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Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney were like coaches in danger of “losing their team.” But they saw the signs. And they made the moves. After leading Alberta to become an example for the nation and around the world when it came to COVID-19 self-isolation, social distancing and flattening the curve, it was no longer “pucks in deep”, when it came to their messaging. Basically, telling the population they’d earned their trust to proceed responsibly, when it came to sport, they effectively leap-frogged Stage 2 and went all the way to Stage 3 Tuesday. It was, overall, potentially great news for most youth sports in Alberta and for participation events not involving attendance of more than 100. While painting with a wide brush — and it’ll take days for minor sports associations to come out of hibernation to figure out — Kenney and his chief medical officer opened almost everything up. Recreation centres, arenas, gyms, pools and playing fields involving fewer than 50 participants will be allowed to open Friday. This would allow all manner of baseball, softball and soccer to open. Hockey camps will now be allowed to take place this summer. Historically, most organized youth sports comes to an end in terms of huge participation numbers when the school season ends. There hasn’t been school and all local kids’ sports had been cancelled. So this will take a while for organizers to react. When it comes to pro sports, however, there’s only one major change. And being that your correspondent announced it on one on these pages last week, it doesn’t qualify perhaps as actual news. Still, for horse racing fans, it seems that they’ve been holding their mutual tickets for forever now. Tuesday, the result was finally made official, although neither Hinshaw nor Kenney made reference to it. Horse racing has finally been given the official blessing to become the first pro sport to return from the COVID-19 shutdown in Alberta. The standardbreds will open June 14 at The Track on 2 in Lacombe and June 22 at Century Downs, just outside Calgary, and the thoroughbreds June 21 at Edmonton’s Century Mile. While they were obviously expecting good news, this was a better news day than they expected. “The authorization to open the casinos and racing entertainment centres was surprising because it was ahead of schedule,” said Century’s racing director Paul Ryneveld. Purses in Alberta are directly tied to casino profits, particularly at the casinos that are part of the complex of both Century Mile and Century Downs. For some reason, Premier Kenney and/or Dr. Hinshaw lollygagged when it came to the no-brainer of opening Century Mile for thoroughbred racing and Century Downs for harness racing until now. Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg was allowed to be the first of all pro sports entities in Canada to burst out of the gate three weeks ago, and both Woodbine and Mohawk tracks in Toronto followed this past weekend. As a result, the Edmonton-area thoroughbred track and Calgary-area harness track missed out on massive infusions of betting action from a sports starved populace. Winnipeg has been up and racing with six-race-a-night programs over three days a week and running up record totals of: $1,067,221, $1,623,616, $1,786,264, $1,429,225, $1,535,976, $1,853,429 and $1,142,611 through Monday evening. If those numbers are meaningless to you, consider the fact that they added up to $10,438,342 for seven horse races a day over seven race days. Last year, Assiniboia Downs’ average handle was a mere $12,467,854. For. The. Entire. Year. They are expected to top that Wednesday night on their ninth day of racing. And that’s with no fans in the stands and no on-track betting. By comparison, the average handle for thoroughbred racing at Edmonton’s Century Mile last year was $172,422 and hit $838,429 for the Canadian Derby. When they go to the post for the 40-race day thoroughbred season and the 50-day harness season, the riders and drivers will wear masks, as will everybody else involved. But despite the lollygagging, behind those masks everybody will be smiling. “I think the most important point to be made here is that this development will save the overall industry in this province and with some luck, we’ll be able to come back even stronger in 2021,” said Norm Castiglione, Horseman’s Benevolent Protective Association president. The Alberta horse racing industry involves approximately 4,800 jobs beneficial to the provincial economy to the tune of $312 million in 2019. And these have been tough times for horse racing before COVID-19. “Thoroughbred horse racing will return to Century Mile for 2020 and beyond. We need people to realize the significance of this for both the immediate future on the long-term future. Our government saw the importance of this industry to our economy and now, going forward in partnership, we will work toward making it stronger for the future,” said Castiglione. By Terry Jones Reprinted with permission of The National Post  

Travis Cullen wrapped up his second consecutive harness racing training and driving title at Alberta Downs with three wins on the meet-closing card Sunday afternoon. The 22-year-old horseman added to his leading win totals on Sunday with victories aboard his trainees Frisco ($5.30), Captain Hazardous ($2.70) and Da Terror ($4.50). Canada's 2013 Rising Star Award winner dominated at the Alberta Downs meet with a total of 118 driving wins and 98 training wins. Brandon Campbell finished second in the driving standings with 68 victories while Kelly Hoerdt was the runner-up in the training category with 55 wins. From Standardbred Canada Flamboro Preferred Pace to McKinney Quebec Series champion McKinney made a wide backstretch brush to make the lead and cruised home to win the $11,000 Preferred 2/3 Handicap Pace for horses and geldings on Sunday night at Flamboro Downs. The four-year-old Santanna Blue Chip gelding, trained by Corey Johnson, returned to his winning ways in his second week back in racing action since capturing the Quebec Final back on June 8 at Hippodrome 3R. McKinney tipped second over from fourth after a contested opening quarter and rallied wide down the backstretch to take over command by the three-quarters en route to his fourth win of the year. James MacDonald drove the even-money favourite to the 1:54.3 victory over Champagne Phil and Allstar Seelster for leasee G. Arthur Slack of Rockwood, Ont. To view the rest of this story click here. Undercover Bro last to first at Rideau Undercover Bro trailed the six-horse field early on in Sunday's $6,500 Winners Over Handicap trotting feature at Rideau Carleton Raceway, but emerged down the stretch to complete his stealthy off-the-pace operation. The six-year-old Classic Photo gelding earned his fifth victory of the season for the driver and trainer team of Stephane and Richard Lareau, who also co-owns with Stephane Legrand of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que. Leaving from the outside, Out Of The Hat crossed over to command just past the eighth of a mile mark and clocked the first quarter in :28-seconds before being overtaken by the parked and pressing favourite, Decret Justiciale, into the clubhouse turn. The new leader hit the half in :55.4. To view the rest of this story click here. Turner Memorial to Earl Watts at Truro Trainer Earl Watts swept the Donnie & George Turner Memorial Stakes for three-year-olds on a rainy Sunday afternoon at Truro Raceway as Arties Magic and Lovineveryminute each won their respective $12,932 divisions. Arties Magic ($6.60) and Lovineveryminute ($3.10), both co-owned by Windemere Farms of North Wiltshire, P.E.I., used different tactics to achieve the same result over the track rated "good" with a two second variant. With Todd Trites at the lines, Atlantic Breeders Crown champion Arties Magic circled the field in the first division to prevail over race leader Absolootly Hot by three-quarters of a length in 1:59.3. The favoured first over challenger, Super S Yzerman, rounded out the top three finishers two lengths behind. To view the rest of this story click here.  Fraser Downs Open to Rock Allstar Favourite Rock Allstar was first off the gate and first across the wire in a dominant Open Pace victory on Sunday afternoon at Fraser Downs. A 1:54 winner in his last Open start on a sloppy track Oct. 17 with a matching qualifying mile last week, Rock Allstar was sent postward as the 3-2 favourite and lived up to expectations in Sunday's $10,500 feature race. He paid $5.10 to win. Driver Brandon Campbell put the seven-year-old gelding on the lead and he never looked back, pacing through panels of :28.1, :58.2 and 1:26.2 en route to the victory in 1:54.4. Rock Allstar has now won four of his six Open starts at the current Fraser Downs meet. To view the rest of this story click here.

Returning to the races after a two month layoff, Maple Leaf Trot champion Intimidate was victorious in the $34,000 Preferred Trot featured on Saturday night's harness racing card at Woodbine Racetrack. With the support of the betting public behind him, Intimidate was sent postward at odds of 8-5 and paid $5.50 to win. Driver Sylvain Filion steered the near-millionaire to the fourth victory of his five-year-old campaign for trainer Luc Blais. Flanagan Memory (Chris Christoforou) left for the lead over Fearless Man (Rick Zeron) with Intimidate crossing into the three-hole from his post nine starting spot. The top two trotters traded turns on the lead through opening fractions of :28.1 and :57.2 before Intimidate brushed by, taking over into the final turn and reaching three-quarters in 1:25.2. To view the rest of this story click here. Alberta Sire Stakes Super FInals held The top performers in the 2014 Alberta Sires Stakes program were featured at Alberta Downs on Saturday afternoon as they faced off in the rich Battle of Alberta Super Finals during one of the province's most anticipated race days of the year. The quartet of $70,000 Super Finals for the pacing divisions highlighted the action-packed card, which also featured four $15,000 consolation races and a pair of Open events on the undercard. Two-year-old pacing filly My Villas On Fire kicked off the Super Finals with a sizzling 1:54 track record performance for trainer and driver Jamie Gray. She eclipsed Blue Star Beauty's divisional record, set in 2011, by four-fifths of a second. To view the rest of this story click here.   

Over the past two seasons, pacing gelding Need You So Bad has been nearly unbeatable at Fraser Downs. On Thursday night, he didn't stray from his past successes. Competing in the $7,500 fourth leg of the Robert Murphy Breeders Stake for three-year-old colts and geldings, Need You So Bad was settled into the pocket by trainer-driver Bill Davis while longshot Astronomical Storn (Rod Therres) carved out fractions of :27.2, :57.2 and 1:26. Davis then popped the pocket around the final turn before sprinting away to a two-length victory in 1:55.4 over Cold Finger (Jim Marino) and Hosisahos (Brandon Campbell), who rallied strongly from an early break to grab show honours. JJJ Stables of Aldergrove, B.C. owns Need You So Bad (American Ideal - Sending Forth), who now sports a career record of 12 wins in 15 starts at the B.C. oval. To view the rest of this story click here.  Flamboro Downs co-feature trots Thursday's Preferred trot winners at Flamboro Downs took totally different paths to eventually make their way back to the winner's circle. In the $11,000 Preferred 2 Trot, Spartan Victory (Ryan Holliday) paraded the field through fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:28.2, all the while pestered by Lakefield (Luc Ouellette) to his outside. Putting away that foe, Holliday urged on his gelding but was caught in the final strides by Tornado Tim and driver Garrett Whelan. After moving three-wide around Lakefield at the three-quarter pole, Whelan had Tornado Tim within striking distance at the head of the lane and hit the wire a quarter-length ahead of Spartan Victory in 1:58.3. Despite winning this class twice in October, the Everette Hanson-owned and Dan O'Brian-trained seven-year-old Revenue gelding was dismissed at odds of 15-1 but notched his ninth win of the season and 27th lifetime. To view the rest of this story click here.  Battle of Alberta Super FInals The top Alberta-sired pacers of the 2014 season will invade Alberta Downs on Saturday afternoon as the Lacombe track plays host to the $280,000 Battle of Alberta Super Finals. The four $70,000 Alberta Sires Stakes championships will be contested as races eight through 11 with $15,000 consolations for each division earlier in the day. Two-year-old fillies will face off in the first Battle and the Jamie Gray-trained and driven My Villas On Fire is favoured to take the crown with morning line odds of 5-2 from post six. The Blue Burner-My Villa filly has won half of her 10 starts, including back-to-back ABSS Starburst and Stardust divisions in September, and has earned $39,090 in purses. One of the fastest fillies in the field, My Villas On Fire enters the Super Finals fresh off a career-best 1:56.4 victory in the Premiers Stakes last Saturday. My Villas On Fire is owned by breeder Diane Bertrand and Robert Gilhespy, both of Edmonton, Alta. To view the rest of this story click here. 

Talented pacing filly Alibi Seelster fetched the highest price at Sunday's 2014 Fall Extravaganza Mixed Sale. Alibi Seelster, a seven-time winner with more than $224,000 in purses earned, was sold by trainer/owner Jack Darling to Doug Brown, acting as agent, for $60,000. Cooler temperatures didn't dissuade potential buyers from packing the SC Sales Pavilion at Flamboro Downs. A total of 119 broodmares, racehorses, weanlings and yearlings brought a $1,143,000 gross, providing an overall average of $9,605. To view the rest of this story click here.  Moreau & Carroll take Flamboro features Canada's leading trainer Richard Moreau and driver Alfie Carroll doubled up in Sunday night's Preferred quartet at Flamboro Downs with Adkins Hanover and Racey Miss. Returning to Flamboro where he was a winner in the same class on Sept. 28, Adkins Hanover ($4.20) went wire-to-wire to score a three length victory in 1:53.3 in the featured $11,000 Preferred 2 for horses and geldings. Carroll drove the five-year-old Western Ideal gelding for Moreau and co-owner Sylvain Descheneaux. Clic K and Goldstar Badlands finished second and third, respectively. Carroll and Moreau also teamed up for a victory in the $7,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 3 as Hudson Standardbred Stable's four-year-old Shanghai Phil mare Racey Miss ($3.50) wore down sophomore filly Double Joy to prevail by one length in 1:57.2. To view the rest of the story click here. Big move pays off for First Impression Trailing the leading favourite by eight lengths at the half, First Impression and driver Sylvain Lacaille circled the field to prevail in the featured $6,500 Winners Over Handicap Pace on Sunday night at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Poppy Buckys Boy (Stephane Pouliot) overtook Mister Icon (Guy Gagnon) past the :27.3 first quarter mark and then led the field of eight through middle splits of ::57 and 1:26.3. Meanwhile, Beach Runner A M (Darrell Coville) advanced first over from the backfield with Web Cam (Gord Brown) following his cover. With those two starting the outer flow, First Impression was shuffled to last and moved third over. As Poppys Bucky Boy came off the final turn into the stretch, he had Beach Runner A M at his flank -- although drifting out -- and Web Cam firing wide. Lacaille shot First Impression between the duelling leaders down the stretch and came through off a :28.1 final frame for the half-length victory in 1:55.2. To view the rest of this story click here. Schooner stays perfect in October Schooner continued to dominate the top pacers at Inverness Raceway on Sunday, not only wiring the field for the third straight week, but posting a flashy nine and a quarter length win margin at the finish line. With Alex MacQuarrie in the driver's seat, Schooner won the $1,000 Winners Over Pace in 1:58.3 over the "good" track. Imbadimnationwide was the best of the rest and Jackson County completed the top three finishers in the field of five. To view the rest of the story click here.  Outlaw Gunpowder previals at Alberta Three-year-old pacing colts and geldings wrapped up the regular Alberta Sires Stakes season on Sunday afternoon at Alberta Downs with a new winner emerging to take the $49,800 Alberta Maverick Final. Outlaw Gunpowder ($12.70) turned in the best effort of his career to defeat Plainsman champion Sotally Tober and Marksman winner Blue Eyed Cowboy. Driven by Philip Giesbrecht, the Smart Shark-Fox Valley Cherish colt kicked home off a three-hole trip in :27.4 and wore down pacesetter Sotally Tober (:28.2, :57.4, 1:25) to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.3, shaving one full second off his lifetime mark. Even-money favourite Blue Eyed Cowboy stalled first over down the backstretch, but came on to finish third, one and three-quarter lengths behind. To view the rest of the story click here.

Nighttraintovegas claimed her second Alberta Sires Stakes title of the season as she kicked home off a pocket trip to win the $50,400 Marquis Final for three-year-old pacing fillies on Saturday afternoon at Alberta Downs. Driver Brandon Campbell sent Nighttraintovegas to the lead off the gate with the favoured elimination winner Eliseuinthedust (Jamie Gray) taking over into a sizzling :26.2 opening quarter. Eliseuinthedust led the fillies through middle splits of :56.4 and 1:26 with Wrangler Rockette (Gerry Hudon) flushed first up from third by Barona Mercedes (Jim Marino). However, Campbell was able to angle Nighttraintovegas out down the stretch and she stormed home for the 1:54.4 career-best equalling triumph. Smilys Amira (Tyler Redwood) closed from third over to finish second, ahead of Barona Mercedes. Nighttraintovegas paid $10.30 to win as the 4-1 third choice in the field. The homebred Camystic-Midnight In Vegas filly is trained by Richard Schneider and owned by Dick Schneider of Sherwood Park, Alta. and Edmonton's David Halmosi. To view the rest of this story click here. Nothside Downs feature to Silver Dragon Silver Dragon was the star of the Saturday afternoon card at Northside Downs as he defeated the top pacers on the grounds for local horseman David Ratchford. Silver Dragon prevailed in the $1,100 feature race from off-the-pace over the 'good' track in 2:00.2 with Junebugs Baby coming in second and Surrealist finishing third. The nine-year-old Dragon Again gelding is a 32-time winner in his career and earned his sixth victory of the season in 24 starts. To view the rest of this story click here. Adoption fundraiser a big success B&R Promotions has announced that once again the Annual Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society Fundraising Dinner was a great success. On October 4, nearly 80 people came out to the Mohawk Racetrack dining room to attend the event and enjoy a wonderful buffet dinner while participating in many draws and a silent auction. In total, a net amount of $4,909.30 was raised for the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS). To view the rest of this story click here.

The Alberta Standardbred Horse Association held its 2014 Yearling Sale on Monday afternoon in Olds, Alberta, and the sale was a huge success -- showing the optimism within the industry that harness racing in the province will be revitalized. A total of 54 yearlings were sold for $646,400, nearly double the total sales amount from 2013 and producing an average price of $11,970 which is approximately 20 percent higher than last year. Last year, the average yearling price was $10,027 selling for a total of $351,000. "We are over the top with excitement with the sales results," said Sales Coordinator Orianna Scheck. "There were some very impressive looking individuals which reflected in the purchase prices. Every yearling that walked in the ring offered something for the buyer. The breeders did an outstanding job in having their yearlings looking great and ready for the ring." Green Rider, Hip 55 was the sale topper with a final bid of $40,000. Green Rider was purchased by SSG Stable and consigned by long-time breeder Dr. Larry Hanson of Emerald Park, Sask. The handsome bay colt is sired by Mach Three and the first foal out of the Presidential Ball mare Prairie Tracker ($265,800 – 1:52.4). Hip 41, Jazzy Jay went to Blair Corbeil and Kelly Hoerdt for $38,000. The beautiful daughter of I Zee was consigned by Meridian Farms and is the fifth foal out of the mare Just Sassy ($269,400 – 1:54.1). The filly is a half sister to Big N Bad ($261,126 – 1:51.3), Just Saucy ($81,621 – 1:54.1) and Ghost Pine ($52,635) who just took a track record of 1:51.3 at Alberta Downs on October 5, 2014. Sudden Storm, Hip 44, rounded out the top three highest priced yearlings of the sale at $30,000 and was purchased by Keith Clark. The colt, bred by Meridian Farms, is sired by Allamerican Navajo and is the first foal out of the Cams Card Shark mare Starring Role ($156,005 – 1:53.4). "I would say that our sale went extremely well. The first few horses were a little light but once we got rolling, they returned very well," ASHA President Norm Kennedy told Trot Insider. "‎It's very very important to get back into the Calgary area (with Century Downs scheduled to open in 2015). Looking around here today, we're seeing some of the former owners back picking up a few more horses than they have in the recent past. "With the new track coming, you can't help but have some enthusiasm." On behalf of Kennedy and the Board of Directors, ASHA would like to thank all the breeders and the Alberta horsemen for showing the resilience they have had during these past few years. ASHA looks forward to a promising harness racing industry going forward.   From the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association 

Jiminey Three was the 2014 Forest City Yearling Sale topper with a final bid of $85,000 on Sunday at the newly renovated Agriplex at Western Fair District in London, Ont. Selling as Hip 65, Jiminey Three was purchased by Gaston Bibeau of Sorel Tracy, Que. Consigned by agent Preferred Equine, the filly is sired by Mach Three out of the The Panderosa mare Disneypan and is a full sister to Adventurepan ($136,700 - 1:55.2). She is also a half-sibling of No Pan Intended offspring Tomorrowpan ($546,291 - 1:52), Frontier Pan ($308,309 - 1:51.1) and Fantasy Pan ($224,050 - 1:54). Ganacus Seelster, Hip 29, was purchased for $68,000 from the Seelster Farms consignment by agent David Menary of Rockton Ont. The colt is from the first crop of sire Big Jim and is the first foal out of the Dragon Again mare Goddesss Princess, who is a half-sister to the likes of Goddesss Justin ($451,482 - 1:49.4), Michaels Western ($403,288 - 1:51), Jacobs Western ($385,228 - 1:52), Allies Western ($306,245 - 1:51.2) and Justins Western ($297,037 - 1:52). To view the rest of this story click here. Upset winner in Rideau Carleton feature Dewey Beach pulled off an upset victory in the featured $6,500 Winners Over Handicap Pace on Sunday night at Rideau Carleton Raceway as he headed favourite Beach Runner A M at the wire. Dewey Beach paid $19.60 to win as an 8-1 longshot in the nine-horse field. Web Cam fired across the track from post eight to establish the lead through a :27.1 opening quarter with Beach Runner A M dropping in behind and Dewey Beach getting away third. Web Cam was a dominant leader though the half in :55.3. To view the rest of this story click here. Wire-to-wire for Schooner at Inverness Schooner led Inverness Raceway's top pacers from start to finish in the Sunday afternoon feature race for the second week in a row. The son of American Ideal was driven by Alex MacQuarrie and the duo went wire-to-wire in 1:58 flat in the $1,000 Winners Over Pace. Jackson County, Bonny Mac and Surrealist completed the short field while Imbadimnationwide was scratched sick. To view the rest of this story click here. Repeat win for Russian Kisses at Flamboro Russian Kisses ($3.90) earned back-to-back wins in the $10,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 2 Pace at Flamboro Downs as driver/owner Robert Shepherd sent the outside assignee down the road from post six in a 1:55.1 mile Sunday night Russian Kisses, trained by Isabelle Darveau, was the favourite after posting a four and a half length victory in the same class last Sunday. The winning margin was two lengths this time with After Alimony following in second and Windsong Glamorous finishing back in third. The daughter of Badlands Hanover has earned 14 of her 18 wins during her four-year-old campaign while banking $77,362 in purses. Vernon Cochrane's Ding ($7) retook the lead at the quarter pole and went on to win in the $7,000 Preferred 3 for fillies and mares in 1:57.4. Travis Henry drove the four-year-old Art Major mare, who prevailed by three-quarters of a length over early leaver Shellace and the pylon-skimming Topanga Canyon. To view the rest of this story click here. Five straight for First Class Horse at Alberta Hall of Fame horseman Keith Clark's promising two-year-old pacing colt First Class Horse streaked to his fifth straight victory during Sunday's stakes action at Alberta Downs. Sunday's card featured two $10,000 ASHA Colt Stakes for two-year-old pacers as well as a pair of $10,000 Alberta Sires Stakes Maverick eliminations for three-year-olds. First Class Horse won the opening ASHA division, sweeping around early leaver Urcutoff (Brandon Campbell) after the opening quarter and going on to score in 1:55.2 with his final quarter clocked in :28.4. Urcutoff finished two and a half lengths behind and Cool Cowboy (Gerry Hudon) rounded out the top three finishers over nine lengths back. Clark trains and owns the Western Terror-Susurrus colt, now five-for-six with $23,145 in the bank, with partners Robert Jones of Slave Lake, Alta. and Doris McDougall of Cochrane, Alta. To view the rest of this story click here.

Trainer/driver Jamie Gray swept both Alberta Sires Stakes Marquis eliminations with three-year-old pacing fillies Mothers Melody and Eliseuinthedust during Saturday afternoon's harness racing card at Alberta Downs, which also featured freshmen in a pair of ASHA Filly Stakes. In the first of two the $10,000 ABSS eliminations, Mothers Melody sat seventh for most of the mile before storming home on the far outside in :28.1 for the 1:56.3 triumph to deliver on her pari-mutuel promise. She prevailed by half a length over Smilys Amira (Tyler Redwood), with Nighttraintovegas (Brandon Campbell) finishing over four lengths back in third. Pacesetter Make Three Wishes crossed the wire 10 lengths in arrears after leading through fractions of :28, :57.3 and 1:27. Gray shares ownership of Mothers Melody with Neil Malloch. The Camystic filly also won her eliminations of the Alberta Princess and Diamond legs before finishing third in each of those finals. She is also an ASHA Filly Stakes winner and is five-for-13 in her debut year with $34,911 in purse earnings. To view the rest of this story click here. Training triple for Sparling at Northside Downs Greg Sparling enjoyed a training triple at Northside Downs and added to his successful Saturday also driving John Hawco trainee Boknows Momngranny to victory in the afternoon's top class. Boknows Momngranny went wire-to-wire in the $1,100 feature pace, winning in 1:58.2 by more than one length over favourites Junebugs Baby and Silver Dragon. The victory was the 100th of Hawco's career and 11th of the season for the seven-year-old Bo Knows Jate gelding, who is owned by Thomas Hawco Jr. of Sydney, N.S. Sparling also drove Saturday winners Elm Grove Harley and Tymal Torrance from his stable. In addition, Island Reactor picked up her second straight win for the Sydney, N.S. horseman with John Kennedy catch-driving. Forest City Sale underway Sunday The Forest City Sale, Canada's premier sale for Standardbred yearlings, gets underway this weekend at Western Fair District in London, Ontario. Held in the newly renovated Agriplex, the sale will start at 12 noon on Sunday. The yearlings are available for inspection beginning Saturday, October 11 at 10 a.m. The yearling video theatre will be available in the Agriplex lobby beginning Saturday and will be available during the sale on Sunday. As well, a live webcast of the sale will be broadcast on the website The 149 yearlings include offerings from first crops sires Big Jim (9), Manofmanymissions (7), Roll With Joe (1), Up The Credit (5), and Vintage Master (8). Bruce Allen Kemp passes at 85 Bruce Allen Kemp, a founding member of the Quinte Driving and Riding Club, passed away at the Trent Valley Lodge Nursing Home, Trenton on Thursday, September 25 at the age of 85. Son of the late Harry and Evelyn Kemp (nee Wessels). Beloved husband and best friend of 66 years to Doreen Kemp (nee Johnston). Loving father to Sharon Wark (Howie), Joanne West (John), Cathy Clarke (Ron) and Julie Alexander (Steve). Missed by grandchildren Tracey Allin (Chris), Bradley West (Carrie), Trisha Sizer (Brad), Travis Clarke (Kristie), Karlie and Dakota Alexander and six great-grandchildren. Predeceased by brother Jack Kemp and brother-in-law Jerry Johnston. Survived by sister-in-laws Marg McPherson and Joan Tuck (late Ernie). Bruce’s passion was standardbred horses. He owned, trained and drove horses in and around Belleville for many years. In keeping with Bruce’s wishes, cremation has taken place. A memorial service was held at the Belleville Cemetery Columbarium Wall on Thursday, October 2. For online condolences, please visit the John R. Bush Funeral Home website at

Dapper Dude left well for early position and prevailed off a ground-saving trip in the $34,000 Preferred Pace featured on Saturday night's harness racing card at Mohawk Racetrack. Driver Randy Waples hustled Dapper Dude off the gate from post six to establish the early lead over the popular inside starter Dovuto Hanover (Sylvain Filion), but Apprentice Hanover (Chris Christoforou) was parked out and drove on to claim the leading role past the :26.4 first quarter mark. Down the backstretch, 3-5 favourite Dovuto Hanover made his move and edged by Apprentice Hanover at the midway mark in :54.2. He cleared to command and raced to three-quarters in 1:22.1 while Duc Dorleans (Phil Hudon) tipped out from fourth and fanned wide as Apprentice Hanover popped back out of the pocket spot. To view the rest of this story click here. Travis Cullen trainees 1-2 at Alberta Travis Cullen's trainees Feelin Flush and Sing Like An Angel dominated this week's $8,400 Fillies & Mares Open Pace at Alberta Downs, finishing first and second in the Saturday feature for the 22-year-old horseman. G Ts Selene and driver Bill Tainsh Jr. tried to go wire-to-wire, leading the six-horse field through fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:27, but had to settle for third after the Cullen mares swept by down the stretch. Feelin Flush, the overwhelming 1-5 favourite, kicked home in :27.1 off a three-hole trip to prevail by more than three lengths. Sing Like An Angel and Philip Giesbrecht circled up from last, briefly catching cover from her stablemate, on her way to securing the runner-up honours. To view the rest of this story click here.

Alberta Downs was forced to cancel its harness racing card for Saturday, September 27. Heavy rain and cold weather resulted in a heavy racetrack this morning causing a delay to the start of the card and the eventual cancellation. Saturday's scheduled Alberta Sires Stakes Stardust divisions for two-year-old pacing fillies will be held as special non-betting races prior to the Sunday, September 28 race card. Post time for the two-year-old filly stakes are 12:50 p.m. and 1 p.m., followed by the live betting card at 1:15 p.m. Qualifiers on Sunday will be re-scheduled at 12:00 noon, 15 minutes earlier than usual. Leamington Track Record Tied Northern Ontario trainer Joanne Pond may have had some setbacks in her life, but racing Saturday afternoon at Leamington Raceway provided her with a positive outlook many trainers could only dream to achieve. Ms. Pond sent three horses to the post, and made three trips to the winner's circle, including one with a new Leamington track record co-holder. The star of the afternoon was Tendtowin, a No Pan Intended-Garden Gate Creme gelding who equalled the pacing standard winning the $5,000 Preferred 3 in 1:57.2. Owned by the Seaspray Stables Ltd. of Nanaimo, B.C., the four-year-old came off the pace to win, going away by five and a quarter lengths. The win was the eighth in 14 starts this year for Tendtowin, who has over $45,000 in the bank. Pond's other two winners included Tentowind's younger full brother Sea Star (1:58.2), a three-year-old gelding also owned by Seaspray Stables, and a good-looking Western Ideal-Fashion Week two-year-old filly, High Fashion Mel (2:00.1), now undefeated in three starts for Stephan Pryjma of Whitby, Ont. All three winners were driven by Alfie Carroll, who had a total of four winning drives on the 10-race card. Dixieland Band sets track mark at Northside Downs Two-year-old pacing colt Dixieland Band defeated divisional point leader J J Romeo in a track record performance during their final preliminary leg of the Atlantic Sires Stakes on Saturday afternoon at Northside Downs. Dixieland Band left from post five in his $7,460 "A" division and carved out fractions of :29.4, :59.1 and 1:28.3 en route to the 1:58.1 triumph, with favourite J J Romeo following four lengths behind off a pocket trip. Bngs Express trailed 12 lengths back in third. The winning time was not only a personal best for Dixieland Band, but also lowered the track record for two-year-old pacing colts. Rancousy held the former colt mark of 1:59.3, although the overall male record of 1:57.1 is held by gelding Dumas Walker. To view the rest of the story click here.   

Stoney Durkin ($10.90) established a new track record at Leamington Raceway on Sunday, pacing the mile in 1:57.2. Mark Williams sent the five-year-old Whosurboy gelding to the front and made every post a winning one, hitting the half in :58.2 and pacing home in :59 seconds flat. Breeder Larry Fitzsimmons trains and shares ownership of Stoney Durkin with William Durkin of Sparta, Ont. The track record was overshadowed by the performance of Donnie Rankin, who won six of the 10 races on the afternoon card. Rankin started the day with three in a row, including his own Jet Black ($3.40) in 2:00.3, Danny William ($13.30) in 1:59.4 for owner Kevin Gillis of Windsor, Ont., and back with his own Hoo Rah ($2.90) in 2:04.2. He also won back-to-back races with Brother John ($2.80) in 2:00.1 and Keaton ($2.80) in 1:58.2 for Windsor's George Robinson and took the finale with his own pacer Memory In Motion ($3.90) in 1:59.4. Next week, Rankin puts his announcing skills to the test, as he attempts to show how easy it is to call a harness race. Leamington would like to extend a special thank you to the Ontario Harness Horse Association for their "jog a horse" program, where kids and adults alike get to experience what it is like to perform on the track. Racing continues for the next five weekends at Leamington with post times Saturday and Sunday 1:30 p.m. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Leamington Raceway. (With files from Leamington Raceway) Blue Eyed Cowboy ropes in win at Alberta Heavy favourite Blue Eyed Cowboy came flying by in the stretch to win the $20,000 Alberta Standardbred Horse Association Colt Stakes in a career-best 1:52 performance on Sunday afternoon at Alberta Downs. Bill Tainsh Jr. drove the stakes winner for owner/trainer Rod Starkewski of Lamont, Alta. Comes Home First (Jim Marino) was the first to get a call, leaving from post five and sprinting the opening quarter in :26.4. As he headed down the backstretch, Sonic Spark (Travis Cullen) swept to command whileBlue Eyed Cowboy -- away sixth from post three in the full field of 10 -- flushed out Ghost Pine (Brandon Campbell). Ghost Pine quickly surged to command, clearing just past the :56.1 half-mile mark while Blue Eyed Cowboy was left uncovered and stalled three and a half lengths off the lead. To read the rest of this story click here.  Allstar Seelster handles hike in class Three-year-old pacer Allstar Seelster stepped up to win the $11,000 Preferred 2 for horses and geldings on Sunday night at Flamboro Downs. Fresh off a victory last week at the Preferred 3 level, Jack Darling's Allstar Seelster turned back first over challenger Adkins Hanover and held off the pocket-pulling Brocks Fortune for the neck victory in 1:54. Mike Saftic drove the son of Artistic Fella to his fourth win of the season in 12 starts. Tendtowin finished two lengths behind in third. Russian Kisses earned her first win back in Ontario after sweeping the Spud Island Classic in Charlottetown, P.E.I. with a 1:55 score in the $11,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 2 in 1:55 for owner/driver Robert Shepherd and trainer Isabelle Darveau. She now has 11 victories in 27 starts this year. To read the rest of the story click here.  Web Cam notches fourth straight at Rideau Web Cam continued his Rideau Carleton Raceway reign and is now a perfect four-for-four racing against the Ottawa oval's top pacers. Assigned post six in this week's $6,500 Winners Over Handicapped Pace, 3-5 favourite Web Cam ($3.30) hustled to the front of the seven-horse field off the gate and led all the way through fractions of :27, :56.3 and 1:25.1 en route to the 1:54.1 triumph. He held off the pocket-pulling Beach Runner A M by a head while Chasin Racin edged out Onyx V A three and a half lengths behind for third-place. Web Cam is a seven-year-old Astreos-Rudy Cam gelding -- a half-brother to Canadian Pacing Derby champion Modern Legend. To read the rest of the story click here. Mach Wheel wins first out for new connections Mach Wheel was victorious in his Truro Raceway debut on Sunday afternoon, taking the top class for his new connections and ending Oakmont's win streak. Leaving from outside his five rivals in the $1,275 Winners Over Pace, Mach Wheel took over command at the half and cruised home to a three length triumph in 1:55.3 over the "good" track with a two second variant. Oakmont, who was riding a three-race win streak, was forced to settle for second-place honours and Sf Razamatazz finished third. The six-year-old Mach Three gelding was a recent addition to the Darren Crowe stable and is owned by Nova Scotia connections Roy Springett of Windsor, Robert Siteman of Valley, William Shearer of Brookfield and Donald Charles Smith of Brookside. To view the rest of the story click here. Breaker rebounds to win at St. John's Three-year-old pacing colt Son Of Rocknroll recovered from an early break in stride to win the NLSBA Stake Invitational on Sunday at St. John's Racing and Entertainment Centre. Trained and driven by local horseman Daniel Williams, Son Of Rocknroll made up his 12 length deficit to defeat pacesetter Salmonier Storm by half a length in 2:05.2 in the $1,200 non-wagering race. The Rocknroll Hanover-Village Blush colt has now won six of his 11 starts in his sophomore year. Two-year-old fillies Force Of Grey and Silverhill Legacy were a distant third and fourth to complete the field. To view the rest of this story click here. Salute is best at Inverness Raceway Salute became the third different winner in Inverness Raceway's Invitational series on Sunday afternoon. Salute fought off favourite Junebugs Baby to win the $2,500 third leg of the series by three-quarters of a length in 1:56.4. Pocket-sitter Bonnys Mac rounded out the top three finishers over two lengths behind. Redmond Doucet trains and drives the nine-year-old gelding for the Ruth Shannon Stable of Port Hawkesbury, N.S. The victory was Salute's fourth and fastest this year from 15 starts and followed up a fourth and fifth-place finish in the previous divisions. To view the rest of the story click here.

Charlottetown Driving Park hosted a double-header of PEI Colt Stakes on Saturday with the two-year-olds featured during the afternoon card and three-year-olds front and center in the evening. Gilles Barrieau, Clare MacDonald and Mike Stevenson each won three of the stakes divisions, which ranged in purses of $5,400 to $6,300. Barrieau pulled off the biggest upset of the day when he catch-drove Landed Alien to a 1:57.4 triumph, converting from the pocket to defeat heavy favourite Lovineveryminute at odds of 11-1. Jackie Matheson trains the sophomore filly, who earned her first stakes victory and a new lifetime mark. Barrieau also drove two-year-old winners Dixeland Band (1:59) for trainer Kevin MacLean and filly Jann Down (1:59.3) for trainer Stephen Mason. To view the rest of the story click here. Emotional win at Kawartha Downs It was an emotional night at Kawartha Downs tonight for the Boyd family, who buried family patriarch Ross Boyd this afternoon. They then travelled to the track to watch grandson Nick record two victories on the card including one with a horse he owns and trains. Boyd went gate-to-wire with his own colt, two-year-old Rise Against, who won in 1:58.3. Boyd, of Guelph, Ont., also trains the youngster, who was notching his first lifetime win in just two starts. Boyd was also in the winner’s circle following the third race thanks to a 1:57.2 effort by Lucky Regal. “We buried my grandpa this afternoon and tonight down the lane it was like he was helping me across the wire,” Nick said following the win. To view the rest of this story click here.  Accident mars Alberta stakes Mothers Melody and Shark Festival were victorious in the $10,000 Alberta Standardbred Horse Association Filly Stakes for three-year-olds on Saturday afternoon at Alberta Downs, but the final division was marred by an accident at the top the stretch. Charismatic Art (J.F. Gagne) was leading the fillies around the final turn in the second division when she broke stride causing interference to Rummys Command (Jim Marino) in behind and Blue Star Escape (Kelly Hoerdt), who fell in the backfield. The rest of the field was able to get around the breaker with Shark Festival (Keith Clark) closing off cover for the 1:56.3 victory. Favourite Rollin Deep (Travis Cullen) finished one and a quarter length behind in second with Great Desire (Philip Giesbrecht) back in third. Marino was up on his feet quickly after being dumped from the sulky. Hoerdt told Trot Insider he was doing okay after the race, but headed to hospital to have his left ankle x-rayed. Both drivers booked off their remaining assignments after the 10th race accident. To view the rest of this story click here. Hat Trick for Sparling at Leamington Hockey season may not have started yet, but Rob Sparling Jr. scored three wins on the Saturday afternoon card at Leamington Raceway. Starting in the third race with an impressive two-year-old Bettors Delight filly, Passion Delight ($3.70), "Spar" made it look easy, winning in 2:04.3 over the "good" track for trainer Andrew McCabe and owner Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Guelph-Eramosa, Ont. The time of the mile was a track record for freshman fillies. His next win with DS Surprise ($4.10) wasn't so easy as he battled tooth and nail with St Lads Top Model and Alfie Carroll, ending up in a dead-heat for win in 2:00.3. DS Surprise is owned by Archie and Janice McEachern of Alvinston, Ont., with Janice handling the training chores. Sparling's third win was memorable as well, as he drove three-year-old filly Blissfullannmarie ($25.10) to a maiden win in 2:04 for trainer Catharine Gaudreau and owner Don Wilkins of Bothwell, Ont. With the 2014 election campaign just underway, Lakeshore mayor Tom Bain didn't need the winner's circle platform to announce his candidacy as no one in Lakeshore dare run against the popular mayor. Still, he was in the winner's circle with his trainee Wallet Sniffer, catch-driven by Alex Lilley for owner Don McMurren of South Woodslee, Ont. and parked the mile in 2:02.3. The handle for the Saturday afternoon card was $9,153. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Leamington Raceway. (With files from Leamington Raceway)

Bestinthebusiness proved to be the best on Sunday evening at Flamboro Downs, winning the $11,000 Preferred 2 Pace for horses and geldings. Leaving from post seven, Bestinthebusiness ($14.80) out-sprinted outside assignee Adkins Hanover to the lead during a :26.4 opening panel. He continued on to the half in :55.4 and three-quarters in 1:25 and then cruised home for the 1:54.3 triumph. Adkins Hanover followed one length behind while the hard-charging Tendtowin rallied wide from the backfield to show. Ryan Holliday was the winning driver behind the six-year-old Another Mile gelding, who is trained by Stephen Davis and owned and bred by the Mighican-based Brett Boyd Racing Inc. Eat Me Up ($14.50) left from outside her five rivals and went wire-to-wire to win the $10,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 2 in 1:56.3 with Insincerity following two and a half lengths behind from the pocket and Shellace rounding out the top three finishers. Bob McClure steered the five-year-old Mach Three mare down the road for trainer Richard Moreau and owner L. David Ratchford of North Sydney, N.S. To view the rest of this story click here. Wire to wire victory for Oakmont at Truro Oakmont went wire-to-wire to win the top class at Truro Raceway for the third consecutive week during Sunday afternoon's harness racing card. Oakmont held a commanding lead in the $1,275 Winners Over Pace through fractions of :28.1, :57.1 and 1:26 and cruised home for the season's best 1:55.4 triumph with pocket-sitter Sf Razamatazz following one and three-quarter lengths behind under the wire and Electric Syl closing from the back of the five-horse field for third. Danny Romo trains and drove Oakmont for his last two wins -- one of which was a dead-heat -- while Robert Laffin took the lines for Sunday's score. Oakmont now has six wins in 15 starts this year in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. after a winless seven-race 2013 campaign in Ontario. The seven-year-old I Am A Fool gelding is owned by Grayland Farm of Pugwash, N.S. To view the rest of the story click here. Johnny Gun shoots his way to Alberta win Two-year-old pacing colt Johnny Gun won the fastest of the three Alberta Sires Stakes Lonestar divisions on Sunday afternoon at Alberta Downs while Darryl Cutting trainees Pablos First and undefeated Urcutoff were victorious in the other races. The Sires Stakes divisions carried purses ranging from $16,800 to $17,100. Favourite Johnny Gun ($3.40) was first up and first home to equal his lifetime mark of 1:56.2 in Sunday's middle split. Johnny Gun and driver Travis Cullen settled off the pace in sixth place from post five and began to chip away at their 14-length deficit after the :27.1 opening panel. They advanced into second by the half in :59.4 and took over command from Chillinlikeavillin (Kelly Hoerdt) approaching the final turn. Johnny Gun then began to open up on top by the 1:28 third quarter station and extended that lead to fourth lengths as he kicked home in :28.2 to secure the victory. Withflyingcolours (Keith Clark) finished second off a pocket trip while early trailer Senga Shaganappi (Ryan Grundy) followed the winner's cover and finished third. To view the rest of the story click here. Make it two straight for Carrera Angel at Summerside Carrera Angel made it back-to-back victories taking the Sunday feature race for the second week in a row at Red Shores Summerside. The time of the mile was 1:59 flat. Owner/driver Rocky Schurman hustled the nine-year-son of Camluck off the gate to the lead into the turn and then released Say It Again Sam (Jason Hughes) en route to the opening quarter in :28-seconds flat. Carrera Angel tracked the pacesetter through splits of :58.3 and 1:28.4 before unleashing a powerful finishing kick to notch his fifth score from 18 starts this season. Cambest Kisser (Kenny Arsenault) found racing room in the stretch to finish second with Van Zant (Ron Matheson) rallying late to complete the triactor. Action O So Royal edged out Paphos to claim the Peter Coughlin Memorial in 1:59. Brian MacPhee did the driving for owner/trainer Wayne Pike of Winsloe, P.E.I. MacPhee came right back in the next race with Jarretts Jet to record a driving double. Garth Cole was the winning trainer. Bakardi Arti posted the fastest mile of the afternoon going right to his lifetime mark of 1:56.4 for Walter Cheverie, trainer Jonah Moase and owners Neal Moase of Cornwall, P.E.I. and Heather Neill of North Milton, P.E.I. Driver Todd Walsh enjoyed a great weekend competing in the Billings Driving Challenge. The Charlottetown resident won another division of the Billings with In Cahoots for owner Leon Stewart of Summerside, P.E.I. Jason Hughes, Walter Cheverie and Kenny Arsenault also recorded driving doubles on the program. From Red Shores  

Undefeated two-year-old pacing filly Fire Watch streaked to a new lifetime mark of 1:56.4 in the Alberta Sires Stakes Stardust leg on Saturday afternoon at Alberta Downs. My Villas On Fire won the first of the two $24,300 Stardust divisions in an identical time of 1:56.4, picking up her first stakes victory for trainer/driver Jamie Gray. Leaving from the outside post six, favourite Outlaw Smartypants and Philip Giesbrecht controlled the pace and led the fillies through panels of :29, :58.2 and 1:27 without facing any challengers until the stretch drive. Down the lane, Cam Finish and Keith Clark pulled the pocket while Gray rolled My Villas On Fire out wide from third with the latter sweeping by for a career-best triumph. Cam Finish followed two and a half lengths behind and Outlaw Smartypants finished third. My Villas On Fire paid $12.50 as the 5-1 fourth choice in the field. The Blue Burner-My Villa filly is owned by breeder Diane Bertrand and Robert Gilhespy, both of Edmonton, Alta. She earned her second win in five pari-mutuel starts. To view the rest of the story click here. MHHI Mares Stake at Killarney Smoky Moon completed a sweep of the elimination and final of the MHHI Mares Stake at Killarney on Saturday for the hot-handed Don Howlett and trainer Richard Rey. Favourite Smoky Moon and Howlett pulled the pocket in Saturday's $3,000 final to take over the lead from Down Home Stylish and Richard Remillard after the half and cruised home to a two length victory in 2:02. Gottaluckydeal, in rein to Cory Manning, came on for second and Real Pretty, driven by George Isman, finished third over Down Home Stylish. Rey trains the four-year-old Fort Apache mare, who earned her third win in five starts on the Manitoba circuit this year, for Winnipeg, M.B. owners Trevor and Michael Williams. To read the rest of the story click here. All Turain takes Chippin Memorial Defending champion All Turain ($7.60) fought off favourite D Gs Camme to win this year's $7,000 Jennie & Joe Chippin Memorial Pace and close out an action-packed Saturday card of harness racing at Fredericton Raceway. Driver Mike Stevenson and All Turain left from post three in the featured finale and were on top through fractions of :27.2, :57.2 and 1:25.3 while D Gs Camme and Gilles Barrieau applied heavy pressure and edged out in front. However, All Turain battled back down the stretch to prevail in 1:55.2 by a quarter-length. Joseph Michael (Todd Trites) edged out Modern Xhibit (Dale Spence) for third and Schooner (Clare MacDonald) completed the field. Wade Sorrie trains the five-year-old Tell All gelding, who is now six-for-nine on the year, for owners Lee Hicken of Charlottetown, P.E.I. and Perry Burke of Grosse-Ile, Que. All Turain earned his 22nd career win while making his 70th start and bumped his bankroll to $84,917. To view the rest of the story click here. Hawco Stable has triple at Northside Downs Boknows Momngranny wrapped up a perfect Saturday afternoon at Northside Downs for trainer John Hawco with a repeat win in the top class. The Hawco stable went three-for-three on the 11-dash card beginning with Melissa Hawco's homebred sophomore colt Gigolos Boozer scoring a maiden-breaking 2:03.4 triumph in the opener and Melissa and Kortney Hawco's seven-year-old gelding Lils Destiny taking the eighth race in 1:59.3 -- both in rein to Colin Kelly. Two races later, Boknows Momngranny overcame an outside post seven start in the featured $1,100 Winners Over Pace and romped to a two and a half length triumph in 1:57.3 with Greg Sparling at the lines. The seven-year-old gelding is owned by Thomas Hawco Jr. Silver Dragon came on for second while pocket-sitter Putnams Power finished third. To read the rest of the story click here.

Who Doesnt continued to dominate Alberta Downs's Open pacers as he romped to his eighth straight victory in the $8,400 feature on Sunday afternoon. Alberta Downs's leading trainer and driver Travis Cullen shares ownership of the five-year-old Mach Three gelding with Jeanne, Kenneth and Jodie Cullen, all of Glenboro, M.B. Leaving from his assigned outside post, Alberta's hottest pacer Who Doesnt crossed over in front of his five rivals into a :28.1 opening quarter before taking a second quarter breather to the half in :58.3. He began to pick up the pace and open up on the lead as he raced to three-quarters in 1:26.1 and took off down the stretch to win by six and a quarter lengths in 1:54 flat. To view the rest of this story click here.

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