Toronto-based Ivan Dalos, who exclusively races homebreds and campaigns a stable of 32 primarily at Woodbine Racetrack, is quietly putting together a career year as an owner / breeder. Entering the final week of racing at his hometown track, Dalos has won a personal best 23 races from 104 starts in 2018, and has averaged nearly $1.2 million in earnings in each of the past five seasons.
Dalos, a construction executive whose company specializes in flooring, has bred Thoroughbreds under the banner of Tall Oaks Farm for the past four decades. He keeps a band of broodmares roughly equal in number to his racing stock split between farms in Ontario and Kentucky, and he has also developed four homebred stallions–a trio who service mares north of the border and the recently retired Ami’s Flatter (Flatter), who will stand at Ocala Stud in Florida for 2019.
At last year’s Sovereign Awards, Dalos hauled home hardware for owning and breeding the Canadian champion older female and champion female sprinter Ami’s Mesa (Sky Mesa), whose dam, Victorious Ami (Victory Gallop), was also crowned the country’s outstanding broodmare. Tall Oaks also bred Johnny Bear (English Channel), Canada’s champion male turf horse (who raced for different connections).
Dalos now has a few months to create additional space in his trophy case for the 2018 Sovereign Awards that will be announced in April. In addition to being in the mix for individual owner and breeder awards, he appears to be a lock for accepting the award for 2-year-old champion Canadian colt that is likely to be bestowed upon Avie’s Flatter (Flatter), a two-time black-type winner at Woodbine whose only loss from four starts this year was a trip-troubled fourth against deep, open company in the GI Summer S.
“I’m sort of semi-retired from work right now, and this is what I love to do,” Dalos said via phone. “I’m 77 years of age, and it’s time to take it a little easier. I wanted to spend more time with the horses, to be honest. So the construction business is now on my other people, and I can concentrate on my four-legged friends.”