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Darren Crowe is a 23 year veteran who feels blessed to have been able to be in harness racing for this long. Darren has been one of the leading drivers at Truro Raceway for many years and has made quite an impact on horsemen throughout his career, including last year's top driver, Ryan Ellis. "The last four years we've been going at it" says Darren about the competition between him and Ryan Ellis for top driver at Truro Raceway. It's definitely about bragging rights and as Darren says "we give it to each other pretty good." One thing all horsemen enjoy is joking and having fun with one another. "I enjoy my job and I love getting out of bed each morning and coming to work and a lot of people can't say that" says Darren about his passion for working with horses. Darren in past years raced in Alberta and in Ontario at Western Fair Raceway and Flamboro Downs. One key race Darren drove in was the Nat Christie in Alberta. "It was pretty cool; I just got there a couple days before I went to work for Meridian Farms. Bill Andrews, he had a couple of horses in it and one of them made the finals, so it was pretty cool to be in it. I think Hawaiian Cowboy won it that year." Darren says. Hawaiian Cowboy won the Nat Christie in 2001 by 4 ½ lengths driven by Luc Ouellette. Darren is currently the Active Director for Standardbred Canada in the Atlantic region and his goal is to voice the opinions and concerns of his fellow horsemen constructively. Darren is a family man with a two-year-old son Brennan and his wife of three years is Robyn. "We weren't going to have any children, but we decided to have one.... I love spending the afternoons with him. We have this little fella and we are happy with him so we are going to quit at one." Darren says with a chuckle. To the point, when it comes to horse racing, Darren's most proud of being able to do what he loves for this length of time. He definitely doesn't take his work for granted. "Once you have a kid your perspective on life changes a bit. Things that used to bother me, like getting parked in a race or a horse going lame... things happen and you move on. I can go home and see my little fella and hangout with him." "For example I grew up on a dairy farm" explains Darren. "My best friend growing up has a dairy farm and in the afternoon if my little fella wants to go do something we'll go hangout there and do some field work or milk some cows, he enjoys it. That's how I unwind." With Darren growing up on a dairy farm, he got into horses through his best friend's dad and grandfather, who both had horses. "I kind of took a liking to them and came up through that way, cleaning stalls and jog their horses."Darren explains. "They were friends with Phil Pinkney who was an O'Brien award winner for Horsemanship and he's in the barn next to me and I grew up around Phil, watching what he did with young horses and shoeing. I shoe horses for Phil now, probably 18-20 years and I learned so much from him in regards to shoeing and looking for soundness." "I've had great owners over the years" says Darren. "Good owners, that's the key. You have to have owners that are going to stand behind you." Through the years, Darren has had quite a few horses pass through his care that have gone on to be quite successful, but the biggest name of all would be Somebeachsomewhere! "I got to shoe Somebeachsomewhere when he was here in the Maritimes." Darren says. "That was cool, going on to be the horse he was. I got to say I got to shoe him as a yearling til his 3-year-old year when he left." "As it turned out now, nobody knew he was going to be the horse he was as a yearling. He is just a nice horse, a little rough to shoe cause he would throw you around a little bit." Darren admits. "Now that he's the sire he turned out to be its pretty cool thinking I got to shoe that horse when he was here." Darren does have a pair of Somebeachsomewhere's shoes left as a keepsake which is pretty awesome, what a piece of horse racing memorabilia to have! Darren plans on getting the shoes chromed and then displayed on a plaque. Darren likes to keep shoeing simple and not make it complicated as others try to make it. It's about having proper angles and keep the levels right. "Horses are horses and you got to keep it simple" says Darren. "A lot of people get hung up on shoeing in regards to different shoes and fancy shoes... messing with their angles. A lot of it has to do with confirmation of the horse. If the horse has good confirmation, chances are you're not going to mess with the shoeing very often. Just keep it simple and he'll be what he's going to be. God made them that way, that's how they're going to be." Darren doesn't get hung up on what races he has won or hasn't with the exception of one given that he's a Truro native. "The Exhibition Cup, that's the free for all race of the year. During the Grand Circuit week and it wasn't for a lot of money, maybe $7,500 but I had the longest shot on the board at 99-1 and the horse ended up winning that race." Darren says. One major aspect to horse racing Darren feels the sport needs is better marketing and more attention. "I always thought the show they had on Monday nights on the Score was a pretty good show. Then they changed it a little to Bet Night Live, I think people like the interaction and interviews with the drivers and trainers talking about their horses. It's not on anymore, probably due to funding." During the discussion with Darren, they idea of company sponsorship came up such as putting company names on numbers or even if Nike got into the business and designed helmets for drivers. Having the Nike logo on the back or side of helmets would be awesome and the ad revenue can go towards purses or even to drivers. With drivers including Sidney Crosby or Steven Stamkos and sporting shirts in ads and being paid to do so. What if Scott Zeron had his race jacket designed by Reebok and in billboard ads you see him sporting the jacket with the Reebok logo and the next big upcoming race featured right beside the logo and which track the race would be taken place? Even t-shirts with the Under Armour logo and the name of top horses like Foiled Again or Vegas Vacation beside it. That could be a fashion trend that could draw potentially millions of dollars for the horse racing industry. Drivers, trainers, owners and race tracks could all draw in funds in sponsorship revenue. All other sports do it, why not horse racing? Start with the biggest races and have it trickle down to the point where all tracks and all races can attract news fans through new trends. Kids might want to sport a pair of Nike Shoes that are nicknamed 'The Captain' and have Captaintreacherous' profile on the shoe, or major stake names that he's won designed in the trainer's or driver's colors. Why not? It's different and new, if it hasn't been done up to now, who says it can't work? "Look at NASCAR and what they do with their sponsorship" says Darren. "It's boring up until the last ten laps but look how much they do." In the TV show Duck Dynasty, the characters are sporting Under Armour camouflage shirts... if hunting can get that type of sponsorship, why not horse racing. "It's a great show" says Darren. "Why not? It would have to be the right sponsor and they'd have to get some kind of bang for their buck right." "There's a lot that can be done promotion wise, but I think TV would be the best route." Darren explains. "If Jody Jamieson won a race on national television and he had Nike on his suit, that's a pretty good plug for Nike." Or after certain races, the winning driver is filmed drinking Powerade or Gatorade or Chocolate Milk. Drinking Milk would help promote another farming industry as well. "Jeff Gural at the Meadowlands, he runs it his way but it seems to be working" according to Darren. "He wants people to bet and he's pretty well on the right track I think." Definitely check out the interview by Standardbred Canada's website featuring Trot Radio host Norm Borg and Meadowlands' owner Jeff Gural, (Episodes 319 and 320). It's a beautiful discussion about open communication and drawing positive attention to the sport. By, Roderick Balgobin www.supernovasportsclub.com  Twitter: ScSupernova

With the Championship Meet at The Meadowlands nearly upon us, The Road to The Meadowlands Pace has begun. The 2014 Road to the Pace is quite different than the 2013 edition. One year ago, just 30 horses were nominated with 29 still eligible after the first sustaining payment. A large factor in this was the presence of Captaintreacherous. With no standout performer and improvements made to the payment schedule of The Meadowlands Pace in 2014, 59 three year olds were nominated to The Meadowlands signature event and 56 of those 59 made the March sustaining payment. Each week leading up to the event, Director of Racing Operations and Oddsmaker Darin Zoccali will publish an installment of "The Road to The Meadowlands Pace," with the first installment available today. The publication features a top 10 of Meadowlands Pace contenders, each of which is assigned a spring-book morning line for the event and includes updated information regarding earnings, lifetime mark, trainer, driver and also includes some of Zoccali's thoughts on each horse. He's Watching will begin as the #1 horse in Zoccali's rankings, set at 4-1. "He was voted as the Two Year Old Pacing Champion last year. He deserves to be on top of the rankings until he gives me a reason that he shouldn't be. It's a wide open year and I expect a lot more movement through the rankings this year as opposed to last year when it seemed to be Captaintreacherous and nine others each week." One horse not in the rankings is Arthur Blue Chip as it was announced via Standardbred Canada that the Ian Moore trained colt suffered a stall injury and would miss a "significant part of the year." Zoccali initially had Arthur Blue Chip listed at #2 in the rankings prior to the injury. Conspicuous by his absence in the top 10 is National Debt, the undefeated winner of The Buddy Gilmour Series earlier this year at The Meadowlands. "I am sure some in the industry would have him in the top 10," said Zoccali. "But as of now, the only Meadowlands Pace eligible that he has defeated is Capital Account and while his upside and potential is immense, I want to see what he does against these quality horses before moving him up on the list. But make no mistake, he is on the doorstep." The complete Road To The Meadowlands Pace is available at http://www.meadowlandspace.com/pdf/Road_To_The_Pace-Week1.pdf and will be updated each week. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

At its meeting of January 30, 2014, the Board of the Ontario Racing Commission approved the 2014 Horse Improvement Program (HIP) as recommended by the industry stakeholders and Program staff. Developed by the Thoroughbred and Standardbred Advisory Groups, the 2014 programs will offer significant incentives to breed and own horses in Ontario. For the most part, the upcoming season will mirror the 2013 programs, providing consistency along with some improvements. To view the full release, please use the link below: News Release - 2014 Horse Improvement Program Approved Wendy Hoogeveen Director, Industry Development and Support    

The Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Program is on track to provide an exciting season of racing. Developed by the Standardbred Advisory Group and approved by the Ontario Racing Commission, the 2014 OSS program will offer over $16.6 million in purses and just over $2.1 million in Ontario Bred and Ontario Sired Rewards. To view the full release, please use the link below: News Release - 2014 Ontario Sires Stakes Program Announced Wendy Hoogeveen Director, Industry Development and Support      

Signature 'Battle' races get a purse bump at Grand River Raceway ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway's 2014 signature races will receive a bump in purse money over 2013 offerings, and the nomination process will return to a three-payment format. The 17th annual Battle Of Waterloo and 6th annual Battle Of The Belles will be raced during the track's annual Industry Day Celebration, on Monday, August 4 at 1:30 p.m. The Battle Of Waterloo final (for ON-sired two-year-old pacing colts) will be contested for an estimated $180,000. In 2013, the race went for $144,500 and was won by Three Of Clubs, for O'Brien Award nominees Gregg McNair and Doug McNair. The local father-son-trainer-driver duo also won the 2013 Battle Of The Belles (for ON-sired two-year-old pacing fillies). Lady Shadow took the lion's share of the $75,400 purse. In 2014, the race will be contested for an estimated $120,000. Both races return to a three-payment eligibility system, beginning with nominations which must be postmarked no later than February 18. While both races (including the eliminations, consolations and finals) will be contested at Grand River Raceway, the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) will handle the stakes administration. As noted on the nomination forms, all payments must be made payable to, and sent to, WEG. To download nomination forms and complete conditions for both races click here.:  For stakes administration inquiries, please contact at Kim Neelands at 416-675-7223 ext. 4306. Kelly Spencer    

TORONTO, December 28 - Sylvain Filion and Richard Moreau retained their titles as Woodbine Entertainment Group's (WEG) leading harness racing driver and trainer, respectively, after the 2013 Standardbred racing season came to a close Saturday night at Woodbine. Filion finished with 248 wins at Woodbine and Mohawk Racetracks, five in front of Scott Zeron, who had 243 victories, while Jody Jamieson was third with 213, including a pair on the final night. Moreau collected his third WEG training title after winning 126 races. Jeff Gillis had 81 wins, while Carmen Auciello wound up third with 76 victories. Filion, who lives in Milton, had to share his first WEG driver championship with Jody Jamieson in 2012, each with 284 wins. But this year he stands alone. "This past year has been a memorable one for me both on and off the track," said Filion. "I drove many terrific horses and am very thankful for the opportunity. Winning with Boomboom Ballykeel (in the $683,000 Metro Pace for trainer Richard Moreau) was certainly unexpected and that was a great thrill. Off the track, my wife and I adopted a baby and that's something very special." The 44-year-old Filion, who also led all drivers in purse earnings on the WEG circuit with over $5.3 million, is seeking a second consecutive O'Brien Award as Canada's Top Driver, an honour he earned for the first time for his accomplishments last year. The 49-year-old Moreau, who captured his first WEG title in 2010, also led all trainers in purse earnings with over $2.5 million. The Puslinch, Ontario resident is an O'Brien Award finalist for Canada's Trainer of the Year. Live racing returns to Woodbine on Monday, January 6 and continues on a three-day-a-week schedule (Monday, Friday and Saturday). First race post time is 7:25 p.m. Videos of all Saturday night races are attached.

TORONTO, December 13 - Woodbine Entertainment Group would like to remind horsepeople of the holiday draw schedule and special post times over this holiday season. The Rexdale oval will conduct racing on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until December 28. Post time remains 7:25 p.m. Woodbine will also hold a special Boxing Day matinee card (Thursday, December 26) with post time scheduled for 1 p.m. The Valedictory and Niagara Series finals will headline the Holiday afternoon program. In the New Year, racing will switch to a schedule that offers racing on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. There will be no live racing from December 29 to January 5. Race Date – Draw Date Thursday, December 26 – Saturday, December 21 Friday, December 27 – Saturday, December 22 Saturday, December 28 – Monday, December 23 Monday, January 6 – Friday, January 3 The final date for qualifiers at Woodbine this year is set for Friday, December 27. Qualifiers will then occur every Monday in the New Year beginning on Monday, January 6. Post time is scheduled for 4 p.m. By Greg Gangle

On April 19, 2014 the top horseplayers in North America will compete for over $60,000 in prize money* in the 2014 World Harness Handicapping Championship, at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment in East Rutherford, NJ. The WHHC qualifiers at the newly opened Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment are set for January 11, February 22 and March 15. The Meadowlands January 11 qualifier has a $200 total fee ($100 entry plus a $100 real-money bankroll). The format requires players to bet a minimum of $10 ($100 maximum) on 10 Meadowlands races. Complete rules and entry form are available at PlayMeadowlands.com. The top two finishers will earn spots in the WHHC with prize money to be paid out to the Top 10 finishers. The World Harness Handicapping Championship (WHHC) is the partnership between Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment and the United States Trotting Association formed to create the industry's ultimate tournament experience. Standardbred Canada supports the project by facilitating the participation of Canadian racing and wagering outlets. The WHHC is a one-day tournament, with a welcome reception the evening prior. Players may earn a seat in the WHHC through a qualifying event at a partner wagering outlet or through direct buy-in ($800). In addition to the Meadowlands, the United States Trotting Association, The Meadows and Buffalo are conducting WHHC qualifiers. A complete list of participating outlets and qualifier dates can be found at PlayMeadowlands.com or by clicking here. For more information on how to become a WHHC partner outlet or sponsor, contact Rachel Ryan, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment (raryan@newmracing.com) or Kathy Wade Vlaar, Standardbred Canada (kwvlaar@standardbredcanada.ca). *estimated final prize pool, based on 120 entries        

TORONTO, December 9, 2013 - Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) today announced the appointment of Michelle E. DiEmanuele to its Board of Directors. Ms. DiEmanuele was also appointed a member of WEG's Pension, Human Resources and Compensation Committee.   Ms. DiEmanuele is the President and CEO of Trillium Health Partners.   Ms. DiEmanuele has spent her career in the public and private sectors leading large-scale change and cultural transformation.   Previously, she was Associate Secretary of Cabinet and Deputy Minister in the Ontario Government. During this time, she led the renewal of public services through "Service Ontario" and reform of human resources, information technology and business services for the Ontario Government. She also served as Interim CEO at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation during a time of significant change.   Ms. DiEmanuele has also held the positions of Vice President (Branch and Small Business Banking, Retail Markets/Human Resources), CIBC and Vice President (Human Resources and Organizational Development), Brookfield Properties Ltd.   Ms. DiEmanuele is in the Hall of Fame of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women and was recognized as a Top 40 under 40. She serves on numerous Boards, including the Conference Board of Canada and the University of Waterloo.   Ms. DiEmanuele is a dynamic leader well-regarded for her ability to lead large, complex organizations through periods of significant change and cultural transformation. She has worked across many sectors and has expertise in human resources management, information technology, business process reengineering, stakeholder management, strategy development, government relations and operations.   "Ms. DiEmanuele's experience and expertise in both the public and private sectors will make her a wonderful addition to Woodbine Entertainment Group's Board of Directors," said Jim Lawson, WEG's Chairman of the Board. "Specifically, she brings a significant understanding of the gaming regulatory environment in the province and how WEG, and racing, can work effectively with governments to achieve favourable outcomes as the integration of racing and gaming in Ontario continues."   Woodbine Entertainment Group is an Ontario Corporation without share capital. WEG is the largest horse racing operator in Canada offering world class horse racing at both Woodbine (Toronto) and Mohawk (Milton) racetracks. WEG operates off-track wagering operations through its "Champions" teletheatre network, which include WEGZ Stadium Bar in Vaughan, Turf Lounge in downtown Toronto and Greenwood in the Beach area of Toronto. WEG also operates HorsePlayer Interactive and HPItv.   John Siscos  

The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has lifted the quarantine on Barn B at Rideau Carleton. According to ORC Manager of Veterinary Services Dr. Adam Chambers, testing has confirmed that the cause of death of horse D J STAMKOS was not of a contagious nature. As a result, horses from Barn B that were entered are now cleared to race on Sunday, December 1, 2013. The quarantine and other prudent biosecurity measures were introduced to protect the horses and limit the possible spread of disease. All racetracks are encouraged to follow such best practice. The ORC wishes to thank the management and horsepeople of Rideau Carleton for their cooperation. For more information - or to speak with Dr. Chambers or Dr. Duncan - please call:  416 213-0520    

TORONTO, November 6 – It’s best known as “Harrisburg” in Harness racing. But to many others, it’s the Standardbred Horse Sales Company Annual Sale and the 2103 edition is underway with more than 2,100 racehorses offered at public auction. The ‘Black Book’ will feature a Select Yearling Sale held Monday through Thursday, followed by the Mixed Sale on Friday and Saturday at the PA Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Some of the sport’s brightest starts, including those who are currently racing at Woodbine, will be offered on Saturday during the Mixed Sale. Atop the list is the four-year-old Knows Nothing, who is fresh off an open-length victory in the $34,000 Preferred Trot at the Rexdale oval. Hillsborough conditioner Jeff Gillis will auction the top sales prospect. The trotting star has a terrific 5-4-2 record from 17 starts this season, along with his 1:51.4 career best. The talented son of Kadabra competed in the Grand Circuit this season when he contested in the Maple Leaf Trot, Arthur Cutler Memorial,and TVG Free-For-All Series. The Ontario Sires Stakes graduate has $729,356 in career earnings and will sell as hip number 1970. Click here to see Knows Nothing’s latest victory. Another Gillis-trainee that will sell at the Mixed Sale is Continual Velocity. The classy five-year-old has found the winner circle in 21 of 85 career starts along with $344,166 in career earnings. A regular overnight campaigner on the WEG Circuit, Continual Velocity has a 1:50.3 career best and has raced in the Fillies and Mares Preferred Pace. She will sell as hip number 1797. Cheltenham conditioner, Dave Menary will offer four top campaigners in Tarpon Hanover, Windsong Jack and Tea Party Princess and Macharoundtheclock. Tarpon Hanover, who captured the $300,000 Battle of Waterloo last season as a rookie, will sell as hip number 1947. The pacing son of Badlands Hanover has banked $503,854 in his two season of racing. Fresh off a second place finish in the $200,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final, Tarpon Hanover recently qualified at Mohawk on October 30 in 1:55.3. The brown colt has a 5-3-8 record from 24 career starts. His stablemate is another top OSS campaigner in Windsong Jack. A son of Santanna Blue Chip, Windsong Jack has banked $438,486 in his career for Menary. The brown gelding has amassed an impressive 6-7-2 record from 21 career starts along with a 1:49.4 career best. He recently qualified at Mohawk on October 30, winning gate-to-wire in 1:54. He will sell as hip number 1953. Macharoundtheclock, a daughter of Mach Three, has banked $239,837 in her young career. From 21 career starts, the bay filly has a 3-5-1 record and a 1:51.1 lifetime best. She talented filly competed in the Jugette, Shes A Great Lady, Canadian Breeders along with the OSS. She will sell as hip 1825. The richest of Menary’s offerings is Tea Party Princess, who has banked $666,934 in her career. The daughter of Art Major has found the winner circle in 18 of 73 career starts. A regular overnight competitor on the WEG Circuit, Tea Party Princess has competed in the Breeders Crown, Fan Hanover and Milton Stakes, just to name a few. The $40,000 yearling purchase will sell as hip 1836. Hall of Famer Bob McIntosh will sell top OSS graduate Pan Luis Obispo as hip 1832. The daughter of No Pan Intended enjoyed a terrific three-year-old season in 2013 with $240,833 banked from 16 starts and five wins. The pacing miss has a 1:51.4 lifetime best and was a top competitor in the Ontario Sires Stakes program this season. She was primarily driven by Randy Waples. WEG’s top conditioner Richard Moreau will sell top trotting mare Smarty Pants as hip 1807. The daughter of Kadabra banked $305,836 last season while racing primarily in the provincial program. She classy mare recently finished third in the $34,000 Preferred Trot as she took on aged pacing horses of both sexes. With career earnings of $389,017, Smarty Pants has a 1:54.3 lifetime best. She competed in the Miss Versatility, Armbro Flight, Elegantimage and Casual Breeze in her career. Greg Gangle

Toronto, ON – Elmer Buchanan has been appointed by the Government of Ontario as Chair  of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) for a term of one year. Most recently, he served  as a member of the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel, which met with industry participants and worked to develop a vision for the industry's future.    Mr. Buchanan’s knowledge, leadership and dedication will benefit both the horse racing industry and the ORC as it implements the new governance structure.    Industry development functions – including the administration of funding programs, oversight of animal welfare and horse improvement, and the racing program – will be delivered by a new division of the ORC.    The new governance structure is one of three pillars identified in the Horse Racing Partnership Plan, designed to stabilize the industry. The others include sustainable funding over the next five years, and the integration of horse racing into the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s modernization plan.    Ontario Racing Commission  

LONDON, ON - Ontario's two-year-old Grassroots competitors wrapped up the 2013 Ontario Sires Stakes season on an impressive note at The Raceway at Western Fair District on Tuesday evening. Next season's provincial stars gave London fans several heart-pumping finishes and one track record equaling mile in the eight $20,000 Grassroots Consolations. The record went to two-year-old pacing gelding Regal Babe, who rocketed home to a 1:54.4 triumph in the ninth race. The clocking equaled the track record for a two-year-old male pacer at The Raceway and gave Regal Babe his second win of the season. Gregg McNair conditions Regal Babe for owner-breeder Rob Chapple of Chatham, ON and driver Doug McNair crafted the come-from-behind victory, which saw Regal Babe hit the wire five and one-half lengths ahead of Concert Artist and fan favourite King Royalty. The win boosted the Stonebridge Regal son's earnings to $23,983 through nine freshman starts. Driver Jody Jamieson picked up two Grassroots Consolation victories on Tuesday, with the first coming aboard freshman pacing filly Stellllllla in the third race. Jamieson guided the Mister Big daughter to a two and one-half length victory in 1:58.2, besting Hare To Eternity and Girlsgotmachzie. Daryl Sherman of Elmore, OH bred and owns Stellllllla and David Menary trains the two-time Grassroots winner, who was sent off as the favourite by London fans. The other pacing filly Consolation was captured by Brookdale Shadow and driver Sylvain Filion in 1:57.1. Jamieson's second visit to the winner's circle came in the last Grassroots Consolation with pacing colt Allstar Seelster. The duo reeled in pacesetter Hunch Man in the stretch to claim the one and one-quarter length victory in 1:56. Opening Line was another length back in third. Jack Darling of Cambridge, ON owns and trains Artistic Fella son Allstar Seelster, who posted a record of two wins, three seconds and two thirds in 11 starts this season. The Grassroots Consolation program got under way with a nail biting finish by the two-year-old trotting fillies that saw Just Call Me Lady reel in pacesetter Bit A Magic to score her second Grassroots victory. Just Call Me Lady hit the wire one-quarter length ahead of Bit A Magic in a personal best 2:02.1. Majestic Jewel was two more lengths back in third, while fan favourite Lenny Mac settled for fourth after making an early miscue. Cambridge, ON resident Blake Macintosh trains Angus Hall daughter Just Call Me Lady for his partners Anne Campbell and Stephen Waldman of North York, ON, and Trevor Ritchie piloted the filly to both of her Grassroots wins. Trevor Henry piloted Wonderland Snow to a commanding 2:01.3 triumph in the other trotting filly Consolation. Trotting colts Crowningcrest and Rival Seelster also battled to a tight finish, with Crowningcrest prevailing by a neck over the favourite in 2:02.3. Conway Escape rounded out the top three. Scott Coulter engineered the win for trainer Susanne Kerwood and owner-breeder Langcrest Farm of East Garafraxa, ON. The win was the Mutineer gelding's second straight and his third on the season. The other trotting colt trophy went home with Ramas Last Son, who was piloted to a 2:02.1 win by Steve Condren. The two-year-old trotters and pacers will now enjoy a winter break from provincial racing action before they begin preparations for the 2014 Ontario Sires Stakes campaign. For complete results For up to date point standings, race replays, and more Sandra Snyder  

LONDON, ON - Ontario's exciting three-year-old trotters and pacers opened up two nights of Grassroots Consolation action at The Raceway at Western Fair District on Monday evening. The Grassroots events followed on the heels of the Gold Series Consolations at Grand River Raceway and driver Doug McNair added two more wins to the three he posted on Sunday. The 23-year-old reinsman made his first appearance in the London winner's circle following the fifth race, guiding three-year-old trotting colt Cabertoss to a half-length victory in a personal best 1:59. McNair engineered the victory for trainer and breeder William Murray and owner William Murray Jr. of Mountain, ON. The lightly rated son of Muscle Mass, who went into the race ranked fifteenth in the Grassroots point standings, bested Next To Go and Sir William. Teaming up with three-year-old pacing gelding Ja El Pocketrocket in the tenth race, McNair once again employed a come-from-behind strategy and the fans' second choice rocketed home to a six and three-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:54. Maddysonofagun followed the winner up the outside into second and Southwind Amazon rounded out the top three. Favourite and early leader OK Fabulous settled for fourth. Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, ON owns Ja El Pocketrocket and Barry Treen conditions the son of Santanna Blue Chip, who finished the regular season eighteenth in the point standings. The other sophomore trotting colt Consolation was captured by Doubledown Gass and trainer-driver Reg Gassien in 1:59 and the other pacing colt contest went to The Real One and driver Scott Coulter in 1:55. Driver Mike Saftic also garnered two Grassroots Consolation wins, starting with a commanding victory by fan favourite Cardio Pump in the second three-year-old trotting filly battle. Cardio Pump grabbed control going by the three-quarters and accelerated away from the field to a nine and one-quarter length triumph in 1:59.4. Oaklea Veronica and Speedy Kim Mindale trotted into second and third. Saftic piloted Cardio Pump to her first Ontario Sires Stakes victory for trainer Mark Steacy and owner Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA. The Angus Hall daughter finished second in both of her regular season Grassroots appearances, putting her twenty-fourth in the point standings. The veteran reinsman's second victory came in the next race with sophomore pacing filly Foolish Mind, who led from start to finish, hanging on for a nose victory in 1:56.2. Fan favourite Burlesque finished second but was placed back to eighth for a pylon violation, promoting Panstakingly and Hippie Chic into second and third. Sue Marie Gangell of Simcoe, ON trains Foolish Mind for her partner Barry Charles of New Rochelle, NY. The I Am A Fool filly was a two-time Grassroots winner during the regular season and finished fifth in the point standings. The other pacing filly trophy went home with Mark Steacy trainee Shanghai Mimi, who was piloted to a 1:57.1 win by Chris Christoforou. The first trotting filly division was captured by Standing My Ground and Sylvain Filion in 1:58.3. Grassroots Consolation action resumes at The Raceway on Tuesday evening with eight $20,000 battles for Ontario's exciting two-year-old trotters and pacers. The first race gets under way at 4:05 pm. For complete results Sandra Snyder  

ELORA, ON - As has become their custom, local horsemen Gregg and Doug McNair had a stellar evening in Ontario Sires Stakes action at Grand River Raceway on Sunday. Competing in the Gold Series Consolations at the Elora oval trainer Gregg McNair earned two trophies, with two-year-old pacing filly Porsche Seelster and three-year-old trotting colt Buddy Hally, and driver Doug McNair picked up three, driving both of his father's horses and three-year-old pacing filly Jan It Jackson. Sent off as the fan favourite from Post 2, Porsche Seelster cruised to a two length victory in the fifth of eight $50,000 Consolations, besting Medoland Lindeylou and Goldies Mach. The 1:57.1 triumph was Porsche Seelster's first victory in 12 outings this season. Guelph resident Gregg McNair conditions Porsche Seelster for The Merks Stable of New York, NY. During the regular season the Artistic Fella daughter recorded one second, two thirds, one fifth and one seventh in six Gold Series starts to rank seventh in the division point standings. Buddy Hally's three and one-half length romp in the sophomore trotting colt Consolation went some way toward helping his owners forget the division point leader's disappointing eighth-place result in the Sept. 28 Super Final. The Angus Hall colt battled Tag Up And Go and Rock Of Cashel through much of the race, but was able to draw away in the stretch to the 1:58.3 victory. Tag Up And Go and Gotta Secret finished second and third behind the fan favourite. Trainer McNair shares ownership of the $275,400 winner with Howmac Farms Ltd. of North Wiltshire, PEI, breeder Reginald MacPherson of Stratford, PEI and Wayne MacRae of Fall River, NS. Doug McNair's driving triple came with Isaac Waxman trainee Jan It Jackson, who went gate-to-wire in the sophomore pacing filly division, stopping the Grand River Raceway teletimer at 1:54.3. Leaveumlady and Marlee B finished two and one-quarter lengths back in second and third. Fan favourite and division point leader Pan Luis Obispo finished fifth. Brenda Selwyn Waxman of Dundas owns Badlands Hanover daughter Jan It Jackson, who ranked second in the division point standings and finished just out of the money in sixth in the Sept. 28 Super Final. Grand River Raceway fans accurately selected the winners in five of the eight Gold Series Consolations. In addition to Porsche Seelster and Buddy Hally, fans sent off two-year-old pacing colt Play It Again Sam, three-year-old trotting filly Motown Muscle and three-year-old pacing colt Mach Pride as the favourites in their respective divisions. Upsets occurred in the two-year-old trotting colt division, which saw Dontcheatonmenow best favourite Deweykeepumnwhy, the two-year-old trotting filly contest, which saw Torches Star emerge victorious over Marcella Hall and fan favourite Margie, and the sophomore pacing filly division captured by Jan It Jackson.  The Consolations completed the Gold Series schedule, and the 2013 Ontario Sires Stakes program will draw to a close with 16 Grassroots Consolations at The Raceway at Western Fair District on Monday, Oct. 14 and Tuesday, Oct. 15. For complete results Sandra Snyder  

October 11, 2013 – Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), Canada’s largest horse racing company and owner and operator of Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks, today issued the following statement from Nick Eaves, President and CEO, in response to the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel’s Five-Year Plan: “Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) thanks Premier Wynne and the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel for their hard work and commitment during the development of the Five-Year Plan, ‘Building a Sustainable Future Together.’ We are encouraged by the plan and support its vision of a new transitional relationship between government and the horse racing industry. WEG believes that the Plan’s general principles will lay a strong foundation for the long-term sustainability of horse racing in Ontario. “WEG is particularly supportive of the Panel’s recommendation that maximizing the potential of racetracks as gaming centres, including added gaming options, is a top priority for an integrated relationship between horse racing and the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation (OLG). WEG has long been of the view that expanded gaming at racetracks such as Woodbine and Mohawk is important to ensuring the sustainability of horse racing and the thousands of jobs it supports in Ontario. We agree with the Panel that substantial benefits to the province and to the industry can be realized by integrating expanded racetrack gaming into the provincial gaming strategy. “Many of the Plan’s implementation details require further understanding and discussion, and its successful implementation will require much hard work from all parties. WEG believes such effort is absolutely essential, and we are committed to working with our government and industry partners to turn the Panel’s blueprint into reality." John Siscos

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