Hall of Fame owner and breeder Gus Schickedanz at the Sovereign Awards in April where he received the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit.
Gus Schickedanz 1929-2019
On June 17, 2019, Canadian horse racing lost one of its icons as Gustav “Gus” Schickedanz, owner and breeder of multiple champions, passed away peacefully at his home of Schonberg Farm at the age of 90, having suffered two strokes over the past month. The native of Memel, Lithuania came to Canada in 1950 at the age of 21 as a bricklayer. Three years later he and his brothers Kurt and Gerhard and cousin Dani founded one of Ontario’s largest homebuilding companies, Schickedanz Brothers Inc., creating custom homes and eventually other quality residential and commercial developments, which later expanded operations to Florida and Alberta. Later the family business added commercial properties to its portfolio.
Gus with Wando after he won the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.
Mr. Schickedanz, already a longtime member of the Eglinton Hunt, got into the racing industry first as an owner, then as an owner and breeder, operating out of his Schonberg Farm in King township, Ontario. His first stakes winner was Victorious Answer, who became the foundation broodmare for what would become a very successful breeding operation. His most successful horses include 1999 Queen’s Plate winner Woodcarver, along with fellow Sovereign Award winners Mobil, Glanmire, Kimchi, and multiple graded stakes winner Langfuhr, who went on to sire the last Canadian Triple Crown winner, 2003’s Canadian Horse of the Year, Wando. He also bred 1995 Kentucky Oaks winner Gal in a Ruckus and 2007 Arlington Million winner Jambalaya, the only Canadian-bred winners of those historic Grade 1 contests. In addition to the indelible mark he leaves on thoroughbred racing, Mr. Schickedanz partnered with Canadian Racing Hall of Fame standardbred builder Charles Armstrong to breed one of Canada’s richest Canadian-bred trotters, Goodtimes, who is also a Hall of Fame inductee.
In 2009, he was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, and then this past April, he received the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit from the Jockey Club of Canada, at the 44th annual Sovereign Awards. Jim Lawson, CEO of the Woodbine Entertainment Group said, “Gus was a dedicated, passionate horse owner and breeder who through the level of excellence his team achieved, helped to promote and elevate Canadian thoroughbred horse racing. His legacy will remain, and his presence will be felt for years to come. On behalf of Woodbine Entertainment, we send our condolences to Gus’s many friends and family.”
Gus in the winner’s circle after his Go Bro won the 2017 King Edward Stakes (G2).
Glenn Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, who presented Gus with his Award of Merit said, “Gus is a true horseman. This is a man that wakes up early to look at his horses. He lives on the farm with his family. He’s a master horseman and rider. He knows a horse from every stage. There is nothing this man can’t do that’s related to a horse. If you want the definition of a true homebred program you need look no further than at what Gus has done. The stallion he breeds to is his own stallion, and he breeds it to his mare that is out of another mare he bred and he races the offspring. Gus has been an absolute beacon for all of us.”
His final stakes win was the 2017 King Edward Stakes (G2) with homebred Go Bro on the Queen’s Plate undercard, a son of Six Sexy Sisters, Wando’s full sister. As an owner, Schickedanz won 185 races, with 148 seconds, and 140 thirds in 1,349 starts, with total purse earnings of almost $13 million. His highlight year was 2003, when, including Wando’s $500,000 Triple Crown bonus, his runners collected over $3.3 million.
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