Day At The Track
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Can Creepin make it a threepeat?

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - A frosty Saturday of harness racing is set to be capped off with the top pacers on the grounds this week at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The 13-dash card gets underway at 12:30 P.M. and the $3,000 preferred pace will line up in the finale as Creepin looks for his third straight from the handicapped post 7. David Dowling is back in the bike for trainer Jim Quinn, who co-owns with Alex Quinn and Carl Peterson. The six-year-old son of Mach Three has been superb so far in 2020 with wins in both his outings. Winter Blast has been in the triactor in both those races and will work from post 5 this week for driver Jason Hughes and trainer Jennifer Doyle. The grey son of Sand Shooter will be looking for his 29th lifetime win. Rockin Indy also has an outer post as the post 6 starter will again race from the Chris Davies stable with Adam Merner at the controls. Race analyst Les MacIsaac will excuse the post disadvantage as he selects Creepin for top spot. "Creepin has dominated the top class the past two weeks and his versatility was on display as he used a different racing style in each," MacIsaac said. "He's not a lock but at the same time, it's hard to go against him the way he's been racing." Other preferred entrants are Midnight Matt (Driven by Kenny Arsenault), Hes Marvalous (Myles Heffernan Sr.), Jetster (Marc Campbell) and Pictonian Storm (Corey MacPherson). Mystery Phil is the lone newcomer on the program in race 4 for a $2,200 purse. Merner is in the driver's seat for trainer Davies and new owners Dale and Ronnie Rennie of Elmsdale as the morning line favourite. The five-year-old son of Shanghai Phil is a six-time winner in his career, sporting a lifetime best of 1:54.4 taken over Woodbine Mohawk Park in Ontario. He last raced at Flamboro Downs in Dundas, Ont., on Dec. 19, finishing fifth in 1:57.4 for driver Colin Kelly. For more information go to Redshores.ca. By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores

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Significant gains at Charlottetown/Summerside

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Harness racing at Red Shores in Summerside and Charlottetown saw significant gains across the board in 2019. The live wager saw an over 10 per cent increase in 2019 compared to 2018 with $392,236 in new wagering dollars to give a $4,281,446 total all sources wager. Those 2019 increases are thanks to upward bumps in on-track wager as well as a 15 per cent increase in the off-track wager over the 2018 campaign. Racing experience manager Adam Walsh points to the hardworking individuals in the racing community for making 2019 such a banner year with 100 total race dates held across the province. "Red Shores offers an excellent and exciting racing program that our customers on Prince Edward Island and throughout North America have come to enjoy," Walsh said. "It is the love and passion of the hardworking horsemen and horsewomen of PEI of these equine athletes that is the strength of the racing industry in PEI." Lee Drake, Manager of Marketing & Brands, says guest experience is the number one focus at Red Shores and a key reason the business continues to grow in every facet. "We work hard on getting new people to our properties through strong partnerships and relationships in tourism, meetings & conventions and the corporate community," Drake said. The world-class presentation at Red Shores is another major factor in their success. "We have beautiful clean properties with a professional staff and it's all about the experience whether it's racing, dining or the casino," he said. "We have really stepped up our social media presence which also drives new business as well." The Red Shores Race Day broadcast network is also sporting some great numbers with 2.6 Million viewers (2,640,878) from all locations with Atlantic Canada viewership at 1.9 Million (1,961,380). Red Shores' two signature events also had exceptional showings in 2019 with the Gold Cup and Saucer program pulling in $307,134 from all wagering sources putting that handle second all-time in Island racing to the Gold Cup and Saucer card in 1994. The 2019 Governor's Plate card was the second highest grossing program in the history of the Summerside Raceway with $96,651 wagered on the card, narrowly putting it behind the $99,994 record handle of 1996. Walsh says the difference in outside competition from those record wagers in the 1990s to today's climate should not be overlooked. "There is quite a difference in the landscape today compared to 10 or 25 years ago but we are focused on growing those numbers," said Walsh. The 2020 winter racing season is coming to a close at Red Shores in the coming weeks but the red-hot action will be back at the city track on Saturday May 2nd for the summer racing meet with the Kentucky Derby theme. Post time for that May program will be 6 P.M. Governor's Plate week is July 5th to the 11th while Old Home Week is August 13th to the 22nd featuring the Guardian Gold Cup & Saucer. Keep an eye out for upcoming announcements on Red Shores' new line of promotions and events for 2020. By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores    

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The Raceway increases Pick 4's

LONDON, ON- The buzz and excitement of live harness racing at The Raceway at Western Fair District continues with the announcement of an increase to both its guaranteed Early and Late Pick 4 wagers, beginning on Monday, January 13. Monday through Wednesday the Pick 4 guaranteed pools will be increased to $7,500. Friday's Early and Late Pick 4's will remain at $5,000. The Pick 4 wager features a $.20 minimum along with a 15% takeout. "We're having a fantastic meet and this is another incentive for our customers," said Racing Manager Greg Gangle. "Our Pick 4 wager is certainly a 'go to' and the demand is there for the increase." The track's schedule for this meet is now four days per week. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays with a 6:15 p.m. first-race post time and Fridays will begin at 6:55 p.m. From The Raceway    

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Sintra splashes to victory

MILTON, ON - January 11, 2020 - Harness racing pacers Sintra battled through rainy and windy conditions to reach up at the wire for a second consecutive Preferred score on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The seven-year-old gelding and driver Jody Jamieson rallied from fifth at the head of the lane to win the $36,000 Preferred Handicap by a neck over Nirvana Seelster, who cut the mile, and the same margin over East End in 1:53.2. Competing on a 'Sloppy' track with rain and high winds, the field of six older pacers were led by Nirvana Seelster through fractions of :27., :57.1 and 1:25.3. Real Surreal angled out from fourth to come first-up going to three-quarters. Sintra sat fifth and followed the cover loosely, while Youaremycandygirl, the lone mare in the field, followed from sixth. After facing little pressure, Nirvana Seelster attempted to close out the victory with a final-quarter sprint, aided by the wind at his back. Sintra was able to make up a little more than four-lengths with a :27 final-quarter to snag the victory. Youaremycandygirl finished fourth on the far outside, with Rockin In Heaven and Real Surreal rounding out the field. Trained by Dave Menary, Sintra is now two for two since returning from injury. The seven-year-old gelding had his 2019 season end last May after starting the campaign six for eight. He's now banked $36,000 in two victories this season for owners Michael Guerriero, Kelly Waxman, Nunzio Vena and Frank Cirillo. Sintra's latest victory improves his career numbers to 26 wins and $1,144,436 earned. He paid $2.50 to win. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment          

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Usually known for his front end prowess, He's Marvalous employed off-the-pace tactics to capture the Marc Campbell - Driver Of The Decade harness racing pace Saturday afternoon at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The afternoon program was called Marc Campbell day at the capital oval with specials presentations and clips of Campbell's career throughout the card commemorating his decade long stint as leading driver. Myles Heffernan Sr., was in the bike for the 15-1 upset in the $2,600 Campbell Day Pace as He's Maravlous circled up to stop the clock in 2:00.1 over an off track. Bank Of Dad (Driven by Adam Merner) was second with Silverhill Buddy (David Dowling) third. Jackie Heffernan of Summerville holds the ownership papers on He's Marvalous, who rewarded his backers with a $647.20 triactor ticket. Creepin won the $2,900 preferred pace in 1:58.3 for the combination of driver Dowling and trainer Jim Quinn, who co-owns the pacer with Alex Quinn of York and Carl Peterson of Hunter River. Corey MacPherson made three trips to the winner's circle on the program winning with Dustylane Zambucca in her first lifetime start in 2:06.2 for trainer Stephen Gass of Cornwall. Gass and MacPherson teamed up later on the card to win with Smiley Bayama in a 2:00.1 front end score. MacPherson's other win came with JK Cowboy in 2:01.3 for Greg MacInnis of Tyne Valley. For more information go to Redshores.ca. By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores  

Harness racing driver James MacDonald celebrated his birthday in the winner's circle after guiding favourite So Much More to victory in the $32,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred Handicap Pace featured on the foggy Friday night (January 10) program at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Caught three-wide through the first turn, So Much More kept on rolling and took over command after Kendall Seelster cleared Double A Mint at the :27.2 quarter pole. The bettors' choice continued to lead through middle splits of :57.2 and 1:26 and was clear in the drive to the wire to score by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:54.2. Double A Mint shook loose in the stretch and rallied on to nab second-place honours ahead of Kendall Seelster while drifting towards the center of the track. So Much More was sent postward as the even-money favourite following back-to-back December wins and a closing third-place finish in her season's debut last week behind Youaremycandygirl and Kendall Seelster. She paid $4.20 to win. The victory was the 20th lifetime for the four-year-old Big Jim mare, who has banked $264,170 across 36 starts. Trainer Don Beatson shares ownership with Kenneth Beatson of Palgrave, Ont., and Cole England of Exeter, Ont. To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park. From Standardbred Canada/Mohawk Park

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - The top driver in the history of Prince Edward Island harness racing will be honoured Saturday afternoon with Marc Campbell Day at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park.   The 'King' of Island racing, Campbell of Winsloe, will be the focus of the Saturday card as he is honoured as the top driver every year of the past decade.   The Saturday program kicks off at 12:30 P.M. with 14-dashes scheduled. Red Shores will have a banner up to recognize Campbell that the fans cane sign, a trackside presentation with a plaque from Red Shores as well as special video clips and races from the driver's career.   Race 13 is the Marc Campbell - Driver Of The Decade pace with a mainstay of the Campbell stable favoured in the $2,600 event. Eagle Jolt has post 2 for trainer-driver Campbell and owners Wilbur and Marie MacDonald of Stratford. The 13-year-old son of Village Jolt will look to add to his 64 lifetime victories from over 330 lifetime outings.   Burn Out Hanover looms a large danger from post 3 with Corey MacPherson in the driver's seat for trainer Jeff Holmes. A son of Well Said out of millionaire pacing mare Burning Point, Burn Out Hanover tired off the front in his latest over a heavy track rated five seconds off due to mud.   Race analyst Les MacIsaac will side with Burn Out Hanover to provide the upset in the Marc Campbell - Drive Of The Decade pace.   "As we said earlier, the front wasn't the place to be last week so we'll cut him some slack for not delivering as the chalk," MacIsaac said of Burn Out Hanover. "There's a ton of thirds there against some big time opposition so he could be sitting on a win."   Other entrants in the field are IC True Grit (Driven by Mike McGuigan), Bank Of Dad (Adam Merner), Santana Sass (Kenny Arsenault), Silverhill Buddy (David Dowling), Hes Marvalous (Myles Heffernan Sr.) and Jeb (Jason Hughes).   The preferred pace lines up in race 7 with Creepin the morning line choice after winning this class last week. Dowling is in the bike for trainer and co-owner Jim Quinn and co-owners Alex Quinn and Carl Peterson. Other top entries are the Jen Doyle trained duo of Winter Blast (Hughes) and Midnight Matt (Arsenault).   By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores

LONDON, ON - Officials with The Raceway at Western Fair District have announced that the track has been forced to cancel its card of live harness racing that was scheduled for Friday (Jan 10). The cancellation has come due to unsafe track conditions caused by mild temperatures and overnight rain. The Raceway will be back in action on Monday evening with a 6:15 p.m. post time. Management at The Raceway apologize for any inconvenience. by Greg Gangle, for The Raceway      

Where do we go from here? Horse racing is caught struggling against an increasingly competitive sports betting platform which leaves the sport proverbially behind the eight ball - so to speak. Why is this? Well it’s because we have done absolutely nothing innovative to draw the betting public to our product. In your eyes you may think we are one of the ‘best entertainment values around’ - because it costs you nothing to watch the sport and the core product hasn’t really changed in at least my lifetime. Take a look at the sports betting industry and the constant innovative product they bring to the table and think about that for a minute. Now that you’ve thought that over - switch the focus strictly to horse racing and the lack of innovation you’ve witnessed in your lifetime. I’m a horse player and I’m a sports gambler. I have a hard time selling horse racing to someone who tells me the product isn’t good and I can’t make money betting horses.   Talk to most race book operators in Las Vegas (and I have spoken with more than my share in the last thirty years) and they’ll all tell you the same thing… “The sport has been declining rapidly because the product just isn’t good enough.” Can we attribute some of the blame to the tracks and their take-outs? Is it the aging demographics of the sport? I know tracks will tell you the cost to operate a facility is tremendous and I wont question that, but stop and look at a sample of the take-out and you be the judge. Test this theory… Let’s say your pool in an exotic wager, like a trifecta, has a take-out of 20%. I know the track up here currently has it listed as 19.7% collectively - in a single race. And let’s say the pool generates $100,000 wagered - the track then takes out $19,700 from that pool leaving only $80,300 to split between those who hold the winning tickets. Some of the take-outs are even as high as 23% on live handle and we aren't even given the take-out rates on simulcast races. Now you see what I mean about the payouts not being attractive to the player. A well-known race track owner did say a while back… “Look at my betting room… You’ll be lucky to see any of those people ten years from now.” Having attended my share of OTB rooms - I have to agree 100% with that statement. Horse racing is attracting less people to the table and we haven’t done our share to promote this to the younger generation and the sport is perceived as ‘something old people do - to pass the time’. The entire concept of pari-mutuel wagering (which is prehistoric in my mind) could be the problem. Just look at the innovation… When was the last time we examined the entire structure of the win, place and show pools? I know all these factor are easier said than done, but if we want to move forward and increase our life-line, then we better make some drastic changes along the way - which are going to appeal to that young demographic player - which right now is basically non-existent when it comes to betting the horse racing product. If you look at our past and where we are today most - if not all - of the major markets for horse racing, across the globe, are monopolies run by track operators and this isn’t the best recipe for innovation that will push us to the next level. It’s time we change the mindset of the track operators, pari-mutuel agencies and of course the core of our horse racing sport - the bettors. A big challenge is to recruit the proper people who can get you to that next step when it comes to making the right choices in terms of technology and innovation. Let's not all sit around the table and wait for sports betting to help save our coffers. We, as an industry, have the ability to grow. There is plenty of room to grow the horse racing sector without falling further behind. If we continue to live in ‘nineties era’ - this sector will never grow and eventually die under the shadow of the wire. Track operators need to listen… Even if it requires changing their mindset - to try new approaches in areas we haven’t tapped yet - but areas that we do have at our disposal. Let’s look at the sports betting model and the innovations which have made it one of the most lucrative forms of gaming in the world. The Super Bowl - a single game on a national stage - will have over $800M wagered on it - in that single day and that doesn't include the $1.5B bet illegally across the globe. I can bet a coin toss. I can bet a player versus a player. I can bet the first half of a game or the last half of a game. If you were to ask a sports bettor… “Would you be interested in betting what horse will get to the three-quarter pole first?” or “Would you be interested in betting on a horse you think will finish last?”… I have a feeling you'd probably get a pretty sound “YES” to either of those questions... Think about it. Innovation isn’t measured by what we do with people surrounded in the sport of horse racing. Innovation is what we do with those who have never witnessed or placed a wager on our product and how we can make the sport more attractive to them - since it's a sport non-existent to many in media and you'd be hard pressed to find it on any TV channel other than a paid subscription channel. The clock is ticking and at the stroke of midnight - we don’t want to be the people standing around looking for someone or something to latch onto. If we get to this point - then we’ll have nobody to blame - but ourselves. by Lou Sorella, for Harnesslink  

MILTON, ON - January 9, 2019 - Woodbine Mohawk Park is set to cap off its first week of the new decade with Preferred action and the Can-Am Pick 4 highlighting Friday and Saturday's harness racing cards. A 10-race card will take place Friday evening, while an 11-race card is on tap for Saturday night. The $32,000 Mares Preferred Handicap Pace will headline Friday's card and a new winner is guaranteed, as last week's winner Youaremycandygirl will tackle the boys in Saturday's $36,000 Preferred Handicap. Kendall Seelster, who was runner-up last week, starts from the outside post-seven and is working towards millionaire status, entering Friday's contested with $952,446. Jody Jamieson will sit behind the five-year-old for trainer Isabelle Darveau. Always well-represented, Richard Moreau sends out a strong duo from the side-by-side positions of posts four and five. Four-year-old Sylph Hanover is three for three since joining the Moreau barn and will make her Preferred debut. Double A Mint, who scored 10 Preferred victories last season, will search for her first top-level score since August. The Mares Preferred Handicap field is completed by (in post position order) Cousin Mary, Inverse Hanover, Better Be Donna N and So Much More. Saturday evening's Preferred Handicap will feature a showdown between the mare Youaremycandygirl and 2017 Canadian Pacing Derby winner Sintra. Moreau trainee Youaremycandygirl was an easy-winner last week in the Mares top-class, making her first start since the TVG Final in late-November at The Meadowlands. The five-year-old has competed and had success at this level, defeating the boys in the Woodbine Preferred on November 9. Dave Menary trainee Sintra had his 2019 campaign cut short due to injury, but the now seven-year-old made a dominant return last week with a 2/14 length score in the Preferred Handicap. The 25-time winner with $1.1 million in career earnings was on pace for a huge season last year, as he won six of eight starts prior to suffering an injury in May. Youaremycandygirl starts from post-four with driver Louis Philippe Roy, while Sintra has post-six in the field of six with Jamieson in the sulky. The Preferred Handicap is completed by (in post position order) Rockin In Heaven, East End, Real Surreal and Nirvana Seelster. Can-Am Pick 4 returns Saturday Saturday evening's card also features the return of the Can-Am Pick 4, a multi-leg wager consisting of two-races at Woodbine Mohawk Park (Race 10 & 11) and two-races at The Meadowlands (Race 10 & 11). The Can-Am Pick 4 sports a $0.20 minimum and low 15 per cent takeout. The sequence starts on Race 10 at Woodbine Mohawk Park and alternates between tracks, finishing on Race 11 at The Meadowlands. The entire program, including past performances for the Can-Am Pick 4 at The Meadowlands, can be downloaded for free at www.Woodbine.com/Mohawk/FreePrograms/. Adriano Sorella to join WRL Owner Adriano Sorella will swing by to join Woodbine's Chad Rozema for an interview on Saturday's edition of Woodbine Racing Live. Sorella has been making noise with his marketing efforts for stallion Jimmy Freight and earlier this week was named a recipient of the USHWA President's Award. Woodbine Racing Live starts at 6:30 p.m. Post time for Friday and Saturday's cards is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

LONDON, ON - The 2019 harness racing season at The Raceway at Western Fair District concluded with the highest all-sources handle for a single card in the history of The Raceway. Patrons pushed $794,720 through the windows on New Year's Eve over the ten-race card with an average just shy of $80,000 wagered per race, also a record. The previous record handle was $765,685 over 16 races. "New Years Eve's record handle was a fantastic end to 2019, and a great way to cap off our Fall meet" said Rob Lumsden, Director of Racing. "The Raceway would like to thank our horseplayers, horsepeople and dedicated Raceway team for all of their support. We look forward to continuing the momentum with all of your support in 2020 and beyond". The records didn't stop there. The month of December produced the highest wagering month ever at The Raceway. The 13 cards produced an "all-sources" betting total of $5,841,958.02, a 67 percent increase over 2018's gross total of $3,496,890. Ten of the 13 cards reached more than $400,000 in wagering. The Raceway is also pleased to announce that wagering numbers were up significantly since the fall meet began. The 2019 fall meet, which began on Friday, October 4, featured 38 race cards and an "all-sources" betting total of $12,659,149.09, a 22.1 per cent increase over 2018. The average per race handle of $31,334.53 showed a 23.3 per cent increase over the 2018 average of $25,403.79. The track's schedule for this meet is now four days per week. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays with a 6:15 p.m. first-race post time and Fridays beginning at 6:55 p.m. by Greg Gangle, for The Raceway  

Sometime down the road when harness racing driver Bob McClure wants to reminisce about 2019, he knows what it will involve. "A lot of replays," McClure said. Get your popcorn ready. McClure enjoyed numerous highlights in 2019, topped by his win with Forbidden Trade in the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes final last August at The Meadowlands.   For the year, McClure won 229 races and a career-best $4.67 million in purses despite missing a month in the spring because of a broken pelvis. He ranked third on the money list among Canadian drivers and saw his earnings increase for the sixth consecutive year. He is a finalist, for the third time, for Canada's Driver of the Year. The winner will be announced Feb. 1 at the O'Brien Awards in Ontario. "Third time's a charm, hopefully," said McClure, who is up against defending champ Louis-Philippe Roy. Regardless of that result, McClure needs to clear space for a trophy. In December, the 29-year-old was named the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Rising Star. He will receive his award Feb. 23 at the Dan Patch Awards banquet at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla. McClure is the first Canadian to receive the honor since Scott Zeron in 2012. "It was certainly a shock and I'm really grateful," McClure said of the honor. "It shows the significance of the Hambletonian, how much weight it carries with the voters. It's pretty neat to follow in the footsteps of other Canadians who have won that award." McClure drove three O'Brien Award finalists in 2019: Forbidden Trade, older female trotter Emoticon Hanover, and 2-year-old male trotter Port Perry. All three horses were trained by Luc Blais and owned by Determination stable. There was no question that Forbidden Trade's upset of Greenshoe in the Hambletonian, harness racing's premier race for 3-year-old trotters, led the list of memorable moments for McClure. "I'd say that's the highlight of anybody's career if you're lucky enough to win it," McClure said. In addition to winning the Hambletonian, Forbidden Trade and McClure captured the Ontario Sire Stakes championship and were second in the Yonkers Trot and Goodtimes Stakes. Emoticon Hanover, who retired at the conclusion of her 6-year-old season in 2019, went out a winner with McClure when she won a preferred trot at Woodbine Mohawk Park in December. Port Perry was a two-time winner on the Ontario Sire Stakes circuit and finished second in the series final. McClure also had multiple OSS victories with 3-year-old female pacer Powerful Chris, 2-year-old male trotter Threefiftytwo, and 2-year-old female pacer Off The Press. Other winners in the series with McClure were 3-year-old male pacer Best In Show, 2-year-old male pacer Examiner Hanover, and 2-year-old female pacer P L Notorious. "The OSS here is a really great program," McClure said. "I was the leading money-winner in it, so that shows you drove a lot of nice horses all the way across the whole Ontario circuit. I think that was the biggest part of the year for me. Between Forbidden Trade, Powerful Chris, a whole bunch of real nice (OSS) Gold horses I was lucky enough to drive, I think that's what made the summer so fun." Powerful Chris provided McClure with another memorable night, although not in a win. She finished third, beaten only a neck, in the Fan Hanover Stakes at odds of 54-1. The filly is owned in part by McClure's grandfather, John. "That was pretty special," McClure said. "He never had a horse in a race like that before, so to be that close with some of the top fillies in North America was a lot of fun. It was close to home." McClure, who led Canadian drivers in wins in 2016 and 2017, made the move from Canada's "B" tracks to the main stage of the Woodbine-Mohawk circuit in December 2017. "Things have happened a lot faster than I think anybody could have predicted," McClure said. "Obviously, it's beyond exceeded my expectations. I was lucky enough to pick up Determination, which was a huge boost. They have a lot of quality horses and every time they go to the track they're going with a shot. It really puts your name out there, puts you on the map. I would attribute a lot of it to that." So, what does McClure do in 2020 for an encore? "I just try to keep improving every year, year to year," he said. "That's my biggest goal. I think that will be tough to do this year, to top last year, but I'm excited." For information on the Dan Patch Awards banquet and accommodations at Rosen Shingle Creek, visit www.ushwa.net. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 7, 2020 - Woodbine Entertainment announced today changes to its senior leadership team as part of a strategic re-alignment that positions the organization to best fulfil its mission in leading the growth and sustainability of the horse racing industry in Ontario. "Our industry and business have changed significantly over the last few years and this re-alignment of our senior leadership team is the right structure to take advantage of our opportunities and tackle our challenges," said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. "Our sole mandate at Woodbine is to grow and sustain the horse racing industry in our province. We are entirely focused on that mission and these changes reflect our commitment in achieving that goal." The strategic re-alignment involves several senior executives taking on new roles and responsibilities across Woodbine, Woodbine Mohawk Park, and Ontario Racing Management. Joe Aschaiek, previously the Senior Vice President, Finance is now the Chief Financial Officer and will continue to lead all areas of finance for Woodbine Entertainment and play a significant role in driving the organization's strategic imperatives while reporting directly to Lawson. Jonathan Zammit, who has served as the Vice President of Thoroughbred Racing for the last three years, will transition to Vice President, Racing Finance / Associate Executive Director for Ontario Racing Management (ORM) where he will utilize his expertise in strategic finance and experience in horse racing and purse management to maximize wagering handle and optimize race cards working alongside key stakeholders. Zammit, who will report to Aschaiek, will also work alongside Katherine Curry, Executive Director of ORM, to support the entire provincial horse racing industry with respect to the Long-Term Funding Agreement and other strategic financial matters. Jessica Buckley, who was most recently President, Woodbine Mohawk Park and has held several different positions throughout her career in the US and at Woodbine including in wagering, broadcast, government relations and stakeholder relations, is now the Senior Vice President of Standardbred Racing and Thoroughbred Racing. With an extensive background in horse racing that spans more than two decades, Buckley will lead both breeds of world-class racing and report to Lawson, while both the Standardbred and Thoroughbred Racing Operations will report directly into her. Spencer Parazader, who joined Woodbine Entertainment in 2019 and has significant experience in the gaming industry, will take on the role of General Manager for Woodbine Mohawk Park and report into Chief Operating Officer Tom Via. Bill McLinchey will continue in his role of Director of Standardbred Racing reporting to Buckley. "As we enter into a new decade, we remain very optimistic about the horse racing industry, but also recognize that we are not without challenges," said Lawson. "These changes to our senior leadership, along with working closely with our many stakeholders, will ensure a bright future for the great sport of horse racing for decades to come." by Jamie Dykstra, for Woodbine Entertainment  

LONDON, ON - The Raceway at Western Fair District will hold its annual harness racing awards night on Saturday, February 22 at the Carousel Room at The Raceway. The Raceway's top performers for 2019 will be honoured in a variety of categories. Awards for the three-year-olds and older horses are based on the top money earners who made a minimum of six starts at The Raceway in 2019. The claiming awards are based on the most number of claiming wins at The Raceway in 2019. The Owner of the Year award, sponsored by Standardbred Canada, goes to the top money-winning owner who was within the top five highest number of starts during the season. Driver Marc St Louis captured his first driving title at Western Fair thanks to an outstanding season in 2019, which included 143 wins. The Michigan native was also crowned Canada's leading dash winner with 340 wins. St Louis' wife, Danielle, was also crowned her first trainers title at The Raceway. The young conditioner finished off 2019 with 61 wins, 23 more than her nearest rivals Ron MacDonald and Patrick Shepherd. The Raceway will also once again honour its Caretaker of the Year award. To qualify, caretakers must be nominated by Friday, January 31. To nominate someone, participants with a valid AGCO licence can send an email with your nomination to aotoole@westernfairdistrict.com. The Raceway will also honour its overall Horse of the Year the night of the event. The fun-filled night, which includes a cocktail reception, dinner, awards and dancing, will commence at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 per person or $280 for a table of eight and can be purchased through Marketing/Promotions Amy O'Toole at 519-438-7203 (ext. 380) or in the Race Office. Tickets will go on sale beginning on January 13 until Wednesday February 19. Anyone interested in attending should note that tickets for this year's event will not be sold at the door so are urged to purchase before the deadline. The 2019 award winners are as follows: Older Pacing Horse - Blue Moose Older Pacing Mare - Woodmere Wyldstyle Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt - Arnoldthepaperboy Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly - Sporty Tori Older Trotting Horse - Nebraska Jack Older Trotting Mare - Impressively Done Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt - Raising Royalty Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly - Victoriahasasecret Claiming Pacer - Hopetobefirst Claiming Trotter - Spicey Victor Owner of the Year - Jack Wray Trainer of the Year - Danielle St Louis Driver of the Year - Marc St Louis Wall Tyme Outstanding Service Award - To Be Announced Caretaker of the Year - To Be Announced Horse of the Year - To Be Announced Ruth Herbert Horsewoman of the year Award - To Be Announced Racing Under Saddle Outstanding Achievement - To Be Announced by Greg Gangle, for The Raceway

Away since scratching lame seven months ago from the $157,000 Camluck Classic, Sintra returned to the harness racing track a winner in the $36,000 Preferred Handicap Pace on the opening card of the year Saturday (Jan. 4) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Driver Jody Jamieson positioned the seven-year-old Mach Three gelding in fourth while Nirvana Seelster led to the first quarter in :27.3. Pocket-sitter East End soon circled to the front into the backside as Easy Lover Hanover floated first over, carrying Sintra second over into a :56.2 half. Nirvana Seelster faltered around the final turn, leaving a seam for Easy Lover Hanover to duck into the pocket. Sintra raced uncovered to three-quarters in 1:24 and drew closer to East End through the stretch. At the finish the 1-2 favourite finished two-and-a-quarter lengths in front of Real Surreal snagging second from East End in a 1:52.1 mile. Owned by Michael Guerriero, Kelly Waxman, Nunzio Vena and Frank Cirillo, Sintra won his 25th race from 58 starts, earning $1,126,436. Dave Menary conditions the $3.00 winner. Youaremycandygirl rolled from off the pace to take the $32,000 Fillies and Mares Preferred Handicap Pace in 1:53.1. Double A Mint took command towards a :28 first quarter as Cousin Mary made a break, interfering with So Much More and Youaremycandygirl. Double A Mint continued on the front unchallenged into a :57 half but faced pressure around the far turn from 9-5 favourite Kendall Seelster. Youaremycandygirl launched wide to catch cover from Kendall Seelster past three-quarters in 1:25 but swooped to the lead in the stretch. The Richard Moreau trainee strolled two-and-a-half lengths clear of Kendall Seelster heading to the finish to win while So Much More closed for third. A five-year-old mare by American Ideal, Youaremycandygirl won her 23rd race from 45 starts, earning $1,644,349. Sylvain Filion steered the $6.40 winner for owner William Donovan. Trainer Carmen Auciello sent three winners on the 11-race card. He began the evening with Dreamfair B J ($8.40) coming from second over to win a $21,000 conditioned pace and, a few races later, took a $20,000 conditioned pace with High Rolling A ($19.70) popping pocket to win by a neck. Auciello completed the hat trick with Points North ($4.60) holding on by a neck to win the $21,000 nightcap. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park. From Standardbred Canada

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CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - A frosty Saturday of harness racing is set to be capped off with the top pacers on the grounds this week at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The 13-dash card gets underway at 12:30 P.M. and the $3,000 preferred pace will line up in the finale as Creepin looks for his third straight from the handicapped post 7. David Dowling is back in the bike for trainer Jim Quinn, who co-owns with Alex Quinn and Carl Peterson. The six-year-old son of Mach Three has been superb so far in 2020 with wins in both his outings. Winter Blast has been in the triactor in both those races and will work from post 5 this week for driver Jason Hughes and trainer Jennifer Doyle. The grey son of Sand Shooter will be looking for his 29th lifetime win. Rockin Indy also has an outer post as the post 6 starter will again race from the Chris Davies stable with Adam Merner at the controls. Race analyst Les MacIsaac will excuse the post disadvantage as he selects Creepin for top spot. "Creepin has dominated the top class the past two weeks and his versatility was on display as he used a different racing style in each," MacIsaac said. "He's not a lock but at the same time, it's hard to go against him the way he's been racing." Other preferred entrants are Midnight Matt (Driven by Kenny Arsenault), Hes Marvalous (Myles Heffernan Sr.), Jetster (Marc Campbell) and Pictonian Storm (Corey MacPherson). Mystery Phil is the lone newcomer on the program in race 4 for a $2,200 purse. Merner is in the driver's seat for trainer Davies and new owners Dale and Ronnie Rennie of Elmsdale as the morning line favourite. The five-year-old son of Shanghai Phil is a six-time winner in his career, sporting a lifetime best of 1:54.4 taken over Woodbine Mohawk Park in Ontario. He last raced at Flamboro Downs in Dundas, Ont., on Dec. 19, finishing fifth in 1:57.4 for driver Colin Kelly. For more information go to Redshores.ca. By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores
CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Harness racing at Red Shores in Summerside and Charlottetown saw significant gains across the board in 2019. The live wager saw an over 10 per cent increase in 2019 compared to 2018 with $392,236 in new wagering dollars to give a $4,281,446 total all sources wager. Those 2019 increases are thanks to upward bumps in on-track wager as well as a 15 per cent increase in the off-track wager over the 2018 campaign. Racing experience manager Adam Walsh points to the hardworking individuals in the racing community for making 2019 such a banner year with 100 total race dates held across the province. "Red Shores offers an excellent and exciting racing program that our customers on Prince Edward Island and throughout North America have come to enjoy," Walsh said. "It is the love and passion of the hardworking horsemen and horsewomen of PEI of these equine athletes that is the strength of the racing industry in PEI." Lee Drake, Manager of Marketing & Brands, says guest experience is the number one focus at Red Shores and a key reason the business continues to grow in every facet. "We work hard on getting new people to our properties through strong partnerships and relationships in tourism, meetings & conventions and the corporate community," Drake said. The world-class presentation at Red Shores is another major factor in their success. "We have beautiful clean properties with a professional staff and it's all about the experience whether it's racing, dining or the casino," he said. "We have really stepped up our social media presence which also drives new business as well." The Red Shores Race Day broadcast network is also sporting some great numbers with 2.6 Million viewers (2,640,878) from all locations with Atlantic Canada viewership at 1.9 Million (1,961,380). Red Shores' two signature events also had exceptional showings in 2019 with the Gold Cup and Saucer program pulling in $307,134 from all wagering sources putting that handle second all-time in Island racing to the Gold Cup and Saucer card in 1994. The 2019 Governor's Plate card was the second highest grossing program in the history of the Summerside Raceway with $96,651 wagered on the card, narrowly putting it behind the $99,994 record handle of 1996. Walsh says the difference in outside competition from those record wagers in the 1990s to today's climate should not be overlooked. "There is quite a difference in the landscape today compared to 10 or 25 years ago but we are focused on growing those numbers," said Walsh. The 2020 winter racing season is coming to a close at Red Shores in the coming weeks but the red-hot action will be back at the city track on Saturday May 2nd for the summer racing meet with the Kentucky Derby theme. Post time for that May program will be 6 P.M. Governor's Plate week is July 5th to the 11th while Old Home Week is August 13th to the 22nd featuring the Guardian Gold Cup & Saucer. Keep an eye out for upcoming announcements on Red Shores' new line of promotions and events for 2020. By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores    
LONDON, ON- The buzz and excitement of live harness racing at The Raceway at Western Fair District continues with the announcement of an increase to both its guaranteed Early and Late Pick 4 wagers, beginning on Monday, January 13. Monday through Wednesday the Pick 4 guaranteed pools will be increased to $7,500. Friday's Early and Late Pick 4's will remain at $5,000. The Pick 4 wager features a $.20 minimum along with a 15% takeout. "We're having a fantastic meet and this is another incentive for our customers," said Racing Manager Greg Gangle. "Our Pick 4 wager is certainly a 'go to' and the demand is there for the increase." The track's schedule for this meet is now four days per week. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays with a 6:15 p.m. first-race post time and Fridays will begin at 6:55 p.m. From The Raceway    
MILTON, ON - January 11, 2020 - Harness racing pacers Sintra battled through rainy and windy conditions to reach up at the wire for a second consecutive Preferred score on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The seven-year-old gelding and driver Jody Jamieson rallied from fifth at the head of the lane to win the $36,000 Preferred Handicap by a neck over Nirvana Seelster, who cut the mile, and the same margin over East End in 1:53.2. Competing on a 'Sloppy' track with rain and high winds, the field of six older pacers were led by Nirvana Seelster through fractions of :27., :57.1 and 1:25.3. Real Surreal angled out from fourth to come first-up going to three-quarters. Sintra sat fifth and followed the cover loosely, while Youaremycandygirl, the lone mare in the field, followed from sixth. After facing little pressure, Nirvana Seelster attempted to close out the victory with a final-quarter sprint, aided by the wind at his back. Sintra was able to make up a little more than four-lengths with a :27 final-quarter to snag the victory. Youaremycandygirl finished fourth on the far outside, with Rockin In Heaven and Real Surreal rounding out the field. Trained by Dave Menary, Sintra is now two for two since returning from injury. The seven-year-old gelding had his 2019 season end last May after starting the campaign six for eight. He's now banked $36,000 in two victories this season for owners Michael Guerriero, Kelly Waxman, Nunzio Vena and Frank Cirillo. Sintra's latest victory improves his career numbers to 26 wins and $1,144,436 earned. He paid $2.50 to win. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment          
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