Wanaka is primed for a big season

Wanaka large in Celias Counsel final victory

Wanaka overcame post position ten to win the harness racing Celias Counsel Trotting Series final Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A full field of ten three-year-old trotting fillies met up to contest the $33,200 Celias Counsel final. Trainer Paul Reid swept the second leg of the series and sent out a pair of starters, including the 4/5 favourite Flowers N Songs. However, Reid was not the only trainer to send out multiple starters, as John Box sent out 5 trotting fillies. Wanaka entered the final with a victory and third-place finish in the preliminary legs, but the Shannon Henry trainee had to deal with the far outside post-ten starting spot. The Bax trainees all pushed forward at the start looking for the front, while Flowers N Songs and driver Doug McNair dropped in seventh and Wanaka and driver Trevor Henry took back to find a seat in eighth. After an opening-quarter of :28.3, Bax trainee Hills Angel cleared to the front ahead of stablemate Moonlight Cocktail. The lead was short lived, as Treasurer Gifts K powered up from fifth to take the lead at the half in :58.2. Flowers N Songs angled to the outside trotting down the backstretch and made the long first-over journey to take the lead just before reaching three-quarters in 1:27.4. Meanwhile, Henry and Wanaka shadowed the public's choice and got a second-over trip to the top of the lane. In the stretch, Wanaka surged by Flowers N Songs to score a length and a half victory in a career-best 1:56.1. Smash Hit grabbed third, while Moonlight Cocktail was fourth. Following the race, Henry explained his winning strategy from post-ten with Wanaka. "I didn't really want to leave, there was a big entry to the inside of me and I knew there would be no favours," said Henry. "Doug's (McNair) filly I know (isn't) a big leaver, so I thought I would try and get to follow her and it just worked out." Henry noted that he was very confident in his filly, who was 7¾ lengths off the lead at the half. "I figured if I was at least six or eight lengths off at the half she would win" A daughter of Manofmanymissions, Wanaka now has five wins in 11 starts this season for owners Trevor Henry Stables Inc and 1035840 Ontario Inc. The sophomore trotting filly has only missed the board once this season after a third-place finish in two starts as a rookie. With Ontario Sires Stakes season rapidly approaching, Wanaka is primed for a big season locally, but Henry and the connections hope their filly can potentially tackle the Grand Circuit. "She's got the Elegantimage and Casual Breeze if she's good enough." Wanaka's Celias Counsel victory pushes her career earnings over $68,000. She paid $5.90 to win. In order to be eligible to the Celias Counsel, the three-year-old fillies had to be non-winners of $30,000 in 2015. Live racing continues Friday night at Mohawk with an 11-race card. The feature event is two $20,000 divisions of the Princess Series. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

State Treasurer and Chris Christoforou

State Treasurer returns

Canada's reigning Horse of the Year is set to return to the track Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack. Dr. Ian Moore trainee State Treasurer will look to start his 2016 harness racing campaign off on a winning note in the $34,000 Preferred Handicap. The seven-year-old son of Real Desire has been assigned the outside spot in a field of nine and will reunite with regular driver Chris Christoforou. State Treasurer put together a dream season last year with nine victories in 19 starts and just shy of $1 million in earnings. The Dr. Moore trainee posted victories in the Molson Pace, Mohawk Gold Cup, US Pacing Championship, Roll With Joe and Canadian Pacing Derby en route to being named the top older pacer in both Canada and the United States. State Treasurer enters his seven-year-old season with a milestone in sight. Just a $6,500 yearling purchase, he is just over $51,000 away from $2 million in career earnings for owners Sally MacDonald and Paul MacDonald. Although State Treasurer has yet to make a start, the veteran pacing stallion has already made headlines this season. Dr. Moore qualified State Treasurer in an eye-popping 1:49.4 on April 15 at Southern Oaks Training Center in Sorrento, Florida. The recorded fractions over the mile-oval at Southern Oaks were :26, :52.3, 1:19.4 and 1:49.4. State Treasurer's competition in Saturday's Preferred includes a stablemate and a trio of Preferred winners this season. Dr. Moore trainee Arthur Blue Chip is making his sixth start of the season from post-five in the Preferred. The five-year-old son of Shadow Play made all five previous starts at Pompano Park and scored two victories along with three runner-up finishes. Nickle Bag, who has six Preferred victories this season, will start from post-six. Ellis Park and Boomboom Ballykeel, who have each scored a Preferred victory in the last month, start from post-seven and eight, respectively. The Preferred Handicap has been carded as the tenth-race on the 11-race program. State Treasurer will not be the only Dr. Moore trainee to appear at Mohawk Saturday. The veteran conditioner sends out three starters in The Diplomat and former New York Sires Stakes standout Rockin In Heaven in an overnight event. Some Gold starts from post-two in the first Diplomat division for Dr. Moore, while Worthy Art and Sutton Seelster will leave from post position three and five in the second split. Rockin In Heaven will make his second start of the season in the evening's fourth-race. The four-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven scored victories in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes and Empire Breeders Classic last season en route to banking over $367,000. The second leg of The Diplomat Series will feature two $20,000 divisions Saturday night. The Diplomat Series is for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, who were non-winners of $100,000 last season. The opening-leg of the series failed to fill, as only four horses were entered, but leg two has attracted 13 pacers. Carmen Auciello trainee War N Munn will headline the first division from the rail. The three-year-old son of Stonebridge Regal has captured both The Count B and Youthful Series finals this season to help him sport a 2016 bankroll of over $66,000. The first division field of six also includes British Columbia star Kokanee Seelster. The Ming Siu trainee made his first four starts this season at Fraser Downs and captured the $75,000 Keith Linton Memorial on April 3. Unlike War N Munn, Kokanee Seelster is eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup. The second Diplomat Series division features a strong field of seven Bill Budd trainee Flaherty has won four of eight starts this season and holds a mark of 1:51.3. The son of Up The Credit will start from post-two and has been made the 9/5 morning line choice. Flaherty is eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup. Richard Moreau trainee Gerries Sport won his season debut last week at Mohawk in 1:52.3 and is the 5/2 second-choice on the morning line from post-seven. An Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots star last season, Gerries Sport appears ready to take a big step forward in 2016 with a pair of solid qualifying efforts before capturing his season debut. The Diplomat Series divisions are carded as the third and ninth-races on Saturday's card. Post time for Saturday's 11-race program is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

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Alliance Spring Series nominations due Monday

CAMPBELLVILLE, April 28 - The deadline for nominations to the Alliance Spring Series is this Monday (May 2). A total of 11 events will be contested as part of the Alliance Spring Series. Flamboro Downs, The Raceway at Western Fair, Clinton Raceway, Grand River Raceway and Georgian Downs will all host series races. The Alliance Spring Series offer racing opportunities for $6,000 and $12,000 claimers, along with four-year-olds and younger who are non-winners of $5,000. Flamboro Downs will host two series finals on Confederation Cup night (May 15), while Western Fair will also host a pair of series finals on Molson Pace night (May 27). The nomination fee for each series is $100 ($75 USD) and the Woodbine Entertainment Group will handle all payments. To view the full conditions for each series and nomination form to the Alliance Spring Series, click here. To make payments online, click here. by Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications

Louis-Philippe Roy, harness racing

Louis-Philippe Roy emerging as driving force at 3R

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - When the Hippodrome 3R opens this Sunday for its 2016 harness racing meet, there will be a new driving force at the half mile oval by the name of Louis-Philippe Roy. The 26-year-old resident of Mont-Joli, Quebec has only been driving professionally since 2008 and after a breakout season at 3R last year, he is coming into his own in 2016. Until last season, Roy averaged just 12 to 20 wins while on the Quebec Fair Circuit and a few drives at the Hippodrome 3R. Then in 2015 he exploded with 58 victories and ended the year with an impressive universal driving rating (battling average) of .351. What does Roy attribute his recent success to? "I don't know," Roy said. "I just take it day by day. I know that in this sport you can be very high one day and get as low the next day. As a driver you really depend on the trainers and owners that get confident in you. As long as they keep giving me opportunities to drive, I think that I can have a really good year." And that is coming true so far for Louis-Philippe Roy in 2016. Currently he is the leading driver at Rideau Carlton Raceway, which is a 200 mile drive (3.5 hours) from 3R, but the long drive has been worth it for Roy, who already this season has 29 wins and a UDR of .387. "I'll be driving every Tuesday at 3R," Roy said, "But Sunday's will be tough as I will have to combine 3R and Rideau, so I might be able to drive a few races at 3R in the afternoon and then at night at Rideau Carlton." During the week days, Roy works at Telus as an analyst on a marketing intelligence team. His true love is harness racing but the job with Telus allows him to pay the bills as he is not ready to give up his day job for harness racing. When asked if he felt that this could be the year at 3R that Louis-Philippe Roy can challenge Denis St-Pierre and Mario Charron for the driving title, Roy answered the question with a question. "Can the New York Islanders win the Stanley Cup this year?" Roy explained, "They can, but will they? I would like to think yes, but I'm really not sure." Roy says he really enjoys the atmosphere at the Hippodrome 3R. "I like the "off-track" part of being there. Good people who are friends that love racing." Who does Roy feel will be his biggest assets to get drives at 3R this season? "It's difficult to answer that question," Roy explained, "because there are a lot of trainers that give me drives. I drove a lot for Yves Tessier for the last few months at Rideau and have had success with his horses. At 3R, there are Jean Tourigny, Francis Richard and especially Nathalie Migneault with her husband Eric Dechampain. They have been with me since my debut and gave me my first chance in the fair circuit and on the professional tracks too. "I think this will be a great season at 3R," Roy said, "and want to credit the fact that the Quebec Jockey Club, Vincent Trudel, Francois Carignan and his team are trying things to promote the sport here. It's the same thing with the Circuit Regional (the Quebec Fairs) that try to get new people interested in the sport in every area of the Province. "Things like the upcoming All-Star Drivers Tournament," Roy explained, "are always appreciated by the public, people from here will be happy to see these star drivers, and it should also help 3R get attention from not just the rest of Canada, but in the United States too!" Two of the all-stars in the big tournament June 5, Yannick Gingras and Daniel Dube, cut their teeth at the Hippodrome 3R before heading to the USA east coast. They have both become world renowned leading drivers. Does Roy see himself following their footsteps if the opportunity arises? "I don't plan it for now," Roy said, "but I let things go as they are and if I get an opportunity, I might consider it." While Roy wishes he could be one of the all-star drivers competing in the tournament and that goal could well be within his reach in the coming years, he did comment when asked who he felt would win it. And, as a devoted hockey fan and player, had this to say. "I would like to see any of the drivers win the tournament," Roy explained with a wink and a smile, "Except for Jody Jamieson because he cheers for the Toronto Maple Leafs!" From the Quebec Jockey Club    

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2016 Legend Honourees.  Initially launched as a millennium project, the tradition of honouring Canadian racing legends continues as we acknowledge people and horses whose accomplishments were achieved more than fifty years ago.   The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame will honour these deserving legends at the CHRHF President’s Reception scheduled to take place in the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, May 18 at 4:30 pm.  The reception will also feature the official unveiling of the display boards for the 2015 inductees, as well as the introduction of the 2016 inductees.    Standardbred Legend – Woodlawn Drummond Bred by Clermont Veilleux of Drummondville, Quebec and raced under the ownership of Ecuries Drummond Stables, Woodlawn Drummond made quite a mark for herself in the mid-1960s. In 47 career starts she posted 22 victories and earned $128,592. The bay pacing mare, driven throughout her career by CHRHF member Keith Waples, raced at tracks in Ontario, Quebec and New York State from the age of two through her four-year-old year, often competing against and defeating the best colts of the time. In 1964, at the age of two, she tallied a record of 8-0-0 in 14 starts, including wins in the Canadian Series Stakes at Greenwood Raceway, Connaught Park, Richelieu Park, where she set her  two-year-old mark of 2:06, Trois-Rivieres and Quebec.  The game mare’s best year on the track was as a three-year-old, when she twice defeated Balenzano who was later voted Harness Tracks of America’s Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year.  It wasn’t just the fillies she dominated, as she also defeated colts Perfect Wave, Fleet Time, Keen Freight, Jerry Hal and Adios Watts on her way to record stats of 12-4-2 in 18 starts for earnings of $78,312 and a lifetime mark of 2:02.1 which she reached three times that year.   Her year concluded with a win in the Lady Maud Stakes at Roosevelt Raceway and being voted the Canadian Trotting Association’s Three-Year-Old Pacer of the Year.  Other stakes race wins at three included the Ladyship Stakes at Goshen, NY; La Quebecoise Stakes, Dottie’s Pick Stakes and Gaspe Futurity at Richelieu Park. Woodlawn Drummond concluded her racing career at the end of her four-year-old season after competing against the best older pacers in North America including Bret Hanover (five times), Adios Vic and Cardigan Bay. She managed a solid third place finish in Canada’s oldest harness stakes event, The Canadian Pacing Derby, at Greenwood Raceway, behind H A Meadowland and Timely Knight.  Her year was highlighted by a win in the Canada Pace at Richelieu Park, and a second in the Ryan Memorial at Rideau Carleton for a record of 2-5-2 in 15 starts. As a broodmare her colts Keith Drummond, by Tar Heel and Gerry Drummond by Romeo Hanover saw some success at the track.  Keith Drummond won 11 races for $44,029 in earnings and a lifetime mark of 2:01.4 set as a two-year-old.  Gerry Drummond had 29 wins in his race career and set a mark of 2:04.4 at the age of eight. Thoroughbred Legend - Exterminator He was known as “Old Bones”, a moniker the chestnut gelding was bestowed by his affectionate fans.  Some also called him “The Galloping Hat Rack” or “Old Slim”, based on his tall, scrawny, angular appearance. A writer said “he never won a beauty contest, and certainly did not dazzle in any confirmation photos, but on the track Exterminator was the gritty hero of Thoroughbred’s Golden Age of the ‘20s.” In 1918 he shocked bettors by winning the Kentucky Derby at odds of 30-to-1, the longest shot on the board. The Derby was one of Exterminator’s record 34 stakes victories during an eight-year career that began in Kentucky and Windsor, Ont., and ended in 1924 in Montreal. In his 99th career start the 9-year old gelding pulled up lame. He left a legacy that would never be forgotten, winning 20 times while carrying 130 pounds or more. As he aged he became one of racing’s most popular warriors.  At five he set two world records, winning the 1 ¾ mile Saratoga Cup and the two-mile Autumn Gold Cup at Belmont. He was champion older male in 1920, ’21 and ’22.  Foaled in 1915 at Almahurst Farm, Ky., Exterminator sold for $1,500 at Saratoga’s yearling sale. By age two he was nearly 17 hands; awkward and coarse looking, prompting owner J.C.  Milam to geld him and sell him for $9,000 to Willis Sharpe Kilmer, who was looking for a workhorse to tune up Sun Briar, his 2-year-old champion and Derby favorite.  Sun Briar didn’t train well and Kilmer, under the urging of Churchill Downs president Col. Matt Winn, reluctantly entered the horse he called “the truck horse” or “the goat” for the Derby. In 1924 the gallant old warrior limped off the track after finishing third at Dorval.  Two weeks earlier he notched his 50th and final victory at Blue Bonnets. During his career Exterminator made four starts at Woodbine, winning the Autumn Cup three years in a row while toting between 132 and 137 pounds. He was assigned 134 pounds in the 2 ¼ mile Ontario Jockey Club Cup, which he won handily over a muddy track. “Old Bones” campaigned 13 times in Canada. He died at age 30 and was buried next to his old stable mate Sun Briar. In 1957 he was inducted into Saratoga’s Hall of Fame. The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame will honour these deserving legends at the CHRHF President’s Reception scheduled to take place Wednesday, May 18 at 4:30 pm in the CHRHF located at Woodbine Racetrack.  The reception will also feature the official unveiling of the display boards for the 2015 inductees, as well as the introduction of the 2016 inductees.    The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, located at Woodbine Racetrack, Toronto, is a national organization dedicated to honouring the best in Canadian horse racing, as we preserve the history and heritage of the sport. Additional details are available at:  www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com by Linda Rainey, for the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway and the Board of Directors of the Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) have released details and applications for the bursary/scholarship program for local students pursuing agriculture-related studies. College and university credited programs are eligible for up to a twenty-five hundred ($2,500) dollar award. A minimum of five awards will be granted in 2016. The program is designed to provide financial assistance for students residing in Wellington and Perth Counties, and the Region of Waterloo, who are entering, or currently enrolled in, college or university agriculture-related programs. Since its inception in 2006, the GRAS program has awarded $105,500 to 74 students. The Application Form (PDF) is available at http://grandriverraceway.com/scholarships/ All applications must be received no later than July 15, 2016. Successful applicants will be determined by August 15, 2016. Recipients will be recognized during a special ceremony at Grand River Raceway on a race night in September. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

Trotters were in the spotlight Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack with the Tie Silk Series Final headlining the 10-race harness racing card. A field of ten three-year-old trotting colts and geldings clashed in the $32,200 Tie Silk Series Final. The sophomore trotters not only had to deal with each other, but also rainy and windy conditions. Eddie Green trainee Donicus, 6-5 favourite, was aiming for a series sweep from post-five, but right to his inside was Per Henriksen trainee Muscle Hustle, the 8-5 second choice. Henriksen opted to skip the second leg with Muscle Hustle after the son of Muscle Mass won a leg one division. Donicus and Muscle Hustle trotted out quickly at the start with the Green trainee grabbing the lead and posting an opening-quarter of :27.2. Muscle Hustle and driver Randy Waples sat patiently in the two-hole, as the favourite posted fractions of :58.2 and 1:28.2. Waples pulled on the right line to set up a stretch duel at the top of the lane. Muscle Hustle found top gear quickly and surged by to record a two-length victory in 1:56.2. Donicus' bid at a series sweep was denied, as he finished second. Greg Peck trainee Merchandiser, who won a leg two division, finished third from post-ten. Muscle Hustle was making just his second start of 2016 and fifth overall Monday. The Henriksen trainee now has three career victories and over $33,000 earned for owners Ecurie Bergh Inc. The clocking of 1:56.2 shaved nearly a second off Muscle Hustle's previous career-best. He paid $5.30 to win. Muscle Hustle Three-year-old trotters, who were non-winners of $30,000 in 2015, were eligible to the Tie Silk. The weekly $34,000 Preferred Trot saw yet another older trotter find the winner's circle Monday. Charlie Is A Joker benefited from breaks by the two favourties, Fearless Man and Flanagan Memory, to win in 1:55.3 for driver Trevor Henry and trainer Ben Baillargeon. The eight-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall grabbed the early lead, before surrendering the front to Zeus Lightning in the second-quarter. Charlie Is A Joker sat in the two-hole until the top of the lane and surged by in the stretch to win by a length at odds of 9-1. Zeus Lightning held on for second, while Hldontghttoyurdrms finished third. Charlie Is A Joker now has back-to-back victories to improve his season's record to four wins in 13 starts. The veteran trotter has banked $71,000 this season for owners Thomas & Elizabeth Rankin. Monday's victory was the 32nd career score for Charlie Is A Joker and pushes his career earnings over $443,000. He paid $20.50 to win. Charlie Is A Joker While the older male trotters battled early in the card, the Late-Double started with a $24,000 Mares Trot. Many familiar older trotters, including Charmed Life, Rockin With Dewey and Bax Of Life, headlined the field, but a daughter of Muscle Mass making her four-year-old debut stole the show. Muscle Baby Doll shot through late for driver Sylvain Filion with great final-quarter speed to win in 1:54.4 at odds of 10-1. The Tony O'Sullivan trainee was making her debut against older rivals after winning eight of 15 as a three-year-old and banking over $451,000 in her first two seasons on the track. Charmed Life, who took command in the second-quarter, surrendered the lead late and had to settle for second, while Rockin With Dewey finished third. Muscle Baby Doll trotted along fourth for the majority of the mile and used a :27.1 final-quarter to win by a length and a quarter. The daughter of Muscle Mass is owned by F Bellino And Sons LLC and now has 13 career victories. Muscle Baby Doll returned $23.60 to win. Muscle Baby Doll Live racing resumes Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - Opening day for the Hippodrome 3R is right around the corner on Sunday, May 1 and management at Quebec's only pari-mutuel harness racing track is ready to greet fans with some big, positive changes. "From our new All-Star Spring Driver's Tournament with many of the best harness drivers in the world coming to 3R, to our redesigned website, we are ready for a very exciting race season in 2016." Said 3R General Manager Vincent Trudel. The track opens with live racing on Sunday's at 1:30 pm starting May 1 and then adding Tuesday night racing (post time 7:00 pm) beginning on May 24. "We have positive changes set for this season," Trudel added. "In order to boost our simulcast signal, our track announcer, Guy LaFontaine, will be calling the races in both English and French, and we will have our changes, handicapping selections and other broadcast items in both languages as is our website. "We have also hired a new Director of Marketing, Andre Provencher," Trudel said. "To assist us for promotional events, marketing and simulcasting. He is already a welcomed addition to our staff." What Trudel is most excited about for the new season is the All-Star Driver's Tournament set for Sunday, June 5. "We have never had such a lineup of the best drivers in North America racing here at 3R." Trudel gleamed. "Hall of Famer John Campbell, Tim Tetrick, Yannick Gingras, Jody Jamison, Daniel Dube, Sylvain Filion and our own Denis St Pierre and Mario Charron. What a great tournament this will be. I am so grateful for these driver's taking the time from their busy schedules to come here to Trois-Rivieres." The tournament will comprise of eight races and throughout the day there will be interviews after each race and a special Meet and Greet with all the drivers starting at 12:30 pm. "Just after we announced the tournament and the top drivers in the competition, the dining room at the track was sold out in days." Trudel said. The premier event of the season is the third annual revival of the Prix D'Ete for four-year-old pacers with a purse of $200,000. Set for Sunday, August 21, this year's Prix D'Ete is headlined by the nomination of the 2015 Harness Horse of the Year, Wiggle It Jiggleit. "We are hoping that owner George Teague and Wiggle It Jiggleit have a strong and healthy season," said Trudel, "so that they will come here and race in the Prix D'Ete. The race has had many great horses compete in prior years and the racing fans in Quebec would love the opportunity to see this world champion race on our track." Other stakes at 3R this season include the Lucien Bombardier Pace for two-year-old fillies on Sunday, September 11 and the very popular Quebec-Bred Series for two, three and four-year-old pacers. The Quebec-Bred Series takes place from May through September depending on age with preliminary round and finals in all divisions. Leading driver for the past two years, Denis St-Pierre, is ready for the start of the 3R racing season. "I may be living in Ontario now," St-Pierre said, "But I will be at 3R every time I have the chance to drive mainly in the stakes races. I did this last year and missed some programs but still was able to hang on for the driving title against Mario Charron. He nearly caught me on closing day. "I am so honored to be part of the upcoming driver tournament on June 5," St-Pierre added, "What a great job the management at the Hippodrome 3R has done to have these world class drivers come to Quebec. "It is so important for our race program at 3R to have a tournament of this top class for everyone in North America to have their eyes on," St-Pierre said. "I can't wait for this day as it will be great to compete again these guys. This is very positive for harness racing at 3R and important for all the horsemen and women in Quebec to support." The Hippodrome 3R's top drivers, trainers and owners will be back for the summer meet. Along with Denis St-Pierre and Mario Charron, Stephane Brosseau, Stephane Gendron, Pascal Berube, Jocelyn Gendron and Louise-Phillip Roy, who is currently the leading driver at Rideau Carlton Raceway, will all be back at 3R. Top trainers returning to 3R include Maxime Velaye, who captured his first driving title last year with an impressive UDR of .443. He will be joined by Jean Tourigny, Yves Tessier, Dany Fontaine and Andre Champagne. "It is very exciting getting ready for this Sunday," Trudel said. "I know the race fans in Quebec are anxious for the return of live racing to Trois-Rivieres and we are ready to show everyone a good time." For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club      

HAMILTON, April 25 - The countdown is on to the 2016 Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs. A showcase event for harness racing's top four-year-old pacers, the $225,000 (estimated) Confederation Cup is set to take place Sunday, May 15. A total of 18 four-year-old pacers remain eligible to this year's Confederation Cup, including last year's U.S Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit. The George Teague stable superstar has picked up right where he left off last season, as he has posted four victories in five starts to begin his four-year-old season. The lengthy list of accomplishments for Wiggle It Jiggleit includes victories in The Meadowlands Pace, Little Brown Jug and Matron Stakes. Trained by Clyde Francis, Wiggle It Jiggleit has earned over $2.3 million during his career. The possibility of a Horse of the Year competing in the Confederation Cup adds more buzz to an already exciting event planned at the Hamilton oval. Fans on track for Confederation Cup night will be able to enjoy an exhibit floor, featuring sampling stations and industry booths, live music, a T-Shirt toss and a parachute drop (weather permitting). Entertainment on the racing surface will also include a Miniature Race, a Racing Under Saddle Race and a Dachshund Dog Race. Meet and greets will follow each on track event. Flamboro will once again host a canned food drive on Confederation Cup night. Fans and horseplayers are asked to bring a canned food item for the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Hamilton for the opportunity to win prizes. The lead up to Confederation Cup night begins a week before with the eliminations (if necessary) on Sunday, May 8. Elimination night lands on Mother's Day and a special Buffet will be offered for the occasion. Also to coincide with Mother's Day, the winner of the Name The Foal contest will be announced. Fans can enter and receive full details regarding the Name the Foal contest by clicking here. Post time for Confederation Cup night (Sunday, May 15) is 6 p.m. For more details regarding all Flamboro Downs events, visit www.FlamboroDowns.com . Below are the names of the 18 horses eligible to the Confederation Cup. ASAP HANOVER AMERICANPRIMETIME DANCINTHESHADOW DRACHAN HANOVER DREAMS BEACHBOY K RYAN BLUECHIP LYONS AGAIN LYONS LEVI LEWIS MACH ON THE BEACH MY HERO RON NATIONAL SEELSTER ROCK N' ROLL WORLD ROCKIN IN HEAVEN ROCKIN RON RODEO ROMEO THE WAYFARING MAN TRACEUR HANOVER WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications (Alliance)

With 75 horses already bedded down, and stall applications arriving daily "The Stable That God Loves" promises to again be a potent force for good in Harness racing in 2016.   As a horseman recently quipped, " the Stable That God Loves in 2015 produced important dollars to support the diligent work of the racetrack chaplaincy, and reams of excellent publicity worth a million ,or two, (dollars) for Harness racing. "We need one hundred horses in The Stable" said Uxbridge, Ont., horseman, Norm Clements, who is the Chair of the team that manages the Stable That God Loves. Clements is the founder of the Jennifer Ashleigh Children's Charity and no stranger to supporting those in need. He has pledged 21 of his colourbearers to God's Stable. All of the heavy hitters from last year's program, including Luck Be Withyou, Elegant Serenity, Madefromlucky, Nvestment Bluechip, Reverend Hanover, Rockin With Dewey, and more, are back in the fold, along with a host of new faces. One of the new faces in God's Stable is Rollaroundtheworld, a handsome bay three-year-old pacer owned by Adriano Sorella of Milton, Ontario. The $115,000 yearling purchase at Lexington won in his only two-year-old start at the Meadowlands in 1:52.3, and has two 2nds in his two starts this year.   "Like his sire, Roll With Joe, he is a bit late maturing, but he has shown he is good enough to go with the best" said Sorella. "We like him. He is staked is all of the rich three-year-old events , like the Hempt, Meadowlands Pace, Breeders Crown, and the Jug. We will see him at Mohawk In the North America Cup". Rollaroundtheworld, is in training at White Birch Farms in Allentown, New Jersey under the tutelage of Nancy Johansson.   "Nancy has done an excellent job with this colt " according to Sorella. Adriano Sorella supports other charities, but he says "the Stable That God Loves is an initiative close to home for people in the industry. It is helping some of the less fortunate in Ontario horseracing. It is horsemen helping horsemen." Stalls are always available in The Stable That God Loves. Every trotter, pacer, or Thoroughbred is welcome and guaranteed a stall. Please send requests for stall space to Ken Middleton: k.middleton@rogers.com, or Norm Clements: nclements@zing-net.ca For regular up-to-date postings on The Stable That God Loves© follow us on Facebook and on Twitter@StableGodLoves. For additional information: Bill Galvin: billgalvin2000@yahoo.caa by Bill Galvin, for The Stable That God Love

Acton, Ontario – Sydney Weaver’s unnamed Pet Rock filly was the center of attention yesterday as Sydney “Pinky” Seelster’s little girl was blessed in a special stall ceremony. Chaplain Ken Carter of the Standardbred Race Track Chaplaincy of Canada came out to the farm and officially blessed “Baby Joe”. “Today was a very special day for me,” Said Sydney Weaver. “It truly meant a lot. Thank you Ken Carter and also to Kim, Nicholas and Garnet Barnsdale for being part of our special day.” Sydney refers to Pinky’s filly as “Baby Joe” after Pet Rock’s owner, Joe Bellino, who donated the breeding for Pinky. “Every day Baby Joe and I are bonding more and more,” Sydney said. “This is such a wonderful experience. She now comes up to me in the stall and loves it when I brush her.” The beautiful filly still needs a name and everyone is encouraged to enter the “Name Pinky’s Foal Contest” before it closes next Sunday, May 1 at midnight. There is no purchase necessary to enter the contest. You must be age 18 or older and a legal resident of the country you live in. All entries must be submitted in English. Just go to  www.harnesslink.com/name-the-foal/ and fill out all the required information. The winning name selected will receive a free breeding to the multiple world champion pacing stallion HE’S WATCHING, who stands at both Tara Hills Farm in Port Perry, Ontario and at Alabar Bloodstock in New Zealand. His stud fee for the 2016 season is at $5,000. The breeding was generously donated by Muscara Racing Trust, Menary Racing, Inc., Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero. There is also second place prizes of $500 in wagers on WatchandWager.com. That prize winner must be a USA citizen residing in a state that does not have a conflict with www.WatchandWager.com. Flamboro Downs management is offering dinner for two packages to Canadian winners. Within one week after the deadline date, Sydney Weaver will select six approved names for the foal. Management at Flamboro Downs, where Pinky raced for most of her career, has graciously agreed to hold a Name Pinky’s Foal Contest Night at the track on Sunday, May 8 (Mother’s Day), when the final name will be announced in a unique presentation. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Musical Rhythm scored his 10th consecutive victory Saturday night in the harness racing $42,600 Don Mills Trotting Series final at Mohawk Racetrack. The Ben Baillargeon trainee crushed his five rivals with a five and a half lengths victory in 1:52.4 to easily sweep the three-week Don Mills Series. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Musical Rhythm got away third before brushing to the front in the second-quarter. The 1-9 favourite posted fractions of :56.2 and 1:25.3 before trotting home confidently in :27.1 for his eighth victory of the season. Hillsonator finished second, while Musical Rhythm's stablemate Grana Padanno was third. Musical Rhythm was purchased for $33,000 last November at the Harrisburg Mixed Sale and has since won 11 of 12 starts and earned $152,300 for owners Santo & Nunzio Vena, Claude Hamel and Ben Baillargeon. A four-year-old son of Cantab Hall, Musical Rhythm improved his career totals to 17 wins and over $200,000 earned with his Don Mills Series final victory. Following Saturday's race, Ben Baillargeon explained what his initial expectations were for Musical Rhythm. "I liked about him that he fit the non-winners of three or $75,000 and the General Brock Series," said Baillargeon. "I thought he was a nice horse, a fast horse and he showed a quarter in :26.4 as a two-year-old, so that's what I look for at the sale, I like when they have speed. "For some reason this year he has put it together and he has been nothing but good for me. The hopple broke the one time he ran at the gate or else he would be perfect." While Musical Rhythm has exceeded expectations, his connections are enjoying the pleasant surprise and have staked him heavily to top events this season. "We put him in the Graduate Series starting in a month at The Meadowlands, so he will probably race one time before we go there," noted Baillargeon. "But this week he is going to hit the field." Musical Rhythm's victory gives Baillargeon his second consecutive Don Mills Series final win. Last year, Etruscan Hanover won the series finale in a record 1:52.2. Musical Rhythm has quickly made a name for himself in 2016 and Baillargeon noted he isn't sure just how good the four-year-old can be. "I know he's a better horse off a helmet because he wants to go when you pull on the right line, but time will tell." Four and five-year-old trotters, who were non-winners of $150,000 lifetime as of December 31, 2015, were eligible to the Don Mills Trotting Series. Live racing resumes Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The Blossom Series final will highlight the 10-race program. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Charlottetown, PE - Bazillion, under the command of Brian MacPhee, captured the featured event Saturday at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. MacPhee sent the Trevor Hicken trainee, owned by Kent Livingston, Cornwall, to the point and never looked back laying down fractions of 29.4, 1:00.2, 1:29.4 to close the mile in 2:00.1. Newcomer Euchred (Jason Hughes) was second while Eagle Jolt (Marc Campbell) finished third. Idealic Life was fourth. Bolero Trisco was a late scratch. Swingirl and Corey MacPherson opened up the spring-summer meet with top honours for the new ownership group Redislandhorseownersclub of Stratford, PE. The mare was making her first start on PEI. MacPherson also paraded Brodys Leona to victory Lane for owners Kerry and Emily Taylor and Lisa Richards. Driver-trainer Jason Hughes also opened the campaign with a driving double with victories aboard Blue Star Outlaw and Cambest Kisser for the Donald and Steven MacRae stable, Vernon Bridge, PE. Tempo Seelster claimed The PEI Poker Challenge pace for catch-driver Todd Walsh and owner-trainer Vince Poulton, Charlottetown, PE. Racing returns Saturday at 6pm. by Lee Drake, for Red Shores

CAMPBELLVILLE, April 22 - A surprising mid-stretch break by the 1/2 favourite shook things up in the opening leg of the Princess Series Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A compact group of six three-year-old pacing fillies squared off in the $20,000 first round of the Princess. Ken Sucee trainee Shes Lights Out entered Friday's first leg two for two to start 2016 and the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was appropriately made the public's choice. American Curves and driver Sylvain Filion floated out to the lead and posted an opening-quarter of :28.1, while Shes Lights Out paced along in third. Paul MacDonell sent the favourite to the front in the second-quarter and posted a half-mile clocking of :56.2. Shes Lights Out led the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:24.4 and appeared to be well on her way to a third consecutive victory. However, the favourite made a costly break approaching the final-eighth and American Curves inherited the lead and finished the job in 1:53.3. Party In Rome finished a length and a quarter back in second, while Westluckycam edged out Never Any Doubt for third. Shes Lights Out paced across the wire in fifth. A daughter of American Ideal, American Curves was making her second start of the season Friday after a 1:54.3 victory last week. Murray Brethour trains and co-owns the sophomore pacing filly, who made just two starts as a rookie. American Curves increased her career earnings to $17,900 in her fourth career start for owners Brethour, Doug Millard, John and Jim Fielding and Kevin McKinlay. She paid $9.30 to win. In order to be eligible to the Princess, the three-year-old pacing fillies had to be non-winners of $100,000 in 2015. The second leg of the Princess will take place next Friday (April 29). Live racing continues Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications

Hanover Raceway celebrates its 52nd year of pari-mutuel racing on Saturday June 4th. GM Gord Dougan says many of the 16 live days will have special features attached to them, and once again Dream of Glory Day will feature live Fireworks after the races on the Civic Holiday Weekend. Opening day, Saturday June 4th will include up to 300 HR raceway caps given away with the first 300 live programs sold on site. Saturday June 11th will be Pepsi Day, with close to $2,000 dollars in prizes to be given away including backyard furniture, golf equipment and a bicycle or two. The Country 93 Survivor Handicap contest is back in July with the winner receiving a 50 inch high definition Smart TV package.  Bring a Friend day to the races will be Saturday July 16th, and Hanover Raceway is teaming up with the Hanover Hospital foundation on a huge fundraising event on Saturday August 27th during the final of the Balanced Image trot. Dougan says he’s still hoping to finalize a deal on Molson night at the races soon, and is close to finalizing a Season ending prize with another local sponsor. The 152nd annual Hanover Fair will be held from August 12-14th this year and will include a Teen Video dance at the P and H centre, as well as an adult licensed Video Dance on the Saturday night. Post time once again will be 7:15 each night,  except 1 hour earlier on Dream of Glory day on Saturday July 30th. From the Hanover Raceway Media Department

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Wanaka overcame post position ten to win the harness racing Celias Counsel Trotting Series final Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A full field of ten three-year-old trotting fillies met up to contest the $33,200 Celias Counsel final. Trainer Paul Reid swept the second leg of the series and sent out a pair of starters, including the 4/5 favourite Flowers N Songs. However, Reid was not the only trainer to send out multiple starters, as John Box sent out 5 trotting fillies. Wanaka entered the final with a victory and third-place finish in the preliminary legs, but the Shannon Henry trainee had to deal with the far outside post-ten starting spot. The Bax trainees all pushed forward at the start looking for the front, while Flowers N Songs and driver Doug McNair dropped in seventh and Wanaka and driver Trevor Henry took back to find a seat in eighth. After an opening-quarter of :28.3, Bax trainee Hills Angel cleared to the front ahead of stablemate Moonlight Cocktail. The lead was short lived, as Treasurer Gifts K powered up from fifth to take the lead at the half in :58.2. Flowers N Songs angled to the outside trotting down the backstretch and made the long first-over journey to take the lead just before reaching three-quarters in 1:27.4. Meanwhile, Henry and Wanaka shadowed the public's choice and got a second-over trip to the top of the lane. In the stretch, Wanaka surged by Flowers N Songs to score a length and a half victory in a career-best 1:56.1. Smash Hit grabbed third, while Moonlight Cocktail was fourth. Following the race, Henry explained his winning strategy from post-ten with Wanaka. "I didn't really want to leave, there was a big entry to the inside of me and I knew there would be no favours," said Henry. "Doug's (McNair) filly I know (isn't) a big leaver, so I thought I would try and get to follow her and it just worked out." Henry noted that he was very confident in his filly, who was 7¾ lengths off the lead at the half. "I figured if I was at least six or eight lengths off at the half she would win" A daughter of Manofmanymissions, Wanaka now has five wins in 11 starts this season for owners Trevor Henry Stables Inc and 1035840 Ontario Inc. The sophomore trotting filly has only missed the board once this season after a third-place finish in two starts as a rookie. With Ontario Sires Stakes season rapidly approaching, Wanaka is primed for a big season locally, but Henry and the connections hope their filly can potentially tackle the Grand Circuit. "She's got the Elegantimage and Casual Breeze if she's good enough." Wanaka's Celias Counsel victory pushes her career earnings over $68,000. She paid $5.90 to win. In order to be eligible to the Celias Counsel, the three-year-old fillies had to be non-winners of $30,000 in 2015. Live racing continues Friday night at Mohawk with an 11-race card. The feature event is two $20,000 divisions of the Princess Series. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie
Canada's reigning Horse of the Year is set to return to the track Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack. Dr. Ian Moore trainee State Treasurer will look to start his 2016 harness racing campaign off on a winning note in the $34,000 Preferred Handicap. The seven-year-old son of Real Desire has been assigned the outside spot in a field of nine and will reunite with regular driver Chris Christoforou. State Treasurer put together a dream season last year with nine victories in 19 starts and just shy of $1 million in earnings. The Dr. Moore trainee posted victories in the Molson Pace, Mohawk Gold Cup, US Pacing Championship, Roll With Joe and Canadian Pacing Derby en route to being named the top older pacer in both Canada and the United States. State Treasurer enters his seven-year-old season with a milestone in sight. Just a $6,500 yearling purchase, he is just over $51,000 away from $2 million in career earnings for owners Sally MacDonald and Paul MacDonald. Although State Treasurer has yet to make a start, the veteran pacing stallion has already made headlines this season. Dr. Moore qualified State Treasurer in an eye-popping 1:49.4 on April 15 at Southern Oaks Training Center in Sorrento, Florida. The recorded fractions over the mile-oval at Southern Oaks were :26, :52.3, 1:19.4 and 1:49.4. State Treasurer's competition in Saturday's Preferred includes a stablemate and a trio of Preferred winners this season. Dr. Moore trainee Arthur Blue Chip is making his sixth start of the season from post-five in the Preferred. The five-year-old son of Shadow Play made all five previous starts at Pompano Park and scored two victories along with three runner-up finishes. Nickle Bag, who has six Preferred victories this season, will start from post-six. Ellis Park and Boomboom Ballykeel, who have each scored a Preferred victory in the last month, start from post-seven and eight, respectively. The Preferred Handicap has been carded as the tenth-race on the 11-race program. State Treasurer will not be the only Dr. Moore trainee to appear at Mohawk Saturday. The veteran conditioner sends out three starters in The Diplomat and former New York Sires Stakes standout Rockin In Heaven in an overnight event. Some Gold starts from post-two in the first Diplomat division for Dr. Moore, while Worthy Art and Sutton Seelster will leave from post position three and five in the second split. Rockin In Heaven will make his second start of the season in the evening's fourth-race. The four-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven scored victories in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes and Empire Breeders Classic last season en route to banking over $367,000. The second leg of The Diplomat Series will feature two $20,000 divisions Saturday night. The Diplomat Series is for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, who were non-winners of $100,000 last season. The opening-leg of the series failed to fill, as only four horses were entered, but leg two has attracted 13 pacers. Carmen Auciello trainee War N Munn will headline the first division from the rail. The three-year-old son of Stonebridge Regal has captured both The Count B and Youthful Series finals this season to help him sport a 2016 bankroll of over $66,000. The first division field of six also includes British Columbia star Kokanee Seelster. The Ming Siu trainee made his first four starts this season at Fraser Downs and captured the $75,000 Keith Linton Memorial on April 3. Unlike War N Munn, Kokanee Seelster is eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup. The second Diplomat Series division features a strong field of seven Bill Budd trainee Flaherty has won four of eight starts this season and holds a mark of 1:51.3. The son of Up The Credit will start from post-two and has been made the 9/5 morning line choice. Flaherty is eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup. Richard Moreau trainee Gerries Sport won his season debut last week at Mohawk in 1:52.3 and is the 5/2 second-choice on the morning line from post-seven. An Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots star last season, Gerries Sport appears ready to take a big step forward in 2016 with a pair of solid qualifying efforts before capturing his season debut. The Diplomat Series divisions are carded as the third and ninth-races on Saturday's card. Post time for Saturday's 11-race program is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie
CAMPBELLVILLE, April 28 - The deadline for nominations to the Alliance Spring Series is this Monday (May 2). A total of 11 events will be contested as part of the Alliance Spring Series. Flamboro Downs, The Raceway at Western Fair, Clinton Raceway, Grand River Raceway and Georgian Downs will all host series races. The Alliance Spring Series offer racing opportunities for $6,000 and $12,000 claimers, along with four-year-olds and younger who are non-winners of $5,000. Flamboro Downs will host two series finals on Confederation Cup night (May 15), while Western Fair will also host a pair of series finals on Molson Pace night (May 27). The nomination fee for each series is $100 ($75 USD) and the Woodbine Entertainment Group will handle all payments. To view the full conditions for each series and nomination form to the Alliance Spring Series, click here. To make payments online, click here. by Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications
Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - When the Hippodrome 3R opens this Sunday for its 2016 harness racing meet, there will be a new driving force at the half mile oval by the name of Louis-Philippe Roy. The 26-year-old resident of Mont-Joli, Quebec has only been driving professionally since 2008 and after a breakout season at 3R last year, he is coming into his own in 2016. Until last season, Roy averaged just 12 to 20 wins while on the Quebec Fair Circuit and a few drives at the Hippodrome 3R. Then in 2015 he exploded with 58 victories and ended the year with an impressive universal driving rating (battling average) of .351. What does Roy attribute his recent success to? "I don't know," Roy said. "I just take it day by day. I know that in this sport you can be very high one day and get as low the next day. As a driver you really depend on the trainers and owners that get confident in you. As long as they keep giving me opportunities to drive, I think that I can have a really good year." And that is coming true so far for Louis-Philippe Roy in 2016. Currently he is the leading driver at Rideau Carlton Raceway, which is a 200 mile drive (3.5 hours) from 3R, but the long drive has been worth it for Roy, who already this season has 29 wins and a UDR of .387. "I'll be driving every Tuesday at 3R," Roy said, "But Sunday's will be tough as I will have to combine 3R and Rideau, so I might be able to drive a few races at 3R in the afternoon and then at night at Rideau Carlton." During the week days, Roy works at Telus as an analyst on a marketing intelligence team. His true love is harness racing but the job with Telus allows him to pay the bills as he is not ready to give up his day job for harness racing. When asked if he felt that this could be the year at 3R that Louis-Philippe Roy can challenge Denis St-Pierre and Mario Charron for the driving title, Roy answered the question with a question. "Can the New York Islanders win the Stanley Cup this year?" Roy explained, "They can, but will they? I would like to think yes, but I'm really not sure." Roy says he really enjoys the atmosphere at the Hippodrome 3R. "I like the "off-track" part of being there. Good people who are friends that love racing." Who does Roy feel will be his biggest assets to get drives at 3R this season? "It's difficult to answer that question," Roy explained, "because there are a lot of trainers that give me drives. I drove a lot for Yves Tessier for the last few months at Rideau and have had success with his horses. At 3R, there are Jean Tourigny, Francis Richard and especially Nathalie Migneault with her husband Eric Dechampain. They have been with me since my debut and gave me my first chance in the fair circuit and on the professional tracks too. "I think this will be a great season at 3R," Roy said, "and want to credit the fact that the Quebec Jockey Club, Vincent Trudel, Francois Carignan and his team are trying things to promote the sport here. It's the same thing with the Circuit Regional (the Quebec Fairs) that try to get new people interested in the sport in every area of the Province. "Things like the upcoming All-Star Drivers Tournament," Roy explained, "are always appreciated by the public, people from here will be happy to see these star drivers, and it should also help 3R get attention from not just the rest of Canada, but in the United States too!" Two of the all-stars in the big tournament June 5, Yannick Gingras and Daniel Dube, cut their teeth at the Hippodrome 3R before heading to the USA east coast. They have both become world renowned leading drivers. Does Roy see himself following their footsteps if the opportunity arises? "I don't plan it for now," Roy said, "but I let things go as they are and if I get an opportunity, I might consider it." While Roy wishes he could be one of the all-star drivers competing in the tournament and that goal could well be within his reach in the coming years, he did comment when asked who he felt would win it. And, as a devoted hockey fan and player, had this to say. "I would like to see any of the drivers win the tournament," Roy explained with a wink and a smile, "Except for Jody Jamieson because he cheers for the Toronto Maple Leafs!" From the Quebec Jockey Club    
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