It is the place where dreams begin; it is the place where the top drivers and trainers of the future are born. It is the place where friends become family, and complete strangers become friends. This is the place where many trainers and drivers capture their first victories and dream of making it to the big leagues. These are the “B” tracks. In the communities where these tracks are located, race nights are a time for family, friends, and neighbors to come together to laugh, enjoy each other’s company and create memories; and if they are lucky, maybe even cash a winning ticket or two. The people who race horses here, may not be racing for a million dollars, but to them, their horses are worth just that. Even though they may be racing in a claiming race, they are worth so much more to those that love them. For many fans, it is where they first experienced the thrill of betting and winning. For some owners like myself, it is where we got our first thrill of winning too. Sometimes the trainer may have roles other than just a trainer. They may be the owner, as well as the driver, as well as the caretaker. In some rare cases, they have also bred the horse. I am going to share with you some of my favorite memories which were created at a “B” track. There are many, and all of them mean something to me. Not every horse can race at an “A” track like Mohawk Raceway; that is precisely why there are “B” tracks. “B” tracks provide another place for horses to race and be successful. For example, Sydney Seelster (Pinky) liked the tight turns the smaller tracks have, in addition to the speed being a little more manageable for her. This was discovered after we tried racing her once at Mohawk Raceway and once at Woodbine, in both races she tried her very best, came fifth in one of those starts but she definitely raced more competitively on the “B” tracks. The majority of my experiences as an owner came from racing at Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, and Grand River Raceway- all “B” tracks. When Pinky won her first race for me on a Saturday afternoon, at Flamboro Downs, I felt like I had won a stakes race. I cried tears of joy. It is because of a “B” track my dream of being a winning owner came true. It is where my adventure with Pinky begins. It is the place where I discovered the thrill of being an owner. Every track has their big day; their day to shine. It could be holding a stakes race or a track’s opening day for the season. This is one aspect of the sport which unites both “A” and “B” tracks. Whatever the occasion or event is, the ‘little’ tracks always make the occasion a big deal. I look forward to attending these special events and I do my best not to miss one. Every year on the holiday Monday in August, Grand River Raceway, in Elora, hosts an annual event celebrating the harness racing industry in the province of Ontario. The day is called Industry Day. The day features the finals of the Battle of Waterloo for Ontario-sired colts and the Battle of the Belles for Ontario- sired fillies. The Industry Day of 2011 was my first time attending Industry Day. It is also the first time I recall going to another track other than Mohawk Raceway. Walking through the grandstand, I marveled at the new sights, it is a bee hive of activity. The atmosphere is lively and the passion is remarkable. That day, driving stars Scott Zeron and Doug McNair were there to take pictures with fans, so I got mine taken with them. That was a highlight for me. The races were fast paced and action packed. The crowd was passionate and excited. There was clapping and cheering. The atmosphere was celebratory and made an impression on me. Many memories were made that day, and I will cherish them always. Since that Industry Day, I have attended every one. Like many people, going to Industry Day has become a tradition for me, and I look forward to going every summer. In the summer of 2012, I made the journey to Hanover Raceway for the Dream of Glory Stake and the fireworks which followed the races. It was time for me to experience another track. Hanover Raceway was a charming track. It was not fancy but that is what makes Hanover Raceway so special. The Dream of Glory may not be the most celebrated stakes race, but for fans in the small town of Hanover, they look forward to it every year. I was honored to be asked to present the trophy. After the races finished, everyone was anticipating the fireworks. The firework show was mesmerizing. To add to the colorful spectacle, snow-like flakes fell on me, they were ashes from the fireworks. In a strange way, it added charm to the night and was something unique, an experience I will always remember. Flamboro Downs holds the Confederation Cup and I look forward to going every year. It is a day where some of the best horses and drivers come to compete on the same track Pinky did. To think of it like that always makes me smile. I was given the signs which have the names of the horses in the Confederation Cup that are used when assigning post positions. I have the ones from 2015 and 2016 (with the exception of the winner, as that gets displayed). They are something I treasure. I have proudly displayed them in my room. My parents and I visit Flamboro Downs often. We go for dinner, to watch the exciting races and cheer on our friends who are racing. I always enjoy talking with the friendly staff. All levels of staff at Flamboro Downs always makes me feel special. Gary Guy is the announcer for Flamboro, as well as Grand River Raceway and Georgian Downs. He is always sure to give me a shout out when he sees me sitting along the rail. I always feel so special when he does. I appreciate how he takes the time to do that. When Pinky won he always tried to play a song that mentioned pink as Pinky returned to the Winner’s Circle. That made winning even more sweet. Every second-year Clinton Raceway holds an event which is like no other. Legendary drivers including Bill O’Donnell, Ron Waples, and Wally Hennessey, just to name a few, compete in one signature race. Although he did not drive, Keith Waples was also there. Hence, this day is called Legend's Day. The first time my parents and I went, every driver I wished good luck to in post parade won that race. My dad thought I was wearing horseshoes that day. After the Legend's Day race, all of the Legend's went to have a group photo taken. I said hello to Wally Hennessey on his way to get his picture taken. He asked if I could watch his helmet and gloves. I agree and when he returned he gave his gloves and signed them. For the rest of the day, I wore those gloves with such pride. Later that afternoon it rained a lot. While we were taking cover [outside] from the rain, under an overhang at the end of the grandstand, we met a caretaker who had a horse in the last race on the card, we told her how ‘lucky’ I had been with telling drivers good luck. She told me “Trevor Henry is driving my horse is the last race, wish him good luck, and if we happen to win, come out for your picture”. Trevor Henry won that race. The rain was now teeming down. I raced through the rain to the winner’s circle. I was still wearing the gloves given to me by Wally Hennessey. I had to shield the signature from the rain, so the ink would not run. The drive home that afternoon was spent drying out. I was drenched, but it added to the memories from that day. Today, those gloves have dried and are in a safe place for me to cherish. Two years later, I returned to Clinton Raceway for Legend's Day. I had the pleasure of interviewing a few of the legends for a story a friend was doing. He is a journalist and was unable to make it. That was an experience which I was honored to have. This past October I made four-hour journey to Leamington Raceway. My parents thought it would be the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I sat in the backseat, with my iPod and snacks, and we were on the road bound for Leamington Raceway. It was my first time visiting Leamington Raceway. I love to visit new tracks and meet new friends. My dad was excited to be going too because Leamington was one of the few tracks he had not visited either. Before long, we are driving through small towns and countryside, soon we arrived at Leamington Raceway. I stepped out of my car and I was greeted by smiling faces. Then I received an awesome surprise, I was speechless. It was a sign which read “Stop! Parking for Sydney Weaver”. I felt so special, like a celebrity. It was just a small gesture that made my day even more special. I have always believed it is the little things in life that take up the most room in our hearts. That is something "B" tracks have in common. They add little personal touches, that make you feel welcome. For example, at Grand River, when you walk in the front doors, you are greeted by a gentleman, whose name is Tom, in a top hat and tails. He is happy and always smiling. That warm welcome is so special and has a big impact. The grandstand at Leamington was packed with people of all ages, and lots of kids. Everyone was having a grand time. Lawn chairs lined the fence. The day was picture perfect We met up with friends and watched a few races, before being invited to take a tour of the new paddock. While in the paddock I had the opportunity to meet the people who were instrumental in getting the new paddock built. The lovely people of Leamington Raceway were kind and gave me a Leamington Raceway sweater and baseball cap. I helped with on track draws too. Overall it was a fun day, and the day passed quickly. Before I know it, my parents and I are on the road again. This time headed for home. As we drove, we reminisce about the memories that were created. “B” tracks might not be as well-known as the major tracks, but we need to embrace and support them. “B” tracks make our industry what it is. They are the foundation of our industry. It is because of the smaller tracks that major tracks are able to prosper. “B” tracks provide strength and support which is vital to the success of our sport. That is the beauty of a “B” track. Sydney Weaver is 16 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, groom's horses, jogs them on the track, owns both a Standardbred and a Thoroughbred racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.
(February 21, 2017) - HANA Harness is pleased to announce the return of its handicapping challenge to benefit standardbred rescue for its sixth running. The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and Vernon Downs kicks off on Friday, March 17 with the first leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series at Yonkers Raceway, concluding on November 30 with the Progress Stakes at Dover Downs. Wellbourne Farms joins our roster of gold sponsors with this edition of the contest. New to our handicapping roster are Steve Horoky, Megan Maccario, and Terry Wilson who will join the panel of handicappers in battling for handicapping supremacy and their share of the prize pool which now stands at $5,000. Through the prior five iterations, approximately $25,000 has been awarded to deserving rescues. The rules have been changed this year to emphasize a handicapper's overall performance on a daily basis with points being awarded based on their placing each contest day. In addition to awarding prize funds to the rescues of the top three handicappers, a prize will be awarded to the rescue of the handicapper who has the highest net profit in the contest. Rescue assignments will be drawn prior to the contest kick-off. Sponsorship opportunities remain at the Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels. Racetracks, horsemen associations, and other businesses involved in harness racing are welcome to join the current sponsors in doing their part supporting standardbred rescue. For further information concerning sponsorship opportunities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. by Allan Schott, for HANA Harness Racing
Harnesslink’s award winning columnist, Sydney Weaver, is set to go on another world adventure starting this week. Last August it was Ireland and now she’s headed to Australia. Weaver, along with her parents, Lisa and Don, will be enjoying the trip of a lifetime down under, compliments of a host of sponsors making this “dream come true” for the Weaver’s. “I am truly blessed to be going on this trip,” Weaver said. “It’s the trip of a lifetime. It is hard to put into words my excitement, joy and gratitude. Being able to go to Australia is a dream come true!” The sports leading breeders, owners and trainers, many of whom met Sydney for the first time in Ireland, were enchanted by the young women’s enthusiasm for harness racing and her passion to achieve whatever goals she set for herself despite having Cerebral Palsy. Led by Alan Galloway of Alabar Farms, Sydney Weaver and family will be spending three weeks in Australia, sponsored in part by Adam Bowden’s Diamond Creek Farm, A Rocknroll Dance Syndicate, Nevele R Stud, Blue Chip Farm, Pepper Tree Farm (Art Major’s owners), the owners of Auckland Reactor and Joe Bellino and the owners of Rock N Roll Heaven (Pepper Tree Farm and Alabar). "Sydney is a very inspirational person," Said Alabar's Alan Galloway. "When I first met her in Ireland I was just blown away by her enthusiasm for Harness Racing. I just knew we had to help her come down to Australia. This trip will enable her and her parents, Don and Lisa, to see some of the best horses and racing in the World. We can't thank our fellow stallion owners enough for their support as well." Once Sydney arrives in Sydney, the funs gets started right away as she will be attending the $750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle Park in New South Wales this Saturday, February 25. Her trip will also feature attending the APG Sydney Yearling Sales, the Lyn McPherson Memorial Night at Tabcorp Park Melton on March 11, tours of Alabar Farm, the training facilities of Andy Gath and Emma Stewart in Victoria, Aldebaran Park in Victoria plus getting to visit Tanya McDermott, who is the manager of Harness Racing Victoria’s HERO (Harness Education & Rehoming Opportunities) operations. “To think that soon I am leaving on a grand adventure still feels surreal.” Weaver explained. “I have so much to look forward to, but I am most looking forward to meeting new friends and getting to meet those who I have connected with on social media.” Of course, Sydney will be posting daily on her great adventure to Australia. By Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink
TORONTO, February - The classy pacing mare Waasmula found the winner's circle for the first time in 2017 and the 30th time of her harness racing career Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. The nine-year-old daughter of Million Dollar Cam converted off a second-over trip from driver Trevor Henry to win this week's top class for pacing mares in 1:51.3. Friday's victory was extra special for Waasmula, as it was the Bruce Goit trainee's first win since surpassing $1 million in career earnings on January 27th at Woodbine. Bred and owned by Brent Vincent of Allenford, Ontario, Waasmula was making the 131st start of her career Friday and fourth of her nine-year-old season. Last year, she won seven of 28 starts while banking over $293,000. Waasmula has been competing regularly in the top classes for pacing mares on the Woodbine Entertainment circuit since 13 days after capturing the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final for three-year-old pacing fillies back in November of 2011. The Vincent homebred's career totals now sit at 30 wins, $1,016,038 earned and a mark of 1:49.2. She paid $7.30 to win. In recognition of recently surpassing $1 million in career earnings, Waasmula and her connections were presented with a sign from the Woodbine Entertainment Group following her victory Friday. While Waasmula won the $25,000 feature race Friday, leading driver Doug McNair continued to add to his impressive early-season totals. The Guelph, Ontario resident picked up three more victories Friday to give him 47 this season at Woodbine. McNair now has a 26-win lead over nearest rival Louis Philippe Roy, who won two-races Friday. McNair will look to grow his lead on Saturday, as he is scheduled to drive in all 10-races. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie
ELORA, ON - They're the highest ranking officers in Wellington County OPP, but can they outsmart 100 ambitious trivia tricksters? Inspector Scott Lawson, Staff Sgt. Krista Miller, Staff Sgt. Victoria Dawson and Staff Sgt. Dave Sinko will comprise the Pro Team in Grand River Raceway's Grand Trivia Night on February 25. The event is presented in partnership with Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington (CSGW). The top scoring trivia team wins $200, plus a $50 bonus if they beat the Pro Team's tally. Tickets are $25 per person and participants can register in teams of two or four. The ticket price includes 60 trivia questions in three rounds (a mix of general knowledge and true crime trivia), $10 slots voucher (19+), snacks, and HST. A nominal online ticket fee is extra. The event also features a cash bar, Potato Bar and silent auction. CSGW benefits $5 from each ticket, plus all silent auction sales. The trivia showdown takes place in the Lighthouse Restaurant at Grand River Raceway on Saturday, February 25. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., trivia begins at 7:00 p.m. and concludes at 9:30 p.m. A cash bar is available 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Tickets are available by advance sale only, and can be purchased online. Kelly Spencer
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is pleased to release the 'Moving Ahead: Horse Racing Regulation in Ontario' Findings Report. The report presents a summary of the issues, ideas, and thoughts that were brought forward throughout the eight-month engagement process. To view the entire bulletin: Information Bulletin No. 28 : Release of Findings Report - Moving Ahead: Horse Racing Regulation in Ontario Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario www.agco.on.ca
Mississauga, Ont. - Standardbred Canada and Forest City Standardbred Sales Inc. are proud to announce that agreement in principle has been reached to combine the two harness racing yearling sales into one which is scheduled to take place at the Western Fair District Metroland Media Agriplex in London, Ontario on the weekend of October 14th and 15th 2017. The two parties have been in discussions since early December with the focus of creating a high quality event showcasing the best yearlings to our buyers under one roof over two days. Standardbred Canada President and CEO Dan Gall states, "This is a wonderful step forward working with our industry partners to create something special and to promote and showcase our horse racing industry, to not only Ontario but across Canada and North America." Forest City Yearling Sale President and Sales Manager Ann Straatman commented about uniting the two sales, "With fewer yearlings available, it only makes sense to coordinate our efforts to create one sale event for our customers." Heather Reid, Sales Manager of the Standardbred Canada Sale added, "I am looking forward to working with our sellers and Forest City Sales to present a best in class Yearling Sale." The two parties will begin working on further planning immediately. Additional information, for all interested owners and consignors wishing to enter their yearlings into the London Selected Yearling Sale, will be available in the near future. For all additional inquiries please contact: Ann Straatman - 519-319-0650 (email@example.com) Heather Reid - 905-858-3060 x 250 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Guelph, Ontario - Give your horse the best Valentine's Day gift by being the greatest champion for equine welfare that you can be. A full herd of online learners signed up in less than 20 minutes after Equine Guelph announced the official launch of TheHorsePortal.ca. The feedback has been extremely positive for the new online learning community resulting from an innovative industry partnership including ten provincial equestrian federations across Canada. The inaugural courses offered are: 'Equine Welfare - Canada's Code' and 'Equine Biosecurity - Canada's standard'. Students so far say TheHorsePortal.ca is easy to navigate and rave about the wonderful content and interactivity. Horse enthusiasts are coming together from all backgrounds: from just starting out in the industry to facility owners and operators of large and small stables, new horse owners, boarders and professionals committed to life-long learning and staying up to date on the latest advances. Content in the first two short courses has already been reported as very helpful to those considering facility renovations and management practices to optimize their horse's well-being. Learning the basics on Canada's two new national standards imparts important knowledge to make the best informed decisions for the health and welfare of horses. Many of the students who had not heard of the new Equine Code of Practice are quickly realizing its value in evaluating whether changes need to be made or not pertaining to their horse's management. Students of the biosecurity course are finding many simple changes they can make to help protect their horses from infectious disease on and off their property. The course guest speaker, Dr. Alison Moore, Lead Veterinarian, Animal Health & Welfare at Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs was also a contributor to the new National Farm-Level Biosecurity standard for the Equine Sector. Moore is well versed in articulating the reality of biosecurity being more about diligence than difficulty. Moore stresses the importance of having a biosecurity plan and being able to communicate it clearly with every member of the barn community. The herd dynamics are fantastic at TheHorsePortal.ca as "aha" moments are shared, connecting evidenced-based course content to student experience and resulting in practical applications. The discussion forums are full of statements such as, "I didn't know what I didn't know" or "I learned that lesson the hard way" and "I've always done that but I didn't really know why." "This is an online community where science, practical application and discussion come together to facilitate learning," says, Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker. "Students from Equine Guelph have been making a difference âˆ’ the knowledgeable horse owner or caregiver is well equipped to have meaningful proactive discussions with their horse healthcare providers. Equine Guelph looks forward to partnering with the equine industry around the world to bring horse people together to learn about equine welfare and care as a community." Join the herd for the next offerings: 'Equine Welfare - Canada's Code' March 6 - 24 'Equine Biosecurity - Canada's standard' April 10 -28 For more information, go to TheHorsePortal.ca Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions
The partners of OSS Gold and Grand Circuit winner Physicallyinclined are excited to announce they have reached a deal to stand the outstanding harness racing pacer for stud duty in Ontario for 2017. Sired by the great Mach Three, out of the Artsplace mare Artisticallyinclined, Physicallyinclined offers a strong pedigree. His dam, Artisticallyinclined, is a full sister to the O’Brien and multiple stakes winning millionaire Armbro Amoretto. The fastest son of Mach Three standing in Canada, Physicallyinclined trails only Somebeachsomewhere as the second fastest Mach Three stallion in North America. Physicallyinclined set his lifetime mark, in wire to wire fashion from Pp8, winning the 2015 Pepsi North America Cup Consolation by multiple lengths in a sharp mile of 1:49. Physicallyinclined built a strong résumé winning from 20 lifetime starts. He amassed a 40% (8/20) win, an 80% (16/20) top 3 and 95% (18/20) top 5 performance record. He showed world class speed including open and closing quarters of 25.3. He paced in 1:52.4 at Georgian Downs as a 2 year old and 1:53.1 as a 3 year old at the 1/2 mile track in London, showing his versatility on all sized tracks. Physicallyinclined will stand stud at Milverton Equine Reproduction Facility - MERF - and be managed by veteran breeding manager, Doug Nash. Doug has been in the business for 30 years and managed many great stallions during his career at the Glengate and Cantario Farms. When asked about the horse Nash said, "I looked him up and watched some videos. What I saw was a big strong animal with a great gait and speed and power to match. When he arrived at the farm, he looked terrific, in great shape with impeccable conformation. It explained what I saw and read. I've been around great stallions in my time and he has all of the same attributes. I'm excited to see what the future holds." Nash went on to say, "I watched his NA Cup Elimination and honestly he didn't get a good trip and the pace was slow but he still came his own last half in :51.4. There's not many that are capable of that, front or back, forget about adding the slow pace. Then, the next week, he won by multiple lengths over a field full of some very good Grand Circuit horses in the NA Cup Consolation. I only wish he would have been pushed a little more because from what I saw, I think he had much more in the tank." He said everybody involved is eager to get this animal some quality mares and that multiple mare discounts are available. The introductory stud fee for Physicallyinclined has been set at $3,000 CDN. For additional information please contact Doug directly by phone at (519) 573-5804 or via email at email@example.com.
LONDON, Ontario, February 11, 2017 -- Longtime local horseman Ross Battin and pacing mare Nadia Can Go were the headliners at tonight's awards banquet at The Raceway at Western Fair District which celebrated the best on and off the track over the past harness racing season. Ross Battin has had many honours over the years at the London, Ontario racetrack. He topped the drivers' standings on four occasions, was named horseman of the year in 1992 and was inducted to the track's Wall of Fame in 2010. Ross has won the Lampman Cup, which recognizes the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program a record seven times. Tonight he added another honour as he was presented with the Walltyme award which is given annually by Dave Wall's stable and recognizes outstanding service to the industry. Nadia Can Go was crowned the 2016 Horse of the Year. The now five-year-old daughter of Major In Art put together an impressive winning streak at The Raceway from February 17 to April 20 during which time she was undefeated through eight races. Heather Toll trains Nadia Can Go for owner Brydown Farms of Clinton, Ontario. The other award winners who were revealed this evening were caretaker of the year, which was won by Laurie Hicks, and the Ruth Herbert Horsewoman of the Year which went to Sue McNeight. The complete list of award winners is as follows: Older Pacing Horse - Irvine James Older Pacing Mare - Nadia Can Go Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt - Overthinkenit Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly - Uptown Woman Older Trotting Horse - Raising Richard Older Trotting Mare - Daylon Mermaid Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt - On The Ridge Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly - Shes All Muscle Claiming Pacer - Mighty Mouse Claiming Trotter - Jimoris Tigeress Driver - Alfie Carroll Trainer - Vic Puddy Owner - Keith Cassell Caretaker - Laurie Hicks Walltyme 'Outstanding Service' - Ross Battin Ruth Herbert 'Horsewoman' - Sue McNeight Horse of the Year - Nadia Can Go Greg Blanchard
James W. “Doc” Johnson M.D., 82, of Knightstown passed away Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at Middletown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He was born January 16, 1934 in West Williams, Canada, the son of the late John and Catherine Johnson. James was a physician for 38 years and was a Standardbred owner and breeder who loved to attend horse races. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus 4th degree, American and Ontario Medical Associations, United States Trotting Association and St Rose Catholic Church of Knightstown. James was also a longtime director for the Indiana Standardbred Association. “Doc” owned horses for 56 years. He bought his first horse shortly after graduating from medical school. A 56 year career in horse ownership needs to be described in eras. Ontario (1960’s & 1970’s) Doc’s first horse was trained by neighbor and family friend, Murray Mackey. Doc often commented on Murray’s work ethic as a dairy farmer. He thought very highly of Murray’s horsemanship, and thought Murray would have been a heck of a horseman if he had chosen it as his primary vocation. Most of Doc’s horses in the era were handled by another local horseman and friend, Bill Woodburn. Similar to Murray, Bill (and his father Lyle) were very good horsemen and devoted full-time farmers. If the horses needed to leave the local racetracks of London, Clinton, Goderich, or Dresden, they were handled by Fred and Shelley Goudreau on the Windsor/Hazel Park/Detroit Race Course circuit. Michigan and Ohio (1970’s) Doc and his good friend Don McIlmurray were inseparable in this era. They really had a lot of laughs together. They had some good luck together as well. Star Blend ($301,825) and Merrimac Hanover ($308,621) were products of this era. Doc was always impressed with Don’s ability, and creativity, in hanging up a trotter. Ontario (1980’s) Gerald Aiken, Mike Kostor, and Ray Ramsey handled Doc’s horses during this time period. Gerald Aiken developed J R Bright ($219,357), and Ray Ramsey developed Ellies Rebel ($104,679) and Classic Crystal ($83,526). While Gerald did a lot of driving prior to his health issues, Mike and Ray helped introduce Doc to the era of the catch driver. Special thanks to favorite drivers Terry Kerr and Bill Gale. Michigan (1990’s) Ted Taylor handled the raceway horses, and Kelly Goodwin handled the colts during this time period. Kelly developed Harbortown North ($156,548), which was one of Doc’s all-time favorites. Indiana Some people retire to warmer climates, but Doc retired to Indiana to be with the horses. Outside of family and friends, the horse business was Doc’s passion and he wanted to spend his free time enjoying his passion. Doc had a special way with the horses. They enjoyed him as much as he enjoyed them. Thankfully, Joe Putnam was there to help Doc enjoy his remaining years in the horse business. Joe was both friend and partner to Doc. They had a lot of fun and success together. Some of the better known horses campaigned by them on the Indiana circuit included BL Kidswillbekids ($169,082), Jim’s Lucky ($101,611) and California Joe ($117,875). Doc often commented on how Joe has many of the best qualities of the aforementioned trainers and drivers all rolled into one. Good horsemanship, patience, common sense, business sense, and competitive spirit were qualities Doc admired in Joe. Joe was like a son to Doc. Doc was able to develop some great friendships in the business, but his time in Indiana was special. He was able to immerse himself in his passion. Special thanks to Dwayne and Imy Rhule, Dianne Branham, Karl Miller, Devon Beachey, Jim Smith, Jacob Smith, Trent Stohler, and the late Dave Stohler, and all the other folks that have been at the farm over the years that called Doc friend. While Doc had some very nice horses over his 56 years in the business, he never had the pleasure of owning a truly dominant horse. The closest he came was watching Phil Peavyhouse and Don McIlmurray with the great Duchess Faye and Larry Miller and Joe Putnam with the great ABC Mercedes. Doc said that the horse business was designed for optimists, and was always happy to see his friends succeed in the business. He said that you should get out of the business if you can’t find joy in others’ success, because it’s frequently hard to find your own. Survivors include daughter, Anne Long of Morris, Ill.; sons, James A. Johnson of Knightstown and John Michael Johnson of Glen Ellyn, Ill.; granddaughters, Paige McKinley, Nora Johnson; grandson, Henry Johnson, three brothers and two sisters. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife of 55 years Janet Johnson in 2013 and brother Ron Johnson. A memorial service was held at St. Rose Catholic Church in Knightstown with Rev John Hall officiating. Burial was held at Sacred Heart Church, Parkhill, Ontario, Canada. Memorial donations may be made to St. Rose Catholic Church P.O. Box 209 Knightstown, IN, 46148. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Condo and Son Funeral Home in Wilkinson.
February 8th, 2017 - LONDON, Ontario: Growing up West Lorne, Ontario, Greg Gangle considered The Raceway at Western Fair District, his harness racing home track so it will be a homecoming of sorts on March 6 he starts his new job as Assistant Racing Manager at the London oval. A marketing graduate of St. Clair College, Greg also attended the University of Arizona's Racetrack Management Program which he left in 2007 to join The Harness Edge and Horse Care magazines where he served as Advertising and New Media Manager. In 2010 Greg joined Woodbine Entertainment Group's Standardbred Media Department. In 2014, he moved to the Broadcast Department as a full time on-air simulcast host. At WEG he worked closely with Greg Blanchard who is now the Director of Racing at The Raceway. The pair will once again work together at Western Fair District. "I'm looking forward to being reunited with Greg Blanchard and to further diversify my resume in this management role," noted Gangle. "I grew up in the London area and Western Fair District was a home track for many years. It feels like homecoming in a sense and I'm very grateful for the opportunity. I can't wait to begin my new role and be part of a wonderful team." "We are happy to have someone with Greg's knowledge and passion for the game join our team. Those qualities, along with a diverse skill set, will make him a strong asset to the organization," noted Blanchard. "Greg has had a chance to flourish during his time with WEG and it has prepared him well for this next step into a management role. I know he is one of those people that wants to make an impact and I am confident he will do well." "It was a very difficult decision leaving Woodbine as I consider it a privilege to work there. I'm very thankful to the organization and they have fully supported my decision," Gangle added. "I'm very lucky to also have such a terrific personal support system, including my long-time girlfriend, Anna, and our daughter, Taylor." Skye Nicholson-Smith
TORONTO, February 6 - The deadline to nominate your harness racing horse to the Woodbine Entertainment Group's (WEG) lucrative stakes program in 2017 is quickly approaching. New in 2017, the closing date for nominations to all WEG and Alliance Stakes is February 15. In past years, nomination deadlines varied from event to event, but in an effort to make the process more convenient, WEG has implemented an across the board due date for all stakes. Under the new format, the following stakes now require nominations by February 15. Canadian Pacing Derby (Pace: 3-year-olds and up) Maple Leaf Trot (Trot: 3-year-olds and up) Metro Pace (Pace: 2-year-olds) Shes A Great Lady (Pace: 2-year-old fillies) William Wellwood Memorial (Trot: 2-year-olds) Peaceful Way (Trot: 2-year-old fillies) Nassagaweya (Pace: 2-year-olds) Eternal Camnation (Pace: 2-year-old fillies) Roses Are Red (Pace: Mares) Milton Stakes (Pace: Mares) Armbro Flight (Trot: Mares) Nominations are also due on February 15 for the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup for three-year-old pacers. North America's richest race for pacers will take place on Saturday, June 17 at Mohawk Racetrack. Other events to require nominations by February 15 include the $650,000 Canadian Trotting Classic (3-year-olds), $400,000 Elegantimage (3-year-old trotting fillies), $400,000 Fan Hanover (3-year-old pacing fillies), $265,000 Goodtimes (3-year-old trotters), $160,000 Casual Breeze (3-year-old trotting fillies) and the $130,000 Somebeachsomewhere (3-year-old pacers). Similar to recent years, WEG continues to handle all administration duties for Alliance racetrack stakes. Nominations are due on February 15 for Grand Rivers Raceway's Battle of Waterloo and Battle of the Belles (Ontario sired 2-year-old pacers), Flamboro Downs' Confederation Cup (4-year-old pacers), Clinton Raceway's Kin Pace (Ontario sired 3-year-old pacing fillies) and Hanover Raceway's Dream of Glory (Ontario sired 3-year-old trotters) and Balanced Image (Ontario sired 2-year-old trotters). The nomination form for the events closing on February 15 can be viewed by clicking here. Nomination fees for all events can be paid online by clicking here. If sending nominations by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than February 15, 2017 or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended. All inquires regarding the February 15 closing date can be directed to the Mohawk Race Office, 905-854-7805. Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, February 3 - A pair of Winter Series finals for three and four-year-old pacers headlined Friday evening's 10-race harness racing card at chilly Woodbine Racetrack. The $39,400 Snowshoe Series final featured a field of seven, while a group of ten fillies and mares competed in the $37,600 Blizzard Series final. Awesomeness lived up to his name by completing a dominant sweep of the Snowshoe Series Friday. The Ryan Maxwell trainee was fired off the wings of the gate by driver Doug McNair, but had to take a step back and sit second rounding the first turn, as Lyons Sands, who was also going for a sweep of the series, sprinted to the lead. Lyons Sands posted an opening-quarter of :27.2, but was quickly knocked back to second when McNair circled around to the lead with Awesomeness entering the backstretch. Awesomeness, who went off at odds of 1/9, posted middle-half fractions of :56.3 and 1:25. A stretch duel between the two red-hot pacers seemed likely, but Awesomeness quickly put those dreams to bed by pulling away from Lyons Sands at the top of the lane. Awesomeness powered home in :28 to win by five-lengths in 1:53. Lyons Sands held on for second, while Big Yellow was third and Clouseau Hanover was fourth. A four-year-old gelding, Awesomeness has quickly gained notoriety this winter by turning in stunning efforts regularly. The son of Mach Three made the first start of his career on October 4th at Mohawk, for then-trainer Dave Keyes, and finished seventh. Since his debut, Awesomeness has won eight of 13 starts and has never finished worse than second. Purchased privately in November by Martin Scharf, Awesomeness has banked $41,700 this season to bring his career earnings total to $104,300. A $2 win ticket on Awesomeness Friday returned $2.30. Awesomeness The Blizzard Series final was the opposite of the Snowshoe, as the pace-setter couldn't hold on late and a longshot stole the spotlight. Xelene Bayama held her own in preliminary round action, but picked the perfect time to step up and strike in Friday's $37,600 Blizzard final. Driven by Rick Zeron, Xelene Bayama got away seventh, as Jimbelina paced out to the lead and posted hot opening fractions of :26.4 and :55.2. An outer-flow was established early by the favourite I Deal In Kisses heading down the backstretch and this allowed Zeron to jump into a third-over spot heading towards the far turn. Jimbelina, who was 2-1, kept motoring around the far turn and reached the three-quarter pole in 1:24.3. The outer-flow stopped advancing on the final bend and Zeron was forced to go three-wide to stay within striking range of the leader. In the stretch, Jimbelina attempted to muscle out the victory, but Xelene Bayama was full of pace and charged by the leader in the final-sixteenth to win by a length and three-quarters in 1:54.3. Jimbelina just held on for second over Senseless Beauty, while Collective Wisdom was fourth. A four-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight, Xelene Bayama entered Friday's series finale off a fourth and third-place effort in the preliminary legs. The Stephane Larocque trainee had just a single victory in eight career starts before Friday. Owned by Bayama Farms Inc. and Zoom And Fish Stable Inc., Xelene Bayama earned $18,880 for her Blizzard Series victory, which brings her career earnings total to $31,235. Xelene Bayama paid $47.50 to win. Xelene Bayama Three and four-year-old pacers, who were non-winners of two-races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2016, were eligible for nomination to the Snowshoe and Blizzard Series. Also on Friday, Sandbetweenurtoes stretched her current win streak to three with a front-end score in the $30,000 Mares Preferred. The Richard Moreau trainee was sent to the front by driver Doug McNair and the duo never looked back en route to a 1:52.3 score. Sandbetweenurtoes has now won the last three editions of the top-level event for pacing mares. Owned by Brad Grant, Sandbetweenurtoes has three wins in four starts this season for earnings of $52,500. Her career totals now sit at 24 victories and $832,722 earned after Friday's triumph. Sandbetweenurtoes Live racing continues Saturday evening at Woodbine Racetrack with a 10-race card on deck. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie
The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame reminds the horse racing community the deadline to nominate horses or people for the Class of 2017 is less than four weeks away. Nominations of those who have made a significant contribution to Canadian horse racing, are being accepted for the following categories: MALE HORSE: Stallions or geldings whose contribution to Canadian racing occurred in the past 20 years. FEMALE HORSE: Fillies and mares whose contribution to Canadian racing occurred in the past 20 years. VETERAN HORSE: Horses whose careers have been concluded for 20 years, but less than 50 years. PERSON: Trainers, Drivers, Jockeys BUILDERS: Includes, but not limited to Breeders, Owners, Officials, and others. COMMUNICATORS: Includes, but not limited to Writers, Broadcasters, Photographers, Announcers, Bloggers. VETERAN PERSON: Trainers, Drivers, Jockeys whose careers have been concluded for 20 years, but less than 50 years. All nomination submissions to be made by completing the online form available on the CHRHF website. A copy of the form may also be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Complete eligibility criteria may be found here. For further information, or to submit a completed nomination form, contact: Standardbred Nominations: Darryl Kaplan, Standardbred Nomination Chair, Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame P: (905) 858-3060 ext. 241 F: (905) 858-3089 E: email@example.com Thoroughbred Nominations: Tom Cosgrove, Thoroughbred Nomination Chair, Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame P: (416) 213-2113 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Nominations forms may also be submitted to: Linda Rainey, Managing Director Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame P: (416) 417-9404 E: Linda.email@example.com All submissions will be carefully considered by the Nominating Committee of the appropriate breed and if approved, presented to the Election Committee for voting by secret ballot. NOMINATION DEADLINE: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 2017 5:00 pm EST. The list of nominees selected for consideration by the Election Committee for each breed will be announced Monday, March 20, 2017. The Inductees for the 2017 class of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame will be announced on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. We invite you to visit the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame located at the West Entrance of Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario. Additional information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is available at www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-417-9404 Linda Rainey Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Linda.email@example.com 416-417-9404
Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - Management at the Hippodrome 3R has released its new race dates, stakes schedule and special events for the 2017 race season. There will be forty live race days and nights at 3R this season and opening day comes early to Trois-Rivieres on Sunday, April 23 and the season goes through to Sunday, November 5. The highlight of the season will be the annual $200,000 Prix D'ete for four-year-old Standardbred pacers on Sunday, August 20. This is the fourth renewal of the most prestigious stakes race in the history of Canada. Last year, Horse of the Year, Wiggle It Jiggleit, was upset by Rockin Ron over a sloppy track in one of the most dramatic races in 3R history. First nomination payment must be made by March 15, 2017. New for the 2017 Prix D'Ete is that horses that finish 6th through 8th place will be getting a check for $1,000. Post time on Sunday's program has changed to 12:50 pm and post time for Tuesday nights live program remains at 7:00 pm. The first Tuesday program takes place on May 30th. There will be two major driver's tournaments this season. The second annual All-Star Tournament takes place on Sunday, June 4 and will again feature world class drivers participating. Then on a lone special Wednesday night program set for August 16, the Hippodrome 3R will play host to a division of the World Driving Championship. This special competition takes place once every two years and brings together the top drivers from around the world. Featured will be the reigning champion, Dexter Dunn from New Zealand, along with Canada's representative, Brandon Campbell. For the first time at 3R, there will also be a special live racing program on Thanksgiving Day, Monday, October 9. Post time has been set for 12:50 pm. The Quebec Sire Stakes program for 2, 3,4 & 5-year-old pacers and trotters gets underway starting May 14 with the Quebec Series four and five-year-old pacers and May 30 for the trotters. There will be three weeks of preliminary rounds with all the finals to be held on Sunday, June 25. Both the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old's and the Future Stars Series for two-year-old's are featured throughout July. The finals of all eight divisions, which is annually the richest race program of the season at 3R, is set for Sunday, September 3. The Lucien Bombardier Stakes for two-year-old fillies will take place on Sunday, September 10th. This year 3R will also feature an $8,000 Open Trot and Pace each week provided the races can be filled. Further details about the race meet will be forthcoming. For more information and the 2017 stakes calendar, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club