Eugene Melnyk, who has earned two Sovereign Awards as Canada’s outstanding owner and one as outstanding breeder, is among five inductees on the Thoroughbred side selected for the 2017 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
Also going into the Hall on the Thoroughbred side in the 2017 class are Harold Barroby in the trainer category and Curtis Stock in the communicator category, as well as horses Quiet Resolve and South Ocean. Melnyk was selected in the builder category.
Toronto-born 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.
At the height of Melnyk’s career in racing and breeding, he owned more than 200 horses, mostly based in North America. He has been a resident of Barbados since 1991, so many of his racehorses are named after Barbados landmarks and carry that country’s national colors of blue and gold.
In 1998 Melnyk’s colt Archer’s Bay won the Queen’s Plate Stakes, 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 go on be named Canada’s 2007 Horse of the Year and was inducted into the Candian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2013.
Other top Melnyk horses include Speightstown (Eclipse Award as champion sprinter, winner of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, G1), Marchfield (2007 Breeders’ Stakes), Roxy Gap (multiple Sovereign Award winner in 2012), Leigh Court (Canadian champion 3-year-old filly in 2013), Flower Alley (2005 grade 1 Travers Stakes winner and sire of dual American classic winner I’ll Have Another ), Lukes Alley, (2016 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, G1), Lodge Hill, Graeme Hall , and a host of other stakes winners.
Melynk’s horses have won a total of 62 graded stakes and two Barbados Gold Cups. Melnyk also has been involved in many horse industry philantropic endeavors, most notably as founding donor of Anna House, located at Belmont Park, which opened in January 2003.
In February 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 horse people 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 college.
That soon led to an opportunity in Toronto, working with honored Canadian Horse Hall of Fame member Bruce Walker in the Ontario Jockey Club Publicity Department. Stock later returned 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. He also plied his craft for the Daily Racing Form for 20 years.
Stock’s reporting has resonated with the judges in Sovereign Award voting. His record run of Sovereigns started in 1985. 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. 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. There, the great Love Your Host won 13 stakes under his tutelage, and horses Pampas Host and Delta Colleen were both multiple stakes winners.
B.C’s leading trainer a record 10 times and previously inducted into the B.C. Thoroughbred Hall of Fame, Barroby remains the all-time leader in terms of wins and stakes wins there, inlcuding graded stake wins with Fortinbras in the 1986 British Columbia Derby (G3) and 1986 B.C. Premier’s Championship Handicap (G3).
While he remains an active trainer, he’s operating with fewer horses these days. Barroby now joins his brother 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 career from 1998-2002 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 (G1T) 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 (G2T) at Pimlico Race Course and was second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1T) at Churchill Downs and third in the Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes (G2T).
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 Pete McCann, South Ocean was a dual stakes winner, both as a 2-year-old and as Oaks champion and top 3-year-old filly. That year she also placed in 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 Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Additional information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame may be found at www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com.
This year’s Standardbred inductees include trainer/driver Blair Burgess, builder Dr. Gordon Gilbertson, and horses Mach Three, Elegantimage, and Happy Lady.