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Harness: MacDonell, Wallace head Canadian Hall of Fame class for 2020

Tuesday, April 7, 2020  By: HRHF


The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame announced its 2020 class on April 7 which included five Standardbred participants. Representing Harness Racing are driver Paul MacDonell, trainer Ben Wallace, female horse Amour Angus, male horse McWicked and veteran horse Rambling Willie.

Paul MacDonell’s driving career is highlighted by both consistency and superstars, with earnings surpassing $1 million for 33 consecutive years, due in part to piloting such horses as Hall of Fame Honoured Members Somebeachsomewhere, Admirals Express and Invitro. He has also been the primary pilot for millionaires Village Jiffy, Village Connection, Elusive Desire, Bigtime Ball and Laddie. The Guelph resident’s major stakes victories include three Metro Paces, five Confederation Cups, and eight Breeders Crowns as well as a record 16 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals to his credit. The popular and affable driver was awarded an O’Brien Award as the 2008 Canadian Driver of the Year and to date has chalked up more than 15,000 top three finishes, 5,623 wins and has driven horses to in excess of $122 million in purse earnings.

Ben Wallace of Puslinch, Ont., honed his training skills working for Hall of Famers Keith Waples and the late Bill Wellwood before striking out on his own. He trained 1999 Pacing Triple Crown Winner and Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Member Blissfull Hall, Breeders Crown winners Totally Western (2002), Pans Culottes (2003), as well as a list of million dollar plus winners including Apprentice Hanover, Easy Lover Hanover, Zooka, Cam Swifty, Camotion and Lookout Victory. Awarded an O’Brien as Canada’s Trainer of the Year in 1999, Wallace has current career stats of 1,947 wins and more than $38 million in purses, surpassing the million dollar mark in 18 consecutive seasons (1996-2013).

Bred by Pierre Levesque’s Fermes Angus of Bedford, Quebec, Amour Angus made her mark on the Standardbred industry as a broodmare. Eleven of her 15 foals raced, earning in excess of $3.5 million. Of her eight foals sired by Garland Lobell, three went on to be top trotting sires in North America following successful race careers – Andover Hall (3, 1:51 3/5 ($870,510), CHRHF 2019 inductee Angus Hall 3, 1:54 3/5 ($830,654) and Conway Hall 3, 1:53 4/5 ($818,884). Her daughter Emilie Cas El (by Garland Lobell) was the winner of the 1994 O’Brien Award for Horse of the Year following her flawless 13 for 13 two-year-old race season before going on to be the dam of Hambletonian winner Trixton. Amour Angus is the grand dam of such horses as Nuncio, Peaceful Way, Donato Hanover, Pampered Princess, Majestic Son, Wishing Stone and Windsongs Legacy.

Recently retired from racing, McWicked earned $5.1 million during a race career that began in 2013 and included 40 wins in 110 starts while setting his lifetime mark of 1:46 2/5 at age 7. The ungelded son of McArdle - Western Sahara was owned primarily by Ed James’ SSG Stables and trained for the majority of his career by Casie Coleman. McWicked’s stakes wins include the Max Hempt, Adios, Progress, Ben Franklin, TVG Open, William Haughton, Canadian PacingDerby, Dan Rooney - twice; Roll With Joe, Breeders Crown - twice, Joe Gerrity, Jr - twice, PASS Finals, and the Jim Ewart - twice. He was the recipient of four O’Brien Awards -- Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt/Gelding (2014), Older Pacing Horse of the Year (2018 & 2019) and Horse of the Year (2018). His 2018 bankroll of $1.662 million made him the oldest horse to top North American harness racing's earnings standings at the age of seven, and his $5.1 million in career earnings makes him the richest pacing stallion in the history of the sport.

The winner of 128 races in 305 starts during the 1970s and early 1980s, Rambling Willie was a three-time winner of the Canadian Pacing Derby – 1975 in a dead heat with Pickwick Baron, 1976 and 1977. At the time of his retirement in 1983 he was the leading Standardbred money winner of all time earning more than $2 million, with most of his wins coming from overnight and invitational races. A $15,000 purchase by trainer/driver Bob Farrington, ownership was later split between Bob’s wife Vivian and Paul Seibert. Mrs. Farrington in turn pledged 10% of Willie’s earnings to the church where her father served as pastor, earning the gelding the nickname “The Horse That God Loved”. In 1981 a book titled with that nickname was published. Willie and his connections did a promotional tour that included races in 17 cities and appearances on television shows including 60 Minutes. Following his retirement from racing in 1983, Willie moved to the Kentucky Horse Park where he resided until his passing in 1995, when he was buried near his paddock at the Hall of Champions. Rambling Willie was inducted into the United States Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1997 and into the Indiana Standardbred Hall of Fame in 2003.

Details about 2020 Induction Ceremonies will be announced in the coming weeks.

Additional information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame may be found at www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com

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