CLOVERDALE — Roy Johnson’s next birthday will be his 80th. He doesn’t look it, and he doesn’t sound it. Maybe that’s what a life surrounded by horses and harness racing does for you. On Monday (Oct. 3), as rain pounded on the roof above, Johnson worked busily on a horse in one of the six large red barns that have for so long identified the facility now known as Fraser Downs Racetrack at Elements Casino. Johnson was here when it was simply “Fraser Downs,” and before that when it was called Cloverdale Raceway. Indeed, Johnson has been part of the track’s fabric since the very first day, on Jan. 1, 1976. “It was just a field before that I think,” he recalled, “but yes, I was here from the beginning, when racing first started.” It all began very early for one of the track’s most iconic figures. “I’ve been doing this since I was five years old,” he said. “My parents had horses...they had standardbred and thoroughbreds, in Saskatchewan. We lived on a farm there. I’ve been involved with them ever since. “I’ve raced in Regina, Saskatoon, Sandown Park (on Vancouver Island), Sportsman’s Park (in Illinois), Hollywood Park (in California). In the States, I worked for a big stable, and we toured the country. “I’m like Hank Snow – I’ve been everywhere,” he said, laughing. Johnson, who’s called Surrey home since 1965, remembers well the many years he spent as a trainer and a driver, but is quite content now to leave the driving to others. “I was in an accident. A racing accident, here at this track, I would say five or six years ago. And my daughter said, ‘That’s it. We’re not going through this again.’ “I can go out and train my own horses now, but I don’t care to go out and race anymore. I have two horses here, but I get someone else to drive them. For me, rather than sitting at home watching television, I’m moving around every day. You can’t beat it.” On Thursday (Oct. 6), Johnson and his compatriots will begin a new season of harness racing at Fraser Downs. But not just any old season. This is the 40th anniversary of the storied Cloverdale track. And Johnson isn’t the only one who’s psyched. Carla Robin, the executive director of Harness Racing BC, is looking forward to the party. On opening night, she promises giveaways to the first 100 people through the gate, a memorial celebration for longtime star driver Bill Davis and an appearance by Ray Gemmill, the first driver to ever win a race at the facility. On Monday, Robin took me on a behind-the scenes tour. She showed me her office, directly across the hall from that of the BC Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch. She explained that Harness Racing BC provides the horses for harness racing throughout the province, which these days is limited to just a single track: Fraser Downs. The GPEB, literally within arm’s reach, makes sure everything is kosher. She took me to the barns, a beehive of activity where upwards of 200 people were scooting this way and that, training the horses and readying them for the season at hand. She told me the Fraser Down barns can house up to 500 horses, and explained that once the season gets underway, the entire area is “closed off and restricted.” And that’s what happens in a wagering atmosphere. According to Robin, “on some nights we have more than $300,000 being bet on the horses.” Here, everyone I see is down-home friendly. Over there is Mark Abbott, son of another Fraser Downs veteran, trainer Gord Abbott. At 27 years of age, Mark is one of the younger folks I met during my visit. But he’s no rookie. “I’ve been shoeing for 10 years,” he said as he worked on a “new horse we just got from Alberta.” The horse will compete in a “stakes race” Thursday, where the winner trots away with $10,000. And Mark’s removing its shoes, inspecting them for wear, making reparations to both shoe and hoof, and re-shoeing. Mark’s also a driver, and his enthusiasm for the sport is obvious. The guy’s a natural. No wonder. His dad’s been a Fraser Downs fixture for three and a half decades, and is also a member of the board of directors. “I was raised in the business in Ontario,” the elder Abbott said. “I came out here in 1981. I’ve been training the entire time.” They just returned from Alberta, where they “race all summer,” and that they’re “racing eight horses (at Fraser Downs) now.” “The horses jog every day. Some days we work them out harder than others. We keep them fit and keep them sound and we look after whatever ailments they have. They’re athletes.” Standing trackside, I noticed some horses travelled clockwise, while others moved counter-clockwise, like they do during a race. Some are confined to the smaller inner circuit, and one trainer handled two horses simultaneously. At least the horses and the drivers know what they’re doing, even if I don’t. Robin suggests arriving a bit early for Thursday's season kickoff. Racing begins at 6 p.m., but arriving just after 5 should get you a good seat and first crack at the buffet. For more info, call 604-576-9141 or visit Elementscasino.com/racing. by Gord Goble - Surrey Now Reprinted with permission of thenownewspaper.com site
An usual suspect at Exhibition Park Raceway will look to win his third straight event as racing continues this Saturday at the port city oval in harness racing action. Six races will be presented by Horse Racing New Brunswick with race one scheduled for 1:00 P.M. There was a large contingent of fans and supporters in last Saturday's winning circle presentation for Upstairswithron as he paced to a gate to wire effort en route to a 2:02.3 victory. Bob MacNeil owns the five-year-old son of Quick Comeback who is making himself a solid pick for most improved horse in 2016 in New Brunswick. Last year, the big strapping pacer went without a win all season. He owned a modest 2:06.2 pacing record taken back in 2014. So far this year, he sports a new record of 2:01.2 taken over Fredericton Raceway. Popular catch-driver Chris Davies gets the call this Saturday in the afternoon's final race. Saturday's top-class will feature a battle of Mike Downey entries as Fall Bliss, last week's top-class winner will take on City Of The Year in the day's premier event for a purse of $ 1350. Scott Waddell
The day long rain didn’t help the attendance but fortunately Mother Nature co-operated and made it safe for harness racing at Hanover Raceway. The Rain subsided around post time, and then the sun started peaking through the clouds as Hanover hosted 10 races on Chapmans Ice Cream night. 44 staff enjoyed the all you can eat buffet and brought along prizes for racing fans including gift certificates for Ice cream for a year. On the track in the feature race, The Chapmans pace, Spaniard trained and driven by Mark Etsell used his rail advantage to grab the early lead past a quarter in 28.4 in the mud, and continued to lead past the half in 59.1 and the ¾’s in 1:30.2, but then he hit a wall and was passed by most of the field in the stretch with Wawanosh Wave and driver Tom Smith coming out on top in 2:00.1 for owner Lema Chapple of Wingham. The staff from Chapman’s came out for the winner’s circle picture. In other racing highlights, first year driver Natasha Day of Australia, picked up 2 wins a 2nd and a 3rd place driving finish, giving her 11 wins on the season, 1 shy of Ryan Holliday of Mt Forest. Driving Leader Brad Forward failed to get a win on the night, but still leads the overall standings with 27, 15 more than Holliday. Hanover Raceway plays host to CKNX Night next Saturday as the staff from Blackburn Radio will come out for the night and will give one lucky race fan a 50 inch High Definition TV courtesy of HDTV in Walkerton. Post time next Saturday night is 7:15pm.
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec – Harness racing driver Sylvain Lacaille had the hot hands at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday evening, scoring a hat trick, three winners on the race program. And he did it by the fourth race on the program. The biggest of his three triumphs came in the third race pace where he led from start to finish with Heroes Sena in 1:59.1. It was the maiden victory for the three-year-old filly by Western Terror who is trained and owned by Serge Nadeau of Scott, QC. She also went off at odds of 8-1 and paid a generous $18.20 to win. Heroes Sena is eligible to the upcoming $450,000 Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old trotters and pacers that gets underway at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday, July 3. Another impressive winner Tuesday who is eligible for the Breeders Cup Series is Sports Authority for driver Mario Charron. This three-year-old pacing colt by Sportswriter is trained by Maxime Velaye for the Determination Stable of Montreal, QC and paid just $2.40 to win as the 1/5 wagering favorite. Charron sent Sports Authority to the front over Chummy Park (Louis-Philippe Roy) and the duo never had to look back again. While Chummy Park and Roy tried to come after the leader at the top of the stretch, Charron just lifted the line on his colt and he scooted away to win by two open lengths in 2:00.3. His last quarter mile was an impressive :28.4. Sports Authority is now on a three-race winning streak and it will be interesting to see how fast the colt can go when Charron asks him for some real speed. TRACK NOTES: The post position draws takes place Wednesday afternoon for the $140,000 finals of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters and pacers this Sunday at 3R. There are four divisions, each racing for a purse of $35,000. From the Quebec Jockey Club
Charlottetown, PE - Kenny Arsenault is the 2015 driving champion and the winner of the Paul MacDonald memorial trophy taking the harness racing competition with a victory aboard Idealic Life in the final leg of the contest during Horseperson's Day Saturday at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Arsenault opened the event, presented by PEI Standardbred Horse Owners Association, with top honors with Zanzibar for trainer Paul Morrison and also rallied back into contention with a score with DBS Rosco, owned by Wendell and Robbie Shaw and Derek Folland, to keep him near leaders Ron Matheson and Jason Hughes going into the final race. It was very close right until the end but the win with Idealic Life, owned by Blair Hansen, Charlottetown, PE, put it away with 63 points and a hat-trick for Arsenault. Matheson, who also had a big day with a driving triple, was the runner-up with 61 points. Veteran driver Gary Chappell finished third with 59 points with Corey MacPherson and Jason Hughes tied fourth with 58. The other competing drivers were Vince Poulton (55), Marc Campbell (53), Jack Panting (48) and Terry Gallant (42). In other action, Ramblinglily, with Walter Cheverie in the bike, stopped Sam's winning streak at seven taking the mares open in 1:59.4 for trainer Allan Jones and his co-owner Norman Leger, Shediac, NB. Kims PJS claimed the trot class in the Emmett and Albert Bernard memorial for catch driver Marc Campbell and trainer Lenny Myers and co-owner Paul Murphy, Charlottetown, PE. Bazillion recorded back to back victories in the afternoon's top class. Brian MacPhee supplied the drive for owner Kent Livingston, Cornwall, PE and trainer Trevor Hicken. Painted Desert (Mark Bradley) and Nogreatmischief (Walter Cheverie) completed the triactor. The time of the mile was 1:58 flat. For complete results go to www.redshores.ca By Lee Drake
Oct. 13, Cranbury, NJ...Entries for the US$5.8 million Breeders Crown events saw 151 trotters and pacers fill the entry box to qualify for the 12-race October 24th harness racing finals at Woodbine Racetrack. There were 60 2-year-olds entered, forcing US$20,000 eliminations in all divisions for Friday, Oct. 16. Those freshmen who chose to take byes and elimination fields will be available this afternoon. All 2-year-old finals will go for US$600,000. The following races will go straight to finals (all purses are US): $500,000 3-year-old Colt Trot with 11 entered; $500,000 3-year-old Filly Trot with seven; $250,000 Mare Pace with 10 entered; $250,000 Mare Trot with 11 entered and the $531,250 Crown Trot with a compact field of six, including the supplemental entry of Creatine, recent third-place finisher in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. All other divisions have eliminations or bye situations. Two-year-old eliminations will be held Friday, Oct. 16 and the sophomore and open divisions requiring eliminations will race Saturday, Oct. 17. Elimination winners draw for inside post positions 1-5. Post positions will be drawn Saturday, Oct. 17 after the elimination races. Post time is 7:25 p.m. for both nights. Complete elimination and final fields will be available when byes and elimination draws are finalized. The US$500,000 Breeders Crown 3-year-old Colt Trot and US$531,250 3-year-old Colt Pace will be drawn at a press conference hosted by honorary drawmaster CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge at Woodbine on Tuesday, Oct. 20. The sophomore colt pace division contains the supplemental entry of Indiana sensation Freaky Feet Pete.
The field for the 11th annual Balanced Image final includes new track record holder Smoke Monkey who won his elimination last week in 1:59.2. However, the 2 year old colt has seven other contenders that will be looking to take the crown including a horse with local connections. Major Muscle is owned by Mark Etsell formerly of Walkerton as well as Bob Newton of Walkerton and Chuan Tan of Cambridge. This 2 year old Filly won her elimination in 2:00.2 which was the second fastest winner on the program and will start from post position 8 in the final. The Balanced Image final will go as Race 10 in the program for a record purse of $77,800. Saturday night also includes some special guests. Hanover Raceway welcomes Susies Garage and the staff from 92.3 The Dock. Susies Garage is a local band from Port Elgin who will play some rock and country classics for us in between the races. The staff from the Dock have a great prize for someone as they will give away a $1,000 dollar Travel Voucher from Hanover Travel. We’ll pick a name from the Ballot bin so make sure you enter your name on one of our ballots for a shot at that great prize. Next week, we host our second and final OSS night as 3 year old Filly Trotters hit the track. Hopefully we’ll have some of our local Dream of Glory horses back, and the Ontario Sires Stakes have left with us 100 free T-shirts and a number of OSS hats that we will give away with the purchase of a program at our information Kiosk starting at 6:00pm. The shirts and or hats will be FREE with the purchase of a program. It’s also CKNX Night at the races, which means another great prize for one of our lucky fans from our ballot box. Post time is 7:15pm. Hanover Raceway
FREDERICTON, NB, June 26, 2015 - Horse Racing New Brunswick (HRNB) is pleased to announce the start of the live harness racing season in New Brunswick. Kicking things off on Canada Day in Fredericton is the first race card of the season that includes the popular, historical Walter Dale Memorial sponsored this year by Moosehead Breweries. The history of Walter Dale goes back to 1937 when the legendary horse set a record that many tried to beat for over forty-two years. Every year horses and drivers attempt to break the current track record, most recently set in 2012 by McApulco at 1:54.2 and matched in 2014 by Modern Xhibit. This year the Walter Dale Memorial is set as an invitational that will focus primarily on a very competitive field of New Brunswick horses. The day's program will of course include other races of various classes. There will be a Raffle, Food Vendors on site, Winner's patio will be open, 50/50 Draw, and more. Most important is the excitement in the air as the twenty-one day race season gets underway. Admission to Fredericton Raceway is free so bring the family for some fun and entertainment. Enjoy a walk by the barns to see the horses up close, cheer on the horses and Drivers as they race for the finish, celebrate part of your national holiday amid the excitement of a sport that has been part of our national fabric since the 1800s. This year Fredericton Raceway will host ten race days, the Saint John track at Exhibition Park is scheduled for ten race days, and Woodstock will have a race day during Old Home Week. "We are focused on the harness racing sport thriving and growing in New Brunswick. To achieve that growth, providing more jobs and thrilling race days, the best road forward is a grass-roots approach", stated new Executive Director, Roberta Nixon. HRNB and the New Brunswick Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association have established twenty-one days of racing this year will make it possible to expand that next year. Roberta Nixon Horse Racing New Brunswick
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, May 31, 2015 - The best harness racing pacers eligible to the $200,000 Quebec-Bred Series for 4- and 5-year-olds meet for their second preliminary round Sunday afternoon at Hippodrome 3R, with two $6500 fields of mares facing the starter in races 1 and 3 and a single $6500 dash for horses and geldings slated for race 6. In the first of the three preliminary rounds leading up to each division's $35,000 Championship, there were also two events for mares, with both events taken by the heavy favorite in a runaway. Each winner is back Sunday, but each faces a challenge if they are to keep up their series record unblemished. The Santanna Blue Chip mare Champagne Shower won by 11 lengths last week in 1:56.4, and she is justly the favorite for round two as she starts from post two in the field of six for driver Denis St. Pierre, 3R's defending driver champion; trainer Yves Tessier; and owner Sotirios Anastasopoulos. Among those in the wake of Champagne Shower last week was Chauleurs Fantasy, who also has the difficulty in starting from the outside post Sunday. But the daughter of Omar Khayyam, conditioned by Carl Duguay and to be driven by Stephane Gendron for Elevage Baie Des Chaleurs, should be better in this, her second start of 2015 - and in her last start of 2014, she won her $65,000 three-year-old Championship, with among the conquered that day being none other than Champagne Shower! In the other mares division, Victoria Semalu led at every call in scoring by over six lengths in 1:56.1, and again will draw her share of the fans' attention. The American Dream mare begins from post four for trainer Dany Fontaine, owner Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc, and driver Stephane Brosseau, who has "come out of the gate" in hot form this season to be the leading driver at 3R to date. Starting two posts inside Victoria Semalu will be the Western Ideal mare My Tallia Ideal, who will be guided by Denis St. Pierre for trainer Michael Allard and the ownership duo of Gestion Mario Audet Inc and Yves Sarrazin. My Tallia Ideal comes to 3R after having been facing very good mares at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania, where she won in 1:51.2 last month, and obviously her best mile makes her a major factor here. The divisional track record of 1:54.3, set by Sans Frontiere in 2013, could be in jeopardy in either division, given ideal conditions. In the lone event for horses and geldings, the field of seven will not miss Atomic Million AM, who takes this week off from the series after winning last week in 1:55.2, pacing his last half in 55.4. Certainly Bali (post seven, driver Marie Claude Auger) and My Lucky Bluejeans (post five, driver Stephane Gendron) will be comforted by the absence of Atomic Million AM after finishing second and third, respectively, to him last week. However, an invader from Ontario, Champagne Phil, should definitely attract a good share of the backing, coming off a 1:49.4 victory at Mohawk last Saturday. The Shanghai Phil gelding, set to be driven by Denis St. Pierre for trainer Francis Richard and owners ICR Racing, has post two on Sunday, and is comfortable winning on or off the pace. The first of ten races will start at 1:30 p.m. at Hippodrome 3R on Sunday. Quebec Jockey Club
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, May 26, 2015 - Return winner Somoli E heads the second round of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old harness racing trotters at the Hippodrome 3R on Wednesday. Starting from post four in the first race on the card, Somoli E is the lone return winner in the field. Last week in the opening round he led from start to finish in his division for driver Jerome Lombart with neck triumph in 2:02.3. His main rival will be Andovers Touch from post five for driver Stephane Polliot. Last week Andovers Touch was a game second place finisher to Maximuscle, who was not entered for the second round of the series. Other contenders include SOS Robocop (post 3), SOS Masters Boy (post 2) and Bouffon P V (post 6). Third race, second division for older horses has George S P has the 5/2 morning line favorite from the rail. The five-year-old gelding by Striking Sahbra will be driven by Stephane Brosseau and was third last week to Maxiemuscle. Three starts back he was a winner at Rideau Carlton in 1:59.1. He takes on SOS Ticket Master (post 5) and Victorycari (post 3). The mares get underway in the seventh race with just one division with ten horses in the field. With Viva Bayama taking the week off, the race is a wide-open affair. The 5/2 morning line favorite is Bambie Benjo from post five for driver Rheo Filion. A four-year-old mare by Southwind Lustre, Bambie Benjo was a game second place finisher to Viva Bayama last week and is seeking her maiden victory. She goes against Canbec Kangourou on the rail for driver Jocelyn Gendron who will be expected to try and wire field as she usually does. First race post time on Wednesday is 7:00 pm. For more information about the Hippodrome 3R go to www.quebecjockeyclub.com. Vincent Trudel Quebec Jockey Club
Many retired Standardbred horses are rehomed and retrained into new disciplines including pleasure saddle horses or Western /English show horses. Others become pasture buddies and family pets. Such is the story of the 11 harness racing mare P.H. Super Model. Foaled in Shubenacadie by owner Dr. Trevin K. Shive, Super Model had 95 lifetime starts recording three victories since her maiden season at Truro Raceway in 2006. At the completion of her harness racing career, the mare was given to a re-homing stable, Morning Star Acres, located north of Moncton. Morning Star Acres is a non-profit, family-oriented farm dedicated to an equine retraining and re-homing program. Bill and Jo-Ann Livingstone of Toney Bay, N.S. were in the market for a carthorse to participate in driving events held in their area. After a visit to the Morning Star Acres website, a few phone calls and a visit to the New Brunswick farm, the Livingston family and PH Supermodel united. The horse has since become known as Tyra. This past Saturday, Tyra made her debut appearance in her new career as a carthorse. The Wallace River Haflingers & Equestrian Centre hosted a novice driving clinic under the guidance of the Nova Scotia Driving Society. Seven horses, ponies and minis were in attendance, including P H Super Model with Joann and Bill each taking turns at the reins. The Standardbred breed as a whole is eager to please, fearless and extremely intelligent. In addition most of these animals have had exposure to vehicles, crowds and loud noises, as well as trailering and shoeing, Established in 2007, the Maritime Standardbred Pleasure Horse Association (www.mspha.ca), based out of Truro, Nova Scotia, is actively devoted to the re-homing of Standardbreds as an all-purpose pleasure horse and encourages the new owners to showcase their “graduates” of the program at local exhibitions, parades and clinics. Note: Diane Daniels is the race office supervisor at Truro Raceway. Her ‘Trackside’ column can be found in the Truro Daily News every Saturday. Reprinted with Permission of The Truro Daily News
ELORA - Sunny skies and smiling faces are in the forecast for this Sunday's Open House at Grand River Raceway. The Elora track will host its seventh annual backstretch Open House on Sunday, May 24. Guests are invited to drop-in any time from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a rare glimpse of harness racing behind-the-scenes. A full tour of the Open House's four main stations will last approximately one hour. The itinerary includes the unique opportunity to drive a racehorse. Standardbred racehorses and double-seated jog carts from the Hands On Horses Program provide the horsepower. Other interactive stations include a tour of the judges' stand and announcer's booth high atop the grandstand with track announcer Gary Guy. Back in the barn, visitors will learn the basics of breeding, owning, training, driving and caring for racehorses in sessions led by industry experts. Dr. Alison Moore's station will explore the high-performance racehorse by comparing it to human athletes. Machinery enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunity to view and learn about the equipment and techniques required to maintain the track surface. The ever-popular starting car will also be on display, and open for photo opps. Riders from Racing Under Saddle (RUS) Ontario will also be on-hand to provide demonstrations of these Trot MontÃ© races - popular in Europe - being showcased at harness tracks throughout the province. No registration is required for the Open House. The event is suitable for all ages, but children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The Open House will run rain or shine. Participants are urged to wear closed-toe shoes and casual, comfortable clothing. Admission is free, but participants are urged to make a $2 donation at the door to support the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. A BBQ lunch and beverages will be available for purchase between 11:30 - 2:00. The Grand River Raceway Open House is presented in cooperation with the Hands On Horse Program and the Ontario Harness Horse Association. More than 1,500 people have attended Grand River Raceway's Open House event in the past six years. For more information, visit http://grandriverraceway.com/open-house/ or call (519) 846-5455 x238 or email email@example.com. Kelly Spencer
HALIFAX - Missing financial records and meddling by former board members at the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition (NSPE) highlight some of the concerns revealed in an operational review prepared for the provincial government. Although the review, prepared by KPMG at the request of Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell, did not uncover any criminal wrongdoing, operations were negatively impacted by a board of directors that regularly interfered with how the facility was run, the report said. “In recent years the Commission has experienced turnover at the general manager position,” the report states. “This is partly due to the governance structure in that the board of directors have been actively involved in the commission’s operations which has undermined the general manager’s authority.” Poor financial planning also resulted in the exhibition commission being unable to pay its bills, which resulted in “significant payment delays” and ultimately led to loss of credit that forced the NSPE to pay cash for delivery of all goods and services. The commission also is at risk of having its pari-mutuel contracts with other race tracks cancelled because of a failure to remit payouts for amounts collected for betting on the other parties’ races (net of payouts), the report noted, which “has resulted in strained relationships with key racing partners.” As well, financial results for the commission “have not been in line with expectations”, in part because of declining attendance and a lack of sufficient cash flow to fund the ongoing capital maintenance of facilities and in certain circumstances cover the operating costs, the report disclosed. “A review of financial and business affairs of the Commission conducted by Grant Thornton in August 2013, declared it insolvent, where current and long term liabilities ($638,000 and $373,000 respectively) and cash flow constraints prevented it to make payment on its obligations,” the report said. The KPMG review also determined that the NSPE’s financial records for the years 2009 through to 2011, were completely missing, a factor that Colwell told the Truro Daily News was especially concerning for him. “It sure did (cause him concern). But if it’s not available it’s not there,” he said, of the missing information, which was attributed to a changeover in staff at the NSPE administration office as well as the introduction of new computer software. “And whatever happened to it we don’t know,” he said. “That highlights one of the weaknesses in the whole system.” Colwell said based on the report’s findings and given ”the deteriorated condition of the buildings” on the NSPE grounds, he said the facility had been mismanaged for a “long time.” And he said that was also pretty much the assessment of the auditors when he addressed their findings in the report. “The list goes on and on and on and on,” he said, of proper business controls that were not in place under the previous management. “It’s just a whole lot of not really solid management practices,” Colwell said, of the overall findings. “They said the place really needed to be run properly and the bottom line is, it wasn’t.” Facility rentals also have to be brought in line with reasonable market rates to ensure the facility can operate without government handouts, the minister said. And controls also have be put in place for things such as gate admissions for the annual Exhibition. For example, visitors to the Middle Musquodoboit Exhibition are given a bracelet with a serial number on it when they pay their admission fee,” Colwell said, compared to the provincial exhibition in Bible Hill where there simply is “no accountability for the cash. That’s just one example.” Despite the past struggles, however, Colwell said that with proper controls put in place, the NSPE can have a promising future. “We’re very optimistic about the facility at a time when a lot of facilities are struggling and I think this one has a great deal of potential,” he said. Reprinted with permission of The Truro Daily News
On behalf of the Saint John Harness Horsemen Association, I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks and gratitude for supporting our fundraising efforts on May 8th in Saint John. We would like to recognize and thank all the sponsors, volunteers, and those who came out to support our group initiative to raise funds to upgrade and maintain the racing surface at Exhibition Park Raceway. Response and support leading up to, and including the May 8th fundraiser was overwhelming to say the least. We doubled our goal of financial support and once again the harness racing industry came together from New Brunswick and other jurisdiction's. We are excited to return to racing this summer on July 1st ( tentatively ) at Fredericton Raceway and we invite you to take in all the harness racing action this year and appreciate as always support from fans and industry participants in New Brunswick. Sincerely, Debbie Mahar, Saint John Harness Horsemen Association
Long time owner and harness racing industry volunteer Carl Bagnall of Stratford, and Two Year Old Pacing Colt Dixieland Band, owned by Reg MacPherson, and David and Aaron MacKenzie were the major award winners as the sold out PEI Standardbred Horse Owners Awards held Saturday, April 18th at the Rodd Royalty Inn. Mr. Bagnall was recognized for his contribution to PEI racing as a breeder, owners, trainer, driver, and industry official. Dixieland Band edged out Paymenowpaymelater for Horse of the Year honours in one of the closest results in recent event history. Dixieland Band was bred by Meridian Farms of Milton and earned almost $51,000 in his Two Year Old campaign. Scott MacPhail was named Horseman of the year for his decades long contribution to the PEI matinee racetrack program. Gold Cup and Saucer Co-ordinator Heather Dixon was named Horsewoman of the year for her service to the successful Old Home Week racing program. Guest speaker Dr. Ian Moore updated the crowd on his stable star State Treasurer and the large roster of young horses he is prepping for the Grand Circuit competitions. Other award winners were: 2 Year Old Colt Trot Windemere Ty had earnings of over $21,000, and 10 of 14 in the first three. Bred by Windemere Farms, owned and trained by Ralph Annear, co-owned and driven by Jack Panting. 2 Year old Filly Trot Paymenowpaymelater was a nine time winner, with earnings of $30,862. Bred by Eldred Nicholson, owned by Wade Peconi, trained by Earl Watts, driven by Kenny Arsenault . 2 Year old Pacing Colt Atlantic Breeders Crown winner Dixieland Band earned almost $51,000 in 2014. Bred by Meridian Farms, owned by Reg MacPherson, David and Aaron MacKenzie, trained by Kevin MacLean and driven by Gilles Barrieau. 2 Year old Pacing Filly The winner of almost $37,000 Dusty Lane Bria, was bred by Travis Wilkie, owned by Larry Chappell, co-owned and trained by Kenny Wilkie, primarily driven by Kenny Arsenault. 3 Year old Colt Trot Dusty Lane Galaxy earned over $23, 000 in 2014, with a record of 2.01. Bred by Dusty Lane Farms , co-owned by Peter Buchanan and the estate of George Boswell, trained and driven by Gary Chappell. 3 Year Old Filly Trot Maritime Breeders Champion Southfield Shadow earned $19,000, and was bred by Meridian Farms, Owned by Southfield Farms, trained by Thane Mann, and driven by Terry Gallant. 3 Year old Pacing Colt Arties Magic was Bred and co-owned by Windemere Farms, co-owned by Clive Balderston, and trained by Earl Watts. 3 Year old Pacing Filly A winner of over $56,000, Lovineveryminute , owned by Kent Duggan, Lana Murphy and Windemere Farms and trained by Earl Watts. Claiming Horse of the Year Forever Paradise was a seven time winner in the claiming ranks in 2014, bred by Art Millar, owned by Reg MacPherson, trained by Kevin MacLean, and driven by Marc Campbell . Aged Trotting Horse A thirteen time winner in 2014, Zip The Lip had an incredible 23 for 26 in the top three. Owned by Orville Willis and trainer Don Sweet, and driven by Brian MacPhee. Aged Trotting Mare Pleasure Girls was a 2.00 winner , and is owned by Shelly Gass, trained by father Ronnie, and driven by Corey MacPherson. Aged Pacing Horse ASTOR , a 1.55.4 winner at the CDP with earnings of over $24,000. Owned by Foxyhall Racing Stable, trained and driven by Jason Hughes. Aged Pacing Mare Stayoutofmyaffair was a nine time winner, included a 1.55.1 clocking at the CDP. Owned by Robbie Hughes, trained and driven by Jason Hughes. Fan Favourite Award One of the toughest campaigners in Prince Edward Island racing, a 53 time winner, and a horse that is getting better with age. Blu Meadow Willie was bred by Ralph Frizzell, co-owned by Brenda MacInnis, and co-owned, , trained, and driven by Bob McInnis. Pacing Horse of the Year Dixieland Band, Bred by Meridian Farms, Owned by Reg MacPherson, trained by Kevin MacLean and driven by Marc Campbell. Trotter of the Year Paymenowpaymelater was Bred by Eldred Nicholson, owned by Wade Peconi, trained by Earl Watts, driven by Kenny Arsenault. Horse of the Year Dixieland Band Owned by Reg MacPherson, trained by Kevin MacLean and driven by Marc Campbell. Grooms of the Year: Melissa MacRae and Shane Bagloe Mr Trot Challenge Brian MacPhee. Rookie Driver Brandon Webster Leading Percentage Driver With a UDRS of .419: Gilles Barrieau Leading Dash Winning Driver A dead heat, Tied with 126 wins in 2014 were Marc Campbell and Jason Hughes. Leading Percentage Trainer Earl Watts. Appreciation Awards Hon. Ron MacKinley and Heather Gamester Standardbred Canada Owner of the Year: Dan Ross. Most Dedicated Horseperson Mr. Gary Chappell By Tom Clark PEI Standardbred Horse Owners Association Awards.
London, March 12, 2015 -- Officials at The Raceway in London have announced that Friday morning's qualifying session has been cancelled to give the track crew time to prepare for Friday nights live harness racing program which is scheduled for 7:15 pm. The track was forced to cancel programs this past Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday due to the warmer temperatures which caused extreme thawing in the racing surface. Greg Blanchard Raceway Manager