Dave Ratchford

Driver, trainer cruises into "Sport Hall of Fame"

NORTH SYDNEY — Dave Ratchford owned his first horse at the age of 16. The 71-year-old hasn’t stopped since. Ratchford purchased Mighty Eddie and followed in the footsteps of his father, Lorne, and others in his family who had a love of the sport. What followed was a harness racing career that included over 1,600 wins to his credit. “I was pretty well always at the track when I was kid. I started jogging horses when I was 13 or 14,” said the North Sydney resident. “When I was in school, I purchased my first horse in 1960 and it went from there.” Ratchford is one of five athletes along with a team being inducted into the Cape Breton Sport Hall of Fame on June 6 at Centre 200. “It is quite an honour, that’s for sure, for my wife, my family and myself.” Early in his career, Ratchford raced Opal Creed in the Gold Cup and Saucer in Charlottetown back in 1970, and won the Governor’s Plate in Summerside that same year. Of his numerous victories, Ratchford said none was bigger than the $37,000 purse he captured in 1990 with Charlotte’s Buddy at the Maritime Breeders Stake in Moncton. He posted the highest earnings of all Maritime horses that year. “I was lucky enough to win there,” he said. “It was one of the more memorable, better drives that I ever drove. I thought it was going to be worse. I was parked the whole mile on the outside, but I took control of the race just by being cool.” Eat Me Up, a horse Ratchford trains, pulled off a couple of big wins in Ontario in 2011. The filly claimed The Battle of the Belles in Grand River, Ont., and the Ontario Sires Two-year-old Championship in Toronto. He also races Ms. Mac N Cheese in Toronto, a three-year-old filly that continues to earn success. Ratchford was also involved in the sport away from the track. The Cape Breton Horseman’s Association hall of famer has served three terms as director of the Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association. As for how long he’ll keep driving, Ratchford is showing no signs of slowing down. He’ll be in the bike with Stonebridge Focus and Silver Dragon on Saturday as Northside Downs opens the 2015 racing season. Post time is 1 p.m. Written by T J Colello Reprinted with permission of  the Cape Breton Post

Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association

New owner program revived

There will be an extra buzz at Ontario harness racing tracks this summer as the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association renews the highly successful New Owner Mentoring Program. For an investment of $4,500 nine people will have the unparalleled opportunity to be mentored by Hall of Fame horseman Bill O’Donnell and trainer Dustin Jones as they select an Ontario-sired yearling from the fall sales and train it through the winter in preparation for the 2016 racing season. “We’ll educate them about the ground-up stuff, the grassroots stuff,” explains O’Donnell. “They might be fans that go to the races, but haven’t seen this side before.” In addition to his years of expertise, O’Donnell will also contribute $4,500 to the partnership, and the SBOA will boost the group’s initial operating fund to $60,000 through a $15,000 forgivable loan. “That will allow the group to buy their yearling — and it has to be an Ontario-sired yearling sold at an Ontario sale — and then the first year is covered for training and staking and whatever,” explains SBOA Vice President Tammy McNiven. Horses from the first 11 new owner groups ranged from Grassroots performers to Gold Final winners, earning from $27,000 to $500,000, but one yearling did not make it to the races and McNiven emphasizes that there are no guarantees. “It’s not something where we say you are going to get your money back,” she notes. “It’s a learning experience.” Several graduates of the New Owner Mentoring Program have put their education to work purchasing additional racehorses or breeding stock, including Adriano Sorella. A part of the 2008 Ten Most Wanted Stable — whose M G Home Run earned $142,183 under the tutelage of trainer Casie Coleman and mentor Rick Kostoff — Sorella went on to co-own 2013 Little Brown Jug winner Vegas Vacation. “We have had some success stories over the years,” says McNiven. “We hope we can get people interested, get some new people involved.” Detailed information and application forms for the 2015 New Owner Mentoring Program are available on the SBOA website www.standardbredbreeders.com, or by contacting McNiven at 519-475-4276 or tbf@xplornet.com. Enhanced breeders reward program for 2015 After a series of productive meetings with the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) and Ontario Horse Racing (OHR), the SBOA was pleased to sign an agreement enhancing the current breeders reward program by approximately $3 million per year from 2015 to 2018. In addition to the current Ontario Bred and Ontario Sired rewards, the enhanced program will reward breeders across four levels of participation. The first tier provides rewards to the owners/lessees of eligible Ontario Resident Mares who invested directly in the Ontario Standardbred breeding industry by breeding to an Ontario Sire in 2014. Approximately $1 million in breeder’s incentives will be paid out on a pro rata basis — as determined by the advertised service fee of the Ontario Sire (recorded with the OSS for the 2014 breeding season) — for all foals registered by December 31, 2015 that are both Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred. The first foals eligible for this incentive are the foals of 2015 produced from matings between Ontario Resident Mares and Ontario Sires. Tier 2 sees an approximate $1 million increase to the Standardbred Improvement Program’s Ontario Bred rewards. The rewards will be paid on a pro-rata basis to the owners/lessees of eligible Ontario Resident Mares with purse-winning offspring, which are both Ontario Bred and Ontario Sired, racing in Ontario Sires Sakes races and selected open stake races in Ontario. These rewards will commence with the 2015 stake season. Also beginning in 2015, the third tier will reward the breeders of the top three Ontario Bred performers in each of the eight divisions of the Ontario Sires Stakes. A $50,000 reward will be split (First - $25,000; Second - $15,000; Third - $10,000) among the owners/lessees of the eligible Ontario Resident Mares that produce the top three money earners in each division. Finally, the fourth tier will see $100,000 paid to the owner/syndicate of the top Ontario Sires Stakes stallions based on progeny earnings in each of the following OSS categories: 2-year-old trotters; 2-year-old pacers; 3-year-old trotters; 3-year-old pacers. The leading stallions from the 2015 OSS season will be the first group eligible for these rewards.  To qualify for the rewards stallions must currently reside in Ontario. To benefit from the enhanced program, breeders need to enroll their broodmares in the Ontario Resident Mare Program in 2015. To qualify as an Ontario Resident Mare, the mare must be enrolled with the Program each year and meet all eligibility requirements outlined in the Program Criteria booklet produced by the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC).  Further information on the Ontario Resident Mare Program is available at www.ontariohorseracing.ca. Additional information about the enhanced breeder’s reward program can be found at www.standardbredbreeders.com. (SBOA/Sandra Snyder)

Morning Star Acres

Life after racing

Many retired Standardbred horses are rehomed and retrained into new disciplines including pleasure saddle horses or Western /English show horses. Others become pasture buddies and family pets. Such is the story of the 11 harness racing mare P.H. Super Model. Foaled in Shubenacadie by owner Dr. Trevin K. Shive, Super Model had 95 lifetime starts recording three victories since her maiden season at Truro Raceway in 2006. At the completion of her harness racing career, the mare was given to a re-homing stable, Morning Star Acres, located north of Moncton. Morning Star Acres is a non-profit, family-oriented farm dedicated to an equine retraining and re-homing program. Bill and Jo-Ann Livingstone of Toney Bay, N.S. were in the market for a carthorse to participate in driving events held in their area. After a visit to the Morning Star Acres website, a few phone calls and a visit to the New Brunswick farm, the Livingston family and PH Supermodel united. The horse has since become known as Tyra. This past Saturday, Tyra made her debut appearance in her new career as a carthorse.   The Wallace River Haflingers & Equestrian Centre hosted a novice driving clinic under the guidance of the Nova Scotia Driving Society. Seven horses, ponies and minis were in attendance, including P H Super Model with Joann and Bill each taking turns at the reins. The Standardbred breed as a whole is eager to please, fearless and extremely intelligent.  In addition most of these animals have had exposure to vehicles, crowds and loud noises, as well as trailering and shoeing, Established in 2007, the Maritime Standardbred Pleasure Horse Association (www.mspha.ca), based out of Truro, Nova Scotia, is actively devoted to the re-homing of Standardbreds as an all-purpose pleasure horse and encourages the new owners to showcase their “graduates” of the program at local exhibitions, parades and clinics. Note: Diane Daniels is the race office supervisor at Truro Raceway. Her ‘Trackside’ column can be found in the Truro Daily News every Saturday. Reprinted with Permission of The Truro Daily News

Nicholas Oakes

Island battling horse shortage

Island harness racing is heating up for the summer season. Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway is holding its first card of 2015 on Sunday at 1 p.m., while Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park held its first Thursday evening program this week in addition to an 11-dash program Saturday at 6 p.m. In an oddity for Island racing, the race office is battling a horse shortage in the entry box for this week’s two cards in Charlottetown. Just 10 races were carded for Thursday's card with 75 horses competing while Saturday’s race program has 11 dashes with 80 entries. The Sunday afternoon opener in Summerside has 10 dashes with 68 horses. Of those 155 horses programed to race in Charlottetown, 12 of them are entered for both Thursday and Saturday race cards to help bolster the programs. No doubt the hard winter has a lot to do with the supply problem, with country farm tracks still covered in snow just a few weeks ago, but a definite contributing factor is the Maritime Province’s Harness Racing Commission rule restricting the number of races a track can card in one program. Under the rule, any Maritime track can only hold 16 dashes a day, including pari-mutuel races and qualifers. So last Saturday in Charlottetown, there were 12 pari-mutuel dashes leaving the track only allowed to card four qualifying races. With eight entries in a qualifier, that left only 32 horses with the capability to qualify themselves to race. Not to mention, those 32 spots were filled by last Monday, five days before the race card and four days before the entry box for qualifers technically closed. The commission put the rule in place after race dates began getting tight in New Brunswick and Horse Racing New Brunswick was making sure every horse in the province that entered got an opportunity to race, resulting in more than 20 races on a card on occasions when stakes horses were in town, particularly in Fredericton. With that strain on qualifying spots last week, there were 24 horses entered to qualify Thursday in Charlottetown, with more Saturday. Some of these horses were ready last week, and they would have been a welcome addition to the entry box. The rule wasn’t made to penalize horses trying to qualify in the spring, so the wording should be reviewed so it stops doing just that. Maritime Scene Northside Downs in North Sydney, N.S., is holding their first race card of the season Saturday afternoon while Inverness Raceway, also in Cape Breton, gets underway on June 14. The New Brunswick racing season has been pushed back to a tentative start date of July 1, while Horse Racing New Brunswick deals with financial woes incurred during the 2014 season. The organization needs to get even on their purse payment debts to horsemen before they will be allowed to open for live racing in 2015. Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reachedat nicholasoakes@hotmail.com. Nick’s Picks Saturday at 6 p.m. at the CDP: Race 1 – Lyndale Jenn Race 2 – Jersey Joe Race 3 – Eat Pray Trot Race 4 – Unstoppable Speed Race 5 – Chief Exec Officer Race 6 – Supersonic Jet Race 7 – Proven Desire Race 8 – Van Zant Race 9 – Fly With Max Race 10 – Carnivore Race 11 – Miracle Matts By Nicholas Oakes Reprinted with permission of The Guardian  

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Island harness racing is getting revved up with three race cards this week, including Saturday at 6 pm at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park and the 2015 season opener at Red Shores Summerside on Sunday afternoon at 1 pm. The 11-dash Saturday evening card is headlined by six-horses in the race 10 $2,200 feature pace. Tempo Seelster is the classifiers choice from post 4 for owner-trainer-driver Vincent Poulton of Charlottetown. The five-year-old son of Santanna Blue Chip was a winner two weeks ago in this class but fell short last week after leaving from post 7. Carnivore has post 6 for driver Walter Cheverie, trainer Marvyn Webster and owner Valleygrove Farms of Kensington fresh off his 1:56.4 victory in last Saturday's feature. Top Maritime free-for-aller All Turain has post 5 for driver Corey MacPherson, trainer Trevor Hicken and owners Lee Hicken of Charlottetown and Perry Burke of Quebec. All Turain's impressive 2014 season of 12 wins, $28,347 in purses and a mark of 1:54 is enough to inspire race analyst Les MacIsaac to select him to land in the winner's circle. "This guy was nothing less than dominant last year in some of his races and against some high caliber opposition to boot," MacIsaac said. "Yes, it's his first start off the bench but he wouldn't be out here if he wasn't ready to go. Beware." Other entries include Cheyenne Ford (Kenny Arsenault), Cabo Pan Lucas (Daniel MacDonald) and My Lucky Killean (Gary Chappell). The top trotters on the east coast line up in race 3 for a $1,500 purse with last week's winner, Pleasure Girls, the morning line favorite from post 5 with MacPherson in the bike for trainer Ron Gass and owner Shelley Gass of Cornwall. Eat Pray Trot has the rail fresh off an impressive qualifier in Charlottetown trotting his own mile in 2:00.3 for driver Brian MacPhee and owner-trainer Ambyr Campbell of Charlottetown. The field also includes I Aint No Lady (Mike Stevenson), Honeymoonisover (Brian Andrew), Frill Seeker (Kenny Arsenault) and Presto Pegasus (Mark Bradley). By Nicholas Oakes Red Shores Summerside Sunday A 10-dash program will hit the track Sunday afternoon as Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway opens up for the 2015 live racing season. A top notch top class will line up in race 9 with Outside The Wire the morning line favorite from post 1 with Summerside's leading dash winning trainer and driver, Jason Hughes, at the lines. The six-year-old son of Grinfromeartoear is trained by Craig Avery for owners Andrew Avery of Freetown and John Brodrick of Alberta. New Brunswick invader American Captain has post 4 in the event for Island native trainer-driver Mike Campbell. Campbell has come to the Summerside Raceway from Fredericton, N.B., for the 2015 season. Other entries are Bowyer Hanover (Walter Cheverie), J Rs Hurricane (Gary Chappell), Darth Bader (Gilles Barrieau), and American Terror (Steven Shepherd). The afternoon back-up class hits the track in race 10 with Motorino favored from post 7 for trainer-driver Terry Gallant, who co-owns with Eric Johnston of Summerside. The four-year-old son of Brian P was purchased by the connections in last January's mixed sale in New Jersey and has been impressive his first few starts on the Island including a 1:58 victory last week in Charlottetown. Other top entries in the eight horse field include Haunto (Barrieau) and D Bs Rosco (Kenny Arsenault). Customers will be greeted to a list of new promotions including the Super High 5, Pik 3 and Pik 4. On-track players will be offered the Pick 5, Wild Horses tags on races 2-10 with jackpots and Set for Summer promo where customers have a chance to qualify to win weekly prizes with the grand prize of $1,000 a week for 10 weeks being drawn on the first day of summer June 21, 2015. For race programs, Jared's Picks or live broadcast go to www.redshores.ca or twitter at leedrake01 or red_shores Lee A. Drake  

ELORA - Sunny skies and smiling faces are in the forecast for this Sunday's Open House at Grand River Raceway. The Elora track will host its seventh annual backstretch Open House on Sunday, May 24. Guests are invited to drop-in any time from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a rare glimpse of harness racing behind-the-scenes. A full tour of the Open House's four main stations will last approximately one hour. The itinerary includes the unique opportunity to drive a racehorse. Standardbred racehorses and double-seated jog carts from the Hands On Horses Program provide the horsepower. Other interactive stations include a tour of the judges' stand and announcer's booth high atop the grandstand with track announcer Gary Guy. Back in the barn, visitors will learn the basics of breeding, owning, training, driving and caring for racehorses in sessions led by industry experts. Dr. Alison Moore's station will explore the high-performance racehorse by comparing it to human athletes. Machinery enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunity to view and learn about the equipment and techniques required to maintain the track surface. The ever-popular starting car will also be on display, and open for photo opps. Riders from Racing Under Saddle (RUS) Ontario will also be on-hand to provide demonstrations of these Trot Monté races - popular in Europe - being showcased at harness tracks throughout the province. No registration is required for the Open House. The event is suitable for all ages, but children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The Open House will run rain or shine. Participants are urged to wear closed-toe shoes and casual, comfortable clothing. Admission is free, but participants are urged to make a $2 donation at the door to support the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. A BBQ lunch and beverages will be available for purchase between 11:30 - 2:00. The Grand River Raceway Open House is presented in cooperation with the Hands On Horse Program and the Ontario Harness Horse Association. More than 1,500 people have attended Grand River Raceway's Open House event in the past six years. For more information, visit http://grandriverraceway.com/open-house/ or call (519) 846-5455 x238 or email info@grandriverraceway.com. Kelly Spencer

Charlottetown, PE - IDK, under the command of harness racing catch-driver Danny MacDonald, won the Thursday night feature at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. MacDonald put the Gary Poulton trainee on the point from post 6 and cruised through fractions of 28.2, 1:00.1, 1:30.2 to stop the timer in 1:58.4. Lyndale Royal (Marc Campbell) was second while First Art Down (Ken Murphy) was third. The 6-4-1 triactor paid $69.10. The son of Stand Forever is owned by Gail MacDonald of Charlottetown. Howmacs Pride won the evening trot division in 2:03.2 for driver Kenny Arsenault and owners Wade Peconi, Stanchel and Howmac Farms Ltd, North Wilshire. The fastest mile of the night came in the Best Western Pace when Whosurwinner turned on the jets to win in deep stretch tripping the timer in 1:57.4. Corey MacPherson was in the bike for owner Ron Gass, Cornwall and trainer Deanna Clow. MacPherson and Gary Chappell recorded driving doubles on the program. For complete results go to www.redshores.ca By Lee Drake

On May 20, 2015, the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) released a Memorandum to Provincial Regulatory bodies and the Canadian horse racing industry advising that this drug has been added to Schedule of Prohibited Drugs. Addition of buprenorphine to the Schedule of Prohibited Drugs in the Pari‐ Mutuel Betting Supervision Regulations Please be advised that the regulatory amendment to add the drug buprenorphine to the Schedule to the Pari‐Mutuel Betting Supervision Regulations has been finalized. The Canadian Pari‐Mutuel Agency, in consultation with the Drug Advisory Committee, has determined that this drug should be added to the Schedule of Prohibited Drugs.    Buprenorphine belongs to a group of drugs known as synthetic opioid analgesics.  It is used to control pain in humans and in animals and accordingly, should not be used in race‐horses participating in races on which pari‐mutuel betting is being conducted.   Wikipedia - Buprenorphine Steve Lehman Executive Director             CPMA adds buprenorphine      

ELORA, ON - A local father-son harness racing duo is sponsoring up to 20 children to run in the upcoming Giddy Up and Gallop Kids Fun Run held at Grand River Raceway on June 12, 2015. Trainer Gregg McNair and son driver Doug McNair are generously covering race registration fees for children from the Community Resource Centre of North & South Wellington (CRCNSW). The CRCNSW is a community benefit agency located in nearby Fergus. The efforts of CRCNSW are designed to fill gaps in community service, including transportation, outreach and support programs, childcare and Ontario Early Years. The McNairs are top performers in the sport, each with their own accomplishments. The pair flourished in the prestigious Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) last year, both receiving the stakes' most prestigious awards. Gregg has been the leading trainer in the OSS, receiving the sought-after Johnston cup in 2012, 2013 and 2014 while his son Doug received his first top OSS driving award, the Lampman Cup, in 2014. "Sports have always been important to me and I was glad to offer assistance to these kids when Grand River Raceway approached me with the idea," said driver Doug McNair. "Everyone should have the opportunity to take part in some sort of organized sport," added Doug's father Gregg. In past years, the Giddy Up and Gallop Fun Run has raised funds for the Friends Of We Care, Standardbred Racetrack Chaplaincy, The Children's Wish Foundation, the Chase MacEachern Foundation and The Equestrian Association for the Disabled. Event Details: If you're between the ages of 5 and 14, this is your chance to see if you are the fastest half mile runner in Ontario. Bring your family and friends to cheer you on from the Grandstand and tarmac. The race will be televised on in-house monitors and shown as part of the track's live broadcast, streamed at grandriverraceway.com. Runners will receive a great t-shirt, post-race refreshments and the winners will be awarded unique horseshoe trophies. The running race will be staged as part of Grand River Raceway's popular Fun & Frivolity Friday Race Night. A portion of the funds raised at the run will benefit the CRCNSW. Afterwards, runners and their entourage can enjoy a full night of live horse racing entertainment, which includes plenty of dining options, contests on The Tarmac Show, and free kids' horse education and activities in The NEIGHbourhood under the Tarmac Tent Kit pick-up starts at 5:30 p.m. under the Tarmac Tent. Post time for the first of 12 horse races is 6:30 p.m. Opening ceremonies and the running race kick-off at 6:45 p.m. There will be a warm up and a special Mascot Race at a distance of 50 metres before the race. Following the run, there will be a complimentary snack and awards ceremony for all participants. Click here to register. The cost to participate is $20 if you sign up before May 30. After May 30, the cost increases to $25. Registered runners will receive a free souvenir t-shirt. For race information, contact Kathy Wade Vlaar at kwvlaar@standardbredcanada.ca. For sponsorship information, or to donate a prize to the event, contact Kelly Spencer at kspencer@grandriverraceway.com. For information about the CRCNSW, contact Karen Goodman at kgoodman@communityresourcecentre.org. Kelly Spencer

The merits of attending Ontario's first Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) Operations program became abundantly clear, just two seasons later, for horse owner Karen Dallimore of Orton, ON. "When my horse Cody became cast, the education I received allowed me to think clearly, put a plan into place and get Cody back on his feet without endangering myself," said Karen who had already stocked her barn with safety equipment after the intensive hands-on seminar. She remembered the words of world renowned expert, Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, "I can't stress enough the need for proper equipment to be worn by ALL when handling these large animals in emergency situations, including a helmet, gloves, reflective vest on roadways, etc. If you're not equipped, then stay back." Quickly, gathering up some ropes, a helmet and tools, Karen returned to the scene in her indoor arena where 1,300 pounds of Quarter horse lay cast against the kickboards. The emphasis of having a Plan A, B, C ... came together without panic and the council of a "perfect rescue" being the one where the animal frees itself topped the list. After strapping on a helmet, plan A became nailing a board to the smooth, sloped kickboard so the upside down 16'1 gelding could gain purchase. Cody remained calm but still could not find his way out of the dilemma. With help of her husband, Harry, Plan B became keeping a safe distance away from potentially dangerous hooves that were dangling in the air and extending their reach with barn tools to slip ropes around Cody in order to pull him out of the situation. The TLAER program took participants through the do's and don'ts of large animal rescue so Karen knew where she could and could not attach ropes for a safe rescue. Cody was successfully put back onto terra firma. Thanks to this and other past courses taken through Equine Guelph, Karen also knew to monitor Cody's vitals and health after his incident and then thoroughly debrief the situation. "It's in the details, when you can make a plan and work through it," said Karen who was more than satisfied with how her training turned into action and a successful rescue at Cody's time of need. With Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, a world leader in large animal emergency rescue, a 2-day Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue awareness hands-on seminar will be offered Oct 3 - 4 at Grand River Raceway in Elora, Ontario. It is appropriate for a very broad audience - horse owners, first responders, law enforcement, animal control officers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, emergency animal response teams, livestock producers and associations. Participants will be taken through the do's and don'ts of large animal rescue and guided through a variety of emergency simulations including plenty of hands on demonstrations. Registration is limited and there is an early bird special $179 until July 15, 2015. For more information about this program feel free to contact Susan Raymond slraymon@uoguelph.ca and also see article:Awareness Training for Large Animal Rescue - Always Expect the Unexpected for an overview of the first TLAER operations level program hosted in Ontario by Equine Guelph. Jackie Bellamy-Zions Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – Both Maximuscle and track record hold Viva Bayama were impressive winners at the Hippodrome 3R in the opening round of the $125,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters Wednesday. There were four divisions, each racing for a purse of $6,500. There are three weeks of eliminations with the highest point earners returning on Sunday, June 14 for the $35,000 finals in their respective divisions. Maximuscle and driver Mario Charron had little trouble in capturing their division in the fourth rae. Charron needed only to send Maximuscle to the lead and never looked back. The four-year-old stallion by Angus Hall showed his heels to the field, cutting fractions of :29.1, 1:00 to the half and then turned it on by the three-quarters in 1:29.1, breezing home to win by two and one-half lengths in 1:58.4. Andovers Touch (Stephane Pouliot) tried coming first-over at the half mile marker and held on to be second with the pocket sitting George S (Stephane Brosseau) third. It was the first start of the 2015 season for Maximuscle, who is trained by Maxime Velaye for owner/breeder Ecrurie Provoquante of Mirabel, QC. The winner went off as the overwhelming race favorite at odds of 1/9 and paid just $2.10 to win. The first race, first division saw Somoli E and owner/driver Jerome Lombart sit a perfect two-hole trip behind pacesetter SOS Masters Boy (Jocelyn Gendron) and then after a battle down the stretch, win by a neck in 2:02.3. SOS Robocop (Pascal Berube), after racing first-over, faded to be third. It was the first win in two starts this year for Somoli E, a four-year-old son of Mr Lavec, trained by Andreane Lapierre. He paid $4.50 to win. Viva Bayama and driver Denis St Pierre were able to race parked out first-over the entire mile and still was able grind it out in the fourth race first division for older mares. Canbec Kangourou (Jocelyn Gendron) left out of the gate and cut the mile as Pierre was content to race first-over. Viva Bayama finally cleared to the lead before the head of the stretch and then held off a fast closing Bambie Benjo (Rheo Filion) to win by three-quarters of a length in 2:01.3. Canbec Kangourou faded in the stretch and finished third. It was the fifth win in eight starts this year for Viva Bayama. The four-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass is trained by Sebastien Groux for owners Richard Dinelle and Andre St Laurent. She paid $4.40 to win. The sixth race second division was won by Ocean Mist Beauty and driver Stephane Brosseau. They cleared to the lead before the opening quarter, which saw the first four horses all try for the early lead, and Ocean Mist Beauty then led the rest of the one mile trot, winning by three-quarters of a length in 2:02. Lucyll Bro (Stephane Gendron) sat the pocket-trip to be second with Sexy P V (Steeve Genis) third. The five-year-old mare by Kadabra posted her first win in five starts this year for owner/trainer Carl Duguay of Gatineau, QC. She paid 3.20 to win. Mario Charron ended the program with a driving triple on the card. Live racing resumes Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R with the opening round of the $125,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters. Post time is 1:30 pm. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Charlottetown, PE - The horses make their weekday debut Thursday under the lights at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Post time for the 10 dash harness racing card is 7pm. IDK, owned by Gail MacDonald Charlottetown and trained by her brother Gary Poulton, has been established as the morning line favorite (5-2) for catch-driver Danny MacDonald (32). The pacer set up some big fractions in his last race and faded in the lane but he still paced his mile in 1:57.4. MacDonald will take him from post six as the son of Stand Forever - Magical Sum closes in on his 100th career start. First Art Down has drawn the rail for trainer Cliff Murphy, owner Bruce Wood, Marshfield and driver Ken Murphy. This guy took a shot at The Big Bite (Kenny Arsenault) in his last meeting and finished second by a neck. They will leave side by side for this match-up. Lyndale Royal (Marc Campbell) and Windemere Eric (Gary Chappell) have also been entered. Balanchine is back for another season. The racing super-star is coming off an impressive 2:00.1 qualifier where he fired a 28.4 closer. Jackie Matheson conditions the 11 year-old campaigner for owners Mike Pollard, Donagh and Joey Gallant, Charlottetown. His career stats include 259 starts, 58 victories, 35 seconds, 31 third place claims and earnings of $773,191. The Matheson stable will also send out Perfect Escape who is a top contender in the Best Western Pace in race 10 for owners Jack Keenan, Stratford and Joseph Dahl, Burlington, Ontario. Caliban Hanover will be gunning for his first win of the spring meet when he takes on six rivals in the evening trot class for Ron Gass and owner Wendell MacDonald, Cornwall. The trotter goes up against a couple of Peconi stable-mates with Howmacs Pride and Incredibility in the seven horse field. For the complete race program and top picks go to www.redshores.ca Lee A. Drake

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Visit the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and Woodbine Racetrack as they take part in Doors Open Toronto presented by Great Gulf.  This is your opportunity and to learn about the history and heritage of Canadian horse racing from historians and docents including Hall of Fame Founder/Director Emeritus, Lou Cauz; author and Hall of Fame Member Bill Galvin; and harness racing ambassador, owner and super fan, Sydney Weaver.  See rare memorabilia and photos of iconic Canadian horses Northern Dancer and Cam Fella, test your trivia knowledge for the chance to win great CHRHF merchandise, and take your picture as a harness driver or jockey in the photo area. Woodbine activities include backstretch bus tours starting at 10am each day, with behind the scenes tours beginning at noon, and don’t forget there is a full card of Thoroughbred racing action beginning at 1pm both Saturday and Sunday.  Hall of Fame driver Ron Waples and Hall of Fame jockey Sandy Hawley are also scheduled to make appearances. Events takes place this Saturday May 23rd & Sunday May 24th from 10am until 5pm.  The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, founded in 1976, offers visitors a one of a kind look into 250 years of rich history and heritage of both the Thoroughbred and Standardbred horse racing industry in Canada.  For further information on the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame visit canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com & join the conversation via Facebook and Twitter! Facebook:  Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Twitter:  @cdn_halloffame @woodbineracing @Doors_OpenTO and using the event hashtag #DOT15 Linda Rainey Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

London, May 19, 2015 -- Defending champion State Treasurer will be back in the Forest City next Friday night, May 29, in search of an unprecedented third straight Molson Pace title as the harness racing field for this year’s $150,000 Invitational takes shape. The six-year-old son of Real Desire scored his first win of the season this past Saturday at Mohawk in authoritative fashion in 1:49.4 and will be given this week off in preparation. State Treasurer would surpass the $1 million mark in career earnings with a top-two finish in this year’s Molson. Joining him in this year’s event will be All Bets Off who is fresh off a sizzling 1:51.3 victory in the Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs and fellow Cup elimination winner, Lets Drink On It, who suffered a tough, parked out trip in the final and finished out of the money. American invader and millionaire, P H Super Cam, will be making his second appearance in the Molson Pace and will be joined by a pair of new faces in Polak A from the Tony Osullivan stable and $500,000 winner Night Pro, who has won five of eight this year in Indiana including a 1:49.2 tally in mid April at Hoosier Park. “The race office has put together another stellar group,” said Racing Manager Greg Blanchard. “I like the mix that we have...some big names, some four-year-olds who have acclimated and some new faces that have very impressive credentials. We’ll keep a close eye on this weekend’s action before filling out the final couple of spots.” The post draw for the Molson Pace will be held this Monday evening on the pre-game show just prior to live racing at approximately 6:00 p.m. The Raceway has a big night planned on track and fans will be able to watch the action outside on the large video board that is being brought in for the evening. For complete details on what is planned and to stay up to date on this year’s event, visit www.molsonpace.com. This Friday night, The Raceway will host more City of London Series eliminations with the trotters taking center stage. It is also HPIBET night at The Raceway where fans will have a chance to win a VIP package to this year’s Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk and all sorts of HPIBET prizes that will be given away throughout the night. First post for this Friday, and Molson Pace night, will be 7:15 p.m. Greg Blanchard

HALIFAX - Missing financial records and meddling by former board members at the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition (NSPE) highlight some of the concerns revealed in an operational review prepared for the provincial government. Although the review, prepared by KPMG at the request of Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell, did not uncover any criminal wrongdoing, operations were negatively impacted by a board of directors that regularly interfered with how the facility was run, the report said. “In recent years the Commission has experienced turnover at the general manager position,” the report states. “This is partly due to the governance structure in that the board of directors have been actively involved in the commission’s operations which has undermined the general manager’s authority.” Poor financial planning also resulted in the exhibition commission being unable to pay its bills, which resulted in “significant payment delays” and ultimately led to loss of credit that forced the NSPE to pay cash for delivery of all goods and services. The commission also is at risk of having its pari-mutuel contracts with other race tracks cancelled because of a failure to remit payouts for amounts collected for betting on the other parties’ races (net of payouts), the report noted, which “has resulted in strained relationships with key racing partners.” As well, financial results for the commission “have not been in line with expectations”, in part because of declining attendance and a lack of sufficient cash flow to fund the ongoing capital maintenance of facilities and in certain circumstances cover the operating costs, the report disclosed. “A review of financial and business affairs of the Commission conducted by Grant Thornton in August 2013, declared it insolvent, where current and long term liabilities ($638,000 and $373,000 respectively) and cash flow constraints prevented it to make payment on its obligations,” the report said. The KPMG review also determined that the NSPE’s financial records for the years 2009 through to 2011, were completely missing, a factor that Colwell told the Truro Daily News was especially concerning for him. “It sure did (cause him concern). But if it’s not available it’s not there,” he said, of the missing information, which was attributed to a changeover in staff at the NSPE administration office as well as the introduction of new computer software. “And whatever happened to it we don’t know,” he said. “That highlights one of the weaknesses in the whole system.” Colwell said based on the report’s findings and given ”the deteriorated condition of the buildings” on the NSPE grounds, he said the facility had been mismanaged for a “long time.” And he said that was also pretty much the assessment of the auditors when he addressed their findings in the report. “The list goes on and on and on and on,” he said, of proper business controls that were not in place under the previous management. “It’s just a whole lot of not really solid management practices,” Colwell said, of the overall findings. “They said the place really needed to be run properly and the bottom line is, it wasn’t.” Facility rentals also have to be brought in line with reasonable market rates to ensure the facility can operate without government handouts, the minister said. And controls also have be put in place for things such as gate admissions for the annual Exhibition. For example, visitors to the Middle Musquodoboit Exhibition are given a bracelet with a serial number on it when they pay their admission fee,” Colwell said, compared to the provincial exhibition in Bible Hill where there simply is “no accountability for the cash. That’s just one example.” Despite the past struggles, however, Colwell said that with proper controls put in place, the NSPE can have a promising future. “We’re very optimistic about the facility at a time when a lot of facilities are struggling and I think this one has a great deal of potential,” he said. Reprinted with permission of The Truro Daily News

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NORTH SYDNEY — Dave Ratchford owned his first horse at the age of 16. The 71-year-old hasn’t stopped since. Ratchford purchased Mighty Eddie and followed in the footsteps of his father, Lorne, and others in his family who had a love of the sport. What followed was a harness racing career that included over 1,600 wins to his credit. “I was pretty well always at the track when I was kid. I started jogging horses when I was 13 or 14,” said the North Sydney resident. “When I was in school, I purchased my first horse in 1960 and it went from there.” Ratchford is one of five athletes along with a team being inducted into the Cape Breton Sport Hall of Fame on June 6 at Centre 200. “It is quite an honour, that’s for sure, for my wife, my family and myself.” Early in his career, Ratchford raced Opal Creed in the Gold Cup and Saucer in Charlottetown back in 1970, and won the Governor’s Plate in Summerside that same year. Of his numerous victories, Ratchford said none was bigger than the $37,000 purse he captured in 1990 with Charlotte’s Buddy at the Maritime Breeders Stake in Moncton. He posted the highest earnings of all Maritime horses that year. “I was lucky enough to win there,” he said. “It was one of the more memorable, better drives that I ever drove. I thought it was going to be worse. I was parked the whole mile on the outside, but I took control of the race just by being cool.” Eat Me Up, a horse Ratchford trains, pulled off a couple of big wins in Ontario in 2011. The filly claimed The Battle of the Belles in Grand River, Ont., and the Ontario Sires Two-year-old Championship in Toronto. He also races Ms. Mac N Cheese in Toronto, a three-year-old filly that continues to earn success. Ratchford was also involved in the sport away from the track. The Cape Breton Horseman’s Association hall of famer has served three terms as director of the Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association. As for how long he’ll keep driving, Ratchford is showing no signs of slowing down. He’ll be in the bike with Stonebridge Focus and Silver Dragon on Saturday as Northside Downs opens the 2015 racing season. Post time is 1 p.m. Written by T J Colello Reprinted with permission of  the Cape Breton Post
There will be an extra buzz at Ontario harness racing tracks this summer as the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association renews the highly successful New Owner Mentoring Program. For an investment of $4,500 nine people will have the unparalleled opportunity to be mentored by Hall of Fame horseman Bill O’Donnell and trainer Dustin Jones as they select an Ontario-sired yearling from the fall sales and train it through the winter in preparation for the 2016 racing season. “We’ll educate them about the ground-up stuff, the grassroots stuff,” explains O’Donnell. “They might be fans that go to the races, but haven’t seen this side before.” In addition to his years of expertise, O’Donnell will also contribute $4,500 to the partnership, and the SBOA will boost the group’s initial operating fund to $60,000 through a $15,000 forgivable loan. “That will allow the group to buy their yearling — and it has to be an Ontario-sired yearling sold at an Ontario sale — and then the first year is covered for training and staking and whatever,” explains SBOA Vice President Tammy McNiven. Horses from the first 11 new owner groups ranged from Grassroots performers to Gold Final winners, earning from $27,000 to $500,000, but one yearling did not make it to the races and McNiven emphasizes that there are no guarantees. “It’s not something where we say you are going to get your money back,” she notes. “It’s a learning experience.” Several graduates of the New Owner Mentoring Program have put their education to work purchasing additional racehorses or breeding stock, including Adriano Sorella. A part of the 2008 Ten Most Wanted Stable — whose M G Home Run earned $142,183 under the tutelage of trainer Casie Coleman and mentor Rick Kostoff — Sorella went on to co-own 2013 Little Brown Jug winner Vegas Vacation. “We have had some success stories over the years,” says McNiven. “We hope we can get people interested, get some new people involved.” Detailed information and application forms for the 2015 New Owner Mentoring Program are available on the SBOA website www.standardbredbreeders.com, or by contacting McNiven at 519-475-4276 or tbf@xplornet.com. Enhanced breeders reward program for 2015 After a series of productive meetings with the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) and Ontario Horse Racing (OHR), the SBOA was pleased to sign an agreement enhancing the current breeders reward program by approximately $3 million per year from 2015 to 2018. In addition to the current Ontario Bred and Ontario Sired rewards, the enhanced program will reward breeders across four levels of participation. The first tier provides rewards to the owners/lessees of eligible Ontario Resident Mares who invested directly in the Ontario Standardbred breeding industry by breeding to an Ontario Sire in 2014. Approximately $1 million in breeder’s incentives will be paid out on a pro rata basis — as determined by the advertised service fee of the Ontario Sire (recorded with the OSS for the 2014 breeding season) — for all foals registered by December 31, 2015 that are both Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred. The first foals eligible for this incentive are the foals of 2015 produced from matings between Ontario Resident Mares and Ontario Sires. Tier 2 sees an approximate $1 million increase to the Standardbred Improvement Program’s Ontario Bred rewards. The rewards will be paid on a pro-rata basis to the owners/lessees of eligible Ontario Resident Mares with purse-winning offspring, which are both Ontario Bred and Ontario Sired, racing in Ontario Sires Sakes races and selected open stake races in Ontario. These rewards will commence with the 2015 stake season. Also beginning in 2015, the third tier will reward the breeders of the top three Ontario Bred performers in each of the eight divisions of the Ontario Sires Stakes. A $50,000 reward will be split (First - $25,000; Second - $15,000; Third - $10,000) among the owners/lessees of the eligible Ontario Resident Mares that produce the top three money earners in each division. Finally, the fourth tier will see $100,000 paid to the owner/syndicate of the top Ontario Sires Stakes stallions based on progeny earnings in each of the following OSS categories: 2-year-old trotters; 2-year-old pacers; 3-year-old trotters; 3-year-old pacers. The leading stallions from the 2015 OSS season will be the first group eligible for these rewards.  To qualify for the rewards stallions must currently reside in Ontario. To benefit from the enhanced program, breeders need to enroll their broodmares in the Ontario Resident Mare Program in 2015. To qualify as an Ontario Resident Mare, the mare must be enrolled with the Program each year and meet all eligibility requirements outlined in the Program Criteria booklet produced by the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC).  Further information on the Ontario Resident Mare Program is available at www.ontariohorseracing.ca. Additional information about the enhanced breeder’s reward program can be found at www.standardbredbreeders.com. (SBOA/Sandra Snyder)
Many retired Standardbred horses are rehomed and retrained into new disciplines including pleasure saddle horses or Western /English show horses. Others become pasture buddies and family pets. Such is the story of the 11 harness racing mare P.H. Super Model. Foaled in Shubenacadie by owner Dr. Trevin K. Shive, Super Model had 95 lifetime starts recording three victories since her maiden season at Truro Raceway in 2006. At the completion of her harness racing career, the mare was given to a re-homing stable, Morning Star Acres, located north of Moncton. Morning Star Acres is a non-profit, family-oriented farm dedicated to an equine retraining and re-homing program. Bill and Jo-Ann Livingstone of Toney Bay, N.S. were in the market for a carthorse to participate in driving events held in their area. After a visit to the Morning Star Acres website, a few phone calls and a visit to the New Brunswick farm, the Livingston family and PH Supermodel united. The horse has since become known as Tyra. This past Saturday, Tyra made her debut appearance in her new career as a carthorse.   The Wallace River Haflingers & Equestrian Centre hosted a novice driving clinic under the guidance of the Nova Scotia Driving Society. Seven horses, ponies and minis were in attendance, including P H Super Model with Joann and Bill each taking turns at the reins. The Standardbred breed as a whole is eager to please, fearless and extremely intelligent.  In addition most of these animals have had exposure to vehicles, crowds and loud noises, as well as trailering and shoeing, Established in 2007, the Maritime Standardbred Pleasure Horse Association (www.mspha.ca), based out of Truro, Nova Scotia, is actively devoted to the re-homing of Standardbreds as an all-purpose pleasure horse and encourages the new owners to showcase their “graduates” of the program at local exhibitions, parades and clinics. Note: Diane Daniels is the race office supervisor at Truro Raceway. Her ‘Trackside’ column can be found in the Truro Daily News every Saturday. Reprinted with Permission of The Truro Daily News
Island harness racing is heating up for the summer season. Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway is holding its first card of 2015 on Sunday at 1 p.m., while Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park held its first Thursday evening program this week in addition to an 11-dash program Saturday at 6 p.m. In an oddity for Island racing, the race office is battling a horse shortage in the entry box for this week’s two cards in Charlottetown. Just 10 races were carded for Thursday's card with 75 horses competing while Saturday’s race program has 11 dashes with 80 entries. The Sunday afternoon opener in Summerside has 10 dashes with 68 horses. Of those 155 horses programed to race in Charlottetown, 12 of them are entered for both Thursday and Saturday race cards to help bolster the programs. No doubt the hard winter has a lot to do with the supply problem, with country farm tracks still covered in snow just a few weeks ago, but a definite contributing factor is the Maritime Province’s Harness Racing Commission rule restricting the number of races a track can card in one program. Under the rule, any Maritime track can only hold 16 dashes a day, including pari-mutuel races and qualifers. So last Saturday in Charlottetown, there were 12 pari-mutuel dashes leaving the track only allowed to card four qualifying races. With eight entries in a qualifier, that left only 32 horses with the capability to qualify themselves to race. Not to mention, those 32 spots were filled by last Monday, five days before the race card and four days before the entry box for qualifers technically closed. The commission put the rule in place after race dates began getting tight in New Brunswick and Horse Racing New Brunswick was making sure every horse in the province that entered got an opportunity to race, resulting in more than 20 races on a card on occasions when stakes horses were in town, particularly in Fredericton. With that strain on qualifying spots last week, there were 24 horses entered to qualify Thursday in Charlottetown, with more Saturday. Some of these horses were ready last week, and they would have been a welcome addition to the entry box. The rule wasn’t made to penalize horses trying to qualify in the spring, so the wording should be reviewed so it stops doing just that. Maritime Scene Northside Downs in North Sydney, N.S., is holding their first race card of the season Saturday afternoon while Inverness Raceway, also in Cape Breton, gets underway on June 14. The New Brunswick racing season has been pushed back to a tentative start date of July 1, while Horse Racing New Brunswick deals with financial woes incurred during the 2014 season. The organization needs to get even on their purse payment debts to horsemen before they will be allowed to open for live racing in 2015. Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reachedat nicholasoakes@hotmail.com. Nick’s Picks Saturday at 6 p.m. at the CDP: Race 1 – Lyndale Jenn Race 2 – Jersey Joe Race 3 – Eat Pray Trot Race 4 – Unstoppable Speed Race 5 – Chief Exec Officer Race 6 – Supersonic Jet Race 7 – Proven Desire Race 8 – Van Zant Race 9 – Fly With Max Race 10 – Carnivore Race 11 – Miracle Matts By Nicholas Oakes Reprinted with permission of The Guardian  
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