Day At The Track
Truro Raceway, harness racing

Staff laid off in sudden announcement

BIBLE HILL, N.S. – Separating the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition (NSPE) from the Truro Raceway is a necessary move to pull both operations out of their long-standing financial spiral, Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell says. “There has been not really solid financial management over a long period of time,” Colwell told the Truro Daily News on Friday, with respect to the raceway and NSPE. “So, we’ve made a clear separation with the two now.” Seventeen staff members at both the raceway and the NSPE Commission were informed at a special meeting Friday morning that their jobs had been terminated. The employees were provided with severance pay, told to collect their personal belongings, to turn in their keys and to leave the premises. “I think it is sort of a hard day for some people but in the long run this is going to be a regeneration and a rejuvenation of the whole race track and, more importantly, the exhibition, to make sure this is a longstanding real asset for agriculture in the province and the communities in Truro and surrounding area,” Colwell said. The advisory board that Colwell had put in place in recent years has also been relieved of responsibilities. NSPE general manager Joe Nicholson has been replaced by Darrelyn Hubley, a business manager with more than 30 years experience in event management and promotion, who has been hired to oversee the transition period. She is responsible solely for the NSPE operations and will report directly to Colwell’s office. Everything to do with Truro Raceway will be managed by the Truro Harness Horse Owners Association, which is renting the track, stables and related facilities from the NSPE for $200 per month. Although Colwell credited the advisory board members with doing “a great job,” he said they were faced with an “impossible task” of trying to turn things around, given the dire financial position the facility is in combined with the current state of the harness racing industry. “We really need a fresh start there,” he said. “Somebody from outside the area to give a fresh approach that’s got a lot of experience in running these kinds of operations, exhibitions and those sorts of things.” The NSPE Commission has been sitting on a debt of $1 million for the past recent years, of which approximately $500,000 is owed to the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board. “I don’t know what we are going to do long term with that but at the present time, it will just stay there as an outstanding balance owed to the farm loan board,” Colwell said. “So, all those issues have to be addressed over time. We need time to do that and the first step is today. It was costing us about $20,000 a week when you look at the overhead for the wages and everything, and the exhibition was broke.” While the horse owners’ association will be responsible for raceway expenses, Colwell said his department will be funding the NSPE operations for the foreseeable future. “We want the harness racing to prosper in the province over time and it’s been faltering for a number of years, because of a lack of interest in the sport,” he said. “And they’ve got some pretty good ideas how they can move it forward and I’m confident they’ll be able to do that.” Now that the province is going to be picking up the tab for the NSPE expenses, Colwell said all local suppliers who have extended credit to the facility “will be paid.” The minister said he’s now looking forward to being able to meet with local municipal officials to set out a plan for the NSPE’s long-term future. “Now we can move ahead,” he said. “We couldn’t do very much until we got all this stuff straightened out.” Reprinted with permission of the Truro Daily News

London Selected Yearling Sale

London Selected Yearling Sale

Forest City Standardbred Sales and Standardbred Canada are proud to announce the dates for the 2nd Annual London Selected Yearling Sale are Saturday Oct. 13 and Sunday Oct. 14 beginning at noon each day. The 2017 sale enjoyed increases in average and gross. Harness Racing Update’s Dave Briggs said the “London Sale was beyond expectations”. 306 yearlings grossed $7,536,000 total for an average of $24,627. Combining the results of 2016 two sales shows 276 yearlings were sold for a total gross of $6,452,200. The 2016 average was $23,378. By that measure, this means the 2017 gross was up 16.8 per cent and the average was up 5.3 per cent compared to 2016. Popular sires such as Kadabra (5) averaged $46,400, Bettors Delight (11) $41,818, Sunshine Beach (34) $36,544, Mach Three (17) $34,059, Royalty For Life (21) $31,690, Sportswriter (36) $31,139, and Shadow Play (29) $24,931.  With the tremendous success of last year’s collaboration, the companies have decided to add an extra day on Monday October 15 to host a mixed sale; the London Mixed Horse Sale. The Yearling Preview days will be Thursday Oct. 11 and Friday Oct. 12 at the Metroland Media Agriplex at the Western Fair District in London, Ontario beginning at 9:00 am each day. Entries are now being accepted for both the London Selected Yearling Sale and the London Mixed Horse Sale – Applications can be downloaded from www.londonselectedyearlingsale.com . For more information or any questions please call Ann Straatman, sale manager or Kim Gilmour, administrative assistant at 519-319- 0650 or email: londonselected@quadro.net .  

Kawartha Downs in Fraserville

Kawartha cancels press conference

A press conference outlining plans for the future of Kawartha Downs was cancelled at the last minute on Thursday morning. Officials with the harness racing track in Fraserville said a “major development” within the last 24 hours is unfolding but wouldn’t elaborate, only saying it would mean good news. Cavan Monaghan Township Mayor Scott McFadden also would not comment. The cancellation caught some area harness racers by surprise as they were eager to learn about the viability of the facility which opened in July 1972 along on Highway 28, about 18 kilometres south of Peterborough. Last fall, the Ontario Racing Association rejected an application for funding to double the length of the racing season at Kawartha Downs. Track officials argue they will be losing significant revenue once the Shoreline Slots relocates to the new casino in Peterborough which is expected to open later this year. They fear without additional races, the track’s future could be jeopardized.   By Greg Davis and Mark Giunta   Reprinted with permission of Global News  

The Raceway at Western Fair District, Harness Racing

Raceway moves Qualifying session

London, February 22, 2018 - The Raceway at Western Fair District wishes to advise harness racing people that Friday morning's qualifying session has been postponed and will instead be held next Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. The switch has been made to allow the track crew to perform maintenance on the racing surface ahead of Friday night's live race program which is scheduled for 6:55 p.m. The track will also be closed for training on Friday morning.            

London, February 21, 2018 -- Two days of steady rains and warm temperatures have forced The Raceway at Western Fair District to cancel its Wednesday night harness racing card of racing due to unfavourable track conditions. Live racing is scheduled to resume on Friday evening with a first race post time of 6:55 p.m.  

TORONTO, February 19, 2018 - Mild temperatures and steady rain caused Monday evening's card of harness racing at Woodbine Racetrack to be cancelled following the fifth-race due to deteriorating track conditions. The unseasonably warm temperatures and rain in the Toronto area Monday caused havoc on the racing surface all evening. The first-half of the 10-race card was contested, but following the fifth-race and a delay for track maintenance, the decision was made to scrap the balance of Monday's card for safety reasons. Live racing is scheduled to resume Thursday evening at Woodbine. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Mark McKelvie

February 19, 2018 - The Raceway at Western Fair District was forced to cancel its Monday night harness racing program after six races due to deteriorating track conditions caused by steady rains and warming temperatures throughout the evening. The track has canceled its Tuesday night program as temperatures are forecasted to climb overnight along with heavy rainfall. The weather prognosis looks slightly better for Wednesday evening's card and management will update the status of that program on Wednesday morning.  

TORONTO, February 17, 2018 - Harness racing driver Jody Jamieson may want to trademark the name "Mr. Saturday Night" after having another big evening at Woodbine Racetrack. Jamieson has been racking up the victories over the past few Saturdays, but that reached a new level this week when he drove five-winners on Saturday's 10-race card. The Moffat, Ontario resident's most notable victory Saturday came with eight-year-old pacer The Rev in the $34,000 Preferred Pace. It was the third straight win for the Gregg McNair trainee, who was moving up to the top level this week. The Rev ($7.40) and Jamieson went coast to coast and won by nearly two lengths in 1:51. Jamieson's first of five wins came in the evening's third-race with five-year-old pacer Xternal ($14.40) for trainer Rene Bourassa. The next two victories for Jamieson would both come for trainer Carmen Auciello. Five-year-old pacer Major Hill ($10.10) scored by a neck in the fifth-race, while seven-year-old pacing mare Exhilarated ($17.30) finished in a Dead-Heat for win just a race later. Jamieson reached "Grand Slam" status in the eighth-race with five-year-old pacer Big Yellow ($6.60) for trainer Ben Wallace. The Rev's score in the ninth-race completed the five win night for Jamieson. Jamieson has now won 12 races over the last three Saturdays. He posted a four-win evening on February 3 and followed that up with three-win performance on February 10. Saturday's five-win night gives Jamieson 25 victories this season at Woodbine, which is tied for third in the Driver Standings. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Mark McKelvie

London, February 17, 2018 -- Goldstar Badlands took home overall Horse Of The Year honours as well as Older Pacing Horse honours Saturday night during the The Raceway at Western Fair District's Annual Awards Night which honoured the top performers of 2017. The son of Badlands Hanover was an 11-time winner during the season while capturing several Preferred events over the London oval and banking almost $60,000 along the way. It was the second consecutive Horse Of The Year trophy for trainer and co-owner Heather Toll who captured last year's title with pacing mare Nadia Can Go. Bob McClure took home his first trophy as Driver Of The Year at The Raceway while Vic Puddy garnered his second consecutive trainer's title. The popular Caretaker Of The Year award went to London resident Marta Dicicco. The Raceway's Special Recognition award went to O'Brien Award finalist The Joy Luck Club who enjoyed a stellar season in the Ontario Sires Program. The Dave Wall Achievement award was given to veteran horseman Dennis Morrissey while the Ruth Herbert Award for Horsewoman Of The Year went to Penny Francis. A large crowd of about 340 packed the Carousel Room of the Western Fair District on Saturday night. The evening also included a tribute to the late, great Somebeachsomewhere. Photos of the entire evening will be posted on The Raceway's Facebook page in the coming days. Here is the complete list of this year’s Raceway award winners: Older Pacing Horse • Goldstar Badlands Older Pacing Mare • Solid Queen Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt • Mach One Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly • Casino Classic Older Trotting Horse • Liam Needsome Older Trotting Mare • Jagersro Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt • Pingaling Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly • Ionia Claiming Pacer • Remus Blue Chip Claiming Trotter  • Riddle Me Miss Driver • Bob McClure Trainer • Vic Puddy Owner  • Jeff Williamson Dave Wall Outstanding Service Award Dennis Morrissey Caretaker Marta Dicicco Horse Of The Year Goldstar Badlands Ruth Herbert Horse Woman Of The Year Penny Francis RUS Outstanding Service Award John Braid Greg Blanchard

Friday night’s action at The Raceway at Western Fair District saw the Ontario harness racing debut of barn fire survivor Bad Bad Diva. Now owned by Lou Sorella and Katie Miller, the four-year-old ‘pint-sized’ daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven is one of two survivors from a tragic barn fire that left five horses dead last August. Trainer Brittany Bounds, of Seaford, Delaware, lost five horses (My Little Tater Tot, Gangster Granny, In Front Charlie, Ezekiel Kandu and Standtuecemewin) to the blaze, but Mi Six and Bad Bad Diva were able to escape. “Being a survivor – she’s just meant to be with us,” mentions Sorella. “My wife Maria is a breast cancer survivor and this little mare is a great fit for our ‘Team’.” Lou Sorella, aka #LouKnows – a guest handicapping regular at The Raceway, is the director of Team To The Moon – a campaign in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. The ‘Team’ consists of horses, trainers and drivers coming together in support of this most worthy cause through harness racing. Team members donate one percent of their earnings with all proceeds going towards Breast Cancer Awareness.     Bad Bad Diva, leaving from the trailing spot over The Raceway’s half-mile oval, got away in fourth position early – before making the first up move prior to the half. Driver J Harris would ask the mare for more with a quarter of a mile left to go and she would respond in a big way. “J said she was huge,” says Sorella. “When he kicked the ear-plugs out - she was gone!” And gone she was… A going-away winner under wraps - by four open lengths at the finish line - in 2:07 at the added distance of 1-1/16M. “That was a big trip,” stated Sorella. “She was out well before the half mile and what a show of speed when my driver asked for it… Away from the races for well over a month – that was some return – we’re so happy to have her!” Conditioned by young ‘up-and-coming’ trainer Kyle Fellows, Bad Bad Diva had the betting public behind her as she returned $4.20 on a win ticket, but she would still top a massive Super Hi 5 payout worth $5741.47 on a $.20 cent ticket. Racing resumes at The Raceway Monday at 6:15 ET.   By Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle Track Announcer at The Raceway

Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce the host tracks and dates for the 2018  Regional Driving Championships and National Driving Championship which will ultimately determine Canada’s representative to the harness racing 2019 World Driving Championship. The 2018 National Driving Championship will take place at Grand River Raceway, in Elora, Ont., on Wednesday, September 26. "Grand River Raceway is truly thrilled to host‎, for the first time, the National Driving Championship," said the track's Marketing Manager, Kelly Spencer. "We're keen to showcase our beautiful community and facility on the national stage and welcome the country's finest reinsmen in what is sure to be a first-class event. We're riding the momentum of James MacDonald's WDC win in 2017 which will only elevate the already prestigious spirit of the event. Oh Canada!" Grand River Raceway has hosted the Ontario Regional Driving Championship several times, including the most recent event in 2016. Drivers must earn their way into the National Driving Championship by finishing first or second in their respective Regional Driving Championship. In addition to a first time host for the National event, there are also two first time hosts for the Regionals – Kawartha Downs in Fraserville, Ont., will host the Eastern Ontario / Quebec Regional Driving Championship and Truro Raceway in Truro, NS, will host the Atlantic Regional event.   Century Downs near Calgary, Alta., will host the Western Regional and The Raceway at Western Fair District in London, Ont., will be the site of the Ontario Regional. “Standardbred Canada is looking forwarding to partnering with our host tracks to present four exciting and competitive Regional Driving Championships which will lead into the National Driving Championship.  We are very pleased to see the interest that tracks across the country have in hosting these events, including our two first time track partners this year for Regional events, Kawartha Downs and Truro Raceway,” said Dan Gall, President & CEO of Standardbred Canada.  “We are also looking forward to working with the team at Grand River Raceway to deliver an exceptional National Driving Championship experience for both the drivers and the fans.” Here are the locations and dates for the four regional events: Western Regional -- Century Downs; Saturday, June 23 (Includes drivers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba)   This will mark the second time that Century Downs will host the Western Regional.  They were the host track for the 2016 event. Ontario Regional – The Raceway at Western Fair District, Wednesday, May 16 (Includes drivers from Ontario) The Raceway hosted the 2016 National Driving Championship and the 2014 Ontario Regional Driving Championship. Quebec / Eastern Ontario Regional – Kawartha Downs, Saturday, June 30 (Includes drivers that compete regularly at Kawartha Downs and Rideau Carleton Raceway in addition to Hippodrome 3R) Atlantic Regional – Truro Raceway, Friday, June 29 Includes drivers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) Regional events will feature either eight or nine drivers who will compete in a minimum of eight races. Drivers will receive points based on their finishing position and the top two point earners will advance to the National. Past winners of the NDC title include Brandon Campbell (2016), Jody Jamieson (2014 & 2011), Brad Forward (2009), and Gilles Barrieau (2007). The winner of the 2018 National Driving Championship will have the opportunity to represent Canada in the World Driving Championship, and join 2017 World Driving Champion, James MacDonald, in the 2019 World Driving Championship in Sweden. SC hosted the 2017 World Driving Championship (WDC) in August and MacDonald’s victory earned him an automatic invitation to the 2019 event in which he will become the representative for the International Trotting Association. Canada was invited to send a second driver to the 2019 event and Standardbred Canada accepted the invitation.

A new agreement will result in a multi-million dollar expansion of the facilities at the Hanover Raceway, including the use of a partially finished vacant area previously known as the banquet hall. “We are very proud and very happy to be in Hanover,” said Rob Mitchell, spokesperson for Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited, which operates the casino at the raceway. “We were able to work very quickly with the municipality in Hanover. The mayor (Sue Paterson) was wonderful and the chief administrative officer Brian Tocheri was terrific, and of course the folks at the Hanover, Bentinck and Brant Agricultural Society were great folks to work with.” Gateway announced Wednesday the approval by OLG of a lease agreement with the agricultural society that will include new dining experiences and allow for an expanded gaming floor. “I think it is going to be a very positive impact for the community in Hanover and the surrounding region because we are going to be building what amounts to a brand spanking new entertainment complex,” Mitchell said.  Gateway is hopeful to start construction in the spring or summer with completion in the first half of 2019. Mitchell said the company will hold an event at the facility in the future to unveil the plans for the Hanover site, including the investment in terms of the money being spent to redevelop the facility and the details on the new amenities and gaming entertainment that will be provided. “It is an existing space that was originally intentioned to be a banquet facility,” said Mitchell. “It is quite large and was never completed so we have basically an expanded footprint that we need to develop.” The raceway put the brakes on the $30,000-square-foot banquet hall project back in 2011 after there was a threat of reduced government funding and questions surrounding harness racing's future in Ontario. The proposed $11-million facility was to be built using the ag society's share of slots revenue, but has sat unfinished ever since. The government eventually reached a new agreement with the raceway, but it was strictly for operations and didn't include any capital work. In late 2016, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced that Gateway had been awarded the contract to operate a number of regional gaming centres, including the 18,720-sq.ft. slots at the Hanover raceway. The company, which started in B.C. in 1992 entered the Ontario market in May. Gateway, which is responsible for operating the facilities, re-branding them and paying staff, was awarded a 20-year licence.  Mitchell said they will need OLG approval to expand the gaming floor, but that is the company's plan. “Hanover and the surrounding Bruce Peninsula is a very good market for us,” said Mitchell. “We have been very successful there.” The expansion will also mean additional staff will be hired to compliment the approximately 100 employees already at the Hanover site. “How many more jobs we add will be determined by the size and scope of the operation,” Mitchell said, adding there will be jobs in food and beverage, at table games, in information technology, in finance, electronic surveillance, security and grounds-keeping and maintenance. “There are opportunities to convergences with craft breweries and theme nights for food and all manner of things,” said Mitchell. “All these things we believe will open up employment opportunities in the community and within the region.” Mayor Paterson said the town is thrilled that Gateway is investing in Hanover. “It is going to have a positive impact, not just for Hanover, but for the region, through the investment and jobs and support of the horse racing industry,” Paterson said. “It has been close to seven years that (the banquet hall building) has been vacant so it is eagerly anticipated to see someone expanding into that building. We are looking at it as an entertainment destination for Hanover.” By Rob Gowan, Sun Times, Owen Sound Reprinted with permission of The Owen Sound Sun Times

Harnesslink's columnist, Sydney Weaver, of Acton, Ontario, has been selected as the 2018 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador.  Weaver says, “Representing kids with physical disabilities is an honour.” It’s in part because of this attitude that Weaver has been selected as a 2018 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador. Along with her male counterpart, Alex Krenta from Ottawa, Weaver looks forward to representing all children and youth who live with a physical disability in Ontario. Weaver, a chatty 17-year-old from Acton, Ontario, is thrilled to have been chosen as a 2018 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador, and her mom and dad, Lisa and Don, along with her older brother, Scott, couldn’t be more proud. Born with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy that sometimes causes muscle spasms, Sydney uses a wheelchair for mobility and requires help picking up items and getting dressed. With assistance from Easter Seals, her family was able to modify her van to be more accessible, making it easier for her to get around her community. Sydney is an accomplished young woman with many interests and hobbies. In 2015, she was a torch bearer at the Parapan Am Games. In addition, she has an orange belt in jiu jitsu and a junior lifeguard badge in swimming. Currently in Grade 12, Sydney’s favourite subjects are History and English. She also enjoys writing, listening to music and singing, though she freely admits that “I can’t sing!” In addition, Sydney loves harness racing, and writes for an online industry publication, and is developing a love of Thoroughbred racing, as well. In 2012, she won the Marie Hill Youth Writing Contest for HoofBeats, an American harness racing magazine. In considering her future path, Sydney hopes to pursue a career in journalism and communications. “I enjoy writing because it gives me a chance to express myself through words and I think that’s an incredible power, and it can bring people together.” When discussing her disability, Sydney says, “My life is so typical of any teenager, the only difference is that when planning activities I have to take my physical disability into account, and make adjustments. Other than that, I can do anything any other kid is capable of.” An Easter Seals camp veteran, Sydney has been to Camp Woodeden for six summers, where she’s been able to try new activities, meet old and new friends, and be independent. She says, “Easter Seals has meant so much to me over the course of my young life. I can go to camp and meet other kids like me, do any activity, and I can get the equipment I need to be more independent.” On becoming an Easter Seals Provincial Ambassador, Sydney says, “Because Easter Seals has been life changing for me, I want to be able to help kids have the same experiences I’ve had, the ones that Easter Seals has allowed me to have. I’m looking forward to letting people know that kids with physical disabilities are just like other kids. Sometimes we just have to alter how we do things to accomplish our tasks.” For the past 95 years, Easter Seals has played an important role in providing support for children and youth with physical disabilities from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Thanks to its generous donors, Easter Seals continues to offer programs to allow kids to experience freedom, independence and a sense of accomplishment. Easter Seals helps by providing financial assistance for mobility equipment and communication devices, as well as fully accessible summer camp opportunities at its two properties, Camp Merrywood and Camp Woodeden. Easter Seals helps kids BE KIDS. For more information or to donate, visit easterseals.org. From Easter Seals Ontario

The Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association online stallion auction is now underway, with bidding closing on February 14, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. Interested parties can access the auction from the SBOA website, or check it out at sboaonlinestallionauction.com/stallion-auction. Sixteen of Ontario’s top stallions have been donated to the auction. These stallions are: Artspeak, Archangel, Angus Hall, Betterthancheddar, Big Jim, Control The Moment, Daylon Magician, Holiday Road, Justice Hall, Prestidigitator, Royalty For Life, Sportswriter, State Treasurer, Sunshine Beach, Thinking Out Loud, and Wheeling N Dealin. At the conclusion of the auction, the successful bidder, is responsible for filling out a breeding contract and making a $250.00 deposit to the SBOA. The final bid price on the service fee plus HST, minus the $250.00 deposit, is due in 2019 when the successful bidder’s mare has a foal. The SBOA would like to thank all those that donated service fees and also thank the bidders for their support. (with files from SBOA)

MILTON, February 13, 2018 - Woodbine Entertainment would like to remind all harness racing owners and trainers that time is quickly running out to submit nominations for this year's stakes. Nominations for all Woodbine major stakes in 2018 are due this Thursday (February 15). The 2018 Woodbine Stakes program features purses exceeding $10 million and is headlined by the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup (three-year-old pacers) on Saturday, June 16. Other notable dates include the $615,000 Canadian Pacing Derby and $600,000 Maple Leaf Trot on September 1, $685,000 Canadian Trotting Classic on September 15 and $815,000 Metro Pace on September 23. The entire 2018 stakes schedule is available by clicking here. Conditions and guidelines for all Woodbine stakes can be found in the 2018 Stakes Booklet. Nominations can be paid online by clicking here. A sustaining payment is also due Thursday for the 2018 Simcoe Stakes and SBOA Stakes (foals of 2015). A reminder regarding these sustaining payments can be viewed by clicking here. Woodbine continues to handle stakes administration duties for Ontario Racetracks. Nominations close Thursday for the Confederation Cup (Flamboro Downs), Battle of Waterloo/Belles (Grand River Raceway), Balanced Image/Dream Of Glory (Hanover Raceway) and Kin Pace (Clinton Raceway). Nominations to all of these events are made payable to Woodbine Entertainment. If sending nominations or sustaining payments by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than February 15, 2018 or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended. Mark McKelvie        

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BIBLE HILL, N.S. – Separating the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition (NSPE) from the Truro Raceway is a necessary move to pull both operations out of their long-standing financial spiral, Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell says. “There has been not really solid financial management over a long period of time,” Colwell told the Truro Daily News on Friday, with respect to the raceway and NSPE. “So, we’ve made a clear separation with the two now.” Seventeen staff members at both the raceway and the NSPE Commission were informed at a special meeting Friday morning that their jobs had been terminated. The employees were provided with severance pay, told to collect their personal belongings, to turn in their keys and to leave the premises. “I think it is sort of a hard day for some people but in the long run this is going to be a regeneration and a rejuvenation of the whole race track and, more importantly, the exhibition, to make sure this is a longstanding real asset for agriculture in the province and the communities in Truro and surrounding area,” Colwell said. The advisory board that Colwell had put in place in recent years has also been relieved of responsibilities. NSPE general manager Joe Nicholson has been replaced by Darrelyn Hubley, a business manager with more than 30 years experience in event management and promotion, who has been hired to oversee the transition period. She is responsible solely for the NSPE operations and will report directly to Colwell’s office. Everything to do with Truro Raceway will be managed by the Truro Harness Horse Owners Association, which is renting the track, stables and related facilities from the NSPE for $200 per month. Although Colwell credited the advisory board members with doing “a great job,” he said they were faced with an “impossible task” of trying to turn things around, given the dire financial position the facility is in combined with the current state of the harness racing industry. “We really need a fresh start there,” he said. “Somebody from outside the area to give a fresh approach that’s got a lot of experience in running these kinds of operations, exhibitions and those sorts of things.” The NSPE Commission has been sitting on a debt of $1 million for the past recent years, of which approximately $500,000 is owed to the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board. “I don’t know what we are going to do long term with that but at the present time, it will just stay there as an outstanding balance owed to the farm loan board,” Colwell said. “So, all those issues have to be addressed over time. We need time to do that and the first step is today. It was costing us about $20,000 a week when you look at the overhead for the wages and everything, and the exhibition was broke.” While the horse owners’ association will be responsible for raceway expenses, Colwell said his department will be funding the NSPE operations for the foreseeable future. “We want the harness racing to prosper in the province over time and it’s been faltering for a number of years, because of a lack of interest in the sport,” he said. “And they’ve got some pretty good ideas how they can move it forward and I’m confident they’ll be able to do that.” Now that the province is going to be picking up the tab for the NSPE expenses, Colwell said all local suppliers who have extended credit to the facility “will be paid.” The minister said he’s now looking forward to being able to meet with local municipal officials to set out a plan for the NSPE’s long-term future. “Now we can move ahead,” he said. “We couldn’t do very much until we got all this stuff straightened out.” Reprinted with permission of the Truro Daily News
Forest City Standardbred Sales and Standardbred Canada are proud to announce the dates for the 2nd Annual London Selected Yearling Sale are Saturday Oct. 13 and Sunday Oct. 14 beginning at noon each day. The 2017 sale enjoyed increases in average and gross. Harness Racing Update’s Dave Briggs said the “London Sale was beyond expectations”. 306 yearlings grossed $7,536,000 total for an average of $24,627. Combining the results of 2016 two sales shows 276 yearlings were sold for a total gross of $6,452,200. The 2016 average was $23,378. By that measure, this means the 2017 gross was up 16.8 per cent and the average was up 5.3 per cent compared to 2016. Popular sires such as Kadabra (5) averaged $46,400, Bettors Delight (11) $41,818, Sunshine Beach (34) $36,544, Mach Three (17) $34,059, Royalty For Life (21) $31,690, Sportswriter (36) $31,139, and Shadow Play (29) $24,931.  With the tremendous success of last year’s collaboration, the companies have decided to add an extra day on Monday October 15 to host a mixed sale; the London Mixed Horse Sale. The Yearling Preview days will be Thursday Oct. 11 and Friday Oct. 12 at the Metroland Media Agriplex at the Western Fair District in London, Ontario beginning at 9:00 am each day. Entries are now being accepted for both the London Selected Yearling Sale and the London Mixed Horse Sale – Applications can be downloaded from www.londonselectedyearlingsale.com . For more information or any questions please call Ann Straatman, sale manager or Kim Gilmour, administrative assistant at 519-319- 0650 or email: londonselected@quadro.net .  
A press conference outlining plans for the future of Kawartha Downs was cancelled at the last minute on Thursday morning. Officials with the harness racing track in Fraserville said a “major development” within the last 24 hours is unfolding but wouldn’t elaborate, only saying it would mean good news. Cavan Monaghan Township Mayor Scott McFadden also would not comment. The cancellation caught some area harness racers by surprise as they were eager to learn about the viability of the facility which opened in July 1972 along on Highway 28, about 18 kilometres south of Peterborough. Last fall, the Ontario Racing Association rejected an application for funding to double the length of the racing season at Kawartha Downs. Track officials argue they will be losing significant revenue once the Shoreline Slots relocates to the new casino in Peterborough which is expected to open later this year. They fear without additional races, the track’s future could be jeopardized.   By Greg Davis and Mark Giunta   Reprinted with permission of Global News  
London, February 22, 2018 - The Raceway at Western Fair District wishes to advise harness racing people that Friday morning's qualifying session has been postponed and will instead be held next Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. The switch has been made to allow the track crew to perform maintenance on the racing surface ahead of Friday night's live race program which is scheduled for 6:55 p.m. The track will also be closed for training on Friday morning.            
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