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Ryan Clements reports that Clinton Raceway management is excited to unveil a new way of sharing your horses harness racing victory’s! For the 2021 racing season in Clinton, Ontario, each winning owner will receive a social media ready action shot with all the details of the big win. Sample photo with story. From #RyanClementsPhotography

Clinton, ON — Clinton Raceway is pleased to welcome Tony Elliott as its assistant general manager. The 21-year-old Walkerton native joined Hanover Raceway for their 2020 season as the assistant to the general manager, as well as the racing broadcast team at The Raceway at Western Fair District in October 2020. In his position at Hanover Raceway, he helped plan and implement their advertising and social media campaigns, worked with the GM on over-hauling their broadcasting product and was their on-air analyst between races. “Tony is a rising star in our industry and is intelligent, hard working and has a passion for the harness racing business. I gave him a lot of responsibility last season and he handled it all very well, ” said Hanover Raceway general manager Steve Fitzsimmons. Elliott is a current horse owner and was raised around the business. His father, Glenn, once worked for harness racing Hall of Famer Bud Fritz, and his uncle, Steve, was the groom of the famed Ontario Sires Stakes champion mare Silver Reign. “Tony loves the game and is quite keen to help it grow, that’s just not something we see everyday in this industry; we are happy to have Tony on board,” said Ian Fleming, general manager, Clinton Raceway. by Christi DeJong, for Clinton Raceway

Although its 2020 harness racing season concluded September 6, Clinton Raceway instantly comes to mind when Ryan Clements is asked about the most youth- and family-friendly tracks he's visited. Known for developing games like Off and Pacing, Catch Driver, and Top Jockey, he's also a Standardbred owner/trainer who enjoys harness racing as a betting/spectator sport. Introducing his nearly-four-year-old daughter, Charlotte, to the game he loves is important to him.   And the ideal track for that is Clinton Raceway, an Ontario half-mile landmark that conducted its first extended pari-mutuel meet back in 1970. This COVID-19-impacted year, Clinton was able to accomodate a limited number (100) of fans each race day, starting in July. The Huron County track still hit an all-time-high handle on closing day, as bettors sent $118,041 through the actual and virtual windows.   "I guess for me, the best time for family racing is summer, weekend, daytime racing," says a slightly-nostalgic Clements. "That's truly the best chance to get out as a family, because weeknights after school and after work, we're not going out to the track as a family. Maybe on a special occasion, once a year or something, but really, summertime weekends are when we plan it: 'Hey, let's drive out to Clinton and watch the races!'" Recalling previous years' visits to the small-town track, he describes what makes it special: "I just love their environment. You can sit on the grass and pull out lawn chairs. It just makes for a great atmosphere with the young kids."   Hopefully 2021 will bring opportunities for Clements and family to get back to Clinton Raceway, alongside many others who share their high opinion of the venue. "It's a very casual experience," says the member of the US Harness Writers Association (USHWA) Youth Membership Committee. "We go there to spend the day, just being able to get the food from the food truck or whatever they've got there and enjoy the weather. For my daughter, she loves the horses, but they won't keep her attention all day. The fact that she can run around on the grass and play and have a fun day outside keeps her entertained. She'll see the horses a little bit, get a high-five from a driver, but it's a part of keeping her happy for the day."   Clements' photos from Clinton trips in 2017-2018 illustrate what makes the track a welcoming attraction for fans old and new. "As far as young kids go, one day we were there, [well-known harness racing artist] Michelle Hogan was there with her twins," he notes. "There's a lot of families in that situation, enjoying it. A lot of times, it's three generations: The grandparents are there in their lawn chairs, and everybody's just out for a casual day at the races."   Charlotte shares her dad's enthusiasm: "She's always loved the horses. We were living on a horse farm when she was born, so we'd always walk out, see the horses, see the baby horses in the springtime. [...] When we go to the track, she's pretty happy to watch the horses run by."   Why bring children to the racetrack, when it's become a challenging or even forbidden practice at some, even pre-pandemic? Clements is clear: "I've always taken the stance that you can't introduce someone to horse racing through the gambling; they have to have an interest in the sport first. I think that's true whether people are betting on the NFL or any other sport; the interest in the sport comes first, or they'll end up betting on something they enjoy more. It's true of really any sport: You go to a hockey game, it's at a totally different level than experiencing it on TV. But our sport in particular, with these majestic animals... When you can stand right beside a 1000-pound animal running down the stretch, and you can hear it and feel it, it really is totally different in real life than watching it on TV."   The technologically-minded horseman admits that accommodating youth in grandstands is "a difficult problem to solve" in fall and winter, when some of the sport's most family-/youth-oriented locations have concluded their annual meets, and those that remain open must designate some indoor space as off-limits to the under-19. "I don't think a lot of the tracks are trying to solve the problem right now. I don't think it's at the forefront of their minds," he observes, noting the reality that COVID-19-era restrictions mean limiting even the number of wagering-aged customers permitted indoors during colder months.   "I think that once we get back to some sense of normal, and you can be at the track and in the grandstand, it's just about making it somewhere that can be fun for families and can feel welcoming for them, not jammed in a corner, feeling like you're out of place there," continues Clements. "These kids, they don't want to be in the simulcast area. That's not going to appeal to them at all, so it definitely is harder when the weather gets bad, but [it's possible to make] it something fun, like the dining room giving them a place where they can actually enjoy it. We brought my daughter to the dining room at Mohawk and she really enjoyed watching the horses from up there."   He sees the business case for not excluding kids, or fans in general, from racetracks--even racinos. "The primary purpose of casino companies is to run casinos, and they have to run racetracks in order to operate their casinos, so that's obviously going to be their focus," says Clements. "It's unfortunate the way that the situation is right now, we're sort of put at odds with each other rather than being able to help each other in a lot of different places. So it's definitely an unfortunate situation, and I don't think it's in anyone's best interest to be restricting who can be at the races. A lot of times it's not just the restriction, it's the fact that it becomes very clear whether kids are wanted there or not; whether or not they are banned is a different story, but you can tell when you're at a track that has no interest in having them. And it goes beyond kids. You can tell when you're at a track that has no interest in people being there to watch the races. You can tell by the way you are treated and what's available for you, if they want to make it compelling to bring people out or not."   Harness racing's most compelling places could be called "destination" racetracks. Clements names another favourite that's well worth the drive: "Hanover [Raceway] in the summer, for example. Prior to COVID, they had plans this year for putting in a patio-level spot for young adults to go and have some beers and have live music. Tracks in Ontario can make a lot of revenue from casual racing fans." With colder weather settling in, tracks with ongoing race dates can still make their dining rooms as appealing, inclusive, and socially-distanced as possible to draw present-day revenue and create customers for the better years ahead. "I think there's opportunities all over in that area," he says, describing how a good grandstand restaurant can be a successful business- within-a-business. "People are looking for entertainment options right now, while they are limited, and I really thought that this was an opportunity, when [tracks] re-opened."   Do you know a harness track that's open to children and young adults attending live races in the late fall/winter, at least in a regular year? What are some of the ways it provides a comfortable and memorable afternoon or evening at the races? Please contact USHWA Youth Committee Chair Melissa Keith with your recommendations: mkeith71@gmail.com.   by Melissa Keith with Ryan Clements, for the USHWA            

CLINTON, SEPT. 6, 2020 – Bob McClure did not have much luck in the Charity Driver’s Challenge that kicked off a record-setting closing day at Clinton Raceway on Sunday, Sept. 6, but Canada’s leading harness racing reinsman finished things up with a natural hat trick in the last three $22,000 Grassroots events. “When the first four horses you drive in a driver’s challenge are picked for last, you pretty well know that you’re not going to be a big threat,” said McClure with a laugh. “But it’s all fun, it’s for charity, we all had a blast. They always do a great job, the track’s always good, they always have competitive races, the whole thing is fun.” Clinton’s leading reinsman Brett MacDonald triumphed in the Charity Driver’s Challenge, which raised over $7,000 for the Clinton Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. Through the eight driver’s challenge races and four Grassroots divisions, Clinton Raceway fans wagered a total of $118,041, an all-time high for the half-mile oval. After his driver’s challenge mounts failed to serve up a victory, McClure made his debut in the winner’s circle in the second of four Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies, guiding Sports Duchess to a gate-to-wire score from Post 4. The fan favourite kept a stubborn neck in front of Siri Blue Chip at the wire to claim her first Ontario Sires Stakes win in a personal best 1:57.3. Celia Bayama was two lengths back in third. “I think that’s the first time I ever drove a horse for Blake that was competitive, usually I’m fifth choice so we don’t usually have very much luck. It’s a running joke between us, he actually fist bumped me in the winner’s circle and laughed and said, ‘Hey look we got a cheque together’,” said McClure of trainer Blake MacIntosh. “But she’s real slick gaited through the turns, which helps at a track like that. She raced great.” St. George resident MacIntosh trains Sports Duchess for breeder Leanne Murphy of St. George and her co-owner Stuart McIntosh of Essex, ON. The Sportswriter daughter started her provincial career at the Gold Series level before making the move to the Grassroots for the third leg. With Sunday’s win and a third in the Aug. 14 Grassroots event she boasts a point tally of 62 and currently sits in a three-way tie for eighth in the division standings. McClure was right back in the Clinton Raceway winner’s circle after the third division, making a bold three-wide move down the backstretch with CL Sportsextreme to grab control of the race and cruise home to a 1:58.3 victory. Miscues by Patina Seelster and Steelmeatreasure in the last quarter caused some confusion behind CL Sportsextreme, leaving Treasures Gem and Control The Thong to cross the wire 16 lengths after the winner. “I think she was the best one I drove today actually, she was wicked. I mean we were five lengths off at the five-eighths pole, but when I moved her she was on top at the three-quarter pole, so she’s got a real good turn of foot,” said McClure of the Sportswriter daughter, who started from the trailing Post 8. “She tries real hard for a little filly and she just motored around that last turn. I know there was some chaos going on behind me, but she won very, very easily.” Dany Fontaine trains CL Sportsextreme for owner-breeder Ecuries C. LeBlanc Inc. of Saint-Eustache, QC. In six career starts the filly boasts four wins, with three of them coming in the Grassroots program. With one regular season leg remaining, CL Sportsextreme is tied for top spot in the division standings with 150 points. McClure finished the hat trick in the last division, putting Sweet Pink on the front heading by the half and cruising home to a three length victory in 1:59.2. Sportsfire finished second and Shes Got It All rounded out the top three. “She’s been a little bit of a project for Nick. When he first baby raced her I liked her a lot, she’s well-bred and everything, and then she made a break in the second baby race and I don’t know what it was about,” said McClure of the Nick Gallucci trainee who started from Post 2. “She’s got quite a bit of ability and I think next year she’s going to really make some money.” Gallucci trains the Bettors Delight daughter for owner-breeder Millar Farms of Stouffville, ON. Sunday’s win was Sweet Pink’s first in four career starts and gives her a Grassroots point total of 53, good enough for a share of eleventh heading into the last leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 15. Amini captured the other Grassroots division, sprinting away from Post 7 to take control of the tempo and hanging on for a head decision in 1:58.2. Chiefs Dream Girl finished second and fan favourite Betchuloveme was third. Sylvain Filion piloted the Sportswriter daughter to her second Grassroots win for trainer Richard Moreau and owners Tess Waxman of Ridgeville and David Morgan of Hamilton, ON. With two wins and one second, Amini currently sits third with 127 points. Driver’s challenge winner Brett MacDonald had the opposite experience to McClure, finding the winner’s circle twice in the early part of the card and missing the board with his two Grassroots mounts. In his eight challenge drives MacDonald posted two wins, one second, one fourth, one fifth and had one of his mounts scratched for a total of 148 points, eight more than runner-up Doug McNair. “It comes down to the type of horses you drive, especially when you drive with that many good drivers, the horses and the trips you get are how you win that type of thing,” said MacDonald, who led all drivers at the Clinton meet with 17 wins. “It’s nice to do something for charity too.” Complete results from the action-packed afternoon are available at Clinton Raceway Results. Grassroots point standings can be found on the Ontario Sires Stakes Leaderboard.   OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com   OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing www.ontarioracing.com

Greg Hayter wasn’t about to let a global pandemic ruin the fifth anniversary of the harness racing Vic Hayter Memorial at Clinton Raceway. When track general manager Ian Fleming suggested they could put the Aug. 30 race off for a year, Hayter said he wouldn’t hear of it. The event supports both the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society and the Stratford-Perth Humane Society. “I think the bigger thing that this has developed into is not so much honouring Vic (Hayter) and his name and the man he was, but more so the things that he enjoyed and his values,” said Greg Hayter. “That would include horses, that would include the people that either come to the track or the people that work with the horses. Plus, the Humane Society and the [Ontario] Standardbred Adoption Society. All those things were very important to him. Last year, the Hayter family raised the purse of the race to $15,000 and also paid for lunch for all the horsepeople in the backstretch. The purse has remained the same for 2020 and the free lunch was provided for those in the paddock. Vic Hayter is perhaps best known for operating The Arden Park Hotel and Festival Inn in Stratford. He died of cancer at age 77 in February 2016. Vic Hayter owned standardbred horses for 38 years. “He worked seven days a week, but every Sunday at 12:30 he’d be home to pick up my mother and they’d go to Clinton Raceway,” Greg Hayter said when the race debuted in 2016. “Dad was involved with horses since 1978 and even as kids, when we lived in Lucan, we used to always go to Clinton Raceway on Sunday afternoons. The last 15 years or so, mom and him used to go every Sunday and they’d sit right by the finish line. In 2019, Greg spoke of one day turning the Vic Hayter Memorial Day into a crowd-pleasing harness racing event similar to the famed Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio, which draws more than 40,000 fans annually, or the Vincent Delaney Memorial in Ireland, which is another fan favourite. Reprinted with permission of The Clinton News Record

LONDON, ON - A further update has been provided regarding the status of Ontario harness racing horseman Dave Jackson, who sustained serious injuries during an on-track accident at Clinton Raceway on June 28. Jackson, 50, has been relocated from London Health Sciences Center to Parkwood Hospital in London, Ontario for rehabilitation. His road to recovery will be a slow process according to his life partner Camille Mailloux. Jackson is a familiar face in the harness racing industry. He can be found warming up horses for many trainers at The Raceway at Western Fair District, Flamboro Downs, Grand River Raceway and Clinton Raceway, just to name a few. A GoFundMe Fundraiser has been established and the campaign will end this Sunday evening. Anyone wishing to donate is encouraged to do so this week. All proceeds from the GoFundMe fundraiser will be sent to Dave Jackson. https://www.gofundme.com/f/dave-jackson-fundraiser by Greg Gangle

LONDON, ON - Long-time Ontario harness racing trainer Victor Puddy is stepping up in the need of horsemen Dave Jackson, who was recently injured during an on-track accident on June 28th at Clinton Raceway. Jackson, 50, remains hospitalized in critical condition. After the accident, Jackson was transported to Clinton Hospital, and was later transferred to London Health Sciences Centre. Jackson has been diagnosed with severe head trauma along with a neck injury. He has been moved out of ICU and is now on the regular trauma floor at LHSC. The London native has a long road to recovery. Puddy, winner of more than 2,000 races, will be donating his 5% training commission from each of his four starters this Saturday at Hanover Raceway. His horses will line up as follows: Race 2 - Century Gala Race 5 - That's Mia Bad Race 6 - Levis Day Race 8 - Shadow Margeaux A Go Fund Me Fundraiser began yesterday and has already accumulated more than $9,000 which truly shows the generosity of the harness racing community. To donate, please click the link below: https://www.gofundme.com/f/dave-jackson-fundraiser by Greg Gangle, for The Raceway

CLINTON, JULY 5, 2020 – Forty-eight sophomore harness racing trotting fillies descended on Clinton Raceway Sunday afternoon and the track record at the half-mile oval fell not once, but twice as the fillies battled in six $22,800 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions. As the program got underway the three-year-old trotting filly track record stood at 1:59.3, set by Gotta Pay To Play in a July 2018 Grassroots event. That speed mark was erased in the third division when Moana wore down pacesetter Credits Celebrity and out-sprinted fan favourite Alexa Blue Chip to claim a two length victory in 1:59.2. Alexa Blue Chip settled for second and Credits Celebrity was third. “I knew she’d be pretty good there compared to some of the other ones, because she gets around the turns like a hoop around a barrel, so I knew that would play in her favour overall,” said trainer Shawn Steacy. “And James had been taking her back and racing her conservatively the last couple starts, so I figured he’d be pressing pretty good off the gate and trying to be aggressive with her today.” James MacDonald engineered the Muscle Mass daughter’s first win of 2020 for owners Landmark 12 Racing Stable of Lansdowne, 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. Moana was a two-time Grassroots winner at two, including a win in her Grassroots Semi-final, and Steacy hopes the filly is poised to match or better her freshman success this season. “She’s always been a little bit on the aggressive side and I thought we were going to have trouble training her back with her aggression this year, but once we got about 10 or 15 training miles into her she settled right in and she trained back a lot better, a lot easier on herself, than I expected her to be,” Steacy explained. “In the long run of things she’ll be better because she’ll be able to conserve a lot more of her energy that way.” Moana’s name would stay in Clinton’s record book for less than two hours however as Profound Paragon and driver Jean Bernard Renaud laid down a gate-to-wire 1:59 effort in the final division. Another daughter of Muscle Mass, Profound Paragon hit the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of fan favourite Hickman County and Sheer Energy. The win was Profound Paragon’s second straight and her fourth of the sophomore campaign. A late bloomer, the filly did not make her first start until after the Ontario Sires Stakes season was complete last fall, but she showed enough promise that trainer Julie Walker and her co-owner Steven Titus of Manalapan, NJ were confident she would be a player on the Grassroots circuit this summer. “We were going to give her the month of February off so that we didn’t tire her out for the Sires Stakes season and with that month off and COVID on top of that, she really got thick, she grew up a lot. She’s not really tall, but she got strong,” said Walker. “With the little break and everything we were able to take the trotting hopples off her, and like I said she just kept getting stronger and better. “Our plan was always just the Grassroots because I’m not sure if she’s a high speed filly, but like you see today, she can go around any shape and size track and that’s kind of fun to have,” added the Carlisle, ON resident. “And she’s very smart, even going to the races today, it’s hot, and she just sits and falls asleep in the cross-ties, and just likes to do her job.” Dancing Queen kicked off the Grassroots action with a 2:01 score for driver Brett MacDonald, trainer Ron MacDonald and owner Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON. St Helens and No Angel Here finished one and one-quarter lengths behind the Royalty For Life daughter, who was making her Ontario Sires Stakes debut. The second split went to Validation and driver Colin Kelly, who controlled the tempo from start to finish, sailing under the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of fan favourite Chelseas Magic. Incredible Hally was five lengths back in third. “She trained down so well and then she just kind of got into a couple bad habits where she’d get excited behind the gate. She just needed some time. She’s very big and growthy so she just needed some time to mature I think,” said Kelly, who piloted the Muscle Mass daughter to her second sophomore win for trainer Rick Zeron of Oakville and his partner Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. “She did everything well within hand today, she didn’t seem overly stressed and she seemed to do everything pretty easy and relaxed. Hopefully she just kind of builds on that and she can have a good season going forward.” The Present captured the fourth division with a 2:02.4 effort for Bob McClure, trainer Marcel Barrieau of Cambridge and his partner Gestion Mastel of Longueil, QC. Peppas Angel finished three lengths back in second and Queen M was three more behind in third. “She’s a very square-gaited trotter, perfect for a track like Clinton,” said McClure of the Royalty For Life daughter. “It’s tough to beat her on the small tracks.” The fifth Grassroots battle went to a hard-charging Noblesse Duharas, who overcame an early break caused by interference to claim the 2:02 victory. Need An Alibi finished second and fan favourite Highland Foxytrotr was third. “She raced super today. She got interfered with in the first turn and got mixed up, but then raced fantastic to come back and win,” said Scott Young, who piloted the Muscle Mass daughter to the win for trainer Denis Gueriel and owner Haras De L’Estrie Inc. of Dunham, QC. “I was super happy with her performance today.” The focus shifted to the three-year-old pacing fillies at the end of the program as the $64,700 Kin Pace Final went postward in Race 10. A big closing effort by Watch My Speed and driver Jody Jamieson saw them claim the victor’s spoils as favourites High Roller Duke and Tuggingoncredit hooked wheels in the stretch, interfering with eventual runner-up Century Gianna and taking themselves out of the race. Preeminence recovered from an early break to finish third. While they could not be trackside to cheer on the fillies, Clinton Raceway fans wagered just over $88,000 on the program. Complete results can be found at Clinton Raceway Results. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Grassroots start on July 26 at Rideau Carleton Raceway. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

CLINTON, ON - JULY 2, 2020 - Three-year-old fillies will be the stars of the show this Sunday at Clinton Raceway as the half-mile oval plays host to six $22,800 Grassroots Series divisions for the sophomore trotting fillies and the $64,700 Kin Pace Final for their pacing counterparts. Trainer Marcel Barrieau will start Th Present in the Grassroots season opener and send out elimination winner Preeminence in the Kin Pace Final. Th Present will benefit from Post 1 in the fourth Grassroots split, while Preeminence will have to overcome the outside Post 7 to take home the 2020 Kin Pace title. "Somebody's got to get it, but I wished it would have been somebody else," said Barrieau of the elimination winner's post position draw. "But what can you do." Bob McClure piloted Preeminence to a 1:58 score last Sunday, the quickest of the three eliminations, and will be back in the race bike for the final. The other elimination winners, Marzannk Hanover and High Roller Duke, will start from Posts 4 and 8, respectively. Working in the Sportswriter daughter's favour is her familiarity with the half-mile surface and her experience with outside post positions. At two she only saw the inside half of the starting gate three times in nine starts. "She trains on a half-mile track so she's used to them," said Barrieau, who trains Preeminence for Claude Baril of Mascouche, QC, Gilles Caouette of Sudbury, ON and Michel Daneault of Terrebonne, QC. "She's got a few little quirks, like you know when she tries to get in gear quick you've got to watch her, but she's got a good motor, she can go the distance and she's surely competitive with that bunch." Both Preeminence and Th Present were regulars on the Grassroots circuit last season, winning two legs each and finishing among the top five point earners in their respective divisions, but Barrieau said trotting lass Th Present was much tougher to race. "She was hard to manage. She wanted to go 100, and she wasn't easy on herself, and that's why sometimes she'd go on the run, because you couldn't control her," explained the trainer. "But she seems like this year she's so much better, so I hope - and her too, she's been trained on a half-mile track, she loves the half-mile track - so I think she'll be a good start there." Barrieau said the improvement Th Present has shown through her first two sophomore starts - both flawless, one trotted in 1:57 the other in 1:57.4 - came partly through physical and mental maturity and partly through hard work and repetition. "She grew up physically, she's stronger for sure, and then mentally I worked on her all winter to try to calm her down, and she responded pretty good," said the veteran horseman. "Last year she was a handful going to the gate and everything, now she just puts her nose on the gate and she goes at her business." Bob McClure will also steer Th Present, as he did in her June 16 and 23 starts at Woodbine Mohawk Park, for Cambridge, ON resident Barrieau and his co-owner Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longueil, QC. Th Present and her three-year-old trotting filly peers will compete in Races 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9 while Preeminence and the other seven Kin Pace finalists will wrap up the Sunday afternoon program in Race 10. The first race goes in behind the Clinton Raceway starting gate at 1:30 pm. While fans cannot be on hand to cheer for their favourite fillies, a complete live stream is available on the Clinton Raceway website and fans can download a program to play along. In addition to Sunday's Ontario Sires Stakes event Clinton Raceway will also host the two-year-old pacing fillies in Grassroots action on Sept. 6 and two Prospect Series divisions for Ontario Sired youngsters, the two-year-old trotting fillies on July 12 and the three-year-old pacing colts on July 19. A complete schedule can be found below. Clinton Raceway Race Date Post Time Age/Sex/Gait Race Type           Sunday, July 5 1:30 pm 3-year-old Filly Trot Grassroots Series           Sunday, July 12 1:30 pm 2-year-old Filly Trot Prospect Series           Sunday, July 19 1:30 pm 3-year-old Colt Pace Prospect Series           Sunday, Sept. 6 1:30 pm 2-year-old Filly Pace Grassroots Series           From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

While the stands were empty on Sunday, and the gates were closed to the public, one thing remained certain – one of the best voices in harness racing was in the announcer’s booth. Not only did Peterborough native and long-time Standardbred and Thoroughbred announcer Frank Salive call the races, but he offered race fans a between-race analysis. “Clinton Raceway is always a privilege to visit and work as in my view it is the quintessential example of how the roots of the sport are supposed to be preserved,” said Salive. “It’s integration into the fabric of the community and region are, I would imagine, just like a Norman Rockwell painting of how small town Summer harness racing would have been.” “It’s important, during this very different situation, that we keep our race fans engaged and informed” said marketing manager Jessica Carnochan. “Who better to do that, then one of the most accomplished announcers in the history of the sport?” Salive said his own experience at Clinton Raceway dates back three decades. “I had the privilege of working as the Toronto circuit announcer and had a front row seat to the rise of the Clinton-based trotting mare Lifetime Dream all the way to her conquest of the 1993 Breeders Crown. “In my own collection of almost 160,000 career races, Lifetime Dream would go down in history as among the top two most emotional wins I have had the privilege to narrate,” Salive said. “The other race in this vein for myself was the 2003 North America Cup upset by Yankee Cruiser after the untimely death of Brian Pinske.” Reprinted with permission of The Clinton News Record

CLINTON, ON - SEPT. 1, 2019 - Clinton Raceway wrapped up its 2019 season on a high note Sunday afternoon with the 39th annual Charity Driver's Challenge and four OSS $22,800 Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old harness racing pacing colts. The first seven races were dedicated to the driver's challenge, which benefitted the Royal Canadian Legion branches in Clinton, Seaforth, Wingham and Brussels. The top four drivers from Clinton Raceway, Colin Kelly, Scott Wray, Natasha Day and Ryan Holliday, competed against four of the top drivers from Woodbine Mohawk Park, Sylvain Filion, Louis-Philippe Roy, Jonathan Drury and Jody Jamieson, with each driver looking to amass the most points through seven starts Louis-Philippe Roy got off to a quick start, winning the first two races, and finishing second to defending champ Jody Jamieson in the third. Canada's leading reinsman Sylvain Filion romped to an 11 length win in the fourth race and Natasha Day edged out Roy for the win in the fifth. Roy looked to have things well in hand, but the early leader finished last in the final two legs and Filion finished first. Filion took the win with 175 points through the seven races, Roy was second with 158 and Jamieson was third with 117. Once Filion had been crowned the winner of the Charity Driver's Challenge, which raised over $12,000 for the Royal Canadian Legion branches, the freshman pacing colts stepped to centre stage. Bettorbuckleup and driver Mike Saftic won the first $22,800 division with a sharp front end effort from Post 3, sailing home two and three-quarter lengths the best in 1:57.2. Usurper finished second and Twin B Watch Me was third. "He's been in the Gold a couple times, but he's just kind of a fringe payer in the Gold," said trainer Eric Adams. "He's got all kinds of go, but he's not quite a Gold horse so we're going to tackle the Grassroots and see if we can get to the Grassroots Semi-Final." Adams trains the son of Bettors Delight for Millar Farms of Stouffville, ON. The win was the colt's first in Ontario Sires Stakes action and his second through seven starts. In his three Gold Series appearances Bettorbuckleup's best finish was a second at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 15. Century Grizzly has competed in all four of the Grassroots Legs this season and earned his first provincial victory with a track record equalling effort at Clinton on Sunday. With Jody Jamieson in the race bike the fan favourite controlled all the fractions, cruising through a :28.3 quarter, :59 half and 1:28 three-quarters on his way to the 1:57 victory. Sundown Kid was one and one-half lengths back in second and Bee Two Bee was three lengths back in third. The mile matched the 1:57 track record set by Thinkofagameplan in Grassroots action on Aug. 31, 2014. "He's turned the corner a bit. He was a slow starter, but he's figuring it out," said Jim Ritchie, who trains the Sunshine Beach colt for Paul Ritchie of Mono, ON. "He was always fast but he was goofy, like playing around and whinnying at horses, but he's starting to figure it out." After finishing no better than third in his first four starts, Century Grizzly recorded his first victory on Aug. 22, touring Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:54.1. Sunday's win bumped him up among the top 20 point earners heading into the last regular season Grassroots event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 16. The top 20 point earners from the five regular season events will advance to the Sept. 27 Semi-Finals, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final earning a berth in the Oct. 5 Grassroots Championship. In the third division, Doc Fanelli also took a front-end tour to the Grassroots winner's circle, battling down the stretch to a three-quarter length victory in 1:58.4. Fan favourite Gentry Seelster settled for second and Walk It Talk It rounded out the top three. Sunday's win was the Badlands Hanover son's second. He also won his career debut at Georgian Downs on June 29. "He was kind of lazy horse training down and after his first qualifier it just kind of clicked," said owner-trainer Kyle Bossence of Arthur, ON. "Great gaited, paced without the hopples right from Day 1, he just did what you asked him to do. He wasn't an overachiever, but he's kind of catching the hang of it now and wanting to go a little more." Colin Kelly, who finished the 2019 meet as Clinton Raceway's top reinsman, drove Doc Fanelli to the win. The reinsman - along with Clinton's leading trainer Andrew McCabe - was presented with his trophy just before he drove Doc Fanelli to the win. Captivate Hanover wrapped up the fourth Grassroots Leg and the 2019 Clinton meet with a 1:57.3 victory in the last division. The Bettors Delight son and driver Phil Hudon sat behind pacesetter Needless To Say through fractions of :29, :57.3 and 1:28.2 before sprinting down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory in 1:57.3. Mr Cheeseman finished second and Disneyman was third. "He put in a big effort, that's for sure. He got a little steppy from time to time, but he's quick and everything so he was able to make up for it," said trainer Shawn Steacy of the fan favourite. "He's just a nice horse. He comes to play all the time, so that's why we like him." Steacy trains Captivate Hanover for Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC, Stephen Klunowksi of North York, ON and James Feeley of Pine Bush, NY. The colt was also victorious in the July 5 Grassroots season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park and currently sits second in the division standings with 116 points. In addition to supporting the Royal Canadian Legion through a bake sale, 50-50 draw and silent auction, fans wagered a total of $67,417 on the races, the biggest handle of Clinton Raceway's 2019 meet. Complete results for Sunday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0901clntnn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

CLINTON, ON -  AUG. 11, 2019 - The trip to Clinton proved worthwhile for reinsman James MacDonald on Sunday as he notched a driving hat trick, with two of the wins coming in Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. MacDonald kicked off the afternoon's Ontario Sires Stakes action with fan favourite Halo Its Me, taking the lead early and hanging on for a one-half length victory in 2:00. Blue Magic closed well, but could not catch the pacesetter, and Cambridge Kate was four lengths back in third. "I kind of took my time in the first turn. She was trotting good, but I didn't want to ask her to put Scott (Young with Blue Magic) in behind me so I just let her idle around, let Scott clear, and then as soon as we straightened out I came back around. And the rest is history," said MacDonald, who lined up at Post 3 with Halo Its Me. "She was really strong." Sunday's win was Halo Its Me's second in Grassroots action this season. The Archangel daughter also triumphed in the July 16 event at Georgian Downs. Along with a runner-up finish in the Grassroots season opener Halo Its Me now has 125 points and sole ownership of top spot in the division standings. MacDonald made his first appearance in the filly's race bike in an Aug. 1 overnight at Woodbine Mohawk Park and the Guelph, ON resident is confident Halo Its Me can pad her point total when the sophomore trotting fillies head to the Campbellville oval for their last regular season Grassroots test on Sept. 17. "She raced really well the last Grassroots starter race at Mohawk (Aug. 1). I was impressed with her," said the driver. "Hopefully she can get in a division at Mohawk (Sept. 17) where she can do some damage." Connie and David Chisholm of Brighton, ON bred and own Halo Its Me and Connie handles training duties on the winner of $43,445. Two races later MacDonald picked up his second win in an overnight event with two-year-old pacing colt Macpherson Thunder and two races after that he was back in the Grassroots winners circle with Rebellious Lady. Starting from Post 5, MacDonald fired Rebellious Lady to the front and the fans' second choice never faced a challenge. After cruising through fractions of :30.3, 1:02 and 1:32.3 the Angus Hall miss powered down the stretch to a four and one-quarter length victory in 2:02. Vimy Ridge Venus and Glide N Go rounded out the top three as the rest of the seven-horse field struggled with breaks. "She got out of the gate good and the race was never in question, she just drove forward from there and I never had to ask her," said MacDonald. "Never a worrisome moment, that's for sure." A two-time Grassroots winner as a two-year-old, Sunday's victory was Rebellious Lady's first of her sophomore campaign. Trainer Duane Marfisi leases the filly through his Green And Gold Ltd. of Guelph, ON. The other two Grassroots divisions went to first-time Ontario Sires Stakes winners Witches N Angels and Kashe. Fan favourite Witches N Angels and driver Trevor Henry went straight to the front from Post 6 and never looked back, rolling through fractions of :29, 1:00 and 1:30.1 on their way to a 2:00 score. Warrawee Ultra and Angel Status finished second and third, six and one half lengths behind Witches N Angels. Joe MacIsaac of Freelton, ON trains Witches N Angels for Andy Stewart and Lennan MacIsaac of Inverness, NS and breeder Carolyn Williston of Carlisle, ON. Sunday's win was the Archangel daughter's first of the season. Lightly rated Kashe took full advantage of a late error by pacesetter and fan favourite Splurge On Me to pick up her first Grassroots win. Sitting second-over in the outer lane when Splurge On Me went off-stride, Kashe out-sprinted the rest of the challengers down the stretch to secure the 2:01 victory. Absynthe Hanover was one and three-quarter lengths back in second and Holiday Harlot was two more lengths back in third. Wayne Henry of Arthur, ON drives, trains and owns Justice Hall daughter Kashe, who now has three wins on her sophomore resume. In addition to the Grassroots action, Clinton Raceway fans were treated to a bake sale, barbecue, 50-50 draw and silent auction by the Stratford Warriors on Sunday. The Junior B hockey club raised over $3,000 thanks to the support of their Clinton-area fans. Complete results for Sunday's program, which saw $47,998 wagered, are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0811clntnn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

JUNE 23, 2019 - Ontario's three-year-old trotting colts laid down some impressive miles in Grassroots action on Clinton Raceway's Legends Day program Sunday, capped off by a harness racing track record for Zorgwijk Tim. "He raced good, he got lucky though," said trainer Lyle MacArthur of Zorgwijk Tim's 1:58.1 record-setting effort. "He still went in 1:58.1, he went a real good mile, but it looked like he was just going to, probably, get a three and he ended up getting all the marbles so like I said, I like the thought of being lucky rather than good sometimes." After sitting fourth for much of the mile, watching Archway ring up fractions of :29.1, :59.2 and 1:28.3, driver Robert Shepherd had just swung out from behind fan favourite Royale Elite and driver Jonathan Drury when Archway made a break and interfered with pocket-sitter Windsong Pioneer and Royale Elite. Zorgwijk Tim sailed past the leaders and was six and one-quarter lengths ahead of runner-ups Royale Elite and Windsong Pioneer at the wire. "I thought I was maybe going to be third, and it just worked out they hooked up and the next thing I was by them," said Flamborough, ON resident Shepherd. "He's a nice horse to drive and situations like that, it worked out for him because he's so nice to drive and he trots good. He's handy that way. He's a nice little horse, not a real big horse, but he's really good to deal with." The mile was a personal best for Zorgwijk Tim and lowered the former track record for three-year-old trotting colts over the Clinton Raceway half-mile by one and two-fifths of a second. "Going up the backstretch I thought, 'I've got to get out on Jonathan's (Drury) back,' and I went to move him out and I kind of asked him to catch right up to Jonathan and he was struggling a little to get to his back, so I knew they were moving along pretty good," said Shepherd. "Good mile for a trotter over Clinton, especially three-year-olds." It was also something of a redemptive effort for the Angus Hall colt, who made his own break in the June 5 Grassroots season opener at Grand River Raceway and was placed from fifth back to seventh. Linda Wellwood of St. George Brant, Tammy Aspden of Caistor Centre and Anna Ruijs of Ancaster, ON share ownership of Zorwijk Tim, who boosted his sophomore earnings to $34,473 with his first Ontario Sires Stakes win. Before Zorgwijk Tim lowered the track record in the fourth division, Gold Edition matched the former mark with a 1:59.3 effort in the second $22,100 split. Starting from Post 6, driver Alfie Carroll hustled Gold Edition off the starting gate and the pair led the field through fractions of :30, 1:01.3 and 1:31 before sailing home to a one length victory over Encarnacion. Mr Choo was well back in third. "He's a nice horse. I even had him staked a little bit in the open stakes in the fall, but I don't know if he's that kind of horse," said trainer Blair Burgess. "I always thought he was a borderline Gold horse, and now we're racing Grassroots because he likes the half, he really loves the half, as you can see today. He loved Grand River and loved it here. He's handy on the turns; I think he trots the turns even better than the straightaways." The win was Gold Edition's second straight in Grassroots action this season and boosted the E L Titan son's sophomore bank roll to $38,048 for owners Stirling Fisher of Waterloo and Karin Olsson Burgess of Campbellville, ON. Red Hot Torch opened the Legends Day program with a 2:02 score in the first Grassroots division, getting a head in front of pacesetter King For Life. Mackjustice finished well behind the duelling leaders in third. Jonathan Drury piloted Angus Hall son Red Hot Torch to his first lifetime win for trainer Shawn Steacy and owner 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON. Debt Collector went gate-to-wire in the third Grassroots division, hanging on for a half-length 2:01.3 victory over Titan M Up and Justice For Narnia. Travis Henry engineered the Holiday Road gelding's third straight win for trainer Keith Jones and owner Douglas McCarthy of Holland Landing, ON. Raising Royalty earned his second Grassroots win, and fifth in six sophomore starts, with a 2:01 effort in the last division. The Royalty For Life son and driver Sylvain Filion controlled the pace from start to finish and sailed under the wire two and one-quarter lengths ahead of favourite LA Magic and The Great Farini. Stephen Bossence conditions Raising Royalty for Stephen Palermo of Etobicoke, ON. One race later the large crowd gathered along the rail for the Legends Day Trot and was treated to a thrilling finish by Hall of Fame drivers David Miller, Doug Brown, Trevor Ritchie, Steve Condren, Wally Hennessey, Dave Wall and Ron Waples. Miller and Dominum Deo would emerge the winners, getting a neck in front of Brown and Azucar with a 1:59.3 effort. Ritchie and Lets Leavem were just one-half length back in third. A large and enthusiastic crowd watches the Legends Day Trot at Clinton Raceway (AG Photography) Miller, making his second appearance at the biennial fundraiser for the Clinton Public Hospital Foundation, engineered the victory for trainer Mary Paulic and owner Allan Kuepfer of Newton, ON. The three-year-old trotting colts will make their third Grassroots start Rideau Carleton Raceway on July 21, while Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Clinton Raceway on Sunday, August 11 with Grassroots action for the three-year-old trotting fillies. Complete results for Sunday's program can be found at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0623clntnn.dat.   OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com   OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing Woodbine Mohawk Park

Two years after travelling to Clinton Raceway to see harness racing driver John Campbell’s last race, Trevor Ritchie will be going behind the starting gate in the Legends Day Trot. Two years ago, driver Trevor Ritchie came to Legends Day at Clinton Raceway as a fan. On June 23, he suited up in his black and white colours as the newest addition to the Legends Day line-up. In 2017, Ritchie and his wife, Gemma, sat in lawn chairs near Clinton Raceway’s quarter pole and reveled in the atmosphere surrounding local legend John Campbell’s last career drive. “I’m a huge fan of John Campbell’s and have been forever, so I wanted to see him and say hello to him and see his last drive,” Ritchie said. “I decided to walk down to the tent and say hello to the guys and they were busy signing autographs, of course, but the activity going on down there – it was packed and pretty impressive to watch. “There’s no better place to be on a beautiful sunny afternoon than at a fair track at Clinton. The atmosphere is just great.” Ritchie will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame on Aug. 7, an honour that earned him inclusion in the Legends Day line-up and a spot on the starting gate for the $15,000 Legends Day Trot that will also featured Hall of Famers David Miller, Steve Condren, Dave Wall, Ron Waples, Doug Brown and Wally Hennessey. Joining those legends for an autograph session was retired drivers Campbell, Keith Waples and Bill O’Donnell. Ritchie hasn’t driven a horse in a race in almost five years, but said he’s not nervous about going behind the gate again. “I think it’s like riding a bike, once you’ve ridden it you know how to ride it again. Racing, in my opinion, is pretty much the same,” he said. “Every winter when I’m in Florida, the last few years, I’ve been helping (Somebeachsomewhere’s trainer) Brent MacGrath train and he’s usually got two babies down at Sunshine Meadows, so I go down and sometimes I’ll go with one and he’ll go with the other… So it’s not like I haven’t been on a jogger or a race bike in five years. I just haven’t been in behind the gate.” The 63-year-old London native and Acton resident retired due to injury in July 2014, but not before competing in some 25,000 races over nearly 40 years. Ritchie drove the winners of more than $70 million on the track, much of it on Canada’s top circuit that includes Woodbine Mohawk Park in Campbellville. He won 3,710 races, none bigger than when he drove Yankee Paco to victory in the 2000 Hambletonian in New Jersey for trainer Doug McIntosh. The victory, which came the same year the Hambletonian celebrated its 75th anniversary, marked the first time a Canadian-bred horse won harness racing’s premier event, making Ritchie the commander of a moon shot for the Canadian breed. Ritchie calls winning the Hambletonian with Yankee Paco the highlight of a career that also included driving Hall of Fame filly Peaceful Way to victory over the boys in the 2006 Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk just three weeks before Ritchie won the $1-million Canadian Trotting Classic, also at Mohawk, with Majestic Son, who went on to be named Canada’s Horse of the Year. Ritchie also won seven Breeders Crowns; a $1 million Meadowlands Pace with Frugal Gourmet for trainer Blair Burgess of Milton in 1987; the 1986 North America Cup with Quite A Sensation; stakes races driving hockey Hall of Famer Mats Sundin’s trotter, Rotation, and even had the opportunity to drive in Sweden and Norway. Ritchie said he was excited for Legends Day and the opportunity to see old friends and faces and connect with fans. He saluted the work of Clinton general manager Ian Fleming, who will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame this year as a builder. “Obviously, Ian does just a fantastic job. It’s great to see crowds at a harness racing track. You just don’t see that all that often, unfortunately, anymore outside of big nights.” Legends Day raised money for the Clinton Public Hospital Foundation. Previous editions of Legends Day have raised more than $210,000 for the foundation. In 2017, Legends Day raised a record $60,000 and Fleming said he is hoping to break that record this year. By Postmedia Staff Reprinted with permission of The Clinton News Record

Clinton, ON, June 19, 2019 -- The Central Standardbred Association (COSA) is pleased to announce that it has added an additional Facebook Live broadcast of this Sunday's Legend's Day harness racing program from Clinton Raceway to its summer series of races. The show will air from 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Facebook and will be shown on the Clinton Raceway, Raceway at Western Fair District, Flamboro Downs and Grand River Raceway Facebook pages. Standardbred Canada has once again joined as a partner and will broadcast the show via live streaming on their website. Hosts Greg Blanchard, Mark McKelvie and Jaime MacDonald will provide coverage of the $15,000 Legend's Day Trot headlined this year by first time competitor Trevor Ritchie who will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in August. He will be joined by an all-star cast that also includes David Miller, Steve Condren, Dave Wall, Ron Waples, Doug Brown and Wally Hennessey. Joining those legends for an autograph session will be retired drivers Keith Waples, John Campbell and Bill O'Donnell. The event will once again raise money for the Clinton Public Hospital Foundation. Previous editions of Legends Day have raised more than $210,000 for the foundation. The Facebook Live show, produced by CUJO Entertainment of Guelph, is the third in a four-race series of shows which culminates with the Battle of Waterloo broadcast from Grand River Raceway on Monday, August 5th. Clinton Raceway

After a week off for the Clinton Spring Fair, live harness racing returned to the Huron County Oval with strong wagering numbers for the third week of the season. Mutuel betting totals topped $29,000 for the 10-race card on June 9. The trackside fundraiser was co-hosted by the Seaforth Stars and Blyth/Brussels Crusaders Minor Hockey Associations and through a barbecue, bake sale and 50/50 draw the organizations were able to raise just over $2,000 to go towards their upcoming seasons. “We’ve had such an overwhelming response to our fundraising program, that we are ending up with more groups than we have race dates,” said Jessica Carnochan, the marketing manager for the Clinton Raceway. “We thought, in order to accommodate as many groups as we can, we brought some organizations together, to co-host.” Funds from the day are shared between the two groups. Winning happened both on and off track with the Super Sunday Show, sponsored by Natures nest in Londesboro. Full details and information on the 2019 season can be found at www.clintonraceway.com Reprinted with permission of the Clinton News Record

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