Platoon Seelster

Son of Federal Flex equals track mark

Platoon Seelster made harness racing history on Wednesday evening at The Raceway in London when he equaled the fastest trotting mile in the track’s history. The four-year-old gelded son of Federal Flex took full advantage of post one in the $11,000 Preferred 2 Trot and jetted straight to command through a snappy :27.2 opening quarter. Driver Ryan Holliday was able to rate his speed to the tune of :30 seconds in the second quarter and hit the half in :58 seconds. Platoon Seelster faced first-over pressure in the third quarter but easily rebuffed the challenge through  three-quarters in 1:26.4. He then kicked home in :29.1 to stop the clock in 1:56, equaling the previous best clocking of 1:56 which was established by Brawn Seelster back in 2008. It was the sixth lifetime win for the former star of the Ontario Sires Stakes program who increased his career bankroll to more than $275,000 for owners Caroline Holliday of Mount Forest and Dennis Hannah of Harriston, Ontario. Greg Blanchard  

Mark MacDonald

Driver Mark MacDonald returns to London

Harness racing driver Mark MacDonald calls his time in London, ON racing at The Raceway at The Western Fair District "maybe the best time of my life." MacDonald, who is now based in New York and is one of the top drivers at Yonkers Raceway, will return to Western Fair Friday to drive Sunfire Blue Chip in the $150,000 Molson Pace invitational for trainer Jimmy Takter. "London was the first place I bought a house. It was a condo, but it was like a house. I lived in apartments before that. I actually lived 10 minutes from Western Fair," said the 37-year-old Prince Edward Island native, who first made his name racing in Ontario from 1999 through 2011. "I had some stoplights then, not bridge traffic. It is definitely a different atmosphere (in New York) as opposed to up there, but Western Fair was great. I had a lot of fun there. I won a lot of races. It was the first time I got to race in all the (Ontario) Sires Stakes and was kind of the go-to guy." What hasn't been as much fun has been the Molson Pace. MacDonald has raced in it nine times and never won. "It's been my Achilles Heel. That race just keeps getting me. I almost won it a few times. Dr No, I thought I was home with him and Our Lucky Killean got me right at the wire (in 2006). I think I still have the track record at London with Tigerama (1:50.4 in 2008). He buzzed around there in the elimination and then drew the seven hole and got stung past the quarter. He was kind of a speed horse. The seven hole and a speed horse don't really mix there in London, unless the inside wing falls off or something. Anyway, he got stung and ended up fifth." MacDonald last raced in the Molson Pace in 2014 and was eighth with Bandolito. "Bandolito, I got a horrendous trip with him. I was out early and he didn't fire. He wasn't right then, either. He didn't race for about five or six months after that race," MacDonald said. "I've had some good horses in that race, but I've raced some horses that turned up sick and I've raced some horses that just got beat. I just never get to the wire first." MacDonald, a winner of nearly 5,700 career races and more than $84 million is a two-time O'Brien Award winner as Canada's Driver of the Year. He set a record for driving wins on Canadian soil with 739 in 2006 - since surpassed by Jody Jamieson. MacDonald will be driving against his younger brother, James MacDonald, in this year's Molson Pace. James will pilot P H Supercam from post seven. "James is a good little driver. He's doing a great job. I talk to him all the time and always try to help him as much as I can. But I won't be helping him out on Friday," Mark said, laughing. "Don't eat yellow snow. That's my tip for him." Mark said he likes his chances with Sunfire Blue Chip, especially drawing the inside post three. "He's a really good horse... A good half-mile horse," Mark said of the six-year-old stallion, a son of American Ideal out of Shot Togo Blue Chip who has earned just over $1 million. "He won the Prix d'Ete as a four-year-old at Three Rivers. He's a really fast horse, good gaited. He doesn't wear a boot. He's a typical Takter horse. He's really well-mannered, a nice horse to drive. Everything about him is nice. He just won in 1:51 a couple of weeks ago in Yonkers on kind of a tiring track. It was a good mile that night." Sunfire Blue Chip has a record of 4-3-2 this year in 16 starts and earnings of just over $80,000. "He was sharp in the Levy (Series at Yonkers). He raced in every leg in the Levy and he just had horrible luck with the draw. He was, literally, outside every week... We couldn't get a break with that horse. They actually took him out of the Levy one week and I took him to the front and he won in like :53.3... The Levy wasn't meant to be for him this year, but he always raced well. He showed up every week." Now Mark MacDonald hope Sunfire Blue Chip shows up with his best game on Friday so he can finally claim the Molson Pace in his 10th attempt. Post positions for the Molson Pace field are as follows: 1. State Treasurer - Chris Christoforou 2. Bettor Rock On N - Jody Jamieson 3. Sunfire Blue Chip - Mark MacDonald 4. Evenin Of Pleasure - Sylvain Filion 5. Machtu N - Trevor Henry 6. Mcwicked - Randy Waples 7. P H Supercam - James MacDonald 8. All Bets Off - Matt Kakaley The Molson Pace program will also feature the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers, a quartet of City of London Series finals, a pair of Alliance Claiming Series finals and an added-purse Junior Invitational Pace as part of the undercard. Total purses for the night will be more than $550,000. There will be a number of promotions on the night, including Scratch and Win program prizes, OSS 'Be A Winner Contest,' Party on the Patio, a Molson VIP infield event and much more. The wagering menu has been bolstered to 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. For more information, visit molsonpace.com. Greg Blanchard

Corey Macpherson

Eight horses, eight potential winners

The door is wide open in the Thursday night harness racing feature at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. First race post time is 6:30 PM for the 11-dash program with a tight knit field of eight battling it out in the finale. Idealic Life will look for redemption from post 5 in the $2,100 event with Corey MacPherson in the bike for trainer Trevor Hicken and owners Perry, Luke and Robin Burke and Kent Livingston. The 12-year-old son of Western Ideal was back at the start in last Thursday's top event and rallied for fifth. McJestic shows fine form and a decent post with Walter Cheverie in the bike leaving from the two spot while Eagle Jolt searches for a repeat of his preferred pace victory earlier in the season with trainer-driver Marc Campbell. Race analyst Les MacIsaac gives the nod to Idealic Life to put things back together this week. "He was right there last week but the poor beginning left him with simply too much work to do," MacIsaac said of Idealic Life. "If Corey can get him spotted a little closer to the front tonight, then the road to the winners circle goes through this guy." Other entries in the evenly matched field include Zambuca Gass (Gilles Barrieau), Ok Galahad (Jason Hughes), American Captain (Kenny Arsenault), I D K (Vincent Poulton) and My Lucky Killean (Ken Murphy). The top trotters on the East Coast line up in race 6 on the card and last year's Atlantic Sires Stakes champion will have her first crack against aged company for a $1,950 purse. Paymenowpaymelater has Barrieau in the bike from post 1 in the Open Trot for trainer Earl Watts and owner Wade Peconi of Stanchel. Her competition is stiff as she competes with Frill Seeker (Arsenault) from post 4 riding a two race win streak and newcomer to Charlottetown Freddie (Campbell) with post 5 fresh off a second place finish in his East Coast debut. Other entries include Tyne Valley (Cheverie), Wedgewood (Gary Chappell) and Holy Molie Maggie (MacPherson). The back-up trot is in race 4 with Caliban Hanover dropping out of the Open Trot and favoured to win from post 5 for trainer-driver Ronnie Gass and owner Wendell MacDonald of Cornwall. Other top entries in the $1,550 class include Howmacs Pride (Arsenault) and Thunderaway (Hughes). For race programs, top picks and live broadcast go to www.redshores.ca By Nicholas Oakes for Red Shores    

Drivers in Drive for Charity

Drive for Charity event

Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park and Red Shores Summerside are gearing up for a busy season with exciting harness racing series, signature events and the fifth annual Drive for Charity, presented by Red Shores. The Drive for Charity event features 10 of Prince Edward Island's top harness drivers, based on 2015 statistics from Charlottetown and Summerside racetracks. The drivers will partner with Island businesses to raise money for local charities. Each win will earn $25 toward their charity. Here are the participating businesses, drivers and their charities. • MacQuarrie’s Meats – Mark Bradley – Upper Room Food Bank • Hansen Electric – Gilles Barrieau – Canadian Mental Health • Ocean 100 – Walter Cheverie – Olivia Ruth MacLeod Memorial Award • Syntrak Print & Graphics – Kenny Arsenault – Chances  • KKP – Jason Hughes – Easter Seals • Daniel R. Ross – Gary Chappell – Camp Gencheff • Metro Home Building Centre – Ken Murphy – Special Olympics PEI • Red Shores – Corey MacPherson – PEI Sports Hall of Fame  • MacRae Backhoe and Trucking – Marc Campbell – IWK • Meridian Farms – Brian MacPhee – KidSport The promotion begins on Thursday June 2nd, 2016 and wraps up on October 31, 2016. The official draw was held Tuesday during a reception in the Top of the Park. Lee Drake

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - The first Tuesday night live race program of the 2016 season at the Hippodrome 3R provided race fans with plenty of excitement, especially in the $120,000C opening round of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters. While the older horse division may not have featured pari-mutuel wagering with just a three-horse field, it ended up being the best race of the season at the Hippodrome 3R. Heading the field was three-time series champion, Maximuscle, taking on series champion and track record holder, Seeyou Men with Promesses Imperial rounding out the field. Held between the 5th and 6th races on the program, the race began as a near disaster for driver Mario Charron and Maximuscle, as the five-year-old son of Angus Hall went off-stride after the start. That gave way for Seeyou Men and driver Robert Shepherd to have things their own way on the lead with Promesses Imperial (Jerome Lombart) sitting in the pocket-trip. They went to the opening quarter in :29.3 and then to the half mile in 1:00.3, but when Shepherd looked over his shoulder, there was Charron and Maximuscle back on stride and coming after the race leader. By the three-quarter mile marker in 1:30.2, Maximuscle had not only collared Seeyou Men, but had the lead by a neck. Then at the top of the stretch, Seeyou Men was back in the lead by a slim head and in a dramatic stretch drive to the finish, Maximuscle came on in the final strides to the wire to win by a neck over Seeyou Men in 1:59.4 with Promesses Imperial the obvious third place finisher. It was the first start of the season for Maximuscle, who is trained by Maxime Velaye and was bred and is owned by Ecurie Provoquante of Mirabel, QC. "I thought after driving this horse for most of his career he would be OK behind the starting gate tonight." Said Mario Charron of Maximuscle. "But even at age five I still must treat him like a two-year-old and talk to him and make sure he is clam getting out of the starting gate. He has done this every year of his career but towards the end of last season at age four he was much better, but not tonight. "Once I had him back on-stride I saw that Robert (Shepherd) was going to back down the pace even more after the half mile," Charron explained, "and my horse wanted to go so I let him move to the outside and he was just great. By the three-quarters I knew we had him but what a great finish for just a three-horse race. Robert's horse was game down the stretch but Maximuscle was the better horse tonight. Because Maximuscle broke stride off a qualifying race, he must qualify again before the judges in order to enter next week's second round of the series and with no opportunity to do so, it is likely that Maximuscle will not be able to race until the third round. For Charron, it was his first win after four race cards held at 3R this season. That is uncharacteristic for Charron, who last year was second by one win to Denis St-Pierre for the driving title. "That's Mario Charron," Charron laughed. "With so many new drivers at 3R this year, I really do not get that much opportunity nor some of the better horses to drive early in the season. But now that the stakes season is underway I will do better as many trainers are just getting their young horses to the races. But I am glad to get that first win finally." There were two mare divisions of the opening round of the Quebec-Bred Series Tuesday. The third race first division saw SOS Revange and driver Gaetan Lamy sit patiently in fourth place as Beauty Road (Guy Gagnon) parked out race favorite Viva Bayama (Carl Duguay) for most of the mile race. Then with a strong move on the final turn, Lamy was able to turn SOS Revange loose and the mare kicked in a :29.3 last quarter mile to win going away by two and one-quarter lengths in 2:01.4. Viva Bayama was second with the pocket-sitting National Trace (Stephane Brosseau) third. Now undefeated in two starts this year for trainer Francine Merrissettel and owner/breeder Monalisa Pagliericci of Stanbridge Station, QC, SOS Revange, a four-year-old mare by Kadabra, scored a lifetime mark and paid $6.60C to win. In the 6th race second division, Mario Charron made it a driving double on the night with SOS Striking Monte. Kim Sorel (Martin Gringas) left sharply from post six to take the early lead and gave way to SOS Harddrive (Pascal Berube) after the opening quarter mile in :29.1. SOS Harddrive then led to the half mile in :59.1 and it was then that Charron made his winning move with SOS Striking Monte, brushing to the lead and in command at the three-quarters in 1:29 and then holding on through the finish to win by one and one-half lengths in 1:59.4. Bamie Benjo (Louis-Philippe Roy) closed well from fifth place to be second with Kim Sorel third. A five-year-old mare by Striking Sahbra, it was the first win in two starts on the year for trainer Guy Roy. SOS Strking Sahbra is owned by Francis Prouix of Saint-Pie-De-Guire, QC and paid $6.10 to win. "This is a very nice mare," Charron said. "I think she will do very well in this series." Live racing resumes Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Three divisions of three-year-old pacing colts and geldings will kick off the 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes season Friday, May 27, on what promises to be a spectacular night of harness racing action at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The three $70,000 Gold Series divisions are part of the track's signature Molson Pace program, which features top flight racing, countless opportunities to win great prizes and a variety of ways to get close to the action. "It's a night where we want to make it a lot of fun and a great atmosphere on track, but the program itself, we want that to be the focal point and I think we've put another really strong card together," said Raceway Manager Greg Blanchard of the event, which features total purses of over $550,000. "And the OSS Golds for the colts, it's nice to really kick off the OSS season, especially in that division, on this night. These are great three-year-old colts that we're going to get to watch." One colt hoping to claim a share of the spotlight on Friday is War N Munn, who has dominated the early season stakes action on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit. The Stonebridge Regal son - bred by Arva, ON resident Angie Stiller - will be looking to add a Gold Series trophy to a collection that already includes the Count B, Diplomat and Youthful Series hardware. Jonathan Drury of Guelph, ON will steer War N Munn from Post 2 in the second OSS division for trainer Carmen Auciello of Stouffville, ON and owner George Munniksma of Washington, NJ. Among the colts hoping to keep War N Munn out of the Race 8 winner's circle are Voracity, a two-time Gold Series winner at two, and Semi Automatic, who earned one Gold Series trophy last season. Voracity will start from Post 3 for trainer Tony Alagna of Manalapan, NJ and his partners Brad Grant of Milton, ON and John Fodera of Staten Island, NY. Semi Automatic will be looking for his top gear from Post 5 for trainer Tony O'Sullivan of Puslinch, ON and his partners Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL and J And T Silva Stables LLC of Long Beach, NY. Fans can get in on the OSS winner's circle celebrations by casting their ballot in the "Be A Winner" contest. Finalists will be drawn to represent each colt in the "Be A Winner" contest race and each finalist will receive an OSS t-shirt, ball cap and a $15 win-place-show wager on their chosen colt. Finalists will watch the contest race from the trackside winner's circle area, and the winning colt's finalist will join in the post-race victory celebrations, receiving their own trophy, an OSS jacket and shirt, winner's circle photo and a $50 wagering voucher. An up-close view of the action will also be offered by the Wanna Drive program, which puts fans on the racetrack in a double-seated jog cart, and through the Molson Pace Infield Party contest, which will give a limited number of lucky fans an opportunity to watch the racing from the infield. "We are really working with a lot of our close partners on this night - HPI, OLG, the Alliance tracks, Standardbred Canada, the Ontario Sires Stakes - and of course Molson, our title sponsor, it's great to have that partnership continue," noted Blanchard. "It's nice because they all add a lot to the night. It enhances the whole experience." The first race of the evening will be called to the post at 7:05 pm, but an earlier arrival will allow fans to take in all the trackside activities. "I would say, if you want to sort of beat the crowd, anytime from 5:30 pm on," said Blanchard, adding that there will be a guest horse greeting fans and a special giveaway for early arrivals. The $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes divisions will be featured in Races 5, 8 and 9 and the $150,000 Molson Invitational Pace will bring the evening to a close in Race 12. Further details about Molson Pace Night can be found at http://www.westernfairdistrict.com/molson-pace. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing  

Harness racing trainer Dr. Ian Moore said winning a fourth straight Molson Pace with his pupil State Treasurer would be almost beyond comprehension. “It’s been fun just to win it once. A second was a bonus and the third was just unreal last year,” Moore said. “A fourth time would be unbelievable.” State Treasurer, the 2015 Horse of the Year in Canada owned by Sally and Allan MacDonald of Prince Edward Island and their nephew, Paul MacDonald of Toronto, has drawn the rail for Friday’s $150,000 invitational at The Raceway at The Western Fair District in London, ON. The pacer’s regular driver, Chris Christoforou, will be in the sulky. Moore, a PEI native who is based in Guelph, ON during the summer, acknowledged it won’t be easy for State Treasurer to become the first horse to win four Molson Pace titles in the race’s 44-year history. Race secretary Ian Fleming has assembled a crack field of eight tough older pacers, many coming in from the United States. The field has combined earnings of nearly $9 million. That includes the $1.96 million earned by State Treasurer, who is winless in his three 2016 starts since returning from wintering at Southern Oaks Training Center in Florida. “He hasn’t been quite as good his first few starts, obviously, this year,” Moore said. “It sort of was the same thing last year. It wasn’t until about the third start that he was good at Mohawk and I really think that the first three Saturdays that we’ve been back in Ontario since April 30th the (race nights) have all been very cold. In fact, 37 degrees Fahrenheit and wet snow the last time we raced. I think some of our horses had a little trouble acclimatizing to that.” Moore said State Treasurer had some mild sickness a few weeks ago and was given five days off after his last start — a fifth-place finish in the $34,000 preferred on May 14 at Mohawk Racetrack — but the seven-year-old son of Real Desire—Ideal Treasure seems fine this week and should be raring to go Friday in London. “He seems good in every other way. He’s been sound and everything and he’s steering well this year. We hope he’ll appreciate the return to London and away we go,” Moore said. “He obviously likes that track and has done well there in the past. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to roll for the fourth time.” State Treasurer is currently tied with Jambo Dancer for the most Molson Pace victories. Jambo Dancer also won the race three straight years, taking the title in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Post positions for the Molson Pace field are as follows: 1. State Treasurer – Chris Christoforou 2. Bettor Rock On N – Jody Jamieson 3. Sunfire Blue Chip – Mark MacDonald 4. Evenin Of Pleasure – Sylvain Filion 5. Machtu N – Trevor Henry 6. Mcwicked – Randy Waples 7. P H Supercam – James MacDonald 8. All Bets Off – Matt Kakaley The Molson Pace program will also feature the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers, a quartet of City of London Series finals, a pair of Alliance Claiming Series finals and an added-purse Junior Invitational Pace as part of the undercard. Total purses for the night will be more than $550,000. There will be a number of promotions on the night, including Scratch and Win program prizes, OSS ‘Be A Winner Contest,’ Party on the Patio, a Molson VIP infield event and much more. The wagering menu has been bolstered to 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. For more information, visit molsonpace.com. Greg Blanchard

The first of 48 nights of live harness racing kicks off at Grand River Raceway on June 1. The track was awarded the 2016 Business Excellence Award for Hospitality/Tourism by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Of Commerce, and the season lineup reflects its award-winning ambitions. During its 13th season, the Elora, ON oval will race Monday and Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. from June 1 through September 28. The track's signature Fun & Frivolity Friday Race Nights are featured from June 3 through September 2 at 6:30 p.m. There are two exceptions to the aforementioned schedule: no racing on Friday, August 26; and post time is 1:30 on Monday, August 1. Full schedule OPENING NIGHT CONTEST Racehorse ownership is in the cards for one contest winner when Grand River Raceway awards a $500 gift certificate to The Stable.ca on June 1. Entries will be considered via social media shares and retweets, emailed entries and on-track entries submitted on June 1. The Stable.ca is a fractional racehorse ownership stable owned by Anthony & Amy MacDonald of Guelph, ON. LOCAL BIZ NIGHT Opening Night also marks the seventh annual Local Biz Night, presented in cooperation with the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce. The event hosts more than 100 local businesspeople paired with a horse in the Local Biz Night Race. Prior to the dash, guests are treated to a cocktail reception hosted by the OLG Slots At Grand River Raceway, followed by dinner and a trip to the paddock to meet their horse. JUNE 1 - BETTING CONTESTS BEGIN Grand Betting Contest - Jackpot Edition The Grand Betting Contest will be offered each Monday and Wednesday race night (34 total) starting June 1. Each nightly contest challenges players to select the winner in five races. Players finishing second and third win $25 apiece. The night's highest point-earner will be featured on the Tarmac Show later that evening where they will choose from three boxes to win $50, $75 or a jackpot minimum of $100. The jackpot builds by $25 or $50 each night the winner selects a box other than the jackpot. Survivor Contest An online Survivor Contest, sponsored by HPIbet, will be offered each Wednesday race night beginning June 1. Entry is free and the winner will receive a $100 HPI account deposit. JUNE 3 - 3RD ANNUAL MEDIA RACE Barry Finn, editor of The Rider magazine, will return to defend his title against newcomers Darryl Law of 107.5 DAVE ROCKS and Lisa Richards of Magic 106.1 FM. Award-winning equine photographer Dave Landry rounds out the field in his driving debut. The media personalities will take to the track in double-seated race bikes, accompanied by a pro driver, to compete in a half-mile dash. Race fans will vote for the winner for a shot at a $50 betting voucher. FUN & FRIVOLITY FRIDAY NIGHTS The crew from 107.5 DAVE ROCKS returns to broadcast live from the tarmac from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. every Friday race night all summer long. Kids will enjoy the NEIGHbourhood, a free interactive horse education program held under the Tarmac Tent from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Programming includes horse crafts, a guided barn tour, and photo opportunity in the Winners Circle with the winning horse of The NEIGHbourhood Race. JUNE 24 - ONTARIO REGIONAL DRIVING CHAMPIONSHIP Eight of the province's best drivers compete in an eight-race competition to earn a berth in the 2016 National Driving Championship. JULY 8 - REN'S PET DEPOT WIENER DOG RACES Back by popular demand, one of the biggest events of the season features 30 Dachshunds in a bid for glory. Enjoy 4 dog races and 10 horse races, and an Agility Course provided by Diamonds In The Ruff. There are no losers, only wieners on July 8 at Grand River Raceway. Dog registration opens June 6. INDUSTRY DAY CELEBRATION Grand River Raceway features its 26th anniversary Industry Day Celebration on Monday, August 1 at 1:30 p.m. The popular afternoon card features the 19th annual Battle Of Waterloo and the 8th annual Battle Of The Belles. Other special events at Grand River Raceway this race season include: National Bring A Friend Night (July 15), Great Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Of Commerce Night At The Races (July 20), Racing Under Saddle (August 1), the Horse Name Costume Game (August 19). The final Friday night of the season offers Wanna Drive (the opportunity to drive a racehorse between the races) and a miniature horse race. RACE NIGHT BUFFET Grand River Raceway's popular $17.99 buffet will be featured every race night in the newly renovated Captain's Quarters tiered dining room overlooking the racetrack. Some dates are already sold-out and others filling quickly with group bookings. Reservations are always highly recommended by calling (519) 846-5455 ext. 247. Post time for the season-opener on June 1 is 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.GrandRiverRaceway.com. Kelly Spencer

Grand Circuit harness racing trotting mares capped off an eventful May long weekend Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The first leg of the Miss Versatility Series featured two $30,000 divisions. The series for older trotting mares stops at Mohawk twice, The Meadowlands and Tioga Downs before wrapping up with the final on Little Brown Jug Day at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. A scratch in each division left fields of seven to battle in first round splits. Four-year-old Jewels In Hock and driver John Campbell took care of business in the first division with a 1:54.2 victory by 4½ lengths. The Linda Toscano trainee took command of the race on the way to the half with a fourth to first move. After posting fractions of :57.3 and 1:26.2, Jewels In Hock kicked clear from her rivals and trotted home comfortably in :28 to win as the public's choice. White Becomes Her, the leader at the opening-quarter, finished second, while MissysGa Ga crossed the wire third. A daughter of Credit Winner, Jewels In Hock won 9 of 17 starts last season and was the New York Sires Stakes champion. She finished her sophomore season with over $353,000 in earnings. The four-year-old trotting mare picked up her first win in her second start of the season Monday. Owned by KJ Stables LLC, Jewels In Hock now has 12 career victories and over $382,000 in career earnings. The Toscano trainee paid $3.80 to win. Jewels In Hock In the second division, Rockin With Dewey just held off a late surge from Charmed Life to win in 1:53.3. The Ben Baillargeon trainee flashed some early speed for driver Mario Baillargeon and got away in the two-hole behind longshot Second Sister. There was little movement throughout the opening-half with Second Sister posting panels of :28.1 and :56.3. Baillargeon angled Rockin With Dewey out of the pocket nearing the three-quarter pole, while Charmed Life was moving up towards the front on the outside. In the stretch, Rockin With Dewey took the lead and was trotting up a storm. Charmed Life was sitting a few lengths back of the leader, but in the final strides closed in to make it a photo finish. At the wire, Rockin With Dewey came out on top by a narrow margin. Charmed Life now has four runner-up finishes in five starts this season. Elegant Serenity finished third. A six-year-old daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe, Rockin With Dewey now has two wins in five starts this season. She is owned by Ben Baillargeon and Diane Ingham. Rockin With Dewey has had success previously in the Miss Versatility. The Baillargeon trainee won two legs of the series last year. The six-year-old trotting mare now has 16 career victories and earnings of over $523,000. Rockin With Dewey paid $5.70 to win. Rockin With Dewey The next leg of the Miss Versatility Series is set for Canada Day (July 1) at Mohawk. Also on Monday, Flanagan Memory was a repeat winner in the $34,000 Preferred Trot. Driven by Chris Christoforou, Flanagan Memory came first up around the final turn to draw even with the leader Rubber Duck turning for home. The Rene Dion trainee marched by to take the lead in the lane and score a length and a half victory in 1:53.3. Intimidate got up to finish second, while Rubber Duck was third. A six-year-old son of Kadabra, Flanagan Memory now has two wins in three starts this season after winning two of 15 starts last year and banking $299,769. He paid $3.10 to win Monday evening. Flanagan Memory Live racing resumes Thursday night at Mohawk. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

The post-position draw for this year's $150,000 Molson Pace was conducted during this evening's pre-game show at The Raceway in London and it was three-time defending harness racing champion State Treasurer drawing the coveted rail in his quest for an historic fourth consecutive title. The son of Real Desire may not be the intimidating presence he would have been at this time last year from post one. He has gone winless so far in three starts this season and his connections will be hoping that another trip to London will get his season back on track. Last year's runner-up, All Bets Off, drew the trailing post eight and is coming off a sparkling second-place finish behind Wiggle It Jiggle It in this past weekend's Battle Of Lake Erie at Northfield Park. Here is a look at the entire field, along with their listed drivers, in post-position order: 1 State Treasurer - Chris Christoforou 2 Bettor Rock On N - Jody Jamieson 3 Sunfire Blue Chip - Mark MacDonald 4 Evenin Of Pleasure - Sylvain Filion 5 Machtu N - Trevor Henry 6 McWicked - Randy Waples 7 P H Super Cam - James MacDonald 8 All Bets Off - Matt Kakaley Friday night's program also includes OSS Gold divisions for three-year-old colt pacers, a quartet of City Of London Series Finals and a pair of Alliance Series Finals. First post for the 12-race card is 7:05 p.m. Greg Blanchard

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - The Hippodrome 3R kicks off night racing at the half mile oval Tuesday and featured on the program will be three opening round divisions of the $120,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotting horses and mares. Post time is 7:00 pm. "We have had a good start to the beginning of our season despite some rainy days," said 3R general manager Vincent Trudel. "The forecast is good for Tuesday evening, we have a strong ten-race program and fans can look forward to an improved lighting system for better viewing both live and on simulcasting." Perhaps the best match-up on the program is not even a wagering event. Between the 5th and 6th races on the card will be a non-wagering division of the Quebec-Bred Series with just three horses entered. But considering two of the three trotters entered are series champions and track record holders, the match-up will be of great interest. Featured is the 2016 debut of Maximuscle, who starts from post three for driver Mario Charron. The son of Angus Hall is seeking to become the first four-time Quebec-Bred Series champion, having won that title at age 2, 3 and 4 for the combo of trainer Maxime Velaye and Charron. Bred and owned by Ecurie Provoquante of Mirabel, QC, Maximuscle recently qualified at Rideau Carlton in 2:00.1 and last year took his lifetime mark of 1:54.2. Starting on the rail is track record holder, Seeyou Men for driver Robert Shepherd and trainer Isabelle Darveau. This gelded son of Muscle Mass took 3R by storm last year, sweeping the Quebec-Bred Series for three-year-olds and setting a track record in the final with his 1:58.4 lifetime mark. Seeyou Men looks primed for his 2016 3R debut, was raced time in his last start at Flamboro Downs in 1:57.4 and two starts back won at Flamboro in 1:59.1. Rounding out the three-horse field is Promesses Imperial for driver Jerome Lombart. The mares do battle in two divisions, carded as the 3rd and 6th races and featured are two 3R track record holders and series champions in Meganou and Viva Bayama. Meganou starts from post six for driver Jocelyn Gendron. Now age 4, the daughter of Kadabra won the Quebec-Bred Series Championship at age 2 and 3. After refusing to go behind the starting gate in her pari-mutuel debut at 3R, trainer Daniel Martin seems to have the kinks worked out as Meganou recently won her qualifying race at 3R in 2:01.2, by a half-length over rival Viva Bayama. Until her qualifier last week, Viva Bayama had been off to a terrible beginning in 2016, going 0 for 7 so far this season. She will start from post three for trainer/driver Carl Duguay. A four-year-old mare by Muscle Mass, Viva Bayama also won the Quebec-Bred Series at age 2 and 3 and last year set the track record for sophomore trotting fillies at 3R in 1:59.2. The 6th race second division features SOS Harddrive from post five for driver Pascale Berube. This four-year-old daughter of Taurus Dream is off to a strong start in 2016 for trainer Isabelle Binet with two wins in three starts at 3R, the fastest in 1:59.4. After four weeks of preliminary competition in the series, the top eight point earners return on Sunday, June 26 for their respective $30,000 finals. TRACK NOTES: After the first four weeks of the race meet, the Hippodrome 3R is doing very well both on-track and with simulcasting against prior year. Total handle is up 68.71%, on-track handle is up 33.71% and simulcasting is up an astonishing 220.46% against 2015. For a free race program and free live video feed for Tuesday's race card, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Summerside, PE - DBS Rosco won the Victoria Day pace in an exciting stretch battle during opening day harness racing action Monday at Red Shores Summerside. The time of the mile was 1:58.2 Kenny Arsenault engineered the winning drive for trainer Wendell Shaw and his co-owners Robbie Shaw and Derek Folland. Arsenault put the pacer on the point and rolled through fractions of 28.1, 57:4 and 1:28. The son of Santanna Blue Chip held off a fast closing Carnivore (Walter Cheverie) down the lane to notch his third win of the year. Motorino was third. It was Arsenault's second winner of the day after guiding Montana Ben to top honours for owner-trainer Mike Ramsay, Summerside, PE. Shady Kowalski, under the command of Terry Gallant, opened up the 2016 campaign at Summerside. The five-year old mare is owned by Eric Johnston, Summerside, PE. Gilles Barrieau and Marc Campbell also recorded driving doubles up to press deadline. For complete results go to www.redshores.ca Tara Myers

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - The opening round of the $120,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old pacers saw one favorite victorious but another a half-length short of victory on Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R. With sunny skies, warm temperatures and a packed house, race fans were treated to an exciting race card highlighted by two divisions of the Quebec-Bred Series. The series features four preliminary rounds with the top eight point earners coming back for their respective $30,000 finals on Sunday, June 26. The horses were first up in the sixth race with track record holder and two-time series champion, Atomic Million AM, the 4/5 race favorite from post seven for driver Sylvain Lacaille. And they did not disappoint the crowd despite getting stung early by Mach On The Beach (Pascal Berube) to the opening quarter mile in :27.4 before taking command for good. After the half mile in :57.1, C L Art Magic and driver/trainer Yves Filion came first over and started to gain ground on the race leader to the three-quarters in 1:26.2. Then, Atomic Million AM and Lacaille felt the pressure and kicked in a :28.3 final quarter mile to hold off both C L Art Magic for second and Mach On The Beach a close third. The margin was victory was just a half-length and the time of the race, the fastest mile on the program in 1:55. It was the second straight win on the year for Atomic Million AM. The five-year-old gelded son of Million Dollar Cam is owned and trained by Alain Martin of Gatineau, QC and paid $3.80 to win. There were ten four and five-year-old mares that went to post in the ninth race Quebec-Bred Series opening round and all eyes were on Bayama Farms Wanada Bayama and trainer/driver Yves Filion. The four-year-old Western Ideal mare came to 3R just for the series off a 1:59 qualifying win at Rideau Carlton. Prior to that, in March, she scored a 1:51.4 triumph at Woodbine Race Course in capturing the $54,400C final of the HPIBet.com Series. So rightly so she was the overwhelming 1/9 wagering favorite from post seven. The only trouble with that was that a 13-1 long shot by the name of Chaleurs Fantasy can't read the tote board. Trained and driven by Carl Duguay, Chaleurs Fantasy left from post four and took the early lead away from Big Bertha (Stephane Brosseau) before the opening quarter in :28.4. The five-year-old mare by Omar Khayam then led the field to the half mile marker in :58.4 and that was when Filion, who had been sitting in fifth place, came first-over and started grinding their way towards the race leaders. By the three-quarters in 1:27.3, it looked as if Wanda Bayama would show her class and collar Chaleurs Fantasy before the stretch drive, but that did not happen. Duguay kept his mare in gear and despite Wanda Bayama gaining ground with every stride, could not catch Chaleurs Fantasy by the finish wire as they won by three-quarters of a length in 1:57.3. Hawaiian Drummond (Richard Veilleux) was third. It was the first start of the year for Chaleurs Fantasy, who was bred and is owned by Elvage Daie De Chaleurs of Port-Daniel, QC. She paid $29.20C to win. 3R NOTES: Night live racing gets underway at the Hippodrome 3R this Tuesday with first race post time at 7:00 pm. Featured on the ten race program is the opening round of the $120,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters. There are three divisions, one for horses and two for mares. The highlight will be the first-time matchup between track record holders and series champions Maximuscle and Seeyou Men. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com From the Quebec Jockey Club      

It was a day of greats at Clinton Raceway, as the Huron County oval held it's opening card of the 2016 harness racing season. Great weather, great races and great prizes all lead to a record attendance and record handle. The 10 race card saw a wagering handle of just over $30,000. "This was the biggest opening day that Clinton has seen, almost ever" states Director of Marketing, Jessica Carnochan. "The weather was definitely in our favor, if people were on the fence, that was the deal maker". Super Sunday show fans were treated to new games between the races with lots of fun and prizes. Two lucky winners went home with a pair of tickets to see Carrie Underwood in London next week and a $500 garden package courtesy of Verbeeks Farm and Garden in Clinton. Central Huron Secondary School was able to raise just over $2800 during their trackside fundraiser. "We really appreciate the ability that Clinton Raceway has given us over the last years to fundraise, comments chair, and teacher at C.H.S.S. Leigh Melady. "The fans have continued to support us and we're great full for their generosity." Long time race caller, Frank Salive made his return to the mic for opening day, and will be back again when live racing resumes Sunday May 29 with a post time of 1:30pm. The day will belong to the Saugeen Maitland Women's Hockey Association and their Day at the Races fundraiser. A full calendar of events can be found at www.clintonraceway.com Jessica Carnochan  

"From great harness racing action, plus fun and educational activities for both kids and adults, this is what harness racing is all about and should be," said Celebrity Farms Sam Stathis about Mohawk Raceway's Family Fun Night Saturday. "What a great job WEG did on this night." "From the race paddock to the track apron and the clubhouse, it was nothing but big smiles and thousands of people having fun." Stathis said. "It did my heart good to see so many people exposed to harness racing the way it should be and having my horse win her division of the SBOA Stake was icing on the cake!" Stathis's Celebrity Eventsy brought him from South Florida to Ontario to watch his top three-year-old trotting filly win her 2016 debut at Mohawk. She won her $25,000C elimination division of the Ontario SBOA Stakes by three and one-half lengths in 1:54.1, equaling her lifetime mark. "Coming up here to Ontario and seeing my filly win her first start of the year was overwhelming," Stathis said, "But to have witnessed the show that the management and staff at Mohawk Raceway did was even more impressive." It was Family Fun Night at the track and in addition to free parking and admission, there was live music throughout the night, exotic animal demonstrations, a mini carnival and arcade games, children's decorating horse cookies, photo booth, mini horses on the track with children and leading Mohawk drivers, a mare and foal on display, balloon art by clowns, and to conclude the night, a fantastic fireworks show at the end of the races. "And from what I could see," Stathis said, "the betting pools were doing very well and that is important too. "I was in the race paddock and got to meet with some of the kids who were going out on the track with mini horses," Stathis said, "and each child had one of the tracks top drivers with them. This is what we need to have our young kids be able to experience the thrill of sitting behind a horse, whether it be a mini horse or a racehorse. "Seeing them on the track for everyone to check out was tremendous and very emotional for me." Stathis said. "These are experiences these children will never forget and when they go back to school on Tuesday, they will be telling all their friends about it." Stathis with his World Chariot Racing Federation (WCRF) is embarking on the WCRF pre-Olympic road to Rio world tour with the WCRF again this coming week as he is heading over to Sweden for the Elitloppet. Stathis has already been to both Greece and Italy this month, setting the stage to help reintroduce chariot racing back into the Olympics. "It was chariot racing," Stathis said, "that was the founding father of harness racing, and was the main attraction of the first Olympics ever held in Greece. With the WCRF we are working to bring racing back to the Olympics." "We will be bringing our special exotic chariots to Solvalla Racetrack in Sweden," Stathis said. "To not just show them off but educate race fans around the world. We are also raising funds for two major charities, the Special Olympics and Horses Healing Hearts and the WCRF is designing special chariots for the Paralympics too." For more information, visit www.worldchariot.org. "It is important for every track in harness racing around the globe to see what they did at Mohawk Raceway Saturday," Stathis added. "If we all can work together on projects like this night and what the WCRF is doing, our sport can come back from being in a declining recession and rebound to where it was 50 years ago as one of the leading sports world-wide." From the World Chariot Racing Federation

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Platoon Seelster made harness racing history on Wednesday evening at The Raceway in London when he equaled the fastest trotting mile in the track’s history. The four-year-old gelded son of Federal Flex took full advantage of post one in the $11,000 Preferred 2 Trot and jetted straight to command through a snappy :27.2 opening quarter. Driver Ryan Holliday was able to rate his speed to the tune of :30 seconds in the second quarter and hit the half in :58 seconds. Platoon Seelster faced first-over pressure in the third quarter but easily rebuffed the challenge through  three-quarters in 1:26.4. He then kicked home in :29.1 to stop the clock in 1:56, equaling the previous best clocking of 1:56 which was established by Brawn Seelster back in 2008. It was the sixth lifetime win for the former star of the Ontario Sires Stakes program who increased his career bankroll to more than $275,000 for owners Caroline Holliday of Mount Forest and Dennis Hannah of Harriston, Ontario. Greg Blanchard  
Harness racing driver Mark MacDonald calls his time in London, ON racing at The Raceway at The Western Fair District "maybe the best time of my life." MacDonald, who is now based in New York and is one of the top drivers at Yonkers Raceway, will return to Western Fair Friday to drive Sunfire Blue Chip in the $150,000 Molson Pace invitational for trainer Jimmy Takter. "London was the first place I bought a house. It was a condo, but it was like a house. I lived in apartments before that. I actually lived 10 minutes from Western Fair," said the 37-year-old Prince Edward Island native, who first made his name racing in Ontario from 1999 through 2011. "I had some stoplights then, not bridge traffic. It is definitely a different atmosphere (in New York) as opposed to up there, but Western Fair was great. I had a lot of fun there. I won a lot of races. It was the first time I got to race in all the (Ontario) Sires Stakes and was kind of the go-to guy." What hasn't been as much fun has been the Molson Pace. MacDonald has raced in it nine times and never won. "It's been my Achilles Heel. That race just keeps getting me. I almost won it a few times. Dr No, I thought I was home with him and Our Lucky Killean got me right at the wire (in 2006). I think I still have the track record at London with Tigerama (1:50.4 in 2008). He buzzed around there in the elimination and then drew the seven hole and got stung past the quarter. He was kind of a speed horse. The seven hole and a speed horse don't really mix there in London, unless the inside wing falls off or something. Anyway, he got stung and ended up fifth." MacDonald last raced in the Molson Pace in 2014 and was eighth with Bandolito. "Bandolito, I got a horrendous trip with him. I was out early and he didn't fire. He wasn't right then, either. He didn't race for about five or six months after that race," MacDonald said. "I've had some good horses in that race, but I've raced some horses that turned up sick and I've raced some horses that just got beat. I just never get to the wire first." MacDonald, a winner of nearly 5,700 career races and more than $84 million is a two-time O'Brien Award winner as Canada's Driver of the Year. He set a record for driving wins on Canadian soil with 739 in 2006 - since surpassed by Jody Jamieson. MacDonald will be driving against his younger brother, James MacDonald, in this year's Molson Pace. James will pilot P H Supercam from post seven. "James is a good little driver. He's doing a great job. I talk to him all the time and always try to help him as much as I can. But I won't be helping him out on Friday," Mark said, laughing. "Don't eat yellow snow. That's my tip for him." Mark said he likes his chances with Sunfire Blue Chip, especially drawing the inside post three. "He's a really good horse... A good half-mile horse," Mark said of the six-year-old stallion, a son of American Ideal out of Shot Togo Blue Chip who has earned just over $1 million. "He won the Prix d'Ete as a four-year-old at Three Rivers. He's a really fast horse, good gaited. He doesn't wear a boot. He's a typical Takter horse. He's really well-mannered, a nice horse to drive. Everything about him is nice. He just won in 1:51 a couple of weeks ago in Yonkers on kind of a tiring track. It was a good mile that night." Sunfire Blue Chip has a record of 4-3-2 this year in 16 starts and earnings of just over $80,000. "He was sharp in the Levy (Series at Yonkers). He raced in every leg in the Levy and he just had horrible luck with the draw. He was, literally, outside every week... We couldn't get a break with that horse. They actually took him out of the Levy one week and I took him to the front and he won in like :53.3... The Levy wasn't meant to be for him this year, but he always raced well. He showed up every week." Now Mark MacDonald hope Sunfire Blue Chip shows up with his best game on Friday so he can finally claim the Molson Pace in his 10th attempt. Post positions for the Molson Pace field are as follows: 1. State Treasurer - Chris Christoforou 2. Bettor Rock On N - Jody Jamieson 3. Sunfire Blue Chip - Mark MacDonald 4. Evenin Of Pleasure - Sylvain Filion 5. Machtu N - Trevor Henry 6. Mcwicked - Randy Waples 7. P H Supercam - James MacDonald 8. All Bets Off - Matt Kakaley The Molson Pace program will also feature the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers, a quartet of City of London Series finals, a pair of Alliance Claiming Series finals and an added-purse Junior Invitational Pace as part of the undercard. Total purses for the night will be more than $550,000. There will be a number of promotions on the night, including Scratch and Win program prizes, OSS 'Be A Winner Contest,' Party on the Patio, a Molson VIP infield event and much more. The wagering menu has been bolstered to 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. For more information, visit molsonpace.com. Greg Blanchard
The door is wide open in the Thursday night harness racing feature at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. First race post time is 6:30 PM for the 11-dash program with a tight knit field of eight battling it out in the finale. Idealic Life will look for redemption from post 5 in the $2,100 event with Corey MacPherson in the bike for trainer Trevor Hicken and owners Perry, Luke and Robin Burke and Kent Livingston. The 12-year-old son of Western Ideal was back at the start in last Thursday's top event and rallied for fifth. McJestic shows fine form and a decent post with Walter Cheverie in the bike leaving from the two spot while Eagle Jolt searches for a repeat of his preferred pace victory earlier in the season with trainer-driver Marc Campbell. Race analyst Les MacIsaac gives the nod to Idealic Life to put things back together this week. "He was right there last week but the poor beginning left him with simply too much work to do," MacIsaac said of Idealic Life. "If Corey can get him spotted a little closer to the front tonight, then the road to the winners circle goes through this guy." Other entries in the evenly matched field include Zambuca Gass (Gilles Barrieau), Ok Galahad (Jason Hughes), American Captain (Kenny Arsenault), I D K (Vincent Poulton) and My Lucky Killean (Ken Murphy). The top trotters on the East Coast line up in race 6 on the card and last year's Atlantic Sires Stakes champion will have her first crack against aged company for a $1,950 purse. Paymenowpaymelater has Barrieau in the bike from post 1 in the Open Trot for trainer Earl Watts and owner Wade Peconi of Stanchel. Her competition is stiff as she competes with Frill Seeker (Arsenault) from post 4 riding a two race win streak and newcomer to Charlottetown Freddie (Campbell) with post 5 fresh off a second place finish in his East Coast debut. Other entries include Tyne Valley (Cheverie), Wedgewood (Gary Chappell) and Holy Molie Maggie (MacPherson). The back-up trot is in race 4 with Caliban Hanover dropping out of the Open Trot and favoured to win from post 5 for trainer-driver Ronnie Gass and owner Wendell MacDonald of Cornwall. Other top entries in the $1,550 class include Howmacs Pride (Arsenault) and Thunderaway (Hughes). For race programs, top picks and live broadcast go to www.redshores.ca By Nicholas Oakes for Red Shores    
Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park and Red Shores Summerside are gearing up for a busy season with exciting harness racing series, signature events and the fifth annual Drive for Charity, presented by Red Shores. The Drive for Charity event features 10 of Prince Edward Island's top harness drivers, based on 2015 statistics from Charlottetown and Summerside racetracks. The drivers will partner with Island businesses to raise money for local charities. Each win will earn $25 toward their charity. Here are the participating businesses, drivers and their charities. • MacQuarrie’s Meats – Mark Bradley – Upper Room Food Bank • Hansen Electric – Gilles Barrieau – Canadian Mental Health • Ocean 100 – Walter Cheverie – Olivia Ruth MacLeod Memorial Award • Syntrak Print & Graphics – Kenny Arsenault – Chances  • KKP – Jason Hughes – Easter Seals • Daniel R. Ross – Gary Chappell – Camp Gencheff • Metro Home Building Centre – Ken Murphy – Special Olympics PEI • Red Shores – Corey MacPherson – PEI Sports Hall of Fame  • MacRae Backhoe and Trucking – Marc Campbell – IWK • Meridian Farms – Brian MacPhee – KidSport The promotion begins on Thursday June 2nd, 2016 and wraps up on October 31, 2016. The official draw was held Tuesday during a reception in the Top of the Park. Lee Drake
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