For over 30 years, Dr. Mike Wilson has been doing what he loves.
He’s worked tirelessly and passionately to produce some of the finest standardbred race horses in the nation, and for the first time ever, Wilson, a long-time breeder, is nominated for Canada’s Breeder of the Year honour at the O’Brien Awards, slated for Saturday evening at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, Ont.
Wilson’s Warrawee Farm, which boasts 103 acres of land, is located in Rockwood, Ont. and is the home to 17 broodmares. His two headline broodmares are Mystic Mistress, the dam of Mystician ($1,573,942) and Great Memories, the mother of Warrawee Needy ($535,000), who is nominated for Canada’s 2011 two-year-old pacing colt of the year award.
“I was amazed,” Wilson said, in regard to his nomination. “I knew we had a good year, but I’m sure other breeders did, too. It’s a true honour to be thought of in this regard and be nominated.”
One of Wilson’s top two-year-olds in recent years is Warrawee Needy. The son of E Dees Cam won nine of 12 races during his rookie campaign and was the top Ontario Sires Stakes freshman pacing colt after having captured seven OSS events, including his $300,000 OSS Super Final, where he cruised to a nine-and-three-quarter-length victory.
Wilson recalled watching his homebred go through the auction (Warrawee Needy was an eventual $20,000 yearling purchase).
“He had three things against him,” Wilson said. “He was by an unpopular sire, he was a very big horse, some people thought he was too big, and he was selling as Hip No. 2 in the sale. The big plus for him was that he was a brother to Big Bay Point ($388,164) which would draw some attention.”
After Carl Jamieson purchased the colt, Wilson decided to keep a portion of his pupil.
Mystic Mistress is arguably one of Canada’s top broodmares. The 20-year-old has produced winners in excess of $3.8 million including Mystician, Camystic ($779,728) and Lucks Mistress ($616,605).
“She’s a very consistent mare to have,” Wilson said. “She has produced some very nice foals over her career and we’re lucky to have her. In fact, she’s overdue with another Camluck soon to be born.”
In 2011, Wilson’s Warrawee Farm sent out 31 starters that won 101 races and $2.4 million in purse earnings.
“That’s one thing I love about breeding horses. We teach them their early lessons and then watch them go on to bigger and better things. As a breeder, it’s all about anticipation. By the time we breed the mare, foal them and watch the babies grow, we have about four years of investment into them and four years of anticipation to see what they become. To me, that’s the ultimate satisfaction, hoping they become superstars.”
Come Saturday night, it might be Wilson, in search of not one, but two O’Brien Awards, who could be the star.