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
TORONTO, February 26 - A few weeks off didn't bother Nippy W Hanover as she was razor-sharp in winning the harness racing $41,200 Miss Vera Bars series final Thursday night at Woodbine. Originally set for two preliminary legs and a final, Mother Nature caused the second-leg of the Miss Vera Bars to be cancelled twice, forcing officials to scrap the second-leg and send the series directly to a final Thursday night. All nine three-year-old pacing fillies that competed in the first leg on February 5 returned for the final. Maplelea, the winner of leg one, took most of the support at the windows and was sent off as the 4/5 favourite. However, she would have to settle for second-best, as Nippy W Hanover got the job done in 1:57.1. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Nippy W Hanover got away in second from her rail starting spot. Down the backstretch, Baillargeon opted to circle around to the lead and never looked back. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:28 with Maplelea first up at her wheel, Nippy W Hanover turned aside the favourite's challenge in the lane and paced home in :29.1 to win by 2 ½ lengths. Wake N Bake closed well to finish third, while Docs Hollywood took fourth. A daughter of American Ideal, Nippy W Hanover is trained by Blair Burgess for owners Karin Olsson Burgess and Mac Nichol. The sophomore pacing filly finished second in the first leg after winning her 2015 debut the week before. The series final victory improves Nippy W Hanover's career record to four wins from 12 starts and earnings exceeding $50,000. A $2 win ticket on Nippy W Hanover returned $6.90. Nippy W Hanover In order to be eligible to the Miss Vera Bars series, the three-year-old fillies had to be non-winners of three races or $40,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Mark McKelvie
It came down to the final race and an inquiry for Marilyn Spitzig and Debbie Campbell to garner the 11 dollars in points and leapfrog into first place in the Hanover Raceway and Slots Handicapping Contest. The event lasted 8 weeks and was sponsored by Hanover Raceway and Slots, Woodbine Entertainment and HDTV in Hanover and Walkerton. Spitzig and Campbell each win a 50 inch High Def Smart TV from HDTV thanks to their final total of $323.80 dollars in selections over the 8 week tournament. Ron Lauson and Mike Stachelscheid of Hanover finished in 2nd place and won $500 dollars, while Harold and Heather Fleet of Hanover finished in 3rd place, and won $250.00. A total of 15 teams of 2 and 3 players took part in the contest. Hanover’s next Race promotion is a 2015 Dodge Ram Truck giveaway with Woodbine. HPI or Cash Card players can register at Woodbineentertainment.com/winatruck and each time they spend $50.00 in wagers at a Woodbine sponsored simulcast theatre, they will receive 1 ballot towards the new truck giveaway. The contest runs each and every day in March, so participants can earn up to 31 ballots. For more information contact the Hanover Raceway Simulcast. Hanover Raceway
London, February 22, 2015 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District in London honoured its top harness racing performers for 2014 during their annual awards night on Saturday. Among the highlights was driver Alfie Carroll taking home his first trophy as Driver of the Year, Kendal Gustav being selected as overall Horse of the Year and Natasha House being voted Caretaker of the Year. Two other awards were announced the night of the ceremony and they include Lisa Thompson who was selected as Horsewoman of the Year and the Dave Wall Outstanding Service Award which went to longtime London horseman Larry Fitzsimmons. Here is a complete look at this year's Raceway award winners: Older Pacing Horse - Kendal Gustav Older Pacing Mare - Twilight Seelster Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt - Good Side Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly - Delta Grace Tone Older Trotting Horse - Moonbeam Hall Older Trotting Mare - Thundering Ovation Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt - M C Wood Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly - Sonny With A Chance Claiming Pacer - Cat Four Claiming Trotter (Tied) - Strike A Light and Weskey Driver - Alfie Carroll Owner - Keith Cassell Dave Wall Outstanding Service Award - Larry Fitzsimmons Caretaker - Natasha House Horse of the Year - Kendal Gustav Horsewoman of the Year - Lisa Thompson Greg Blanchard
TORONTO, February 21 - Ontario sired four-year-olds were the main attraction Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack in a pair of harness racing winter series finals. The $45,000 Ontario Boys final for four-year-old pacers and the 44,600 Ontario Girls final for four-year-old pacing mares were co-main events on Saturday night's 11-race card. All eyes were on heavy favourite Nirvana Seelster in the Ontario Boys final, as he went for the series sweep. Driven by Phil Hudon, Nirvana Seelster sprinted out quickly to the front to grab his usual spot on the lead and would cruise along in control cutting out fractions of :27, :56 and 1:24.4 In the stretch, Nirvana Seelster continued to pace strong and was never in any danger of surrendering his lead. He posted a final-quarter of :27.4 to score a length and a quarter victory in 1:52.3. Ideal Jet got up to finish second, while Kindofabigdeal took the show spot. A son of Camluck, Nirvana Seelster is trained by Bill Budd for owner Bruce Davy. The four-year-old pacer swept the Ontario Boys series by winning each leg on the front-end. Nirvana Seelster now has three wins from seven starts this year and ten career victories overall. The winner's share of the purse pushes his career bankroll over $145,000. Nirvana Seelster returned $2.80 to win. Nirvana Seelster In the Ontario Girls final, Artistic Fusion was sent off as the heavy 2/5 favourite and did not disappoint winning in 1:53.4. A first-half battle saw a parked out Regally Ready finally clear to the front before the half ahead of Performing Art. However, Jack Moiseyev wasted no time charging Bet Ya up from fourth to overtake the lead from Regally Ready at the half in :55. Meanwhile, Artistic Fusion and driver Sylvain Filion paced along fourth and made a first-over move on the way to the final turn. Artistic Fusion and Bet Ya would slug it out past the three-quarter pole in 1:23.4 to bring the field into the lane. In the stretch, Artistic Fusion powered by Bet Ya and paced on to the win the Ontario Girls final by a length and a half. A hard-closing Jakardez got up for second, while Bet Ya finished third. A daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion captured the first leg of the series, but then saw her four-race win streak snapped in last week's second leg by Bet Ya. The series finale victory improves her record to five wins from six starts in 2015. Artistic Fusion is trained by Joe Agostino for owner Mike Foote and now has an Ontario Girls title to go along her Blizzard series triumph a month ago. Artistic Fusion now has 11 career victories and earnings of over $142,000. She paid $2.90 to win. Artistic Fusion In order to be eligible to the Ontario Boys and Girls series, the Ontario sired four-year-olds had to be non-winners of $100,000 lifetime or $50,000 in 2014 as of October 31, 2014. Mark McKelvie
Hanover, Bentinck & Brant Agricultural Society is requesting approval for an amendment of the race date schedule at Hanover Raceway (Hanover). The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) is circulating this application for amendment to the approved race date schedule and will receive comments on the application from interested industry participants before making its decision on the application. Copies of the application and business case to support these changes are included with this Notice. Please click here to view the full Notice to the Industry.
TORONTO, February 16 - Bourbon Bay completed the General Brock series sweep with a dominating harness racing victory Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A field of nine four-year-old trotters contested the $50,800 final of the three-week series. Bourbon Bay and driver Mike Saftic came into the finale off two impressive victories in the opening two rounds and they lived up to their 3/5 billing with another eye-catching performance. A son of Sand Vic, Bourbon Bay sprinted out to the lead from post position one and posted a speedy opening-quarter of :27. A fired up Bourbon Bay had to be reeled in a bit by Saftic down the backstretch as he had a two-length advantage over Severus Hanover in second and more than ten-lengths on Bags For All in third. The duo would reach the half in :56.1 and continue to roll along around the final turn, while the back of the pack tried to tighten up to the leaders. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:26, Bourbon Bay kicked into another gear and extended his lead back out to several lengths on his opponents in the stretch. When it was all said and done, Bourbon Bay scored an easy-looking 4 ½ length victory over Bags For All in 1:55.1. Meadowview Vicky finished third, while Severus Hanover took fourth. A four-year-old gelding, Bourbon Bay had been racing primarily in New York, but shipped north of the border into the Mike Sinclair barn for the General Brock. Bourbon Bay is leased by John Cummings Jr. of Nichols, New York and now has four wins from six starts in 2015. Monday's victory was the ninth career score for the son of Sand Vic and pushes his career bankroll over $75,000. Bourbon Bay paid $3.20 to win. In order to be eligible to the General Brock, the three- and four-year-old trotters had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, February 14 - The second leg of the Ontario Boys harness racing series was contested under frosty conditions Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A group of 13 four-year-old pacers were split into two $18,000 divisions for the second leg of the three-week event. Nirvana Seelster took last week's only division and was back to crush his opponents again Saturday night. Driven by Phil Hudon, Nirvana Seelster went straight to the front and never allowed his rivals to get close. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1, Nirvana Seelster separated himself from the pack in the stretch and scored an impressive 6¼ lengths victory in 1:54.3. Ramblingamblinman finished second just ahead of Mittcent Van Gogh in third. A four-year-old son of Camluck, Nirvana Seelster is trained by Bill Budd for owner Bruce Davy. The gelding now has two wins from six starts in 2015 and nine in his career. The round two victory pushes his bankroll over $133,000. Nirvana Seelster returned $6.10 to win and will now have a chance to sweep the series in next week's final. Nirvana Seelster In the first division of the night, Ideal Jet and driver Randy Waples made a second-quarter move to the front and never looked back en route to a 1:55.2 victory. A four-year-old son of Jeremes Jet, Ideal Jet finished eighth in last week's single division. The Craig Barss trainee got away third Saturday night, but was moved before the half by Waples to take the lead. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:26.2, Ideal Jet paced home in :29 to win by a length and a quarter. P L Heavenly finished second, while Regal Babe took the show spot. Saturday's victory was Ideal Jet's first win in 2015 from five starts. The four-year-old now has four career wins and earnings exceeding $96,000 for owners Nurko Sokolovic and Barss. Ideal Jet paid $6.50 to win. Ideal Jet The $45,000 final of the Ontario Boys series is scheduled for next Saturday (February 21) and will be joined by the $44,600 final of the Ontario Girls series. Live racing continues Monday night at Woodbine. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, February 14 - There is no shame in finishing second, but Bags For All and harness racing driver James MacDonald would like to avoid the three-peat in that department Monday night in the $50,800 General Brock series final at Woodbine. The Joe Cirasuola trainee Bags For All came into the General Brock series riding a four-race win streak. Now entering the final, Bags For All has started a new streak, but not one to brag about. The four-year-old trotting mare finished second in both the first and second legs of the three-week event for three- and four-year-old trotters. However, the runner-up finishes have not been for a lack of effort. In the first leg, driver James MacDonald put Bags For All on the front, but she just got beat at the wire by Bourbon Bay. The next week, MacDonald worked out a two-hole trip, but was out-sprinted in the lane by the leader Cash For Gold. MacDonald said he changed his tactics up from the first to second leg, but it just didn't work out. "She kind of goes to sleep on the front and she's not quite as good," said MacDonald. "That's why I let Mike Vanderkemp go easy last week, but then his horse (Cash For Gold) was just really good and we got out-sprinted." Although MacDonald has raced Bags For All near the front over her last three starts and had success, he noted her best performance came from the back. "If you look at her lines, the day (January 16) I raced her from off-the-pace she came home in :27.3 and she was awesome." In the preliminary legs of the General Brock, MacDonald said things just worked out that the front was where he went, but that doesn't mean the final will be the same. "She drew bad and she's got the gate speed and there was no real leavers. Every time I left with her I got there easy, I never really got roughed up too bad, so it was just a case of taking what they were giving me," said MacDonald. "But in the final if I can work out a trip I think she will be better off." The two horses to defeat Bags For All have stamped themselves as the horses to beat in Monday's final and both have good posts to start from. Bourbon Bay will look for the series sweep from post one, while Cash For Gold has drawn post six. Bags For All will start between the two favourites from post three and MacDonald will be keeping a close eye on his top rivals. "Cash For Gold was really good last week. Mike Vanderkemp was just sitting on him down the lane and we were flying right into the wind," said MacDonald. "Saftic's horse (Bourbon Bay) looked awesome in (1):54 last week and looks like definitely the one to beat." MacDonald is confident Bags For All can step out of the bridesmaid's role and into the spotlight Monday night. "She's a nice mare and I think if I can work out a trip, she can win." The General Brock Series final has been carded as race five on Monday evening. Here is the field for the $50,800 final. PP/Horse/Driver/Morning line 1. Bourbon Bay - Mike Saftic (2-1) 2. Severus Hanover - Jody Jamieson (10-1) 3. Bags For All - James MacDonald (7-2) 4. Oaklea Wyatt - J.R. Plante (12-1) 5. Illseeuincourt - Trevor Henry (8-1) 6. Cash For Gold - Michiel Vanderkemp (5-2) 7. Meadowview Vicky - Simon Allard (15-1) 8. Latoka - Phil Hudon (15-1) 9. Tellmehowyoulikeit - Anthony MacDonald (20-1) 10. Stuarts Dynasty - Mario Baillargeon (20-1) AE: Musical Spell - Chris Christoforou (20-1) Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, February 13 - The frigid temperatures continued Friday night at Woodbine, but the harness racing action was hot in the second legs of The Count B and Ontario Girls series. Round two of The Count B for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings drew 13 horses split into two $17,000 divisions, while the Ontario Girls for four-year-old pacing mares second leg featured a field of ten in a lone $18,000 division. In the first division of The Count B, the talk of the tote-board was the undefeated Camvicted, but a final turn and stretch battle took just enough out of him to suffer his first career defeat. Driven by Trevor Henry, Camvicted got away second early, but was quickly right lined to the front around the first turn. It appeared the favourite was going to get to call all the shots, but Legion Of Boom and driver Doug McNair came first up around the final turn to confront the leader. After a third-quarter of :28.1, Camvicted came into the stretch with Legion Of Boom breathing down his neck. The two geldings went toe-to-toe down the lane, but would be picked off late by the hard-charging His Boy Elroy and Jody Jamieson. Situated fifth and more than five-lengths off the front at the three-quarter pole, His Boy Elroy unleashed a late rally of :27.4 down the centre of the track to score the victory by a length in a career best 1:55.1. Camvicted had to settle for third, as Legion Of Boom edged by him late to finish second. A three-year-old son of Jeremes Jet, His Boy Elroy finished fourth in an opening leg division. He is trained by Jean Guy Belliveau for owner Dan Mac Rae. Friday's second leg victory was His Boy Elroy's first win of 2015 and his second career tally. He now has over $31,000 banked from 15 career starts. His Boy Elroy returned $13 to win. His Boy Elroy The second division of The Count B saw plenty of action down the backstretch, but once Conversation Boy and Sylvain Filion found the front it was game over. Conversation Boy got away in fourth, as Newbie sprinted out to the lead. The lead was short lived, as immediately down the backstretch Nobettorplacetobe moved from second to first. However, leg one winner Dialamara followed from third and circled around to become the third leader by the mid-way point. Filion kept the chain going and rushed Coversation Boy from fourth to first before the final turn and that would be the winning move. Conversation Boy reached the three-quarter pole in 1:26.1 and then paced comfortably down the lane holding off Dialamara to win by three-quarters of a length in a career best 1:54.1. Nobettorplacetobe finished third, while Newbie took fourth. A son of Tell All, Conversation Boy was able to turn the tables on Dialamara, as he had finished second to his counterpart in a first leg division. Conversation Boy is trained by Richard Moreau for owner Robert Key and now has two wins from six starts this season. The second leg victory now gives him four career wins and pushes his career earnings over $47,000. A $2 win ticket on Conversation Boy returned $4.70. Conversation Boy Later on in the evening, it was the ladies turn to shine in the Ontario Girls series. Bet Ya and trainer-driver Jack Moiseyev got to the wire just in time to score the leg two victory. A four-year-old daughter of Jeremes Jet, Bet Ya got away in fifth and made a first-over move down the backstretch. She would eventually clear by the favourite Regally Ready before the final turn and reached the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1. In the stretch, Bet Ya and Moiseyev were able to create some separation on their rivals and appeared to be on their way to victory, but Artistic Fusion made a late rally to make things very tight at the wire and put the photo-finish camera to use. In the photo, Bet Ya prevailed by a nose over Artistic Fusion in 1:54 for her first win in two starts this year and seventh of her career. Jakardez got up to finish third. Bet Ya is owned by Joanne Colville and Nancy Macnevin. Friday night's victory pushes her bankroll over the $100,000 mark to $108,430. The clocking of 1:54 is also a new lifetime best for the Ontario sired mare. Bet Ya paid $7.30 to win. Bet Ya Both series will conclude next week with their respective fianls. The $43,800 final of The Count B will take place next Friday (February 20). The $44,600 Ontario Girls final will take place the next evening (Febraury 21) to go along with the $45,000 Ontario Boys final. The second leg of the Ontario Boys is scheduled for Saturday night. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications
TORONTO, February 12 - Due to extreme cold temperatures and wind chill, the Thursday, February 12 card of live harness racing at Woodbine has been cancelled. The Friday, February 13 live card will go as planned at 7:25pm. The qualifiers scheduled for Thursday afternoon at Woodbine will now move to Friday, February 13 at 3:30pm. The 2nd leg of the Miss Vera Bars series, scheduled for this evening, will now be raced Thursday, February 19, while the $35,000 final is set for Thursday, February 26.
TORONTO, February 9 - Cash For Gold and Bourbon Bay came away with second leg victories in the General Brock harness racing series Monday night at Woodbine. A group of 17 trotters were split into two $18,000 divisions for the second round of the three-week series. The second division featured a matchup between both winners from the first leg, Bourbon Bay and Severus Hanover. The race got off to a hot start, as Bourbon Bay grabbed the early lead, but Severus Hanover sprinted up on the outside to clear to the front at the opening quarter in :26.4. Bourbon Bay and driver Mike Saftic quickly moved back to the lead and posted a half-mile time of :56.2. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3, Bourbon Bay stretched out his lead to several lengths in the stretch and cruised home to an impressive 4 ½ length victory in 1:54.3. Illseeuincourt rallied to finish second, while Tellmehowyoulikeit took the show spot. Severus Hanover faded back to finish seventh. A four-year-old son of Sand Vic, Bourbon Bay is now two for two since moving north of the border into the Mike Sinclair barn. The gelding trotter is leased by John Cumming Jr. and now has a record of three wins from five starts in 2015. The clocking of 1:54.3 is a new lifetime mark for Bourbon Bay, who surpassed $50,000 in career earnings with the victory. Bourbon Bay returned $3 to win and will now have a chance at a General Brock series sweep next week. Bourbon Bay In the first division of the evening, Cash For Gold made a second-quarter move to the lead and it was lights out from there. Trained and driven by Michael Vanderkemp, Cash For Gold, the 6/5 favourite, got away in third, but made a quick move down the backstretch to overtake the lead from the second choice Bags For All at the half in :58. After an easy third-quarter of :30.1, Cash For Gold was able to sprint home in :28 and score a two-length victory over Bags For All. Stuarts Dynasty got up for third. The round two victory gave Cash For Gold his first win from four starts in 2015. The four-year-old son of Cash Hall was coming off a third-place finish in a first leg division last week. Owned by Sonja Booth, Cash For Gold now has three career victories and earnings exceeding $57,000. Monday evening's clocking of 1:56.1 lowered his lifetime mark by a fifth of a second. A $2 win ticket on Cash For Gold returned $4.70. Cash For Gold The $50,800 General Brock series final will take place next Monday (February 16). Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, February 6 - A pair of winter harness racing series got underway Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. The Count B Series for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings saw two $17,000 divisions contested, while the Ontario Girls Series for four-year-old pacing mares needed just one $18,000 division for the first leg of the three-week event. A field of seven battled in an eventful first division to get Count B action underway. Conversation Boy, the 4/5 favourite, got away early in fifth, but made a break as the field turned into the backstretch. The miscue was quickly resolved and driver Sylvain Filion elected to roll the favourite to the front, eventually clearing in front of the leader Newbie just after the midway point. Conversation Boy would lead the field around the final turn, but was confronted first up by Dialamara and driver Trevor Henry. Meanwhile, Legion Of Boom, the 5/2 second choice, was pacing along fourth, but made a break just before the three-quarter pole taking himself out of contention. In the stretch, Conversation Boy and Dialamara would slug it out, while Newbie came off the rail to the outside to make it a close three-horse finish. At the wire, Dialamara came away with a three-quarters of a length victory over Conversation Boy in 1:54.3. Newbie finished third. Legion Of Boom recovered from the final turn break to finish fourth, but was placed back to sixth for interference while on a break. A three-year-old son of Lis Mara, Dialamara was making his first start of 2015. The sophomore now has three career wins from nine starts for trainer Patrick Fletcher and owner John Lamers. Friday night's victory pushes his bankroll over $40,000 and the clocking of 1:54.1 lowers his lifetime mark by more than three-seconds. Dialamara returned $10.70 to win. In the second division, Camvicted went gate-to-wire to remain undefeated in three starts. Driven by Trevor Henry, Camvicted sprinted out to the lead ahead of his five other rivals and was able to call the shots without any challengers through the first three-quarters of the mile. Camvicted posted fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:26.4 and faced his first challenge when His Boy Elroy came first up from fourth around the final turn to draw within half a length of the leader as they turned into the stretch. In the stretch, Camvicted and Henry were able to fight off His Boy Elroy and Shippen Out on the far outside, while also keeping Nobettorplacetobe locked in the pocket to win in 1:56. Shippen Out finished second by a length, while Nobettorplacetobe finished third just ahead of His Boy Elroy. A three-year-old son of Camluck, Camvicted has now won the first three starts of his career in 2015 for owners Doug & Dennis Belan and Brian Fitzgerald. The sophomore pacer is trained by Richard Moreau and now has a bankroll of $22,500. A $2 win ticket on Camvicted returned $3.20. In order to be eligible to The Count B Series, the three-year-old pacers had to be non-winners of three races or $40,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Artistic Fusion carried the momentum from her Blizzard Series sweep into round one of the Ontario Girls. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Artistic Fusion left from post nine and was parked past the opening-quarter before eventually clearing to the front in the first turn. Filion was able to tap the breaks in the second-quarter and reach the half in :58. Around the final turn, Mea Lilley Mark came first up to challenge the leader and the mares past the three-quarter pole in 1:26.2. In the stretch, Artistic Fusion put away Mea Lilley Mark, but had to deal with Performing Art, who got a two-hole trip, coming at her on the inside. Artistic Fusion was able to hold off Performing Art to reach the wire first and win by a head in 1:56.1. Jakardez got up for third, while Bet Ya finished fourth. Artistic Fusion is trained by Joe Agostino and has now won four consecutive starts to remain undefeated in 2015. Friday night's win was the tenth of her career and pushes her career earnings over $115,000 for owner Mike Foote. Artistic Fusion returned $3.90 to win, In order to be eligible to the Ontario Girls, the four-year-old pacing mares had to be non-winners of $100,000 lifetime or $50,000 last year as of October 31, 2014. The second leg of both The Count B and the Ontario Girls will take place next Friday (February 13). Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, February 5 - Maplelea turned in a solid final-quarter to take the first leg of the harness racing Miss Vera Bars Series Thursday night at Woodbine. Just nine three-year-old pacing fillies entered the first leg of the three-week series, meaning just one $17,000 division was necessary. The first leg saw plenty of action early, as the longest shot on the board, Weekly Special, sprinted out to the lead, but was quickly overtaken by Happy Ending Gal by the opening quarter. Happy Ending Gal's stablemate, Franney Love Dat, came first up in the second-quarter and eventually cleared just past the midway point. The heavy 2/5 favourite, Nippy W Hanover, was moved to the outside just before the half and would be left first up around the final turn. Franney Love Dat held a narrow advantage over Nippy W Hanover at the three-quarter pole in 1:27.3. In the stretch, it appeared it would be a battle between the top two, but Maplelea, who on the outside without cover and more than five-lengths off the lead, came charging in the stretch and blew by the leaders to win by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:56.3. Nippy W Hanover was able to push by and finish second just ahead of Franney Love Dat. Driven by Rick Zeron, Maplelea paced a :28 final-quarter to get up for her second career victory. The three-year-old daughter of Sportswriter was winless from three starts last year and now has two wins from three starts in 2015. Maplelea is owned and trained by Andrew Moore. Her career earnings now exceed $20,000 and the clocking of 1:56.3 is a new career-best. She paid $13.20 to win. Maplelea In order to be eligible for the series, the three-year-old fillies had to be non-winners of three races or $40,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. The second leg of the Miss Vera Bars Series will take place next Thursday (February 12). Live racing continues Friday night at Woodbine. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, February 2 - The General Brock Series kicked off Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack under frigid temperatures at the Toronto harness racing oval. A group of 18 three and four-year-old trotters braved a windchill of -20 degrees Celsius in a pair of $18,000 divisions for the first leg of the three-week series. In the opening division, Severus Hanover went gate to wire to win in 1:58.1. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Severus Hanover trotted out to the early lead and hung up opening fractions of :29 and :59.3. Around the final turn, Severus Hanover stretch out his lead by a few lengths to post a three-quarter time 1:28.1 and then cruised home under no urging from Jamieson to win by a length and three-quarters. Oaklea Wyatt finished second, while Latoka took the third spot. Severus Hanover is a four-year-old son of Explosive Matter and is trained by David Frey for owner 373818 Ontario Limited of Maple, Ontario. Monday's victory was the trotter's seventh career triumph and improved his 2015 record to two wins from three starts. The winner's share of the purse increased his career bankroll to over $65,000. Severus Hanover paid $7.50 to win. In the second division, Bourbon Bay pulled off the upset victory to snap Bags For All's four-race win streak. Driven by Mike Saftic, Bourbon Bay was parked for the majority of the first turn before clearing in front of the 4/5 favourite Bags For All. However, James MacDonald and Bags For All did not wait long to move from the two-hole and circled around Bourbon Bay to take the lead at the half in :57. After posting a three-quarter time of 1:26.3, Bags For All led the field into the stretch with Bourbon Bay following closely in behind. In the stretch, Saftic and Bourbon Bay took their shot at Bags For All from the two-hole and were able to just get by the favourite in deep stretch to prevail by half a length in 1:55.3. Cash For Gold, who was second over around the final turn, got up for third. Racing primarily in New York, Bourbon Bay shipped into the Mike Sinclair barn to win his WEG circuit debut Monday night. A four-year-old son of Sand Vic, Bourbon Bay is leased by John Cummings of Lancaster, New York and now has seven career victories, including two of three starts this season. Bourbon Bay's career earnings now exceed $41,000. The clocking of 1:55.3 knocked more than three-seconds off the trotter's previous lifetime mark. Bourbon Bay paid $24 to win. In order to be eligible to the General Brock Series, the trotters had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Round two of the General Brock Series is scheduled for next Monday (February 9). Live racing continues Thursday night at Woodbine with a ten-race card featuring the first leg of Miss Vera Bars Series. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie
London, February 2, 2015 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District wishes to advise harness racing people and customers that live racing is on as scheduled this evening. The 11-race program will get underway at 6:15 p.m. and it is also Pub Night at the Top Of The Fair dining room. The Raceway features a pair of $5,000 Guaranteed Pool Pick-4 wagers on the card, both with a low 15% takeout rate. The average pick-4 pool for the month of January was more than $10,000 with the average .20 cent payout returning more than $630. Free programs and live streaming video for tonight's card are available at www.westernfairdistrict.com. Greg Blanchard