heat at Gulfstream Park on the weekend in an allowance optional claiming race. The son of Flower Alley is a Grade 1 winner for trainer Josie Carroll. He posted a 94 Beyer Figure in his grass win.




Representing Thoroughbreds in the Class of 2017 are builder Eugene Melnyk, trainer Harold Barroby, and communicator Curtis Stock as well as horses Quiet Resolve, and South Ocean.

Toronto-born Eugene Melnyk’s, biography includes businessman, sports team owner and racehorse breeder/owner. He is the receipient of 12 Sovereign Awards, including Outstanding Owner in 2007 and both Outstanding Owner and Breeder in 2009. A resident of Barbados since 1991, at the height of his career in racing and breeding, he owned more than 200 horses, mostly based in North America. His racehorses were named after Barbados landmarks and carry that country’s national colours of blue and gold. In 1998, his colt, Archer’s Bay, won the Queen’s Plate, and in 2007 his homebred, Sealy Hill, became the first filly to win the Canadian Triple Tiara, which includes the Woodbine Oaks. Sealy Hill would also go on be named Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2007 and was inducted into the Candian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2013.

Other top horses included Speightstown (Eclipse Award winner of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint), Marchfield (2007 Breeders’ Stakes), Roxy Gap (multiple Sovereign Award winner in 2012), Leigh Court (Champion three-year-old filly in 2013), Flower Alley (2005 Travers and sire of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another), Lukes Alley, (2016 Gulfstream Park Turf Hcp; Gr 1), Lodge Hill, Graeme Hall, and a host of other stakes winners.

Melynk’s horses won a total of 62 graded stakes and two Barbados Gold Cups.
Melnyk was also involved in many horse industry philantropic endeavours, most notably as founding donor of Anna House, located at Belmont Park, which opened in January 2003.

In February of 2013, he reduced his equine operation substantially and changed the business model from breeding to purchasing yearlings and racing those instead.

Originally from London, Ont., Curtis Stock’s affection for the horses, jockeys, trainers and horsepeople in general is reflected in his writing, He began to follow racing in Calgary during his high-school days and gained valuable experience covering racing there while attending university. That soon led to an opportunity in Toronto, working with honoured Canadian Horse Hall of Fame member Bruce Walker in the Ontario Jockey Club Publicity Department. Stock would later return to Alberta and take over publicity, marketing, and advertising at Northlands Park in Edmonton, later moving to the Edmonton Journal where he covered racing for 32 years and also plied his craft for the Daily Racing Form for 20 years. His reporting has resonated with the judges in Sovereign Award voting. His record run of Sovereigns started in 1985 and in 1993, he swept both Feature Story and Newspaper categories Stock was the recipient of back-to-back Sovereign Awards for Outstanding Feature Story in 1993-94 and took home an unprecedented eighth Sovereign Award for Outstanding Newspaper Story in Canada. Most recently Stock was the recipient of the 2015 Sovereign Award in the Outstanding Writing Category. His story, ‘Love of Horses,’ appeared earlier that year in the Edmonton Journal. It was his 11th Sovereign Award overall; a record total. He has received this most-coveted award at least once in each of the past five decades, an achievement unmatched.

Harold Barroby, a native of Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan, followed his older brother, Frank, to Alberta to become leading trainer in 1969 and 1970 before moving further west to British Columbia in 1974, where the great Love Your Host won 13 stakes under his tutelage, and horses Pampas Host and Delta Colleen were both multiple stakes winners. He was BC’s leading trainer a record 10 times and was previously inducted into the BC Hall Thoroughbred Hall of Fame. Barroby remains the all-time leader in terms of wins and stakes wins, inlcuding graded stake wins with Fortinbras in the 1986 British Columbia Derby (G3) and 1986 BC Premier’s Championship Handicap (G3). While he remains an active trainer, he’s operating with fewer horses these days. Harold now joins Frank as a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Quiet Resolve, the Sam-Son Farm homebred and Mark Frostad-trained son of Affirmed earned $2.3 million in a 31-start race career between 1998 and 2002 with a record of 10-6-4, which included multiple graded stakes wins. He was recipient of the 2000 Sovereign Award as Canada’s Horse of the Year and Champion Turf Horse, following a season highlighted by victories in the Atto Mile (G1), and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy Stakes (G2). During that championship year, Quiet Resolve ventured south of the border and won the Dixie Stakes (G2) at Pimlico, was second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs and third in the Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes (G2).

South Ocean‘s win in the 1970 Canadian Oaks and later her prowess as a broodmare in producing the sire of Storm Cat was a precious parlay. Bred by E.P.Taylor and sold through auction to his son, Charles, who also raced her, South Ocean’s genetic magic is still in production, as this granddaughter of Bull Page was the dam of Storm Bird, whose son was the powerful Storm Cat. Trained by CHRHF member G. ‘Pete’ McCann, South Ocean was a dual stakes winner, both as a two-year-old and as Oaks Champion and top three-year-old filly contender. That year she also placed in the five other stakes, including the Bison City and Wonder Where. However, it was as a producer that she excelled. She was by New Providence out of a Chop Chop mare and her pedigree matched up perfectly with the Northern Dancer line. Hence, she was bred to that prolific sire eight times, producing the great Northernette, herself an Oaks winner, Canadian Champion filly and 1987 CHRHF member. South Ocean’s impact on Canadian breeding over nearly five decades is immeasurable.

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 2017 Induction Ceremony will be hosted at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Wednesday, August 9, 2017.

Additional information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame may be found at


Read an interesting story in the Ottawa Sun this week about Eugene Melnyk’s liver transplant: