A group of more than 30 Standardbred horse breeders are seeking $65 million in damages from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation according to a notice of action filed Monday at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Guelph. The breeders are seeking damages for losses incurred when the lottery corporation cancelled the Slots at Racetracks Program "without prior notice, consultation, or any offer of compensation to the Plaintiffs,” the notice of action alleges. Ontario's horse breeders were particularly hard hit by the cancellation of the slots program that led to a decline in purses and race dates of more than 30 percent across the province and caused the value of Ontario-produced horses to plummet by 50 percent or more. To read the aticle click here
Monday night's card of harness racing at Woodbine Racetrack wasn't dominated by one driver, or one trainer for that matter. Of the 10 races contested, only one participant was able to manage more than one victory. Heading into the final race of the card, it appeared as though the Brothers Baillargeon would manage the training and driving double. After winning the sixth race with trotter Slip Into Glide, they were looking for Ideal Shadow to conclude the evening with a win in the tenth race. That three-year-old son of Western Ideal had been unbeatable since entering the Baillargeon stable in late January, rolling off three straight wins at Woodbine. As the race unfolded, Ideal Shadow looked on his way to his fourth straight score but Jody Jamieson and Buddha Blue Chip has other ideas. Stalking the pacesetter from the pocket throughout the mile, Buddha Blue Chip sprinted home with a :28.1 final panel to hit the wire a neck the best in a lifetime best 1:52.1. To read rest of story click here.
During a very special edition of Deal or No Deal at The Raceway at the Western Fair District this past Friday, a pair of young racegoers agreed to tie the knot after popping the question on live television. The on-track experience for guests at Western Fair District on a Friday night normally includes special events like the Fun Wheel and Deal Or No Deal. Guests are asked to fill out a ballot, in the program, for their chance to play and win on the popular games. This past Friday night featured something different. Shawn Lane was in search of a unique way to propose to his girlfriend, Ashley Smith, and Skye Nicholson-Smith, of The Raceway, would suggest a small prank during a round of Deal Or No Deal. "We would have his name drawn to participate in Deal Or No Deal and then we'd have his girlfriend participate alongside - in some small way," said Nicholson-Smith. "It really was a regular Deal Or No Deal up until the point where it was time for Shawn to take his third and final shot at flipping a square for a chance at more money." At that point Shawn's girlfriend Ashley was asked to help out and flip the final square, personally, where she'd find - on the reverse side - a message that read "Ashley Smith, will you marry me?", with Shawn dropping down to one knee to pop the question and Ashley coming back with a "Yes!" The moment would be forever remembered as the most unique Deal Or No Deal experience ever held at The Raceway. "That really was a special moment for both Shawn and Ashley and for our team here at The Raceway too," said track anouncer Sugar Doyle. "I had an idea on what was going to take place and it all went down without a hitch. Great job to all involved!" From the Raceway Publicity Department
Alberta's Kelly Hoerdt, co-owner and developer of the undefeated top harness racing colt, National Debt, announced tonight that his next race will be in the Diplomat at Woodbine Entertainment & Gaming in Toronto on April 26th. It was expected that his next race would have been in the Bobby Weiss at Pocono Downs. The first leg of the Diplomat on April 26th goes for $20,000. The second leg on May 3rd goes for $20,000, and the final on May 10th for $50,000. The Diplomat is for three-year-old colts that are non-winners of $100.000 in 2013. "The schedule was going to be tight," Hoerdt said. "The Bobby Weiss Final was only a week away from the start of the Diplomat. The Diplomat goes for a little bit more money. We were deciding between the Diplomat and The Simpson at the Meadowlands for his next start. He needs to be up there anyway as he has the Somebeachsomewhere and the North America Cup after that at Woodbine. "We are going to give him a little time off," Hoerdt explained. "He is going to go in the care of Bob Young in Ontario. He is going to look after him for a month or so. We will qualify him around the 19th of April. "We were estatic after winning the Buddy Gimour Final the other night," Hoerdt said. "Timmy ( Tetrick ) gave Ron Coyne a great report on the horse after the race. Ronnie said he was fully recovered when he got back to the winner's circle. Ronnie said he was real happy with the way he came out of the race. Ron Coyne is going to be his trainer for the whole three-year-old campaign." by Brian McEvoy, for Harnesslink.com
Outlawishfulthinkn prevailed in a group photo finish to win the $20,000 Clarence Gagnon Memorial for Jim Marino on Sunday afternoon at Fraser Downs. The stakes event is for three and four-year-old horses and geldings that are B.C owned, bred or sired and non-winners of $30,000 lifetime (no allowances) as of January 1, 2013. With the inside post advantage in the featured ninth race, Cams Cool Shark (Serge Masse) took control of the field and led the way through opening panels of :27 and :57.2. Meanwhile, Just Hank (Bill Davis) took a brief tuck in fourth behind Outlawishfulthinkn early on before advancing first over with I Dont Really Care (John Abbott) following his cover and fanning three-wide. Just Hank cleared to command by the three-quarters mark in 1:26.3 with I Dont Really Care just a half-length off the lead and Outlawishfulthinkn now out and rolling three-deep around the final turn. To read rest of story click here.
Brian West, radio host at Y108, turned on his announcing voice during the third race at Flamboro Downs on Sunday evening for another round of Announcer Idol. As pacers Comeonandgetsome and Nephin battled back and forth on top for most of the mile, West made light of the challenges a newbie faces in the booth while calling the action in his version of an announcer's accent. "This looks like it's pretty tight here with four, Comeonandgetsome, and the other guy that's right beside him...If only the horse would get out of the way I could see who it is...Oh there, it is number seven, Nephin! They are neck and neck!" As the field turned for home, West hollared, "Boy, here we go! The top of the stretch...Is this the home stretch? What kind of stretch is it? I don't know, but it's about to come to a very close, tight end." to read rest of the story click here.
TORONTO, March 10 - Nominations for Woodbine Entertainment Group's major stakes events, including the $685,000E Metro Pace, $630,000E Canadian Pacing Derby and $550,000E Maple Leaf Trot close Monday, March 1. Also, three-year-old Ontario-sired fillies have a sustaining payment for the 2014 WEG SBOA stakes events. Two-year-olds have sustaining payments due for the 2014 Champlain Open and Champlain Fillies, as well as sustaining payments to be eligible as three-year-olds to the 2015 Simcoe Open, Simcoe Fillies & SBOA. If sending nominations by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than the said due date or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended. To view all nomination forms, please click below. http://www.woodbineentertainment.com/Woodbine/Horsepeople/Standardbred/Pages/StakesNominations.aspx To make an online nomination payment, please click below: https://www.woodbineentertainment.com/Woodbine/Horsepeople/Standardbred/SBNominationForm.aspx by Greg Gangle, for WEG
This is an excellent investigative report from Global TV's 16x9 team on tainted horsemeat from Canada. The majority of horses slaughtered in Canada are imported from the U.S., so this is an important American report as well. The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition hopes our American partners in our fight to end horse slaughter can use this in their efforts to bring the SAFE Act into law. Our Canadian partners are asked to also share this report far and wide. The CHDC will be sending out an Action Alert early this week, to request supporters to ask the CFIA to answer to the proof of the fraudulent and weak traceability system in place that is supposed to protect consumers from eating tainted horsemeat. Banned veterinary drugs found in horse meat Shelley Grainger
The Staff of Harnesslink is proud to announce that Canada’s darling of harness racing, Sydney Weaver, will be a regular columnist for the website starting today! Sydney, 13, from Acton, Ontario, has Cerebral Palsy, but that has not stopped her from already obtaining her grooms license (at age 10) and jogging horses. Due to the generosity of people in the industry, Sydney has her own special jog cart and is a co-owner of the pacing mare, Sydney Seelster, whom we have all read about their exploits as of late. She is no rookie when it comes to writing. Sydney, at age 11, was the winning entrant in the 2011 O’Brien awards VIP package for her entry on why she loves Canadian harness racing and in 2012 won the 12-and-under category in the USTA’s 2012 Marie Hill Youth Writing contest. Sydney will be writing her columns on her experiences in harness racing. Her first column is below and we welcome her to our staff! On The Rail with Sydney Weaver It’s a warm May night and the sun is getting ready to set. The sound of hooves thundering by, heading for home and the crowds are cheering! What a great night to be on the rail. As the trainer walks by I wish him congratulations on his win. The horse and driver meet their trainer in the Winner’s Circle. I glance over to see the steam blowing off the horse’s back, fading with the setting sun. On his way back to the paddock, it has become a tradition that I always congratulate the driver on his win, we have a quick chat, and I wish him the best of luck for the rest of the night. I take a look at the program for the next race and pick whom I will cheer for. I hear a song that I know playing in the background and I start dancing in my seat! After the song ends, the trumpets blare, signalling for the horses to come and parade. I look on in wonder and awe at their beauty and grace, and wonder how a creature could be so powerful yet elegant at the same time. As the horses take up their positions behind the gate, and the pace car begins to pick up speed, my heart begins to beat faster and faster, the race is on... I take a deep breath and think, what a great night to be on the rail... Sydney’s column will appear regularly on Harnesslink.
Top Gear front-stepped his way to a top class victory at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday night, winning a $28,000 event for conditioned pacers by a neck over a pair trained by meet leader Corey Johnson Driver Mike Saftic pulled Top Gear from the pocket after the :27-second opening quarter and he took over command from early leaver McKinney. He then led the way past middle splits of :56.2 and 1:24.3 before holding off a deep stretch challenge from McKinney for the 1:52.2 triumph. The runner-up's stablemate and odds-on favourite Wazzup Wazzup advanced first over to finish one length behind in third. Top Gear paid $5.80 to win as the slight second choice. He earned his second win of the year in seven starts. His first came in the same class (non-winners of $28,000 last five starts) on Feb. 8 prior to his last two races at the Preferred level. To read rest of story click here.
Smooth Criminal and Who Doesn't renewed their Open class battle on Saturday afternoon at Northlands Park with the former coming away with the narrow score this time out. Favourite Smooth Criminal ($3.70) controlled the tempo like he has for the past three editions of the Open Pace for trainer/driver Bill Tainsh Jr. Leaving from post one, the Blue Burner gelding led the field of five through fractions of :30.4, :59.4 and 1:27.3 before holding off Who Doesnt and Travis Cullen by half a length in 1:57 flat. Advancing from third at the three-quarters mark, Who Doesnt did manage to edge by pocket-sitter Timberline Court and Gerry Hudon to secure the runner-up honours in a three-across finish. To read entire story click here.