Day At The Track
Nirvana Seelster

Big miles highlight eventful Saturday

CAMPBELLVILLE, May 27 - Saturday's card of harness racing at Mohawk Racetrack had a little bit of everything, including a pair of sub-1:50 miles. A total of 11-races were contested under ideal conditions for late-May and several horses took full advantage of the nice weather. Six-year-old pacer Nirvana Seelster led the way with a 1:49 score in the $27,000 feature race. The Bill Budd trainee was sent to the front by driver Trevor Henry and posted fractions of :26.1, :55 and 1:22.1 along the way to a gritty victory. Four-year-old Easy Lover Hanover came up the rail late to pressure the leader, but the Budd trainee dug in to hold on for his fifth win of the season and 28th overall. Owned by Bruce Davy, Nirvana Seelster has banked over $77,000 this season to bring his career earnings to nearly $600,000. The 1:49 mile is the fastest mile this season in Canada. Nirvana Seelster Earlier in the evening, McKinney claimed the title of Canada's fastest horse in 2017 for a brief moment with a 1:49.1 victory in an $18,000 event. The Kyle Fellows trainee capitalized off a two-hole trip from driver Sylvain Filion to pick up his second win of the season. Seven-year-old Duc Dorleans showed the way and hung up big fractions, including a 1:21.3 three-quarter time, but couldn't hold off McKinney and lost by a head. A seven-year-old gelding, McKinney is owned by Fellows, Daniel Knechtel and Arpad Szabo. The 1:49.1 mile Saturday established a new career-mark for the 22-time winner and earner of over $366,000. McKinney Saturday's card also saw champion trotter Mister Herbie, a winner of over $1.8 million, record his first victory in nearly four-years. The Jeff Gillis trainee crossed the wire first in a $20,000 event to pick up his first win since July 1, 2013. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Mister Herbie trotted a final-quarter of :28.2 to track down and defeat Fearless Man by a neck. The 2012 Maple Leaf Trot champion was making his third start of 2017 after having not raced since September of 2014. Saturday's victory was the 19th career win for Mister Herbie, who is owned by Gillis, Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay. Mister Herbie The evening's final race also featured some flashy fractions, but it was the payouts that caught the attention of many. Seven-year-old pacer Lonewolf Currier ran away from his rivals to post fractions of :25.3, :53.1 and 1:21.4. However, fatigue would set in and Lonewolf Currier made a break when being swallowed up by rivals in the lane. Artful Bliss came through to pick up the pieces and scored a 43/1 upset for driver Phil Hudon and trainer Rod Boyd. The four-year-old, who was winless since early-March, paid $88 to win. Artful Bliss The top-five finishers were rounded out by horses at odds of 6/1, 10/1, 34/1 and 5/2, opening the door for a potential single-winning ticket in the Jackpot Hi-5. However, the payouts revealed there was no winning Jackpot Hi-5 tickets, which means Saturday's entire pool of $19,808, minus takeout, is added to the carryover. The carryover going into Monday now sits at $49,137.68. Live racing resumes Monday with an 11-race card beginning at 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Steven Hudon

Harness racing keeps them entertained

FRASERVILLE - Harness racing fans filled Kawartha Downs on Saturday night for the opening of the 2017 racing season. “It’s a good night out, it’s cheap and we enjoy it,” said Marie Mosher of what brings her to the races. Mosher sat at the window facing the track with her husband James and some friends Saturday night. Marie and James started going to the races in Fraserville last year and now, they’re regulars. They don’t bet a lot, but they do make a few small gambles. “Be no pointing in coming otherwise,” James said. One thing the couple can’t wrap their head around, though, is why kids are allowed in. There’s gambling and alcohol, just like at a casino, but kids aren’t allowed in there. “I think it’s inappropriate,” said Marie. Across the table, Bryan Jones checks out the night’s race program. He’s been watching the races since they launched locally 45 years ago. “I love the horse racing … and it’s a cheap night out,” said Jones. Outside, Leslyn Chamberlin is also overlooking the program. She started going to the races last year, making it to about half a dozen overall. Though she “bets cautiously,” Chamberlin did have a somewhat of a big in 2016 – she won $400. “I spent it all on me, no paying bills,” said Chamberlin. The Bowmanville resident said she was drawn to the races because she loves horse and it’s a great way to spend a Saturday night. “It’s fun, it’s entertaining,” Chamerblin said. Sitting on a bench not too far away, Ruth Clarke and Rick Beaver were patiently waiting for the races to start. The couple has been going to races at Kawartha Downs for about 10 years. They used to attend the races during the week, too, when harness racing happened all year round. In the last three years, harness racing has decreased from a few nights a week year round to seasonal racing on Saturday nights. Harness racing was close to being cancelled all together in 2013, when the province moved to end revenue sharing by racetracks with slots gaming facilities, but a last-minute deal between Kawartha Downs and the province's transition panel saved the races. There are 18 race nights scheduled this season, running every Saturday night until Sept. 30, except for Sept. 16 when the NASCAR Pinty's Series finale is on. Clarke and Beaver both love to watch the horses and don’t put much stock in gambling, though they do put a few dollars down. “I don’t bet here to get rich, that’s for sure. It’s an entertaining way to spend an evening and it’s well worth it,” said Beaver. New this year at Kawartha Downs, is the KD Betting Lounge. It’s located on the second floor of the racing side, where the bar used to be. There, betters can put money down on races happening elsewhere, such as in Toronto or Flamboro. Off-track betting can be done through a teller or through a self-serve machine. By Jessica Nyznik,  JNyznik@postmedia.com Reprinted with permission of The Peterborough Examiner

Mister Big.jpg

Mr Irresistible repeats in Feature

Charlottetown, PE - Mr Irresistible over-powered pace setter Adkins Hanover to win the Saturday harness racing feature in a sparking 1:54.3 at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Adkins Hanover (Corey MacPherson) cut impressive fractions of 27.2, 55.1 and 1:24.4 before fading in the stretch to Mr. Irresistible driven by Jason Hughes for owner Danny Birt, Stratford, PE who was also celebrating his birthday. The five-year son of Mister Big, conditioned by Jennifer Trainor, picked up his fifth win of the season including back to back feature victories. Eagle Jolt (Marc Campbell) finished third to complete the triactor. Hughes also drove 2016 Governor's Plate finalist Jeb to victory for co-owners Robi Hughes, Eric and Blair MacLauchlan. Jeb, who was making his 2017 debut, stopped the timer in 1:57.4. Marc Campbell also posted a driving double on the card. For complete results go to www.redshores.ca By Lee Drake

Louis-Phillipe Roy, harness racing

Roy returns to H3R plus Quebec Series Sunday

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - Louis-Philippe Roy, now the leading money winning driver in all of Canada this season and second in dash victories, returns to the Hippodrome 3R this Sunday, competing in eight of the ten races. It was just two weeks ago that Roy set the track record at H3R, winning eight races on the program, surpassing Yannick Gingras's prior record of six wins set in 2013. Roy is traveling throughout Canada to compete, driving at two and three tracks weekly. This week he is competing at Mohawk Raceway, Western Fair Raceway and at H3R. It will be difficult for Roy to repeat his eight wins from two weeks ago on Sunday, but he is listed on the two big favorites in the third round of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old pacing mares and horses. This is the final preliminary round and after Sunday, the eight top point earners in the series will return on Sunday, June 11 for the $30,000 finals in their respective divisions. The older horses take center stage first in the fifth race with eight starters headlined by Half A Billion, who is seeking to make a clean sweep of the series. Two weeks ago, Roy won with Half A Billion in a romp by six open lengths. Last week it was driver Francis Picard winning with Half A Billion by two and a half lengths. This week Half A Billion starts from the rail with Roy back in the sulky, the one post position is usually not an advantage with the five-year-old gelding son of Sportswriter as he is not a strong leaver. Thus, the race shapes up to be a close contest with last year's three-year-old champion, HP Patriote, drawing a good inside position in post three. Also in the hunt with be the two full brothers, Mach On The Beach (post 4) and Mr Match On Beach (post 8), who have been second and third to Half A Billion the last two weeks. Other contenders include Sugarsam (post 6) and Sports Authority (post 5). The mares are in the spotlights in the 8th race where Louis-Philippe Roy is back driving HP Sissy, who has also won the first two legs of the series. Last week she won with Guy Gagnon in the sulky by six and one-quarter lengths and has drawn post five on Sunday. Her stablemate and racing as part of an entry, is HP Pandora from post three for driver Stephane Brosseau. Another rival, Wanda Bayama, starts inside of them in post two for driver/trainer and Hall of Famer, Yves Filion. Other contenders include Skyfall Sena (post 7) who was second to HP Sissy last week and HP Mercedes (post one), who was third in last week's race. In the ninth race Invitational Pace, Roy had his choices of driving Code Word (post 6), who has won the last two week or Royal Kee Wee N (post 3), who two starts back gave Roy his eighth winner on his record setting day at H3R. But Roy has remained faithful to the owners who supported him since he first started driving back in 2014 and will drive Iron Phil from post two. Ironically, it was owner/trainer Nathalie Migneault and co-owner Eric Dechamplain, who gave Roy the first winning drive of his career back on August 1, 2014 at Woodstock Racecourse in New Brunswick, on none other than Iron Phil and Roy has remained faithful to that stable. TRACK NOTES: Sunday's program features five Quebec-Bred Series Champions. They are Sugarsam (2015), Mr Mach Jimmy (2015), Miss Babe Delight (2015), HP Patriote (2016) and HP Sissy (2016). H3R adds live racing starting this Tuesday, May 30 with first race post time at 7:00 pm. The opening night program has nine races headlined by the opening round of the $100,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotting mares and horses. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club    

The Peter Tritton-trainee Bit Of A Legend N took no prisoners en route to capturing the harness racing 2017 edition of the $150,000 Molson Pace. The son of Bettor's Delight used rail advantage into the opening turn before releasing defending champ Evenin Of Pleasure and driver Sylvain Filion, before the quarter pole. Driver Jordan Stratton quickly marched the 36-time winner back to the lead before the opening panel in :26.3. Stratton and Bit Of A Legend N then led the field of eight past the half in :55.3 and three-quarters in 1:23.2. Evenin Of Pleasure was stalking in the pocket as Night Pro (Bob McClure) began to fade allowing Clear Vision to make a three-wide bid for the lead. Down the stretch, Bit Of A Legend N was still in control and was able to fend off a last minute rally from Evenin Of Pleasure to secure the win in 1:51.3. Evenin Of Pleasure stayed for second, over Sunfire Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald). "I knew the post one was the best spot to start from tonight and I wanted to take advantage of that," Stratton said in the winners circle. "I wanted to control the pace and I was happy to see Clear Vision not coming first-over at me. Down the stretch I felt pretty comfortable and we were rewarded. This is my first Molson Pace and hopefully it won't be the last. It was a great evening and a thrill to be here." Bit Of A Legend has banked $1,600,001 in his career for owner Harry Von Knoblauch. He paid $3.80 to win. Bit Of A Legend Greg Gangle  

MAY 26, 2017 - Happy Trio lived up to his name in Friday's sixth race at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The harness racing three-year-old pacing colt put broad smiles on the faces of his three owners as he cruised to an impressive victory in the second of two Ontario Sire Stakes $95,600 Gold Series divisions. "I'm pumped, I'm so proud of him. That's a hell of a mile," said trainer Tony O'Sullivan after Happy Trio halted the teletimer at 1:53, just one-fifth of a second shy of the track record for sophomore pacing colts. Starting from Post 1, driver Doug McNair of Guelph, ON sent Happy Trio directly to the front and the pair never faced a challenge as they rang up fractions of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:24.4 en route to the 1:53 score. Fireball followed the pacesetter throughout the mile and finished two and one-quarter lengths back in second, while fan favourite Streakavana finished five lengths back in third. "All I said to Dougie was, you know, you can let him pace out of there and after that it's up to you. He's really, really quick," said O'Sullivan. "And at the half I was pretty confident because Dougie really had a good hold of him and that's what that horse likes. He likes to feel brave, and Dougie is pretty good at making one feel brave." Cambridge resident O'Sullivan shares ownership of Happy Trio with Lorne Keller of Exeter and Domenic Chiaravalle of Hamilton, ON. The win was the Mach Three son's first of the season through two outings and his second lifetime. As a two-year-old, Happy Trio was a Gold Series winner at Mohawk Racetrack and banked $157,145 in nine starts. "I'm so proud of him, because it was the toughest division by far, on paper, and there are horses in here that have paced faster and done better," said O'Sullivan. "But he was a good horse last year. He made good money and he never, I think he raced bad once, other than that he was always right there." Happy Trio will have an opportunity to earn another piece of Ontario Sires Stakes hardware when the three-year-old pacing colts make their second Gold Series start at Mohawk Racetrack on July 1. The other $95,600 Gold division on The Raceway's action-packed Molson Pace program went to fan favourite Walter Mitty, who overcame early interference to score a 1:56.3 victory. Happy Trio's stablemate in the O'Sullivan barn, Calvin K, finished one and three-quarter lengths back in second and Dreamfair B J was third for owner-breeder John Lamers of Ingersoll. Louis-Philippe Roy piloted Walter Mitty to victory in his Ontario Sires Stakes debut for trainer Richard Moreau and owners Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON. The win boosted the Mach Three gelding's lifetime record to two wins, two seconds and two thirds in six starts for earnings of $65,560. In the evening's grand finale, the $150,000 Molson Pace, fan favourite Bit Of A Legend N took control early and never looked back, cruising home a one and three-quarter length winner over last year's Molson Pace champion Evenin Of Pleasure. Sunfire Blue Chip finished third. Jordan Stratton engineered the win for trainer Peter Tritton and owner Harry Von Knoblauch Stable of San Diego, CA. The victory boosted the New Zealand bred pacer's earnings to $1.6 million. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing  

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - If the rivalry between Charlottetown's top two pacing titans was a best-of-seven series then it is coming to a close with Saturday night do or die for Adkins Hanover at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The 10-dash Saturday evening card gets underway at 6 P.M. for the $2,400 Preferred pace lining up in race 9 on the program. Mr Irresistible and Adkins Hanover have faced off five times since the season opened up with the former leading with three wins compared to two victories. Adkins Hanover made a break in his latest start but will attempt to tie things up from post 5 for driver Corey MacPherson, trainer Trevor Hicken and owner Perry Burke of Quebec. Mr Irresistible is saddled with the outside in the six horse field with Jason Hughes at the lines for Jennifer Trainor and owner Danny Birt of Stratford. Race analyst Les MacIsaac gives the edge to Adkins Hanover putting things back together to reign victorious. "It just wasn't his day last week but those things can happen to the best of them," MacIsaac said of Adkins Hanover. "The horse to his immediate right (Mr Irresistible) has taken a three-to-two lead in the head to head battle so this guy will be looking to even things up and send it to a seventh and deciding game." Other entries include Rash B Havior (Mike Peters), Instant Shadow (Gilles Barrieau), Eagle Jolt (Marc Campbell) and Junebugs Baby (Myles Heffernan). The back-up pace has Howmac Missy riding a three-race win streak into race 7 on the card. The $1,800 event has Barrieau driving Howmac Missy for trainer Earl Watts and Island owners Windemere Farms, Andrew Ward, Brittany Watts and Albert Hickox. Starcastic is favoured in the race after dropping from the preferred ranks and drawing post 1 with Brian MacPhee in the bike for trainer Jackie Matheson. A newcomer to Charlottetown will compete in race 2 on the card as Hes The Man has post 7 for new owner-trainer Jeff Holmes of Orwell and driver Walter Cheverie. The maiden three-year-old son of Shadow Play shows a mile in 1:58 and change over a half-mile track so far in his short career. Catch all the action live or on Redshores.ca. Campbell Trainees Lead The Pack In Mega Stakes Summerside Sunday SUMMERSIDE, PE - The first stakes program of the Island racing season hits Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway Sunday afternoon as the Prince County oval plays host to the Bob Dewar and Ruby Chappell Memorial Stakes. The 14-dash program kicks off at 1 P.M.with four divisions of the Bob Dewar for three-year-old pacing colts in races 5, 8, 12 and 14. The first $6,550 Dewar division in race 5 has Island Energetic riding an undefeated season into post 5 for trainer-driver Marc Campbell and owners Paul Gray and Bernadette Burgess of Nova Scotia. The three-year-old son of Articulator has a four-race win streak on the line and draws a deep field of seven rivals including Pownal Bay Saul (Mark Bradley), Ashes To Ashes (Gilles Barrieau) and Mick Dundee (Don MacNeill). Jigtime Jones is favoured in the race 8 division for co-owner and driver Neldie MacDonald of Nova Scotia, while race 12 has Complete Player looking for his second stakes win of the season for driver Bradley, trainer Tom Weatherbie and owner David Kennedy of Charlottetown. The final Dewar division in race 14 will see last year's Atlantic Breeder's Crown champion Tobinator (Corey MacPherson) square off against Maritime Breeder's champion Nameisonthehalter (Barrieau). The $6,550 divisions of the Ruby Chappell stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies are to be held in races 3, 7, 10 and 13. Atlantic Breeder's Crown and Maritime Breeder's winner Filly Forty Seven headlines the first division in race 3 for trainer-driver Campbell and owners Darryl MacLean of Winsloe, Katelyn Smallwood of Stratford, Cory Carver of Montague and Tanya Tremblett of Nova Scotia. Campbell is set to go off as the favorite in the second Chappell division in race 7 as he trains and drives last year's Island Breeder's champion Elektra Express from post 3 for owner Danica Ellis of Nova Scotia. Elektra Express will see her main challenge come from Maritime Champion Woodmere Finesse (Bernard McCallum) from post 4. Race 10 has another Ruby Chappell division and yet again trainer-driver Campbell has the morning line choice with post 1 starter Elm Grove Ladyluck, while the final division in race 13 will see Goodmorning Ky (Norris Rogers) face off with Livin The Moment (Jason Hughes) and Kinda Like Her (Kenny Arsenault). The Sunday afternoon program also featured a preferred pace in race 11 with Machinthesand (Rogers), Forever Paradise (Barrieau) and Pictonian Storm (Gary Chappell) among the starters in the $2,400 event. Catch all the action live or on Redshores.ca.   By Nicholas Oakes For Red Shores

London, Ontario...The Raceway at Western Fair District is gearing up for its' biggest night of the year this Friday night featuring the $200,000 Molson Pace. Here are the event details on Friday night's program which promises to be action packed from start to finish: Promotions: - Special post time of 7:05 p.m. 12 race card. - Molson Party on the Patio featuring BBQ and Beer Specials! - Hands on Horses Program - Sign up at Guest Services for your chance to ride behind a real racehorse! - Molson Pace Cake in the lobby - Hat and T-shirt tosses throughout the night in the Grandstand and on the Patio - National Anthem performed by rising country music star Eric Ethridge - T-shirt and Hat Tosses in the Grandstand and on the Patio - Scratch & Win Programs - Win Trackside Music Festival tickets - Win Beer & BBQ tickets - 100s of giveaways including betting voucher and more! Wagering: - Ontario Sires Stake's Gold Divisions - 4 City of London Series Finals - 3 SUPER HI-5 (Races 7,10 &12) - $5,000 Guaranteed EARLY PICK-3 (Race 1) - $10,000 Guaranteed EARLY PICK-4 (Race 4) - $15,000 Guaranteed LATE PICK-4 (Race 9) (Low 15% takeout on all Guaranteed Pool wagers)   Greg Gangle

CAMPBELLVILLE, May 26 - Trotting Triple Crown champion Marion Marauder made his return to harness racing Friday morning in qualifying action at Mohawk Racetrack. The now four-year-old son of Muscle Hill turned in a strong performance in his first qualifier of 2017 with a 1:56.1 victory over a track listed two-seconds "off" and still recovering from significant rainfall on Thursday. Roger Mayotte sat behind Marion Marauder for the qualifier. The star trotter floated out to the early lead and posted an opening-quarter of :30. Six-year-old trotter Maximuscle, who was parked on the first turn, rushed up to take command in the second-quarter, which allowed Marion Marauder to get a two-hole trip through the majority of the middle-half. Maximuscle reached the half in :58.4 and three-quarters in 1:28.2, while Marion Marauder followed closely behind and was tipped out just before the third-marker. In the stretch, Marion Marauder displayed his impressive final-quarter abilities and trotted home with powerful strides in :27.3 to win by 16 lengths. Trained by the team of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling, Marion Marauder moves up to join the older ranks this season after winning 10 of 15 starts during his magical three-year-old season. The champion son of Muscle Hill carries career numbers of 11 wins, a mark of 1:51.3 and over $1.9 million earned into his four-year-old year for owners Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling. Marion Marauder's four-year-old debut could come on home soil in next week's Graduate Series leg at Mohawk. The Triple Crown champion is eligible to the event restricted for four-year-olds.   Mark McKelvie

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - The King was back in harness racing action Thursday night capturing both Open events at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Marc Campbell scored wins as trainer and driver in the $2,250 Open Mares Pace and the $1,700 Open Trot. Freddie bested his trotting rivals with a first-over score in 1:59.3 for owner Three Wisemen Stable of Kingston. Holy Molie Maggie (Gary Chappell) grabbed second with I Aint No Lady (Corey MacPherson) finishing third. Woodmere Articblue was the other half of the Campbell double with a 1:57.4 victory in the Open Mares pace for owners Tanya Tremblett and Stevi Jardine of Nova Scotia. Prettyndangerous (Adam Merner) was second in her East Coast debut while third place went to Shadows Mystery (Kenny Arsenault). The Mike McGuigan stable had a large night at the capital oval with three winners for the trainer-driver all for owner Jamie Whalen of Vernon Bridge. McGuigan scored with Bet Er All in 2:00.2, Internal Check in 1:58.1 and Ameriquel in 1:59.2. Ameriquel is the only of the three Whalen does not solely own, as he shares ownership with Ingham Jenkins of Charlottetown. Oh To Be Me won the featured pacing event in 1:57.4 for trainer-driver-owner Chappell of Charlottetown, over Elm Grove Kaboom (Earl Smith) and Simon Said (MacPherson). Live racing continues Saturday evening at 6 P.M. in Charlottetown and Sunday at 1 P.M. at the Summerside Raceway. By Nicholas Oakes For Red Shores

London, May 25, 2017 -- John Kokinos is the first to admit that coming up with that 'special' horse isn't easy and that's why he feels blessed to have a horse like Molson Pace starter Clear Vision in his harness racing stable. The son of Western Hanover has banked more than $2.7 million and at age 11 shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, he's earned more than $130,000 this season with a 4-3-3 record from 13 starts. "He's a horse that I would have never imagined ending up in our barn," said Kokinos, who trains the veteran pacer with wife, Jennifer Lappe. "He's a horse that will have a home for a lifetime. He's easily the best horse I've ever been around." Clear Vision spent the majority of his career in the Ron Burke barn, before ending up with Kokinos and Lappe. "We put a deal together to purchase Bettors Edge through agent Marc Reynolds and I kept asking him if Clear Vision was for sale. To be honest, I thought it would never happen, but I got a call a month later from Marc starting that Clear Vision was available. We quickly jumped at the chance and were overwhelmed to get a horse of his calibre." The speedy pacer made 201 starts prior to moving into the Kokinos barn with the majority of those races at the highest level. "There have been times that I have gone back and watched some of his replays and I still have a hard time believing he's in our barn," he said with a chuckle. "When you see the big trips he's gone and the horses he's raced against - it's unbelievable. He's raced in pretty much every stake race that has been offered in North America." Kokinos and Lappe own the 37-time winner with first-time owner Bob Santagata. "I'm a large animal veterinarian by trade and Bob and his wife own and operate a horse ranch and are a client of mine," the 53-year-old said. "Bob has always sounded interested in standardbred racing and decided to come on board with Bettors Edge and Clear Vision." It didn't take long for Santagata to enjoy the thrill of winning. "It was their first trip to The Meadowlands and they were in the dining room and Bettors Edge won in 1:49.4. They were hooked after that. It's great to see new owners enjoying our sport." said Kokinos. As for Clear Vision, Kokinos says the 11-year-old couldn't be coming into the Molson Pace much better. "He had a really good week, but he doesn't do much in between starts," he said. "He's pretty easy on himself and we're easy on him. He won't impress you when he's jogging, but when you put the hopples on him he shows you a completely different side of him. He's all business." Kokinos has also studied the program for Friday night and likes what he sees on paper. "It's hard to say how the race is going to unfold because the eight horse trails and that could change the complexion a little," he said. "I like that we drew inside (post three) and we'll likely race from off-the-pace. Brett Miller has told me that he's the type of horse that likes to be first-over and that doesn't bother me. I wouldn't be surprised if that happened. I do feel Bit Of A Legend is the horse to beat." The field for the Molson Pace will line up as follows: The field for this years Molson Pace will line up as follows: 1. Bit Of A Legend N ($1,525,011) - Jordan Stratton 2. Rockin In Heaven ($548,971) - Trevor Henry 3. Clear Vision ($2,703,859) - Brett Miller 4. Fool Me Once ($963,778) - Doug McNair 5. Evenin Of Pleasure ($773,857) - Sylvain Filion 6. Sunfire Blue Chip ($1,181,939) - Mark MacDonald 7. Rockin Ron ($665,988) - Matt Kakaley 8. Night Pro ($738,432) - Bob McClure First race post is 7:05 p.m. For more information, visit www.molsonpace.com. Greg Blanchard

London, May 25, 2017 -- This Friday evening at The Raceway at Western Fair District, harness racing fans will be treated to another terrific Molson Pace card featuring 12 races and some of the sports brightest starts. With the post positions announced this past Monday, horseplayers have been sharpening their pencils to take advantage of the strong wagering menu. The Molson Pace, slated for Race 12, features eight of the sport's top free-for-all pacers for a purse of $150,000. Offering up their thoughts on the big night are Hall of Fame handicapper, statistician, broadcaster and historian Bob Heyden and HRU columnist Dean Towers along with track announcer Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle. Bob Heyden 1. What's your initial thought on the field for this year? There seem to be two possibilities in the race, in my opinion. Jordan Stratton dictates the race with Bit Of A Legend or pure mayhem. 2. What type of wager would you be apt to play? Triactor - That's why I put in the #1 (Bit Of A Legend) and backed it up with 7 (Rockin Ron) & 8 (Night Pro). 3. Provide a Late Pick 4 ticket (9-12) 235/468/56/178 Cost: $54 4. Anything else to watch for? Bit Of A Legend N not only swept the Levy last year, he posted the single biggest season ever for a down Under horse with over $700,000. Any breather at all and this race is over for the rest of them. But, in the event everyone half loses their mind, it is going to be a mad dash home and I want prices-the boxcar types. Dean Towers 1. What's your initial thought on the field for this year? At first glance when I saw probable race favorite Bit of a Legend draw the rail I thought we might be looking at a walk over. But after I dug into the race I was thrilled at this year's edition. Almost every horse has gate speed and most are half mile track specialists. I watched Clear Vision win last week at the Meadowlands and he's sharp; and Fool Me Once has looked excellent of late. From the second tier Night Pro has a nice chance to trip out. It's just a wonderful race. 2. What type of wager would you be apt to play? I'm a big fan of the super high five on half mile tracks. The takeout is great and it gives your mind a handicapping test - who may land where, what can we take a stab at for a price? If this race goes some crazy fractions - which on paper it may - this bet can pay boxcars. 3. Provide a Late Pick 4 ticket (9-12) 23457/135/7/1348 Cost: $60 4. Anything else to watch for? Maybe the most talked about card on a half mile track every year in Canada is the Gold Cup and Saucer. However, from top to bottom, with great horses, good drivers and a nice betting menu with good pool size to bet into, Molson Pace night is my favorite half mile track evening of the entire calendar. Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle 1. What's your initial thought on the field for this year? It's the deepest field of Invite pacers I've even seen on a half mile track in Canada! They've all been there & done that... What a super nice group of horses! 2. What type of wager would you be apt to play? It's all about the Super Hi 5 wager for me. I'd likely play the 1 (Bit Of A Legend N) & 3 (Clear Vision) in the top spots for Triactor, Superfecta & HI5 plays - they drew well in here, so it's all based on post position for me. Using 4 (Fool Me Once), 6 (Sunfire Blue Chip) & 8 (Night Pro) for 2nd, 3rd & 4th... Then hit the ALL button to complete the HI5. 3. Provide a Late Pick 4 ticket (9-12) 456/134589/45/13 Cost: $72 4. Anything else to watch for? With the addition of drivers like Doug McNair, Mark MacDonald & Brett Miller - among others - look for lots of early speed & great flow throughout the program. It will be 'On' this Friday night in London! The wagering menu on Friday will include a $5,000 guaranteed early Pick-3, $10,000 guaranteed early Pick-4, $15,000 guaranteed late Pick-4 and the addition of a third Super Hi-5 - all low 15 per cent takeout wagers First race post is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Greg Blanchard

May 25, 2017 - As part of the Ontario Sires Stakes season opener on Sunday, May 21 harness racing trainer Mark Steacy and driver Sylvain Filion were honoured for their 2016 Johnston and Lampman Cup victories. As the three-year-old trotting and pacing colts kicked off the Confederation Cup program at Flamboro Downs, Steacy and Filion were presented with commemorative Citizen Eco-Drive watches from Ontario Racing Executive Director Rob Cook. Steacy earned his first Johnston Cup title in 2016 with a point tally of 269, generated from 132 starts, 14 wins, 13 seconds and 21 third-place finishes in Ontario Sires Stakes action. Twenty-six different horses carried the Steacy stable colours in OSS action last season, banking a total of $603,540. Among the Lansdowne, ON resident's top performers were three-year-old pacing filly Grassroots champion Forever Liza, sophomore trotting filly Royal Charm and colt Sass, and two-year-old trotting colt Dream Massive. In the second race of the evening, Dream Massive did his part to kick-start Steacy's defense of the Johnston Cup title with a 1:58.1 victory in the sophomore trotting colt Gold Series opener. The Johnston Cup was established in 1993 in memory of Bruce Johnston, publisher of The Canadian Sportsman magazine. It is awarded annually to the leading trainer in the Ontario Sires Stakes program based on a point system that awards one point for each start, four points for each win, three points for each second and two points for each third. Filion achieved his second straight and fourth lifetime Lampman Cup winning season in 2016. Since his first win in 2012, the Milton, ON resident has only relinquished the title once, finishing third in 2014. Last season Filion teamed 199 Ontario Sires Stakes starters, recording 47 wins, 26 seconds and 23 thirds for earnings of $2,171,210 and 511 Lampman Cup points. Among Filion's top mounts were two-year-old pacing colt Grassroots champion Tymal Peacemaker, and division winners Streakavana (two-year-old pacing colt), Yaris Bayama (two-year-old pacing filly), Warrawee Roo (three-year-old trotting colt) and Emoticon Hanover (three-year-old trotting filly). The Lampman Cup has been awarded annually since 1987 and honours the memory of long time Ontario Jockey Club publicist Jim Lampman. Like the Johnston Cup, drivers are awarded one Lampman Cup point for each start, four points for each win, three points for each second and two points for each third. Steacy and Filion will have an opportunity to add to their 2017 point totals in the second Ontario Sires Stakes event of the season on Friday, May 26 at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The three-year-old pacing colts will square off in two $95,600 Gold Series divisions in Races 3 and 6, part of the London oval's signature Molson Pace Night which gets under way at 7:05 pm. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - A record number of 28 nominees for the $200,000 Prix D'Ete at the Hippodrome 3R are now final for the revival of the showcase race on Sunday, August 20, 2017. Restricted to four-year-old pacers, the 4th renewal of the Prix D'Ete final will feature the top eight money-winners in 2017 that enter the race. New this year for the race is that every horse that enters will receive purse money as the new conditions of the race call for horses finishing 6th through 8th place to each receive $1,000. While the Prix D'Ete final is nearly three months away, the action in the four-year-old division has been fast and furious so far, this season. This past Sunday, Western Flame proved to be the current standout as he was able to quarter move and then wire the field in capturing the $176,000 Confederation Cup final at Flamboro Downs in 1:51.4 over a "good" track. Trained by Jimmy Takter, who won the inaugural revival of the Prix D'Ete in 2014 with Sunfire Blue Chip, Western Fame could be his second Prix D'Ete triumph. Second in the race was the top horse Check Six from the Ron Burke Stable. Burke has sent out the last two Prix D'Ete winners, All Bets Off (2015) and Rockin Ron (2016) as the stable goes for a record three straight Prix D'Ete triumphs. Finishing third was Sinatra and, in fact, all nine starters in the Confederation Cup Final are also eligible to the Prix D'Ete Final. Quebec owned nominees include Quebec-bred champions HP Patriote and Sports Authority, Endeavor and Stonebridge Beach. The Prix D'Ete was the most prestigious race in all of Canada from 1966 through 1992. World champions Brett Hanover, Albatross, Niatross, Hot Hitter, Cam Fella, On The Road Again, Ralph Hanover, Matt's Scooter and a host of other top pacers won the Prix D'Ete. "This is super to have a record number nominated for the final," said Claude Levesque, president of the Quebec Jockey Club. "We could well see the track record broken come August 20 in the final." In 2014, the Quebec Jockey Club revived the Prix D'Ete, making it the tracks premier race in all of Quebec and one of the richest races in North America only for four-year-old pacers. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club 2017 Prix D'Ete Final Nominees AMERICAN PASSPORT by American Ideal ANOTHER DAILY COPY by Somebeachsomewhere ARSENIC by Bettor's Delight ARTMAGIC by Art Major AWESOMENESS by Mach Three BIG TOP HANOVER by Western Ideal CHECK SIX by Somebeachsomewhere DAY TRADE HANOVER by Big Jim DR J HANOVER by Somebeachsomewhere ENDEAVOR by American Ideal GERRIES SPORT by Mach Three HP PATRIOTE by Vintage Master LYONS SNYDER  by Well Said MAGNUM J by Big Jim MISSILE J by American Ideal MR WIGGLE PANTS by Mr Wiggles NOCTURNAL BLUECHIP by Bettor's Delight PRETTY BOY HILL by Somebeachsomewhere ROLLAROUNDTHEWORLD by Roll With Joe ROLL AWAY JOE by Roll With Joe SECRECY by Mach Three SEELEY MAN by Western Maverick SINTRA by Mach Three SPIDER MAN HANOVER by Western Ideal SPORTS AUTHORITY by Sportswriter STONEBRIDGE BEACH by Mach Three VORACITY by Sportswriter WESTERN FAME by Western Ideal    

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Elm Grove Kaboom has been nothing short of exceptional so far in his four-year-old season but will face his biggest test in the Thursday evening featured harness racing event at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. First race post time is 6:30 P.M. for the 10-dash card with Elm Grove Kaboom favoured in the $2,000 featured pace in race 9 on the program. Earl Smith trains and drives the four-year-old son of Camystic for owners Larry and Kathy Chappell of Marshfield. So far in 2017, Elm Grove Kaboom has won all three of his trips behind the gate with the fastest time coming in his latest visit to the winner's circle with a 1:57.3 score. Oh To Be Me was the runner-up in this class last week and draws post 5 for trainer-driver-owner Gary Chappell of Charlottetown, while perennial Thursday night top contender has the outside post in the seven horse field with Kenny Arsenault at the lines. Race analyst Les MacIsaac likes the chances of post 4 entry Elm Grove Kaboom to extend his winning streak. "He meets his toughest opposition to date but he's handled the transition year from three year old to four with ease winning all of his starts and dropping his time in every event," MacIsaac said. "He is clearly the one to beat." Other entries include Simon Said (Corey MacPherson), Four Corners (Gordie Hennessey), My Lucky Killean (Ken Murphy) and Give Em Heck (Brian MacPhee). A field of Open mares will compete in race 7 on the program for a $2,250 pot with Shadows Mystery the morning line choice for driver Arsenault, trainer Jackie Matheson and owner Gordie Ford. The Shadow Play six-year-old draws post 4 in a field that includes Woodmere Articblue (Marc Campbell), newcomer Prettyndangerous (Adam Merner) and West River Ambyr, who now finds herself in the stable of Stratford's Harold Shepherd. The first Open trot of the season lines up in race 3 with Freddie favoured to extend his three-race win streak for trainer-driver Campbell and owner Three Wisemen Stable of Kingston. I Aint No Lady (MacPherson) and Holy Molie Maggie (Chappell) are also top choices in the event. For race programs, top picks and live broadcast go to www.redshores.ca By Nicholas Oakes For Red Shores

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CAMPBELLVILLE, May 27 - Saturday's card of harness racing at Mohawk Racetrack had a little bit of everything, including a pair of sub-1:50 miles. A total of 11-races were contested under ideal conditions for late-May and several horses took full advantage of the nice weather. Six-year-old pacer Nirvana Seelster led the way with a 1:49 score in the $27,000 feature race. The Bill Budd trainee was sent to the front by driver Trevor Henry and posted fractions of :26.1, :55 and 1:22.1 along the way to a gritty victory. Four-year-old Easy Lover Hanover came up the rail late to pressure the leader, but the Budd trainee dug in to hold on for his fifth win of the season and 28th overall. Owned by Bruce Davy, Nirvana Seelster has banked over $77,000 this season to bring his career earnings to nearly $600,000. The 1:49 mile is the fastest mile this season in Canada. Nirvana Seelster Earlier in the evening, McKinney claimed the title of Canada's fastest horse in 2017 for a brief moment with a 1:49.1 victory in an $18,000 event. The Kyle Fellows trainee capitalized off a two-hole trip from driver Sylvain Filion to pick up his second win of the season. Seven-year-old Duc Dorleans showed the way and hung up big fractions, including a 1:21.3 three-quarter time, but couldn't hold off McKinney and lost by a head. A seven-year-old gelding, McKinney is owned by Fellows, Daniel Knechtel and Arpad Szabo. The 1:49.1 mile Saturday established a new career-mark for the 22-time winner and earner of over $366,000. McKinney Saturday's card also saw champion trotter Mister Herbie, a winner of over $1.8 million, record his first victory in nearly four-years. The Jeff Gillis trainee crossed the wire first in a $20,000 event to pick up his first win since July 1, 2013. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Mister Herbie trotted a final-quarter of :28.2 to track down and defeat Fearless Man by a neck. The 2012 Maple Leaf Trot champion was making his third start of 2017 after having not raced since September of 2014. Saturday's victory was the 19th career win for Mister Herbie, who is owned by Gillis, Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay. Mister Herbie The evening's final race also featured some flashy fractions, but it was the payouts that caught the attention of many. Seven-year-old pacer Lonewolf Currier ran away from his rivals to post fractions of :25.3, :53.1 and 1:21.4. However, fatigue would set in and Lonewolf Currier made a break when being swallowed up by rivals in the lane. Artful Bliss came through to pick up the pieces and scored a 43/1 upset for driver Phil Hudon and trainer Rod Boyd. The four-year-old, who was winless since early-March, paid $88 to win. Artful Bliss The top-five finishers were rounded out by horses at odds of 6/1, 10/1, 34/1 and 5/2, opening the door for a potential single-winning ticket in the Jackpot Hi-5. However, the payouts revealed there was no winning Jackpot Hi-5 tickets, which means Saturday's entire pool of $19,808, minus takeout, is added to the carryover. The carryover going into Monday now sits at $49,137.68. Live racing resumes Monday with an 11-race card beginning at 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie
FRASERVILLE - Harness racing fans filled Kawartha Downs on Saturday night for the opening of the 2017 racing season. “It’s a good night out, it’s cheap and we enjoy it,” said Marie Mosher of what brings her to the races. Mosher sat at the window facing the track with her husband James and some friends Saturday night. Marie and James started going to the races in Fraserville last year and now, they’re regulars. They don’t bet a lot, but they do make a few small gambles. “Be no pointing in coming otherwise,” James said. One thing the couple can’t wrap their head around, though, is why kids are allowed in. There’s gambling and alcohol, just like at a casino, but kids aren’t allowed in there. “I think it’s inappropriate,” said Marie. Across the table, Bryan Jones checks out the night’s race program. He’s been watching the races since they launched locally 45 years ago. “I love the horse racing … and it’s a cheap night out,” said Jones. Outside, Leslyn Chamberlin is also overlooking the program. She started going to the races last year, making it to about half a dozen overall. Though she “bets cautiously,” Chamberlin did have a somewhat of a big in 2016 – she won $400. “I spent it all on me, no paying bills,” said Chamberlin. The Bowmanville resident said she was drawn to the races because she loves horse and it’s a great way to spend a Saturday night. “It’s fun, it’s entertaining,” Chamerblin said. Sitting on a bench not too far away, Ruth Clarke and Rick Beaver were patiently waiting for the races to start. The couple has been going to races at Kawartha Downs for about 10 years. They used to attend the races during the week, too, when harness racing happened all year round. In the last three years, harness racing has decreased from a few nights a week year round to seasonal racing on Saturday nights. Harness racing was close to being cancelled all together in 2013, when the province moved to end revenue sharing by racetracks with slots gaming facilities, but a last-minute deal between Kawartha Downs and the province's transition panel saved the races. There are 18 race nights scheduled this season, running every Saturday night until Sept. 30, except for Sept. 16 when the NASCAR Pinty's Series finale is on. Clarke and Beaver both love to watch the horses and don’t put much stock in gambling, though they do put a few dollars down. “I don’t bet here to get rich, that’s for sure. It’s an entertaining way to spend an evening and it’s well worth it,” said Beaver. New this year at Kawartha Downs, is the KD Betting Lounge. It’s located on the second floor of the racing side, where the bar used to be. There, betters can put money down on races happening elsewhere, such as in Toronto or Flamboro. Off-track betting can be done through a teller or through a self-serve machine. By Jessica Nyznik,  JNyznik@postmedia.com Reprinted with permission of The Peterborough Examiner
Charlottetown, PE - Mr Irresistible over-powered pace setter Adkins Hanover to win the Saturday harness racing feature in a sparking 1:54.3 at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Adkins Hanover (Corey MacPherson) cut impressive fractions of 27.2, 55.1 and 1:24.4 before fading in the stretch to Mr. Irresistible driven by Jason Hughes for owner Danny Birt, Stratford, PE who was also celebrating his birthday. The five-year son of Mister Big, conditioned by Jennifer Trainor, picked up his fifth win of the season including back to back feature victories. Eagle Jolt (Marc Campbell) finished third to complete the triactor. Hughes also drove 2016 Governor's Plate finalist Jeb to victory for co-owners Robi Hughes, Eric and Blair MacLauchlan. Jeb, who was making his 2017 debut, stopped the timer in 1:57.4. Marc Campbell also posted a driving double on the card. For complete results go to www.redshores.ca By Lee Drake
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - Louis-Philippe Roy, now the leading money winning driver in all of Canada this season and second in dash victories, returns to the Hippodrome 3R this Sunday, competing in eight of the ten races. It was just two weeks ago that Roy set the track record at H3R, winning eight races on the program, surpassing Yannick Gingras's prior record of six wins set in 2013. Roy is traveling throughout Canada to compete, driving at two and three tracks weekly. This week he is competing at Mohawk Raceway, Western Fair Raceway and at H3R. It will be difficult for Roy to repeat his eight wins from two weeks ago on Sunday, but he is listed on the two big favorites in the third round of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old pacing mares and horses. This is the final preliminary round and after Sunday, the eight top point earners in the series will return on Sunday, June 11 for the $30,000 finals in their respective divisions. The older horses take center stage first in the fifth race with eight starters headlined by Half A Billion, who is seeking to make a clean sweep of the series. Two weeks ago, Roy won with Half A Billion in a romp by six open lengths. Last week it was driver Francis Picard winning with Half A Billion by two and a half lengths. This week Half A Billion starts from the rail with Roy back in the sulky, the one post position is usually not an advantage with the five-year-old gelding son of Sportswriter as he is not a strong leaver. Thus, the race shapes up to be a close contest with last year's three-year-old champion, HP Patriote, drawing a good inside position in post three. Also in the hunt with be the two full brothers, Mach On The Beach (post 4) and Mr Match On Beach (post 8), who have been second and third to Half A Billion the last two weeks. Other contenders include Sugarsam (post 6) and Sports Authority (post 5). The mares are in the spotlights in the 8th race where Louis-Philippe Roy is back driving HP Sissy, who has also won the first two legs of the series. Last week she won with Guy Gagnon in the sulky by six and one-quarter lengths and has drawn post five on Sunday. Her stablemate and racing as part of an entry, is HP Pandora from post three for driver Stephane Brosseau. Another rival, Wanda Bayama, starts inside of them in post two for driver/trainer and Hall of Famer, Yves Filion. Other contenders include Skyfall Sena (post 7) who was second to HP Sissy last week and HP Mercedes (post one), who was third in last week's race. In the ninth race Invitational Pace, Roy had his choices of driving Code Word (post 6), who has won the last two week or Royal Kee Wee N (post 3), who two starts back gave Roy his eighth winner on his record setting day at H3R. But Roy has remained faithful to the owners who supported him since he first started driving back in 2014 and will drive Iron Phil from post two. Ironically, it was owner/trainer Nathalie Migneault and co-owner Eric Dechamplain, who gave Roy the first winning drive of his career back on August 1, 2014 at Woodstock Racecourse in New Brunswick, on none other than Iron Phil and Roy has remained faithful to that stable. TRACK NOTES: Sunday's program features five Quebec-Bred Series Champions. They are Sugarsam (2015), Mr Mach Jimmy (2015), Miss Babe Delight (2015), HP Patriote (2016) and HP Sissy (2016). H3R adds live racing starting this Tuesday, May 30 with first race post time at 7:00 pm. The opening night program has nine races headlined by the opening round of the $100,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotting mares and horses. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club    
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