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Among the busy hallways of Woodbine Racetrack, filled with people going this way and that, there is a room, steep in history; and in this room some of the greatest moments in Canadian horse racing are kept. On the walls are plaques of heroes of our sport both past and present; from the great Secretariat to the great Keith Waples.  It’s a place where Thoroughbreds, Standardbred, drivers, jockeys, and people who devoted their lives to this sport come together to celebrate their accomplishments. Each year some of racing’s best and most honorable join this elite club. This is the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame! As you walk through you can feel the energy, you can hear the horse’s hooves thundering home, the crack of a driver’s whip as he hits the shaft of his bike trying to urge his horse to go. Or the muffled voice of a commentator, maybe even the clicking of keys on the typewriter or now a days a computer laptop. Or you can imagine the screams of fans because of builders who built our sport from the ground up, turning hopes into dreams; and nothing into something. You feel as though you have been brought back in time and are walking through history. Seeing milestones crossed, champions beaten and records broke. Last year I had the honor of attending the Canadian Hall of Fame induction dinner. This dinner is where the year’s inductees and inductees of the past come together to congratulate each other on their success, honor and accomplishments, and it gives them a chance to connect and share stories and their memories with one another.  I had the honor of being there when my dear friend Carl Jamieson was inducted in the Standardbred Trainer/Driver category. While I was there I met many people; but I had the pleasure of meeting two people in particular that I never thought I’d meet. They were; Chris Tweedy, the son of the lady who changed the sport forever- Penny Tweedy, with the idea to syndicate her horse Secretariat, who today is still one of the greatest horses our sport has ever seen. The other person I met was someone who I never thought I would meet in my entire life; he was none other than the one and only Ron Turcotte. We talked for several minutes. We talked about Secretariat, his success as a jockey, me and my adventures in horse racing, and my hopes and dreams. I told him about Pinky and shared our story. Sitting and talking with him was a true honor. He is so inspirational, the passion he has for the sport whether its Standardbred or Thoroughbred is extremely memorable; and I felt so privileged to have been able to meet such a person. The class of 2014 is an incredible group of inductees. Their impact on the sport will forever be imbedded in our history, now and long after they’re gone, their memory will continue to live on. With great pleasure and honor I now introduce to you the 2014 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Inductees;    In Thoroughbred racing: Apelia – Female Thoroughbred Inductee A filly owned and bred by Steve Stavro, of Knob Hill Farm was the filly trained by the Hall of Fame trainer Phil England.  She always impressed her connections; in her 24 career starts she hit the board  a total of 18 times, with 12 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds and a bankroll of $621,708 CND. The filly was unraced at the age of two, however she was undeniably one of Canada’s dominate female sprinter, a recognition and name she earned by taking on some of the world’s best fellow sprinters, against both colts and fillies. Because of her impressive record she has a stakes race named in her honor. This race is run annually at Woodbine Racetrack, which is fascinating because Apelia won her maiden start at Greenwood in 1993 by seven lengths. Also joining Apelia in the Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2014 is Wando: Wando- Thoroughbred Inductee A multiple stakes winner throughout his career, Wando won Canada’s Triple Crown in 2003 at the age of two, all of which he did with in open length fashion. He was only the seventh one to win Canadian Triple Crown since 1959. Wando was retired at age four due to a slight tear in the suspensory ligament of his hind left leg. He retired with a lifetime earnings of $2,566,060 CND, and a successful racing career that saw 23 starts and included 11 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds.   He passed away on January 22, 2014 at the age of 14. Along with the boys there is also a filly going in: Cool Mood- Female Thoroughbred Inductee Cool Mood won the 1969 Canadian Oaks. She only had 8 wins in 41 starts but that didn’t matter because her success as broodmare was *quite * the record, and here is a sampling her foals success; With Approval captured the 1989 Canadian Triple Crown and Izvestia took the 1990 Canadian Triple Crown, along with Touch Gold who won the 1997 Belmont Stakes. Her daughters also made good broodmares too! Five of her nine daughters also produced twelve stakes winners. The final the Thoroughbred being inducted is a legend of the sport of the sport, meet Archworth: Archworth- Legend Horse In 1938 Archworth was considered Canada’s top two year as he had wins in a variety of stakes races   In 1939 Archworth won the Queen’s Plate but, he along with connections he also had a brush with royalty. As it was the first time in Queen’s Plate history that a ruling monarch had been present.   On this day Archworch also galloped to a 10 length victory.   Archworth was retired at the age of five, and stood stud a William H. Wright’s farm in Barrie Ontario. The same place as where he was foaled in 1937.  At the end of his career he had 47 starts, and hit board in 31 of those, including 15 wins and finished second or third in 16 other races, with career earnings of $31,234. There is also a remarkable group of Standardbred horses going into the Hall of Fame this year: Albatross- Male Horse Inductee: At two the colt had 14 wins in 17 starts, and impressive earnings of $183,540 and a mark of 157.4.   In the early beginning of his three season he was syndicated for 1.25 million which in 1971 was a record for a horse at that time. Then Stanley Dancer took over, Albatross won 25 out 28 starts, making $558,009. His success continued into his four year old season where he collected 20 wins in 26 starts and made earnings of $459,921. In 1972 he was retired and re-syndicated for 2.5million.  He held records of both fastest horse, with a mark of 1:53.4 and the richest in history for his breed. He stood at Hanover Shoe Farms and sired more than 2,640 foals. Fan Hanover was one of them; who even today is the only filly to win the coveted Little Brown Jug. Albatross died at Hanover Shoe at in 1998, the age of 30, due to complications from heart failure and colic. During his lifetime he was also named U.S Horse of the Year in 1971 and 1972, and was buried in the cemetery at Hanover Shoe Farms. This year at the induction dinner I had the pleasure of talking to Murray Brown who worked at Hanover Shoe Farms, and got to work with Albatross on a daily basis, here is what he had to say about Albatross: “He was perfect horse! He was kind gentle and had no bad manners; he was just an absolute great horse,” Mr. Brown said, “He was handsome and great gaited. He could have the post 8 on a half mile [track] and still win! I was lucky to have been able to meet such a great horse! He continues. “When Stanley Dancer approached Hanover Shoe Farms about buying Albatross and the legal ownership (of even a percentage) Stanley Dancer said ‘all that mattered was the size of his testicles.” Murray Brown recalled with a chuckle. Some racehorses hit the track and you know that they are going to be remembered forever, and that’s exactly what our next inductee did: Rocknroll Hanover- 2014 inductee Rocknroll Hanover is the only horse in history to win the Metro Pace, North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace and Breeders Crown. In 26 career starts Rocknroll Hanover had 15 wins, 5 seconds and 5 thirds.  At age 11 his stud career was cut short when he had to say goodbye in March of 2013 to the sport loved, and a sport that loved him back after he suffered complications from gastric impaction.  He will always be remembered as the horse who always wanted more. His memory and legacy will always live on through his successful children and grandchildren. Our next inductee is one that I remember watching race, her grace and elegance was eye catching and her name is...          Dreamfair Eternal-Female Standardbred Inductee Dreamfair Eternal, The filly by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Famer father Camluck out of J Cs Nathalie who is a United States Harness racing Hall of Fame inductee and now she herself has continues that legacy.     On the track Dreamfair Eternal was quite the champion, she had multiple stakes wins to her name including, the Breeders Crown for older pacing mare in 2010, and wins in the Roses are Red in both 2009 and 2011; as well as a number of other stakes races in 2010 and 2011, and the Artiscape in 2011 and 2012. Along the way she also set four records along the way including a world record on a half mile track; which she took at Flamboro Downs which was 1:51.4. Her career best was 1:49 at Tioga Downs it came on her eighth and final year on the track. Her career also saw 140 trips behind the gate, 56 of those resulting in trips to the Winner’s Circle, 18 seconds, and 13 thirds.   But as a youngster she was quite the handful. She made dirty breaks, and top drivers didn’t really want to steer her.  But that didn’t deter her owner and breeder. He knew that she was special. But at the age of four John Lamers made the tough decision to put her in a mixed sale with a reserved bid of $85,000, when that price was not met he brought his mare back home and that resulted in the Dreamfair Eternal we know today. The wonderful horses that we have already mentioned would not have gotten where they are today if it wasn’t for the humans that trained, drove or rode them. So meet the 2014 Hall of Fame trainer, driver and jockey inductees: Horatio Luro- Thoroughbred Trainer Horatio Luro, moved to the United States in 1937 from Argentina, with him he brought four race thoroughbred horses which he later grew into a stable. He was a good horsemen, he was fair with his exercise riders, jockeys and other people he worked with, and always took their opinions into consideration when training his horses. Luro was a three time Queen’s Plate winner; he was also the first to ship a horse from United States to Canada to compete in the Long Branch Championship; which today is known as the Canadian Championship. That is when his connection for Canadian racing began.  He trained the great Northern Dancer. Luro also trained both of Northern Dancer’s parents, and this colt took him on the trip of a lifetime, when he won the Kentucky Derby in record time, followed by a win in the Preakness and finishing third in the Belmont. Horatio Luro died in 1991 but among the many things he will be remembered for, he will always be remembered as a trainer that believed in his horses and a true gentlemen. Robert Landry-2014 Jockey Robert Landry was one of Canada’s top riders he had career that spanned 30 years. He captured his first lifetime win at the age of 19 aboard Hammy Hubert at Fort Erie Racetrack on June 21st 1981. That would be the first of many trips to Winner’s Circle for Landry, the first of 2,045 trips to the Winner’s Circle to be exact With 167 of those wins being stakes races; he first stakes win came in 1982 when he rode La Salle Park in the Fair Play Stakes.  His career exploded in 1992 when he won 102 races; this would also be the first of seven years that he would win 100 or more races. His best years were in 1993 where he won 176 races; and 1994 where he won 178 races. And because of those two very impressive years he was also a Sovereign Awards in both years.    It wasn’t easy getting those mounts; it took lot patience, dedication, and determination, but Landry had plenty of all three and he was strong-willed and wanted to succeed.  Along the way he suffered from serious injuries including breaking his back on two separate occasions. He made the decision to retire in 2011. His last stakes win which would also be his last career came on August 8th, 2014 aboard Rahys Attorney in the Approval stakes. Even though he might have retired from riding, he is still doing what loves, and that is working with horses as Chiefswood Stables General Manager. I had a chance to sit down with Robert Landry and reflect on his career with him; here is what he had to say: “Being inducted was the ultimate! I have been lucky enough to do what I love to do. I have had the opportunity to ride so many great horses and win so many great races.” Then I asked him, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?” He smiled, thought about and then said “My greatest accomplishment would have to be being so fortunate and always trying my best and being able to promote the sport as much I as I been able to. Wally Hennessy- Trainer/ Driver Wally Hennessy was born and raised on Prince Edward Island and saw most of his success come in the United States. His career is quite impressive; he has 8,500 wins and has $58,000 000 (million) in purse earnings. Each year for the past 25 he has won more than 200 races and banked more 1, 000,000 in purses; he has had the opportunity to drive in major races all across the globe. In 2005 he drove Driven To Win in the 46th edition of the coveted Gold Cup and Saucer. I have actually had the opportunity to meet Wally Hennessey in person. It was at Legend’s Day at Clinton Raceway in 2011. On that afternoon I talked to him and he signed my keepsake poster along with the other legends who had signed it. My parents and I were watching the races, and after the featured ‘Legend’s Day Invitational Trot’ they called all of the drivers for a group photo, and Hennessy was walking back from doing an interview when he heard the announcement. He stopped in front of us on the opposite side of the fence. He said hello and we exchanged pleasantries; then he placed his helmet and gloves on the ground and asked if we could watch his belongings while he went for the picture. I agreed delightedly (after all it was Wally Hennessy) so when he returned to collect his possessions we continued chatting and then he took his gloves out of his helmet and passed them to me. “Here you go.” I was in a state of pure amazement as he passed me his royal blue driving gloves. “Thank you” is all I could say. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. He winked and said “you’re welcome.” And I knew my mom had a sharpie marker in our bag we had brought, and so before he walked away. I said “Mr. Hennessy before you go can you please sign these before you go? As I had handed him back the gloves he had just given me. He nodded and smiled and he pasted the gloves back to me, and then he was off. I wore the gloves for the rest of the day and I wore them with such pride. When I slipped them on, they felt like they were magical, they gave my hands this tingly sensation, this aura of honor, the things their previous owner had accomplished were only dreams of mine.  When I got home I put them in my mom’s china cabinet so they wouldn’t get damaged or lost. I sat down with Wally Hennessy at the induction ceremony and chatted with him and reminisce about his career and here is what we talked about: “Mr. Hennessy is there one horse that you have driven that you will always remember that special horse to you?” He smiled and said “as a matter of fact there is.” The horse that I will always remember would have to be Moni Maker. It defined my career as a driver, and she sent me on a ride of a lifetime! You just can’t compare something like her to anything else. “ “What does being inducted to Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame mean to you?” “Being inducted to the Hall of Fame means everything to me. It is overwhelming and very humbling. I didn’t get to where I was by myself, I am very grateful for the support my family has given me. I am very fortunate for the longevity and consistency of my career and I am very lucky that I have not had setbacks in the sport that have hindered me from doing what I love - driving” Our sport wouldn’t be without the fans and enthusiasts, and if it wasn’t for our builders we would not have a facility to race at or a place where fans can come to watch the races. And without our communicators those fans would never have known about the sport of horse racing so without a further ado I would like to introduce you to the 2014 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame builders and communicators: Dr. Ted Clark- Standardbred Builder: A veterinarian by profession Dr. Clark is now the General Manager of the racetrack he helped to build. He gave up his practice in 2002 in order to devote his life to the sport of standardbred.  He has a deep passion for what he does. He’s dedicated and wants his costumers and horsemen to both be happy while at Grand River Raceway. During the construction process he taught himself how to read blueprints so he would know what the contractors were talking about. One night at Grand River I had the humbling opportunity to sit one on one with Dr. Clark and I asked him about his induction, here is what he had to say: “Being inducted is a surprise, and it’s not just me that made things possible for me do the things I am being recognized for milestones many people made possible. I have fortunate to have able to apart of many great times in racing, and I am grateful for the opportunities I have been apart and I appreciate all of them because they have helped me get to where I am today.” Grand River is a family affair for Dr. Clark and his daughter Carrie who also works there as the equipment judge and I asked her about what her dad’s induction meant to her and her family, here is what she had to say: “It was a once in a lifetime thing, and it was so great to see him be recognized for all the things he has done and continues to do he helped both our track and our industry rebuild and find a way to survive: to reinvent the Industry. So by definition and practice, he has been, and continues to be a builder. Builders are survivors. he just keeps going. It means so much that his work has not gone unnoticed. As a family, we are very proud of him.” Without Dr. Clark racing for me personally because during the summer I race my horse Sydney “Pinky” Seelster at Grand River Raceway, it is such a nice place to race. It is perfectly set up for both the patrons and horsemen.  Robert Murphy- Standardbred Builder            An O’Brien Award nominee in 2006 for Canada’s Breeder of the Year, built and owned a Serta mattress manufacturing plant along with a couple other businesses and manufacturing plants. Over more than 30 years Robert Murphy owned more 400 horses, either in part with other owners or by himself and together they made other $100 million. In 2007 Robert Murphy owned more Standardbred horses than anyone in Canada. He said goodbye to the sport he helped build and strengthen in February 2010 when he died at the age of 77. William “Bill” D. Graham- Thoroughbred Builder William “Bill” Graham is the owner of Windhaven Farms in Caledon Ontario. He also helped to build Woodbine Racetrack’s E.P Taylor Turf Course. The horses he bred, were bred to be champions. The fillies that were bred at Windhaven were no less than impressive. In last 40 years there has rarely been a race for fillies or mares that hasn’t been won by a Windhaven bred.  They also have multiple Sovereign Award winning fillies to their credit. Graham himself is a Sovereign Award winner. In 2012 he was a Sovereign Award as a Canadian Outstanding Breeder.  He is also a member of the Brampton (Ontario, Canada) Sports Hall of Fame, Vice- President of (H.B.P.A), director of (C.T.H.S), a steward of the Jockey Club of Canada, a commissioner of the Ontario Racing Commission (O.R.C), a member of Woodbine Racetrack’s Board of Directors and now a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Arthur (Art) W. Stollery - Thoroughbred Builder Arthur W. Stollery served in World War II as a flying officer; after returning home ran Angus Glen Farm.  He took developed broodmares from Canada, the United States, and South America and bred them to top Canadian stallions. His successful ran for more than two decades. It included many multiple stakes winners, and a few were even award winners. He died in 1994 at the age of 80. E. King Dodds - Standardbred Legend and Communicator Edmund King Dodds, who went by E., founded the Canadian Sportsman, a magazine that covered everything sports (including horse racing) and later the publication switched its focus to strictly horse racing. The Canadian Sportsmen was published for 143 years, and recently stopped publication, so his induction came at the perfect time.     He lost his sight completely and still managed to write for his publication for 5 years and was fully able to publish a book on horse racing. His book included his experiences that he witnessed through the years and even included stories as early as the 1840’s and at the time it was published it was welcomed and praised as “one of the first and best serious attempts to record sports history.”     Our next and final inductee is a gentleman I had the pleasure of keeping in contact with since his induction. We have met at the races a few times and shared a countless amount of stories. It is with true pleasure and honor I introduce to my good friend Bill Galvin; William (Bill) Galvin - Standardbred Communicator Bill Galvin has seen and done pretty much everything thing there is to see in harness racing. He is a lifelong enthusiast of the sport and has devoted his life. He always had a love for horses. He groomed horses as a teenager, then he went to University of Detroit for English, and there he began tell people about harness racing.   He brought the sport of Racing Under Saddle (R.U.S) to Canada, and applied to have it has a wagering event and was turned down back in the 80’s. He organized a day of ice racing on the Rideau* Connell in Ottawa (Ontario, Canada); an event where Standardbred horses raced over the frozen Connell. On this day 4,000 spectators gathered to witness this event, including the Prime Minister of Canada; on this momentous occasion a very large storm came about as Galvin recalled. The list accomplishments and things this remarkable gentleman has done are endless. He has worked with the Horseman’s Chaplaincy at Woodbine for many years, and was recently appointed to the Standardbred Chaplaincy Board of Directors; and now he can add a 2014 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee When I asked him what his greatest accomplishment was he paused and thought about it for a moment and said; “My greatest accomplishment would have to be the fundraiser I started for the Race Against M.S. I have been so fortunate to do what I love”, he added with a smile.” Here you have it, your 2014 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductees! If you want to learn more about them or more about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame or want to learn about this year’s inductees, or inductees of the past; please visit: http://www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com/ Thank you to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame for giving me this opportunity, thank you for letting me use your resources. Thank you to all the people who have helped me make this story possible, from my fellow writers who gave me expert advice when I needed it, to the inductees who took the time to sit down and answer my questions, to my editor for all of his patience, I really appreciate it.   And to Linda Rainy and Andrea Magee, and everyone else at the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame thank you for letting me be a part of your special event, and creating so many memories that I will never forget!  Sydney Weaver is 14 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, grooms horses, jogs them on the track, co-owns a racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.

ELORA, ON - Monday (September 29) marks the final live race card of the year at Grand River Raceway, but it's already proven to be a successful year at the track. Despite fewer races and fewer cards, the average bet per race jumped 10.5 per cent in 2014 compared to 2013 and total wagering on Grand River is up 4.8 per cent from just under $6.5 million in 2013 to nearly $6,786,149 this year through Wenesday's card. All this despite a decrease in the number of races per card of nearly 10 per cent. On the track, nothing topped Hall of Fame driver John Campbell and Hall of Fame trainer Bob McIntosh teaming up to win the $217,140 Battle of Waterloo Aug. 4 with McIntosh's two-year-old homebred pacing colt Go Daddy Go. It was the first Battle of Waterloo victory for both men. "I haven't started that many in it, but it feels tremendous," McIntosh said in the winner's circle. "It's a real thrill." Campbell said the victory felt great. "It's been a fun day for me and it's capped off extremely well," he said. This year also marked Campbell's first trip to Grand River and he liked what he saw. "I got a tour before the races started here and it's very efficient and very convenient for fans. It looks like a very nice plant," Campbell said. The Grand River meet also saw rising star James MacDonald win his first premier stakes race at the track when he drove 20-1 longshot Win The Gold to victory in the Battle of the Belles for trainer Tony O'Sullivan. In August, Grand River's general manager Dr. Ted Clarke was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in the builders' category. That same month, Jet Airway set a track record for three-year-old pacing colts when he buzzed the Grand River oval in 1:51.1. Five other horses also set Canadian seasonal records at the track. On the drivers' side, Trevor Henry was again crowned the top Grand River driver for both wins and money. Casie Coleman was Grand River's top money-winning trainer and Richard Moreau led all trainers in wins at the track by a wide margin. And this year, we also learned important information such as what three people driver Scott Coulter would enlist to thwart a zombie apocalypse. "I'm going to take Clint Eastwood," Coulter said, "Superman and throw Sly Stallone in there, too. Why not?" We also discovered what Randy Waples would be doing if he wasn't driving horses for a living -"At one time, being a surfer sounded pretty good. I likead the idea of that." - what music trainer Casie Coleman thinks Satan has playing on repeat in her version of hell - "Anything country, probably." - and what James MacDonald does better than his two famous driving brothers, Anthony and Mark - "Golf, that's for sure, because they're both horrible." To hear our conversation with some of the most prominent drivers and trainers in the game, check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at https://soundcloud.com/grandriverraceway Final Training Day at Grand River Raceway  Grand River Raceway will remain open for training every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon, with all horses vacated by 1:00 p.m. This schedule will remain in effect until the final training day on October 9. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

The retired harness racing trainer reflects on learning to communicate with horses and what it feels like drive them to victory in the sport’s biggest races. ELORA, ON — What does it feel like to drive a horse to victory in a major stakes race? Dr. John Hayes said coming from 10th at the top of the stretch to win the 1981 Meadowlands Pace with Conquered is a feeling he can only compare with finishing his first Boston Marathon. “It was totally emotionally impacting. It was so overwhelming I had trouble controlling it,” he said Wednesday, referring to the marathon he completed on his first attempt in 2007. As for that equally overwhelming Meadowlands Pace victory, Hayes said, “At the head of the stretch I was out of it. Halfway through the stretch it was evident I was going to be in the hunt for a cheque. Down near the wire, the cheque was going to be pretty good and at the wire, holy f---. “It was that first 30 seconds from the horse crossing the finish line until you get down into the turn and the horse gets pulled up; that feeling I never experienced it to that extent before in my life.” Hayes has done it all in harness racing. He’s a veterinarian that has owned, trained and driven horses all of his adult life. While he’s retired from training and his farm on the shore of Lake Ontario in Beamsville is for sale, it is still home to Canadian Pacing Derby champion Modern Legend trained by Dave Drew. Hayes has long been one of the sport’s most respected, most articulate participants. When asked to describe the sensation of driving horses, he said it doesn’t feel like you might expect. “Something you’re acutely aware of is how fast the ground is going underneath you when you’re driving a horse,” he said. “That sense is, of course, nothing you can compare to because it is being in the car without the floorboards. “Lots of times there is that addition of physiology of the horse that impacts on you. You smell the horse. There’s sweat involved. You’re getting that added sensory input that doesn’t come from another moving-over-the-ground experience.” Nearly 50 years of experience has taught Hayes to understand the language horses speak. “Although horses don’t talk, they certainly communicate. I became much better at speaking horse speak incrementally as time went on,” he said. “The language is in their response to the inputs that are from your end. In other words, you just get more comfortable in identifying the feedback and what it probably means.” As for people he admires in the game, Hayes said he’s a big fan of fellow veterinarian Dr. Ted Clarke, the general manager of Grand River Raceway in Elora. Clarke was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in August. “If Ted Clarke had a greater responsibility for the direction of Canadian racing, we would be way, way down the road to optimal opportunity,” Hayes said. “He has the ability to create consensus like nobody I’ve seen. He does not make vested interest his primary objective. He makes the interest of everybody his primary objective with the assumption that vested interest will be best served.” Hayes no longer owns any horses, but he was quick to name the one that changed his life. “The horse’s name is Decked. Let’s just say it was a father-son relationship thing,” he said of the late John Hayes, Sr., who is enshrined in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. “Father was cutting back, phasing out and I was taking over the operation … Of course, I was young and wanting to expand my wings and there was no opportunity to do it with a trotter. So, we had this two-year-old who was by the first crop of Penn Hanover called Decked. His mother was an Adios mare. She was from the last crop of Adios. He was made to pace, but he loved to trot. “Father said, ‘You can hold him together in 2:20, but he’s bred to pace and he’ll switch over to the pace as soon as you chirp to him going some speed …’ The bottom line is he won his first pari-mutuel start, in London, in a sires stakes on the trot in 2:09 in October. That was the day that I somewhat gained a level of independence from my father where I was able to make a decision and he didn’t have to tell me I was full of (it).” In six years on the track, Decked earned more than $140,000 on the trot and just $4,000 on the pace. To hear our conversation with Dr. John Hayes — including what his personal heaven is like — check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at https://soundcloud.com/grandriverraceway

On Wednesday night the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inducted its class of 2014 and welcomed its newest members both horses and individuals. Albatross, Dreamfair Eternal and Rocknroll Hanover are the Standardbreds that made up part of the 2014 class. Joining these Standardbreds in the Hall Of Fame are the late Robert Murphy (breeder/owner); Dr. Ted Clarke, in the builder category; trainer/driver Wally Hennessey, and communicator Bill Galvin. Apelia, Cool Mood and Wando are the Thoroughbreds that make up part of the 2014 class. Trainer Horatio Luro, jockey Robert Landry and breeders William ‘Bill’ Graham and Arthur Stollery are also 2014 inductees on the Thoroughbred side. The Induction Ceremony was held at the Mississauga Convention Centre in Ontario. Male Horse Category: Rocknroll Hanover – bred by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc, Hanover, Pennsylvania. Owned by Jeffrey Snyder of New York, New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, Ontario; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC, Cream Ridge, New Jersey. RocknRoll Hanover banked more than $3 million during his racing career, for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York, New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, Ontario; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC, Cream Ridge, New Jersey. Career highlights included victories in Canada’s most prestigious races for two and three-year-olds, the Metro Pace for two-year-old pacers and the North America Cup for three-year-olds He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America’s most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013. To date, the son of Western Ideal, out of Hall of Fame mare Rich N Elegant, has sired winners of $60.7-million, including eight million-dollar-plus winners. "My job was to bring the best out in my horses and he made it easy, said Sarah Lauren Scott, Rocknroll Hanover's caretaker. "He brought out the best in all of his connections. He was a once in a lifetime horse and his legacy will live on." Female Horse Category: Dreamfair Eternal – bred by Mary and John Lamers, and owned by John Lamers, Ingersoll, Ontario. Dreamfair Eternalretired from racing in 2012 after a seven-year career that included 56 victories, and every major stakes event on the older pacing mare schedule, earnings of over $2.5-million and Horse of the Year honours in Canada in 2010. During that year, she racked up wins in the final of the Masters Series, an elimination of the Roses are Red Stakes, elimination and final of the Milton Stakes, the elimination and final of the Forest City Pace and the Breeders Crown. The daughter of Camluck was bred by John and Mary Lamers and owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, Ontario. Patrick Fletcher trained her for most of her career. "This is certainly a great honour for myself and my family. 'Eternal' is a large part of our family," said owner John Lamers. "‎I want to thank Pat and Karan Fletcher for the amazing job they've done with Dreamfair Eternal over her racing career. ‎ "‎She's an outstanding race mare and she's equally as good a mother," noting that Lamers has a filly sired by fellow Hall Of Famer Somebeachsomewhere on the ground that might have a "bit better conformation" than her Mom. Lamers hoped that the filly has just as good of a career.‎‎ Veteran Horse Category: Albatross – bred by John E Wilcutts, Aberdeen, North Carolina; Charles A Kenney, Lexington, Kentucky; Elizabeth B Peters, Wilmington Delaware; and Mark Lydon, Abington, Massachusetts. Owned by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc, Hanover, Pennsylvania; George Segal, Versailles, Kentucky; Castleton Farm, Lexington, Kentucky; Hal S Jones, Montgomery, New York. A champion on the track and in the breeding shed,  Albatross was a major influence on the Standardbred breed. He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million. Two of his major stakes wins in Canada included the Prix d’Ete and Canadian Pacing Derby. He retired as both the fastest and richest horse in the history of the breed. As a sire, Albatross's thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million, including Niatross, who is considered by many to be the greatest pacer of the 20th Century, and Fan Hanover, who is the only filly to ever win the Little Brown Jug. "This is a very distinct honour for me," said Hanover Shoe Farms' Murray Brown, who was around Albatross his entire life‎. Brown considers Albatross "probably the greatest two-year-old of any breed that's ever lived," recalling how he'd have to race against aged horses in his freshman year. "It's unheard of for a two-year-old to race against aged horses. He did it with regularity."‎ Noting that Albatross was the first sire of any breed to sire progeny with more than $100 million in earnings, Brown called Albatross "the perfect horse" and stated that "his name is a fixture in the breed and will continue to be. ‎" Wally Hennessey, 58, born in Prince Edward Island and now a resident of Coconut Grove, Florida, has more than 8,500 victories to his credit and has banked earnings in excess of $57 million. During the early stages of his career, Hennessey re-wrote the record books, setting new standards in both wins and earnings. In the late 1990s, he enjoyed success with the trotter Moni Maker, a winner of $5.5 million and numerous stakes including the Nat Ray in three different years, the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown. Throughout his career, Hennessey has been remarkably consistent, winning at least 200 races in each of the last 25 years, and driving horses to earnings in excess of $1 million for 24 straight years. In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. "To be inducted takes hard work and dedication from many," said Hennessey. "I was blessed to grow up with four great brothers and sisters. They were very supportive and competitive and loving. We were all on each other's team. "Not to point out one person, but my brother Dan has been with me my whole career. Without Dan I definitely would not be standing here. I had a father I was so proud of. I never wanted to let him down. He was so talented. I learned my early lessons from my father. My greatest influence could not be here. My mom, I wish she was here, but she could not travel to be here. Without her love and what she taught me, I would not be here. To my wife Barb and daughter Christie -- you're my greatest supporters and Barb you hung in with me and that was hard to do. And my daughter is my inspiration." "It's been a journey one could only dream about and I'm so glad dreams do come true." Dr. Ted Clarke is recognized by his peers as a visionary in the horse racing industry. Clarke’s strong and steady leadership has helped guide Grand River Raceway to be a leader in innovation and growth. Prior to Grand River’s opening, Dr. Clarke led numerous initiatives to put Elmira Raceway on the path to stability, including the inauguration of Industry Day, the Battle of Waterloo and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network. He was honoured for his innovative thinking and leadership with the Lloyd Chisholm Achievement Award in 1999 from the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association. "‎The fact of the matter is, with the industry being in the state it's in, it's important to remember the things that got us to where we are," said Clarke, imploring the industry to pull from the same end of the rope going forward.  The late Robert Murphy, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, was one of Canada’s most respected horse breeders and owners, and was known by his popular ‘Red Star’ moniker. First introduced to racing at Cloverdale Raceway in 1980, he rapidly became one of Canada’s most prolific owners. He averaged 935 starts as an owner each year between 2005 and 2009. In 2007, at the age of 74, Murphy owned more Standardbreds than anyone else in Canada. Murphy had a great impact on harness racing in BC with both his breeding and training centres, but that impact extended across the continent as his horses raced all over North America. William ‘Bill’ Galvin, a native of Arnprior, Ontario and now a resident of Mississauga, Ontario, made a tremendous impact on horse racing in the country as a Canadian horse racing historian, poet, author, publisher, educator, horseman, humanitarian, publicist and former Thoroughbred racing official. Galvin’s promotions transcended racing. He led a charge to bring harness racing on ice to the Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans. He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the well-being of horse racing during his career. He was also the executive editor of Trot Magazine and a member of the Advisory board for the School of Equine Studies at Toronto's Humber College of Applied Arts. "What a special and memorable occasion this is tonight," said Galvin. "I congratulate you all and thank each and every one responsible for this tremendous honour. "This evening is especially memorable with the presence of Dr. John Findlay, who presented to me. I received my an introduction to horse racing in the standardbred sport as a very young lad in Arnprior, Ontario. Those early days at Madawaska Farms with Dr. John Findlay would define and shape my career.  "Tonight, my life comes full circle from those unforgettable country fairs in the Ottawa Valley, to the glory day of Canadian harness racing in the 1980s, to the pinnacle of my career tonight at the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, with the man who introduced me to the sport‎ - Dr. John Findlay." By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com with files from the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame  

TORONTO, ON, July 31 – Tickets for the upcoming the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Gala Fundraising Dinner on August 6th are now sold out.   Over three-hundred people are scheduled to attend the evening at the Mississauga Convention Centre which will celebrate the induction of Standardbred honourees Albatross, Dreamfair Eternal, Rocknrollhanover, Dr. Ted Clarke, Wally Hennessey, Robert Murphy and Bill Galvin.  Thoroughbred honourees include, Apelia, Cool Mood, Wando, William D. Graham, Robert Landry, Horatio Luro and Arthur Stollery. The event will also pay tribute to 2014 Legend honourees, Archworth and E. King Dodds.  Two significant anniversaries will be celebrated – the 25th Anniversary of Matts Scooter’s world record set at Mohawk Racetrack and the 50th Anniversary of Northern Dancer’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Queen’s Plate wins. The Planning Committee and Directors of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame would like to thank and acknowledge the generous sponsorship support of this year’s event:  Event Sponsor – OLG; Reception and Wine Sponsor – Central Ontario Standardbred Association; Photography Sponsor - Ontario Standardbred Alliance Tracks and Woodbine Entertainment Group for producing the video tributes to each of the 2014 inductees.  Thank you also to a long and prestigious list of donors to both the live and silent auction portion of the evening.  A complete list of items and donors is available at:  www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com. by Linda Rainey for the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame  

SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (July 29, 2014) – On August 1st, the Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association (SHHA) and Saratoga Casino and Raceway will host ‘Wally Hennessey Night,’ at the casino’s harness track. The night will be dedicated in honor of the legendary driver who made his Saratoga debut in 1987. Following the third race of the night, Hennessey will be honored by world famous horse racing announcer and local favorite, Tom Durkin.    “Wally Hennessey Night” will offer fans plenty of fun filled activities in addition to the evening’s harness racing card. Stewart’s will be on hand offering up free ‘make-your-own’ sundaes while supplies last, sponsored by the Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund.  Additionally, following the third race, a group photo will be held on the harness track near the winners circle. All guests will have the opportunity to join the photo with both Wally Hennessey and Tom Durkin in what is being planned to be the largest group photo in the history of the harness track. The photo will be available to purchase and take home later that evening.  Drawings will be sponsored and conducted by the SHHA for all horsemen and guests who present a valid New York State racing license, for a chance to win grain and other equine supplies. Parking and admission are free, as always, and in honor of the event, programs for the evening’s races will be available for no charge. The first post time for the August 1st event is at 7:05pm.  “Hosting an event like this is truly an honor for us,” said John Matarazzo, Director of Racing Operations at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. “We’re very proud to be a part of Wally’s historic accomplishments and couldn’t be more excited to celebrate such top class in harness racing.”  Hennessey will be inducted in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in Ontario on August 6th where he will join an elite group of standardbred drivers. Hennessey is already a member of the Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame, the Florida Hall of Fame, the Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Fame and the Prince Edward Island Wall of Fame at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino in Charlottetown. Immediately following his induction in Canada, Hennessey will be traveling to Ireland, where he will be driving in the Ladbroke's Vincent Delaney Memorial series at Portmarnock Trotting Track in Dublin.  “The SHHA is honored to be part of such a special event honoring Wally Hennessey for being inducted in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and being invited to represent the United States at the Delaney Memorial in Ireland,” said Tom McTygue, Member of the Board of Directors for the SHHA. “We hope to have the opportunity to do this for other drivers in the future to showcase and promote the sport of harness racing.” Wally Hennessey’s storied career began in the early 70’s and has brought him to tracks all over the world. Since then, Hennessey has become one of the premier drivers in all of harness racing, amassing 8,588 career wins and nearly $58 million in purse earnings.  by Tom Engle, for Saratoga Raceway 

Its been 8 years since the Whatthehecklavec set the last Aged Mare Track Record and it was in the Walker Invitational Trot. This year Trevor Henry owned and Richard Moreau trained Angies Lucky Star beat the old mark by 1/5th of a second on a track rated good, due to a light steady rain. Angies Lucky Star got away second to the quarter behind Spartan Victory driven by Ryan Holliday in 27.3, but quickly took over control, and never looked back hitting the half in 56.2, the 3/4′s in 1:26.1 and the mile in 1:56.4. The Walker Trot is named for Allan and Viola Walker. Allan was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1996 and was not only a top driver, but a well respected trainer as well and his children and grandchildren and great grandchildren are still involved in the sport. Hanover Raceway also host the staff from 92.3 The Dock radio, who gave away a $1500 dollar Smart TV, won by Randy Cook of Holland Centre, and 2 more people qualified for the Survivor handicapping contest. So far 17 fans have correctly picked 4 horses that finished in the money, and will return on August 9th for a shot at another High Definition TV package. Next Saturday is Dream of Glory elimination night. Over 90 horses are paid up to the series, and the top 8 will return on Sunday August 3rd for the 60,000 dollar final. Hanover Raceway will also host the 2nd Rider under Saddle race to feature wagering next Saturday. its being billed as Canada vs Norway, and the girl riders will be on hand after their race for a meet and greet and autograph session. Post time next Saturday is 7:15pm. by Gord Dougan, for Hanover Raceway     519-364-2860 x 2      

TORONTO, ON, July 17 - The 38th Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Gala Fundraising Dinner on Wednesday, August 6th promises to be an evening of celebrations as fourteen new members, including Wando, Rocknroll Hanover, Wally Hennessey, Albatross, Dreamfair Eternal, Dr. Ted Clarke, Robert Murphy, Bill Galvin and Robert Landry, join the best of Canadian Horse Racing.  Held at the Mississauga Convention Centre, the evening will be emceed by Jim Bannon, Woodbine Entertainment Group Thoroughbred Racing Analyst and will feature a cocktail reception, a fantastic auction lineup with TSN Radio personality Matt Cauz as guest auctioneer, a four course gourmet dinner and the Induction Ceremony. The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame acknowledges the generous sponsorship support of this year’s event:  Event Sponsor – OLG; Reception and Wine Sponsor – Central Ontario Standardbred Association; Photography Sponsor - Ontario Standardbred Alliance Tracks and Woodbine Entertainment Group for producing the video tributes to each of the 2014 inductees. The CHRHF Planning Committee is putting together an impressive list of live and silent auction from donors and supporters including Adena Springs, The Royal Horse Show, Equilease Corp., Greenhawk, the Toronto Maple Leafs and many others.  All proceeds from the auction will go directly toward helping the Hall of Fame recognize the achievements of those that have built and established the roots of horse racing in Canada. Live Auction Halter worn by two-time US Thoroughbred Horse of the Year “Wise Dan” (donated by Charles LoPresti) Halter worn by 2014 Woodbine Oaks and Queen’s Plate winner “Lexie Lou” (donated by Casse Racing) Dinner for 2 at the Turf Club & 2 tickets to the Nashville Predators vs Toronto Maple Leafs (donated by Woodbine Entertainment Group) Silent Auction 4 box seat tickets to The Royal Horse Show, Friday November 8th including Tanbark Lounge access (donated by the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Horse Show) 2 tickets to Toronto Raptors game during the 2014-15 season (donated by Equilease Corp.) Golf for 4 at Angus Glen Golf Course (donated by Angus Glen Golf Course) Framed limited edition print by Linda Shantz of 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Somebeachsomewhere Framed limited edition print by Debbie Goldring of 1976 Hall of Fame inductee Northern Dancer, the original of which hangs permanently in the Hall. Golf for 4 at Ballantrae Golf Club (donated by Schonberg Farm & Ballantrae Golf Course) Plus many more items from sports memorabilia and tickets to equine art and collectibles, there’s a little something for everyone. The Auction item list is being updated as new items are added and can be viewed at:  www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com  To order tickets contact Linda Rainey – 416-417-9404 or by email at linda.rainey@horseracinghalloffame.com by Linda Rainey, for the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway's Industry Day Celebration is just around the corner, and the event esteems to be one of the best days of the summer for harness racing fans. Festivities and the TV broadcast kick off at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, August 4. Post time for the first dash is 1:30 p.m.. The 24th annual event includes an 11-race card worth more than $350,000 in purses. The main feature of the day is Grand River Raceway's signature dash, the 17th annual Battle Of Waterloo. There are 159 Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing colts eligible to start in the $180,000 (estimated) dash. The sixth annual Battle Of The Belles will be contested for $120,000 (estimated) and 150 Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing fillies remain eligible. The nine finalists for each of those races will be determined during eliminations contested a week prior (July 28, post time 6:30 p.m.). Post position draws for both finals will be conducted during the TV broadcast on July 28. Among the eligibles is Ace Of Clubs, a half-brother to 2013 Battle Of Waterloo champ Three Of Clubs. Trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, ON co-owns both horses with Tony Lawrence and Hall Of Famer Keith Waples. Rounding out the Industry Day race card are consolation races for the Battles, plus a Gold Leg for three-year-old pacing colts in the Ontario Sires Stakes. During the afternoon event, Grand River Raceway and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame will salute the track's General Manager, Dr. Ted Clarke, who will be inducted into the Hall Of Fame on August 6. As always, Industry Day offers many other horse racing delights: RUS Ontario will feature back-to-back racing under saddle events, beginning with a Canada vs. Norway race on Friday, August 1. On Industry Day, it's the RUS International, featuring riders from several different countries. Fans are invited to meet Paula Seelster and her Badlands Hanover youngster from 1:00 - 3:00 and submit their best entries for the Name The Foal contest to win a family dinner outing at Grand River Raceway. Grand River Raceway will donate $1 to the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society for each name submission. Standardbred Canada's I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club will be on-hand with the Wheel Of Fame and Fan Club merchandise. The tenth annual Drivers' Edition of the Bouncy Pony Stakes. An All-Access Kid's Pass is available onsite for $5 and includes face painting, balloon artists, bouncy castles, and pony rides (1:00 - 5:00). Online Handicapping Challenge, presented by Standardbred Canada's I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club (starting August 1). $500 Cheerleading Squads: $250 awarded to each cheerleader representing the winning horse in the Battle Of The Belles and Battle Of Waterloo. HorsePlayer Interactive (HPI) is offering the chance to win a $500 deposit for those who wager $50 or more on the 2014 Industry Day card through their HPI account. For complete event details, visit http://industrydaycelebration.com/ by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway    

Hanover Raceway plays host to the Walker invitational Trot this Saturday night. The annual race pays tribute to Alan and Viola Walker of Owen Sound. The late Alan Walker was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1996 and was one of our country's top drivers. Walker not only won several driving titles, but was also an excellent trainer especially with Trotters. Some of his stock included McDuffs Lassie, Cadenza and Clement Hanover. Also at Hanover Raceway this Saturday will be the staff from 92.3 The Dock Radio in Owen Sound. The Dock staff will be awarding 1 lucky fan with a brand new high definition TV package courtesy of HDTV in Walkerton and Hanover. Saturday is also Week 3 of the Survivor Handicapping contest. Fans are asked to pick a horse in races 5-8 that they think will finish in the money. If they are right, they'll return on August 9th to compete for another high definition TV package courtesy of Countyr 93 Radio. Post time Saturday night is 7:15pm. by Gord Dougan, for Hanover Raceway

ELORA, ON - Robert Shepherd is on a big roll at Grand River Raceway. The quiet 34-year-old Prince Edward Island native is second at the Elora track in driver wins and money. He's also Grand River's second leading trainer in money and wins when combined with his girlfriend, Isabelle Darveau, who recently took over Shepherd's stable. "This year I'm a little more motivated," Shepherd said. "I had some changes in my life. I kind of got past that and moved on ... I'm driving a lot more. Last year, I didn't drive as much."   Shepherd said there's a lot more to love about Grand River Raceway than being one of its leading horsepeople. "Everyone's happy to be there. Even the people there are excited for racing. It's a great atmosphere. They want to race," Shepherd said. He said Grand River Raceway's commitment to providing a great fan experience starts at the top with the track's general manager Dr. Ted Clarke. In August, Dr. Clarke will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame as a builder for his work turning Grand River Raceway into one of the best small tracks in the nation. Shepherd said Dr. Clarke is always present on race nights and helping out where he can. "Ted's always part of it, which makes it great because when someone's running something and you never see them, it makes you feel like he doesn't care. But you can tell Ted cares, because he's always there. Every night he's one of the last guys to leave there," Shepherd said. This year, Robert Shepherd surpassed $15 million in career earnings as a driver. He recorded his 2,000th career win in the sulky near the end of 2013. He said being both a trainer and a driver in an age when most people in the sport focus on one or the other, has given him an advantage. "I guess training helps my driving because I sit behind a bunch of horses every day. So, I know when they're good and when they're not good... You drive them a little more conservatively if they don't feel right to you," Shepherd said. "Lately, it seems to be working out great for me. I end up working out a great trip or something like that from the feel of the horse." Shepherd said the greatest Christmas gift he ever received was a set of blue, yellow and white training colours that his mother and father gave him. "I got the training suit when I started training a couple of my own," Shepherd said of the family colours that were started by his dad, Harold. "I think I might have been listed as a trainer when I was 19 or 20." He said his driving career received a huge boost 10 years ago when he won the 2004 Nat Christie Memorial at Stampede Park in Calgary driving The Bruster. "When I won the Nat Christie it changed my life in driving," Shepherd said. "I'd have to say The Bruster started it all." Today, Shepherd lives in Cambridge, which is a short trip to one of his favourite places to race. He's hoping his success at Grand River Raceway will be a springboard to even bigger things. "I'd love to win an O'Brien Award for the horseman of the year, if I could," he said. To hear more of our conversation with Robert Shepherd - including which person he'd like to change places with for a week - check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at https://soundcloud.com/grandriverraceway by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

ELORA, ON - Veteran trainer Larry Ainsworth has a beef to pick with Grand River Raceway. "They need to expand the dining room to get more people into the buffet," he said, laughing. "$16.99 for a buffet and you can sit and watch races all night? That's the best deal in Southern Ontario." Ainsworth recently celebrated his 76th birthday, but the trainer isn't slowing down one bit. He's one of the leading trainers at Grand River Raceway and, for the first time in 13 years, he's back down as the official trainer for a family stable that has a long, enviable record of producing champions. "It's just in name only," he said. "I'm still involved the same as I always was." For well over 20 years, the Ainsworth operation has been led by Larry's son, Jim. In April, Jim stepped back from horses to help run the family's growing school bus business in Petrolia, ON. "I suggested to Jim one day, 'Why don't you go and get the buses going in the morning over at Sarnia and then come out to the farm?' The trouble is, he never came back to the farm. He loves it, which is good. The timing was great." The Ainsworths have cut back in recent years due to the end of the Slots at Racetracks Program and shrinking Ontario Sires Stakes purses that are the staple of their operation, but Larry said he can never fully quit the horses. "I'll die doing it," he said. In its heyday, the Ainsworth operation trained as many as 35 horses, including such greats as Beau Jim (career earnings of $230,000), Debbielynnekillean ($335,000), Armbro Oliver ($835,000), Carolache ($530,000) and Cathedra ($735,000), a mare that was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2007 after a successful career on the track and an even better one as a broodmare. Cathedra's offspring have earned nearly $4.4 million, combined, on the racetrack. "As a broodmare, yeah, she was really outstanding. But, that's hard to believe. I would have never expected her to be a great broodmare." Today, Larry is training about six horses in Ontario and another half-dozen that he just sent to Indiana to race. He can't imagine doing anything else besides working with horses and having a family school bus company. "That's all I've ever known. I can't think of ever doing anything else," said Larry, whose career with horses started when he was a teenager with his grandfather. "My grandfather raced horses and had saddle horses," Larry said. "When my grandfather died he left me one racehorse. She made $9,000 the first year that he died. So, I thought, 'If one will make you $9,000, six would make you $54,000.'" Naturally, his math didn't work out, but school buses quickly played a significant role in Larry's horse stable. He bought his first small bus company in 1976 and "in '77 and '78 Beau Jim made enough to pay for the bus business." Today, Larry Ainsworth enjoys watching the races on simulcast at home and getting out to the track when he can. He said he particularly enjoys "the closeness" of the races to the people at Grand River Raceway. "We had people there last week and what a nice facility. We were sitting in the restaurant down below and it was nice for people watching. The races are right there close. It's a great little spot. It's made for people." To hear more of our conversation with Larry Ainsworth - including his choice for the best show on television - check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at https://soundcloud.com/grandriverraceway by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 will be a night of celebration and you are invited! Order your tickets today to be part of the excitement at the 2014 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Induction Gala.  The evening begins at 5:30 pm at the Mississauga Convention Centre with a reception and silent auction filled with racing memorabilia, sports tickets, and racing related art.  It will be followed at 6:45pm with a delicious four-course gourmet dinner and induction ceremonies as 14 new inductees are honoured for their achievements in Canadian horse racing. Returning for the second year as auctioneer for the live auction portion of the evening is TSN Radio personality Matt Cauz, co-host of the “Macko and Cauz”.  Among the items he will auction to benefit the CHRHF will be a halter worn by two-time horse of the year Wise Dan. Don’t miss out on your chance to be part of the excitement.  Individual tickets can be purchased for $175.00 each including tax, or tables of eight are also available for $1,700, including a $300.00 donation to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Opportunities to advertise in the souvenir induction program and event sponsorship packages are also available. To order tickets, place an ad, donate to items to the live or silent auction, or for more info on sponsorship, contact Linda Rainey - 416-417-9404 or by email at linda.rainey@horseracinghalloffame.com Linda Rainey  

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 25 - Where's The Beach, dam of the great Somebeachsomewhere, sadly passed away on Friday, June 13. The 16-year-old mare was humanely euthanized at Ohio StateUniversity EquineHospital following colic surgery. Owned by Stephanie Smith-Rothaug of West Jefferson, Oh, Where's The Beach foaled a Well Said weanling earlier this year and was bred to A Rocknroll Dance prior to passing. "It was certainly a sad day," Smith-Rothaug said. "'Beach' was like part of the family and she certainly has been a life changing mare for me and for that I'll forever be grateful. She had tremendous presence to her and took care of her babies very well. She will be missed." Although never stepping foot on the racetrack, Where's The Beach, a $20,000 yearling, proved to be much more valuable in the breeding shed. Her fourth foal, Somebeachsomewhere, is arguably the greatest pacer of all time as he suffered defeat once in 21 career starts and was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame just nine months after his final career start. His lone defeat came in the 2008 Meadowlands Pace to Art Official, which was arguably 'The Beach's' best race. Somebeachsomewhere, trained and co-owned by Brent MacGrath, amassed over $3.2 million in career earnings. His sophomore earnings of $2,448,003 compiled in 2008 was a new record for single-season earnings. Along the way, he set four world records, including the fastest mile in the history of the sport (1:46.4) and recorded sub-1:50 miles in exactly half of his 20 wins. The Ontario-bred son of Mach Three retired to a lucrative stallion deal at the famed Hanover Shoe Farms. He was the unanimous choice as Canada's horse of the year in 2008 and shared the honour in 2007 - as a two-year-old - with sophomore pacer Tell All. He has also become arguably the sport's top stallion. Commanding a $30,000 stud fee, Somebeachsomewhere has produced the likes of Captaintreacherous, Sunshine Beach, Somwherovrarainbow and Apprentice Hanover, just to name a few. Where's The Beach has stamped herself as one of the games top broodmares. She has produced a number of $100,000+ yearlings, including Myrtle Beach (2006 -$100,000), Star On The Beach (2007 - $150,000), Someheartsomewhere (2008 - $210,000), Someofthebeach (2010 - $430,000) and Bring On The Beach (2012 - $155,000). Smith-Rothaug confirmed that Where's The Beach has been cremated. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 5 - One of the few trophies missing from trainer Jimmy Takter's extensive collection is a Pepsi North America Cup. This week, the Hall of Fame trainer said, "I want to win this one bad." It partly explains why he's racing a horse in each of the three $50,000 Pepsi North America Cup eliminations Saturday at Mohawk. Takter will send out Lyonssomewhere in the first elimination (race three, post six, driver Corey Callahan), Capital Account in the second elimination (race five, post eight, Ron Pierce) and Tellitlikeitis (race nine, post three, Brett Miller). The New Jersey-based conditioner, who was inducted into the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2011, came close to winning the NA Cup in 2012 when Tellitlikeitis' older half-brother Time To Roll finished second to Bob McIntosh's Thinking Out Loud by a half-length. In that same NA Cup race, Takter-trained Simply Business finished ninth less than a year after winning the $1 million Metro Pace at Mohawk. The Pepsi North America is in a much more exclusive club of harness racing stakes races carrying a seven-figure purse. "We have two million-dollar races. It's all we have left. (The NA Cup) is one of them," Takter said. It serves as a further motivation for the trainer to win it. Of his three entries, Takter said "both 'Tellit' and 'Lyon' have the ability to win it if they make the final. Otherwise, I wouldn't even put them in, of course. I really think both of those horses, if they have a good day, are two contenders in that race." Takter said this year's field is wide open. "So far, at least, there's not a Captaintreacherous in the field," he said. "It could be won by any one of those 23 horses that are in it." Canadian-owned Tellitlikeitis comes into the race with the best credentials and a stellar pedigree. The homebred owned by Sue Grange's Lothlorien Stables of Cheltenham is a son of Lothlorien-owned 2009 Pepsi North America Cup champion Well Said out of stakes star Kikikatie. Takter has trained all four of Tellitlikeitis' brothers. All four - Rockin Amadeus ($700,000), Time To Roll ($735,000), Grams Legacy ($165,000) and Rockin Image ($900,000) - are sons of Lothlorien's 2005 Pepsi North America Cup champion Rocknroll Hanover, who will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Aug. 6 in Mississauga. Lothlorien also won the Pepsi North America Cup in 2002 with Red River Hanover. All three of Lothlorien's NA Cup winners were owned, in part, by Jeffrey Snyder of New York City. Takter said Tellitlikeitis is "a little smaller than his brothers, but they all can go fast... He's a good horse, but he had a lot of problems when he was a two-year-old. We had problems with his front ankles. "He's a tough horse. He's as fast as Hes Watching, that's for sure. He has quick speed. Does he have stamina like Hes Watching has? I don't know, yet." Tellitlikeitis comes into the NA Cup elims off a victory May 17 in his 2014 pari-mutuel debut in a Pennsylvania Sires Stakes event at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. As a two-year-old, Tellitlikeitis earned nearly $125,000 with two wins in eight starts. Lyonssomewhere is also Canadian owned. The son of beloved 2008 NA Cup champion Somebeachsomewhere is owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Burford. The colt sports a perfect four-for-four career record, though has yet to test stakes company. "Lyonssomewhere hasn't raced against this calibre of horses. It will be exciting to see how he is. The horse is undefeated and loves to race," Takter said. "I love that horse. I really like him He raced his last two starts (at the Meadowlands) and he really was super. I know he hasn't gone one of those :49 miles, but they are there. Capital Account is a homebred owned by Brittany Farms of Kentucky. The son of American Ideal out of Copywriter has won half of his eight career starts and was sixth in his Somebeachsomewhere division on May 31 at Mohawk. "He raced okay... He's a good horse. He's not bad. Unfortunately, he got a (poor) post again," Takter said of drawing the eight-hole. "It's going to be tough with that starting point." First race post time for the Saturday card is 7:25 p.m. by John Siscos, for WEG

London, Ontario, May 21, 2014 --- Jack McNiven calls the people enshrined in the harness racing Wall of Fame, at The Raceway at The Western Fair District, his buddies. So he says he's thrilled his farm, Killean Acres, will be officially joining them in perpetuity at the London track he calls home. Friday night at a ceremony during The Raceway's live card, McNiven's respected breeding operation based in Ingersoll, ON will become the first farm and 34th overall inductee into the Wall of Fame. McNiven, who has been coming to Western Fair regularly since it became the first track in Ontario to usher in night racing 53 years ago, has known all of the prior inductees personally. "It's quite an honour. We're thrilled to be there because any time I go up to the Top of the Fair, one of the things I always have to do is I have to go along the wall and look at all my buddies that are on there," McNiven said. Friday's card begins at 7:05 p.m. Apart from the Wall of Fame ceremony and a Wall of Fame pace, The Raceway will feature three $70,000 Gold Series divisions of the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts, a pair of races for mini horses, a Horse Player Interactive (HPI) contest in which patrons wagering $50 or more on The Raceway card through their HPI accounts will be entered into a draw for a chance to win a $500 deposit and draws for tickets to the 2nd annual London Beer and BBQ Show June 20-22 at The Western Fair District. McNiven, 79, will be there as well, of course, representing Killean Acres, the farm founded by his father, Robert, 59 years ago. Jack and his brother, Don, who died Jan. 18 at the age of 81, devoted their lives to building Killean into one of the nicest little standardbred farms in Ontario. For over 50 years, Don McNiven also wrote a weekly harness racing column in the Ingersoll Times newspaper called Horse Chatter. "I'm just so sorry Don is not here. I'm sad about that because Western Fair was Don's pet topic for his horse articles because of our proximity and it being our home track. Anything special that went on at Western Fair, Don always made that his topic of that week's article. I'm sorry he isn't going to be there to enjoy it, but he'll be beaming down at us I'm sure." Killean Acres has produced numerous standout performers in its nearly six decades and stood three of the province's most popular stallions - Frisco Byrd, Dallas Almahurt and Run The Table. Jack vividly remembers sponsoring a race in Frisco Byrd's name at The Raceway at The Western Fair District during the 1950s. "We were so excited with Western Fair being there, we wanted to do something to put some spice into it," Jack said of the track located just 30 minutes from his farm. "When they first started night racing in London, we were there every night," Jack said. "Back in those days we weren't as busy with the stallions and mares. So, we'd do our chores and then rush up to Western Fair. From the very beginning we thought, 'Can you imagine we would have in our backyard the first night racing in all of Ontario?' It was so exciting." Jack quickly developed a reputation for being one of the nicest, most talented and hardest working breeders in the game; a man with a particular knack for preparing yearlings for sales. Jack was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2007 just a year after Run The Table was enshrined and became the first horse to be led through the banquet hall and up to the stage to accept his honour. Run The Table died in 2012 at the age of 28, but not before he became a game-changing stallion for the Ontario breed. Killean Acres no longer breeds any mares, but you can always find Jack McNiven puttering around the farm that became a little slice of heaven in the midst of the subdivision that grew up around it. "We're still here and I'd love to see this place stay on because we have so many people come down here from town. It's so special for them and I've had people come back to the farm with their grandchildren and say, 'This is where I used to come when I was a kid,'" Jack said. As for which of the members of The Wall of Fame McNiven is most excited to be joining, the breeder wouldn't bite. "I'm not going to mention names because they're all special. They're there for a reason," he said. "What an honour it is to be with the people that we started out with together." by Dave Briggs, for the Raceway

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