Day At The Track

Grand River Raceway closes on positive note

01:00 PM 30 Sep 2014 NZDT
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ELORA, ON - Monday (September 29) marks the final live race card of the year at Grand River Raceway, but it's already proven to be a successful year at the track.

Despite fewer races and fewer cards, the average bet per race jumped 10.5 per cent in 2014 compared to 2013 and total wagering on Grand River is up 4.8 per cent from just under $6.5 million in 2013 to nearly $6,786,149 this year through Wenesday's card. All this despite a decrease in the number of races per card of nearly 10 per cent.

On the track, nothing topped Hall of Fame driver John Campbell and Hall of Fame trainer Bob McIntosh teaming up to win the $217,140 Battle of Waterloo Aug. 4 with McIntosh's two-year-old homebred pacing colt Go Daddy Go. It was the first Battle of Waterloo victory for both men.

"I haven't started that many in it, but it feels tremendous," McIntosh said in the winner's circle. "It's a real thrill."

Campbell said the victory felt great. "It's been a fun day for me and it's capped off extremely well," he said.

This year also marked Campbell's first trip to Grand River and he liked what he saw.

"I got a tour before the races started here and it's very efficient and very convenient for fans. It looks like a very nice plant," Campbell said.

The Grand River meet also saw rising star James MacDonald win his first premier stakes race at the track when he drove 20-1 longshot Win The Gold to victory in the Battle of the Belles for trainer Tony O'Sullivan.

In August, Grand River's general manager Dr. Ted Clarke was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in the builders' category.

That same month, Jet Airway set a track record for three-year-old pacing colts when he buzzed the Grand River oval in 1:51.1. Five other horses also set Canadian seasonal records at the track.

On the drivers' side, Trevor Henry was again crowned the top Grand River driver for both wins and money.

Casie Coleman was Grand River's top money-winning trainer and Richard Moreau led all trainers in wins at the track by a wide margin.

And this year, we also learned important information such as what three people driver Scott Coulter would enlist to thwart a zombie apocalypse.

"I'm going to take Clint Eastwood," Coulter said, "Superman and throw Sly Stallone in there, too. Why not?"

We also discovered what Randy Waples would be doing if he wasn't driving horses for a living -"At one time, being a surfer sounded pretty good. I likead the idea of that." - what music trainer Casie Coleman thinks Satan has playing on repeat in her version of hell - "Anything country, probably." - and what James MacDonald does better than his two famous driving brothers, Anthony and Mark - "Golf, that's for sure, because they're both horrible."

To hear our conversation with some of the most prominent drivers and trainers in the game, check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at https://soundcloud.com/grandriverraceway

Final Training Day at Grand River Raceway 

Grand River Raceway will remain open for training every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon, with all horses vacated by 1:00 p.m.

This schedule will remain in effect until the final training day on October 9.

by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway

 

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