Ben Wallace

Composite sketch: In the foreground there's a horse pulling a 2-wheel cart and driver; behind that is an image of Ben Wallace from the waist up; and at the top right there's a horse from the neck up.

Portrait by Robert Howson

For Ben Wallace his career in standardbred harness racing had an unlikely start. After finishing his geography degree at the University of Windsor in the early 1970s, with an eye to becoming an urban planner, he took a year to work under legendary trainer Keith Waples at Mohawk raceway. He purchased a $250 claiming horse no one else wanted called Cliff Time and decided to try his hand at training. Cliff Time would go on to win 9 of his next 10 races. Wallace would eventually sell that $250 horse for almost $15,000 and he was hooked.

Wallace has been in the horse business for almost 50 years now and has a sea of success in his wake. From 1996 through 2013, he recorded a remarkable string of 18 consecutive $1,000,000 plus purse earnings per season. In 1996 Ben was honoured as the Ontario Jockey Club trainer of the year.

In 1999, Wallace trained Pacing Triple Crown winner Blissful Hall, a horse voted as the United States Dan Patch winner as the best 3-year-old pacer of that year in North America (over all categories). In Canada, the horse was voted the champion 3-year-old pacer, and took top honours as Horse of the Year, the highest award achievable. Having a Triple Crown winning horse is an honour reserved for very few. Only ten horses have ever won the Little Brown Jug, Messenger Pace and Cane Pace in one season. Blissful Hall was recently inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame for his incredible record on the racetrack. Also, in 1999, Wallace was voted the O’Brien winner, recognizing him as the top trainer in Canada.

2002 proved to be Wallace’s most lucrative season, topping $4.5 million in purse winnings, largely due to Camotion, a $1.9 million earner, and 2-year-old Breeders Crown champion Totally Western. The following season his three-year-old pacing filly Pans Cullottes was a Breeders Crown winner and Armbro Rosebud was voted the O’Brien award winner as Canada’s best three-year-old filly.

Wallace’s lifetime earnings stand at $38 million dollars thanks to almost two thousand wins. In 2020 he was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – Builder category – on May 22, 2022