By BRIEN BOUYEA, Communications Officer
Following a stint as a steeplechase rider and an accomplished career as an international show jumper, England native Roger Attfield has spent the past 40 years building up credentials that rival any Thoroughbred trainer in North America.
Born on Nov. 28, 1939 in Newbury, England, Attfield immigrated to Canada in 1970 and took his first training job with Gateway Farms. In the years since, Attfield has won the Sovereign Award for Outstanding Canadian Trainer a record eight times, trained three Canadian Triple Crown winners, six Canadian Horse of the Year winners, eight winners of the Queen’s Plate, and 44 Sovereign Award-winning horses.
In 1976, Attfield developed the colt Norcliffe into the first of his eight Queen’s Plate winners and his first Canadian Horse of the Year. Norcliffe won 10 stakes under Attfield’s care and helped launch the trainer to stardom.
Attfield conditioned his first Canadian Triple Crown winner, With Approval, in 1989. He swept the Queen’s Plate, Prince of Wales Stakes, and Breeders’ Stakes again the following year with Izvestia, and also in 1993 with Peteski. Attfield has won the Breeders’ Stakes seven times and the Prince of Wales five times. His other major Canadian wins include five runnings of both the Princess Elizabeth Stakes and the Plate Trial, four editions of the Ontario Derby, Durham Cup, and Marine Stakes, and three triumphs in the E.P. Taylor Stakes, Autumn Stakes, Glorious Song, Sky Classic, and Woodbine Oaks.
Along with his dominance in Canada, Attfield has found considerable success in the United States. He won his first Breeders’ Cup race in 2011 when Perfect Shirl took the Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs. Other major wins in the United States include the Shadwell Turf Mile, Flower Bowl, Elkhorn, Lake George, Glens Falls, Ohio Derby, Makers Mark Mile, Wood Memorial, Gotham, Arlington Matron, Molly Pitcher, Carter Handicap, Derby Trial, Yellow Ribbon Invitational, Stymie Handicap, Hialeah Turf Cup, and Pan American Handicap.
At the time of his election to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame, Attfield had won 1,731 career races and ranked 16th all time among North American trainers with more than $88 million in earnings.