Hall of Famer
Inducted in 1974
Sovereign Award, Canadian horse of the year (Bull Page, Canadiana, Nearctic, Victoria Park, Canebora, Northern Dancer, Victoria Era)
Eclipse Award, man of the year
Sovereign Award, man of the year
Sovereign Award, outstanding breeder
Eclipse Award, outstanding breeder
E.P. Taylor was not just a successful businessman and the preeminent breeder of his generation. He took a first-hand interest in horse racing and modernized the sport. Born in Ottawa, Taylor graduated from Montreal's McGill University in 1922 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He soon, however, was involved in his grandfather's brewing business. Throughout the 1930s he consolidated a number of small unprofitable companies all related to the brewing industry and formed Canadian Breweries, a model of acquisition and consolidation that would become the hallmark of his career. During the Second World War, he served Mackenzie King's government as one of the famed "dollar-a-year" men. After the war, he and his partners formed Argus Corp., a holding company that dominated Canadian business with interests throughout the Canadian economy from grocery stores and soft drinks to the mining and pulp and paper industries. At the time of Taylor's retirement, Argus controlled companies with assets in excess of $2 billion. Taylor began investing in thoroughbred horses in 1936, in partnership with Jim Cosgrove of Cosgrove Breweries. But it was not until after the Second World War that Taylor became fully involved in breeding and the operation of horse racing. He purchased the famed Parkwood Stable near Oshawa, Ontario, from Colonel Sam McLaughlin, another Canada's Sports Hall of Fame inductee. Initially known as The National Stud of Canada, Taylor's breeding operation soon became Windfields Farm, one of horse racing's most famous stables. In 1949, Taylor's horse, appropriately named Taylor's Epic, won the King's Plate, North America's oldest stakes race. Eleven Queen's (or King's) Plate winners raced to victory wearing Taylor's or Windfields Farm's colours, and another eleven Plate winners were bred by Taylor. But perhaps his best known horse was Northern Dancer. A fellow inductee of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, Northern Dancer won the Queen's Plate, Kentucky Derby, and Preakness Stakes in 1964. Nijinsky II, another famous product of Windfields Farm, won English horse racing's Triple Crown in 1970. Taylor led North American breeders in races won from 1960 to 1969 and again from 1977 to 1985, and was the leading money winner among North American breeders from 1974 to 1980, as well as in 1983 and 1985. Overall, Taylor, his son Charles (who succeeded him) and Windfields Farm were the most successful breeders in the history of thoroughbred horse racing. Besides being a successful breeder, Taylor made significant contributions to the organization of horse racing first in Ontario and later nationally. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, as Windfieds Farm was establishing its reputation, Taylor began reorganizing the practice of horse racing in Ontario. Adopting the same philosophy that he had used so successfully in business, Taylor reorganized the Ontario Jockey Club and began consolidating the province's 14 independent racetracks into a smaller circuit of elite racetracks that featured thoroughbred racing at Fort Erie, Toronto's Greenwood, and the new Woodbine Racetrack, north of Toronto, which was championed by Taylor and opened in 1956. Harness racing in the province also had its own three-track circuit. Taylor remained the chairman of the Ontario Jockey Club until his retirement in 1973. At that time, he became the inaugural chairman and chief steward of the newly founded Jockey Club of Canada, an association that maintains racing standards and traditions across the country. Taylor was influential throughout thoroughbred racing and, in 1953, became the first Canadian to be made a member of The Jockey Club in the U.S. In 1964 he was also the first Canadian elected president of the Thoroughbred Racing Association. Taylor's horses received numerous accolades for their achievements. Seven times his stables won the Sovereign Award as Canada's horse of the year, but the man himself was also recognized for his contributions. He won the Sovereign Award as Canada's outstanding breeder in 1976 and the Eclipse Award as North America's top breeder in 1977 and 1983. Taylor was named North American horse racing's man of the year in 1973 and, in both 1975 and 1977, the Jockey Club of Canada recognized him with the Sovereign Award as its man of the year before, in 1994, renaming the award itself the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit. Taylor retired to his home in the Bahamas, where he passed away in 1989.