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It is the place where dreams begin; it is the place where the top drivers and trainers of the future are born. It is the place where friends become family, and complete strangers become friends. This is the place where many trainers and drivers capture their first victories and dream of making it to the big leagues. These are the “B” tracks.  In the communities where these tracks are located, race nights are a time for family, friends, and neighbors to come together to laugh, enjoy each other’s company and create memories; and if they are lucky, maybe even cash a winning ticket or two. The people who race horses here, may not be racing for a million dollars, but to them, their horses are worth just that. Even though they may be racing in a claiming race, they are worth so much more to those that love them. For many fans, it is where they first experienced the thrill of betting and winning. For some owners like myself, it is where we got our first thrill of winning too.  Sometimes the trainer may have roles other than just a trainer. They may be the owner, as well as the driver, as well as the caretaker. In some rare cases, they have also bred the horse. I am going to share with you some of my favorite memories which were created at a “B” track.  There are many, and all of them mean something to me. Not every horse can race at an “A” track like Mohawk Raceway; that is precisely why there are “B” tracks. “B” tracks provide another place for horses to race and be successful. For example, Sydney Seelster (Pinky) liked the tight turns the smaller tracks have, in addition to the speed being a little more manageable for her. This was discovered after we tried racing her once at Mohawk Raceway and once at Woodbine, in both races she tried her very best, came fifth in one of those starts but she definitely raced more competitively on the “B” tracks. The majority of my experiences as an owner came from racing at Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, and Grand River Raceway- all “B” tracks. When Pinky won her first race for me on a Saturday afternoon, at Flamboro Downs, I felt like I had won a stakes race. I cried tears of joy. It is because of a “B” track my dream of being a winning owner came true. It is where my adventure with Pinky begins.  It is the place where I discovered the thrill of being an owner. Every track has their big day; their day to shine. It could be holding a stakes race or a track’s opening day for the season. This is one aspect of the sport which unites both “A” and “B” tracks. Whatever the occasion or event is, the ‘little’ tracks always make the occasion a big deal. I look forward to attending these special events and I do my best not to miss one.   Every year on the holiday Monday in August, Grand River Raceway, in Elora, hosts an annual event celebrating the harness racing industry in the province of Ontario. The day is called Industry Day. The day features the finals of the Battle of Waterloo for Ontario-sired colts and the Battle of the Belles for Ontario- sired fillies. The Industry Day of 2011 was my first time attending Industry Day. It is also the first time I recall going to another track other than Mohawk Raceway. Walking through the grandstand, I marveled at the new sights, it is a bee hive of activity. The atmosphere is lively and the passion is remarkable.  That day, driving stars Scott Zeron and Doug McNair were there to take pictures with fans, so I got mine taken with them. That was a highlight for me. The races were fast paced and action packed. The crowd was passionate and excited. There was clapping and cheering. The atmosphere was celebratory and made an impression on me. Many memories were made that day, and I will cherish them always. Since that Industry Day, I have attended every one. Like many people, going to Industry Day has become a tradition for me, and I look forward to going every summer. In the summer of 2012, I made the journey to Hanover Raceway for the Dream of Glory Stake and the fireworks which followed the races. It was time for me to experience another track. Hanover Raceway was a charming track. It was not fancy but that is what makes Hanover Raceway so special. The Dream of Glory may not be the most celebrated stakes race, but for fans in the small town of Hanover, they look forward to it every year. I was honored to be asked to present the trophy. After the races finished, everyone was anticipating the fireworks. The firework show was mesmerizing. To add to the colorful spectacle, snow-like flakes fell on me, they were ashes from the fireworks. In a strange way, it added charm to the night and was something unique, an experience I will always remember. Flamboro Downs holds the Confederation Cup and I look forward to going every year. It is a day where some of the best horses and drivers come to compete on the same track Pinky did. To think of it like that always makes me smile. I was given the signs which have the names of the horses in the Confederation Cup that are used when assigning post positions. I have the ones from 2015 and 2016 (with the exception of the winner, as that gets displayed). They are something I treasure. I have proudly displayed them in my room. My parents and I visit Flamboro Downs often. We go for dinner, to watch the exciting races and cheer on our friends who are racing. I always enjoy talking with the friendly staff. All levels of staff at Flamboro Downs always makes me feel special. Gary Guy is the announcer for Flamboro, as well as Grand River Raceway and Georgian Downs. He is always sure to give me a shout out when he sees me sitting along the rail. I always feel so special when he does. I appreciate how he takes the time to do that. When Pinky won he always tried to play a song that mentioned pink as Pinky returned to the Winner’s Circle.  That made winning even more sweet. Every second-year Clinton Raceway holds an event which is like no other. Legendary drivers including Bill O’Donnell, Ron Waples, and Wally Hennessey, just to name a few, compete in one signature race. Although he did not drive, Keith Waples was also there. Hence, this day is called Legend's Day. The first time my parents and I went, every driver I wished good luck to in post parade won that race. My dad thought I was wearing horseshoes that day. After the Legend's Day race, all of the Legend's went to have a group photo taken.  I said hello to Wally Hennessey on his way to get his picture taken. He asked if I could watch his helmet and gloves. I agree and when he returned he gave his gloves and signed them. For the rest of the day, I wore those gloves with such pride. Later that afternoon it rained a lot. While we were taking cover [outside] from the rain, under an overhang at the end of the grandstand, we met a caretaker who had a horse in the last race on the card, we told her how ‘lucky’ I had been with telling drivers good luck. She told me “Trevor Henry is driving my horse is the last race, wish him good luck, and if we happen to win, come out for your picture”. Trevor Henry won that race. The rain was now teeming down. I raced through the rain to the winner’s circle. I was still wearing the gloves given to me by Wally Hennessey. I had to shield the signature from the rain, so the ink would not run. The drive home that afternoon was spent drying out.  I was drenched, but it added to the memories from that day. Today, those gloves have dried and are in a safe place for me to cherish. Two years later, I returned to Clinton Raceway for Legend's Day. I had the pleasure of interviewing a few of the legends for a story a friend was doing. He is a journalist and was unable to make it. That was an experience which I was honored to have. This past October I made four-hour journey to Leamington Raceway. My parents thought it would be the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I sat in the backseat, with my iPod and snacks, and we were on the road bound for Leamington Raceway. It was my first time visiting Leamington Raceway.  I love to visit new tracks and meet new friends. My dad was excited to be going too because Leamington was one of the few tracks he had not visited either. Before long, we are driving through small towns and countryside, soon we arrived at Leamington Raceway. I stepped out of my car and I was greeted by smiling faces. Then I received an awesome surprise, I was speechless. It was a sign which read “Stop! Parking for Sydney Weaver”. I felt so special, like a celebrity. It was just a small gesture that made my day even more special. I have always believed it is the little things in life that take up the most room in our hearts. That is something "B" tracks have in common. They add little personal touches, that make you feel welcome. For example, at Grand River, when you walk in the front doors, you are greeted by a gentleman, whose name is Tom, in a top hat and tails. He is happy and always smiling. That warm welcome is so special and has a big impact. The grandstand at Leamington was packed with people of all ages, and lots of kids. Everyone was having a grand time. Lawn chairs lined the fence. The day was picture perfect  We met up with friends and watched a few races, before being invited to take a tour of the new paddock. While in the paddock I had the opportunity to meet the people who were instrumental in getting the new paddock built.    The lovely people of Leamington Raceway were kind and gave me a Leamington Raceway sweater and baseball cap. I helped with on track draws too. Overall it was a fun day, and the day passed quickly. Before I know it, my parents and I are on the road again.  This time headed for home. As we drove, we reminisce about the memories that were created. “B” tracks might not be as well-known as the major tracks, but we need to embrace and support them. “B” tracks make our industry what it is. They are the foundation of our industry.  It is because of the smaller tracks that major tracks are able to prosper.  “B” tracks provide strength and support which is vital to the success of our sport. That is the beauty of a “B” track. Sydney Weaver is 16 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, groom's horses, jogs them on the track, owns both a Standardbred and a Thoroughbred racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.

TORONTO, January 20 - Winter Series harness racing action continued on Friday's 11-race card at Woodbine Racetrack and once again Doug McNair was the first star of the night. McNair, who swept round one of the Blizzard Series Thursday, made four visits to the winner's circle on Friday's card, including in one of two divisions of the Snowshoe Series for three and four-year-old pacers. Awesomeness was sent straight to the front by McNair in the first $17,000 Snowshoe split and never looked back en route to an impressive 1:52 victory. The Ryan Maxwell trainee posted a snappy opening-quarter of :26.1 and after a middle-half of :58.4, fired home in :27 to win by 7½ lengths. Clouseau Hanover finished second, while Emptythetill was third. A gelded son of Mach Three, Awesomeness has been making some serious noise at Woodbine over the last couple months. The four-year-old didn't make his career debut until October and now has six wins in 12 starts, while only finishing outside the top-two once. Awesomeness, who was making his second start of the New Year Friday, was purchased privately by Martin Scharf in November and has won three of six starts since joining the Maxwell stable. His career earnings now sit at $76,100. The Maxwell trainee paid $3.60 to win. Awesomeness The second Snowshoe division saw McNair almost make it back-to-back series sweeping nights, but he and four-year-old gelding Senior K had to settle for a second-place finish. Lyons Sands went gate-to-wire to win the second split in 1:53.2. The Bruce Goit trainee was making his first start of 2017 and was guided to victory by driver J Harris. Lyons Sands posted fractions of :27.1, :57.1 and 1:25.3, before pacing home in :27.4 and fighting off Senior K to win by a neck. Ohio Larry finished third. A gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere, Lyons Sands won 9 of 13 starts last season as a three-year-old and now has 10 career victories to his name. His career bankroll increased to $52,590 for owner Geoffrey Lyons Mound with Friday's victory. Lyons Sands paid $13 to win. Lyons Sands Three and four-year-old pacers, who were non-winners of two-races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2016, were eligible for nomination to the Snowshoe Series. The second-round of the Snowshoe will take place next Friday (January 27). Following Friday's driving Grand Slam, McNair now has 15 wins, 11 runner-up finishes and seven third-place finishes in 57 starts to lead all drivers this season at Woodbine. McNair will look to continue his torrid start to 2017 on Saturday evening, as he is listed to drive in nine of the 11 scheduled races. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, January 19 - Harness racing driver Doug McNair has been off to a flying start in 2017 and Thursday night he continued his hot streak by sweeping round one of the Blizzard Series at Woodbine Racetrack. McNair guided Stonebridge Pearl and Senseless Beauty to victories to take both $17,000 first leg divisions of the Blizzard for three and four-year-old pacing fillies and mares. The first division of the evening saw all the attention go towards Niagara Series winner Jimbelina, but the heavy-favourite just couldn't go all the way over the "off-track". Sent to the front from post-ten by driver Sylvain Filion, Jimbelina cut out fractions of :27.1, :57 and 1:25.2. However, Stonebridge Pearl and McNair stalked the leader's every move from the pocket and were able to pounce in the lane. Stonebridge Pearl powered by Jimbelina in deep stretch to win by half a length in a career-best 1:55. Sparkle finished third, while Franschoek was fourth. A four-year-old daughter of Mach Three, Stonebridge Pearl made her first start of the New Year a winning effort Thursday after winning just once in 21 appearances in 2016. Owned by Mark Ford and trained locally by Gregg McNair, Stonebridge Pearl banked $26,100 last season and her Blizzard opening leg victory now gives her three career wins and a bankroll of $69,880. She paid $22 to win. Stonebridge Pearl The second division saw McNair once again crossing the wire first, but this time he did it with the public's choice. Senseless Beauty was pointed directly to the front right from the beginning by McNair and was able to clear Collective Wisdom for the lead just after the opening-quarter of :28. After posting middle-fractions of :57.1 and 1:27, Senseless Beauty was tested in the lane by Collective Wisdom from the two-hole, but the favourite was able to turn aside the challenger and score a two-length victory in 1:55.4. Kloof Street turned in a strong final-quarter to come all the way from ninth and last to finish second just ahead of Collective Wisdom. Xelene Bayama finished fourth. A four-year-old daughter of Vintage Master, Senseless Beauty was making just the fourth start of her career Thursday. The Tony O'Sullivan trainee raced twice as a rookie in August of 2015, but didn't make another start until last month. Owned by Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Dana Parham, Senseless Beauty has now won back to back starts at Woodbine and is on a three-race win streak after finishing second in her career debut. Thursday's victory increases her career earnings to $24,500. She paid $4.40 to win. Senseless Beauty Round two of the Blizzard Series will take place next Friday (January 26). Three and four-year-old pacing fillies and mares, who were non-winners of two-races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2016, were eligible to the Blizzard. Live racing continues Friday night at Woodbine with round one of the Snowshoe Series for three and four-year-old pacers headlining the 11-race card. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

LEBANON, OH. – The 2017 North America Driver's Challenge champion is Doug McNair, who traveled to Miami Valley Raceway from the Toronto area to compete with 29 other top reinsmen from throughout the United States and Canada over three harness racing matinee cards.  On the strength of two championship day triumphs, one second and a pair of show finishes over his eight drives, the 27-year-old narrowly defeated Sam Widger, who finished second with 120 points, Tyler Smith 92, and Tony Hall and Jonathan Roberts who tied for fourth with 74 points each.  McNair scored with Mintiliscious (1:59.4, $3.20) in the first challenge race of the day, over a track rated sloppy.  He also reached the finish line first with Fox Valley Valdez (1:59, $6.80) in the third contest event.  Widger’s two victories came back-to-back in the fifth and sixth challenge races with Mike’s Hope (1:58, $12.00) and Delight Fashion (1:57.3, $23.60).    Others to score on Tuesday afternoon were Tony Hall behind Winchester (2:00.4, $13.60), Marcus Miller with Full Of Sand (1:57.1, $5.80), Jonathan Roberts behind Sweet Colt Of Mine (1:58.1, $44.60) and Jason Brewer, who was sitting in for John DeLong who withdrew from the contest, with Likeafireballshot (1:56.2, $8.60). McNair receives $10,000 as the winner’s share of the North American Drivers Challenge.  Widger receives $5000, Smith $3000, Hall and Roberts $1750 each, Tharps $1250, Miller $1000 and Tetrick $750. Gregg Keidel

TORONTO, December 26 - The Father-Son team of Gregg and Doug McNair were the stars of the show on Monday's abbreviated Boxing Day harness racing card at Woodbine Racetrack. Mild temperatures and consistent rain took a toll on the racing surface throughout the card, which forced officials to cancel the final three-races due to unsafe track conditions. However, the $35,400 Valedictory and $33,400 Niagara Series finals were both contested before the cancellation. Senior K delivered a gritty effort to win the Valedictory final for Team McNair. The three-year-old gelded son of Bettor's Delight shot off cover in the stretch and paced through the sloppy conditions to score a narrow victory by a head over Awesomeness in 1:54.3. Owned by Keith Waples, Senior K now has three wins in 13 starts this season and increased his 2016 earnings to $50,650 with the Valedictory score. He paid $13.80 to win. Senior K Senior K's Valedictory victory added to a big day for the McNair's. Gregg McNair sent out three horses on the card and all three visited the winner's circle, while Doug recorded a driving Grand Slam by capturing four of the nine races contested. The Niagara Series final for three-year-old pacing fillies saw Jimbelina complete a sweep of the series by scoring a four-length victory in Monday's $33,400 final. The Rene Bourassa trainee was fired out of the ten-hole and directly to the front by driver Sylvain Filion. It was lights out from there, as Jimbelina scooted around the sloppy oval for an easy 1:57 victory. Owned by Roland Trudel, Jimbelina is now a 10-time winner this season following her Niagara score. The Bourassa trainee improved her record to 10 wins in 19 starts and her seasonal earnings to $70,580 with Monday's score. Jimbelina paid $3.30 to win. Jimbelina Three-year-olds that were non-winners of $60,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2016 were eligible for nomination to the Valedictory and Niagara Series. Monday's Boxing Day card was the final card of live racing at Woodbine for 2016. Live racing resumes Saturday, January 7at 7:30 p.m.   Mark McKelvie

DOVER, Del.--- Easy Lover Hanover completed a modern day harness racing 'Cinderella story' by winning the $314,600 Hap Hansen Progress Pace in 1:49 at Dover Downs on Monday, Nov. 28 Purchased a year ago after a monumental fire whipped-out owner Brad Grant and trainer Ben Wallace's stable in Ontario, Easy Lover Hanover was purchased at the Meadowlands Sale early this year for $70,000 and it turned into a 15-race winner of more than $300,000, with a personal record 1:49 performance in the final major stake of 2016. Youthful driver Doug McNair made good use of starting from post 1 by trailing race-favorite Check Six (Yannick Gingras) through fast early fractions before finding room along the passing lane to finally pass the leader late in the stretch for the victory. Owner Brad Grant and trainer Ben Wallace were elated in the winner's circle. "He was a great horse to buy," said Wallace. "He won the first five races we had. While giving the horse some time off, we gelded him, which we had planned when we got him. After wins at Mohawk and Woodbine, we decided to put up $25,000 to supplement him to this race." Wallace continued, {Doug McNair had driven him all season for us and he did another good job tonight." Easy Lover Hanover, a son of Somebeachsomewhere- Easy GoGo, completed his sophomore season with 15 wins 4 seconds and 2 thirds. He nearly equaled his seasonal earnings with the Han Hansen Progress Pace earning lifting the total to $314,124. Allan Davis, Vic Kirby and Tim Tetrick had two winners each. PURRFECT BAGS SEEKS AVENGENCE IN $20,000 MARES OPEN  Purrfect Bags, Delaware’s own Cinderella Story female pacer seeks to avenge her odds-on losing appearance in her last start in the $20,000 Fillies and Mares Open pace on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at Dover Downs. A $2,000 weanling purchase that became a Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) and stakes winning juvenile, was the overwhelming public choice last time out but after taking the early lead, the now four-year-old owned by JoAnn Looney-King faltered on the final turn and finished fourth the $20,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap pace. Her regular driver meet leader Vic Kirby will be in the bike for trainer Jim King seeking to rebound. Last Tuesday, Legacy Racing’s Empress Deo and Allan Davis scored a wire-to-wire 1:52.3 victory in this event. Elliesjet N, driven by Jonathan Roberts, was second from start to finish for Barry Spedden, Ken Evans, Nanticoke Racing and trainer Josh Parker, her second straight runner-up performance. JFE Enterprise’s Scandalicious with Tim Tetrick starts from the outside post 8. Howard Taylor’s strong contender Shine N Shimmer drew post 1 with George Dennis driving for trainer Doug Lewis. Alongside is the only three-year-old in the lineup George Teague and Teague Racing Partnership’s stakes-seasoned Miss Me Yet handled by Montrell Teague. Rounding out the eight-female field are Chris White owned and trained competitor Fashion Showdown reined by Corey Callahan and the game veteran Matinee Dragon with Pat Berry driving for Lou Catana and co-owner trainer Vince Bradley.   Monday through Thursday racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are ‘dark days’ at the track. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad

It was a harness racing challenge in the truest form of the word. Down to the last race. A win by Trevor Henry on Charmbro Curiosity in race eight had him within three points of the winner, Doug McNair. McNair finished with a scratch , awarding him 10 points to take the challenge with a total of 146 points, over Trevor Henry's 143.    The 2016 Driver's Challenge Championship, marks the second win for McNair, his first in the Challenge coming in 2012. Final standings is the challenge were as follows,   Doug McNair 146 Trevor Henry 143 Bob McClure 125 Ryan Holliday 115 Jody Jamieson 100 Alfie Carroll 87 James MacDonald 70 Nick Steward 33   Driver's Nick Steward and Ryan Holliday also tied as Clinton Raceways Top Dash Winning Drivers with 21 wins in the 2016 season. Clinton resident Jim Watt was presented on track with the 2016 training title, with 11 wins on the season. (See photo)   Over the last 35 years the Clinton event has helped to raise over $290,000 for various charities. For the second year, the beneficiary has been the Royal Canadian Legion and through the generous donation of drivers fees, a 50/50, silent auction and Chicken BBQ another approx $6000 was added to that total this year.   The 12 race card ended with four divisions of Ontario Sires Stakes, three year old filly pacers.   The season closer was the best the Huron County oval has seen all season, a record attendance, and a handle of over $57,000 was a great way to end the 2016 live season.     Jessica Carnochan

SEPT. 4, 2016 - Clinton Raceway wrapped up its 2016 season with the 36th annual Driver's Challenge and the last regular season Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots event for the harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies. Although he did not win one of the four Grassroots divisions, driver Doug McNair earned the second Challenge title of his career, edging out rival Trevor Henry by three points. McNair's best Grassroots finish came in the first $18,000 division, when he guided Heavenly Bet to a runner-up effort behind Icthelight Hanover. Starting from Post 3, driver Jody Jamieson sent fan favourite Icthelight Hanover straight to the front and the filly rolled along through fractions of :28.3, :58.2 and 1:28 before hitting the wire two lengths on top in 1:57. Guelph, ON resident McNair and Heavenly Bet were second and Dancin Inthe Nude was third for driver James MacDonald. "That was the first time I've ever driven her, so it was a nice ride," said Moffat, ON resident Jamieson. "She handled the track real good and simply jogged." Jamieson piloted the daughter of Big Jim and Ifyoucouldcwhati C to her first sophomore Grassroots win for trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and Determination of Montreal, QC. The win will give Icthelight Hanover an opportunity to extend her three-year-old Ontario Sires Stakes campaign through the Sept. 16 Grassroots Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack. The second Grassroots division went to fan favourite Maxim Seelster and driver Bob McClure, who also employed front-end tactics to secure the 1:57 victory. Local filly Top Royal, owned by trainer Heather Toll of Seaforth and Brydown Farms Inc. of Clinton, finished one and three-quarter lengths back in second with Phil Hudon in the race bike and McNair was third with More Than Many. "She was really very push button. She couldn't have had anything else go her way, she just had everything absolutely in her favour," said McClure, who crafted the Big Jim daughter's second Grassroots win for trainer Rene Bourassa of Fergus and M & S Stable Inc. of Rockwood, ON. "Also I think a bunch of them at the back got roughed up, but she had lots left coming to the wire, for sure." McClure enjoyed the Driver's Challenge, in spite of the fact that he did not take home the title. "It was a lot of fun; we all had a lot of fun. I think Doug cheated," said the Elora, ON resident with a laugh. "They had a big crowd too." A third front-end effort and another 1:57 result came in the next division for driver Phil Hudon and Glorious Delight. The filly cruised home two and one-half lengths ahead of McClure and Bettys Bay and McNair and Northern Prima. "I didn't know much about her so I took a shot leaving and landed front, had good fractions and everything worked out," said Guelph resident Hudon. "She seemed like a nice filly." Hudon piloted Glorious Delight to her second Grassroots victory for trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON and owner-breeder Emerald Highlands Farm of Mount Vernon, OH. Like Icthelight Hanover and Maxim Seelster, the Bettors Delight daughter will finish among the top 20 point earners and advance to the post season. The final Grassroots winner, Selling The Dream will also appear in the Sept. 16 Semi-final. In rein to Challenge runner-up Trevor Henry, Selling The Dream sat behind pacesetter Killean Finale through fractions of :27.3, :57 and 1:27 and then sprinted down the stretch to a head victory in 1:56. Killean Finale and Jason Ryan settled for second and James MacDonald piloted Trilife to third. Dean Wall conditions Badlands Hanover daughter Selling The Dream for Donald and Sheila Murray of Kincardine, ON. A Grassroots winner at two, Sunday's win was the filly's first in Ontario Sires Stakes action this season. The top 20 point earners from the six regular season Grassroots events will now begin preparations for the Sept. 16 Semi-finals. The top five finishers from each Semi-final earn a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 24. Ontario Racing

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 1 - Bettors Dream improved to three for three to start his harness racing career with an impressive 1:53.4 victory in the Dream Maker Series Final Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A field of eight two-year-old pacing colts and geldings squared off in the $37,800 Dream Maker Final. Scott McEneny trainee Bettors Dream was a convincing winner in the opening leg and was made the heavy 1/5 favourite in Monday's final. The gelded son of Bettor's Delight did not race in the second leg. Driven by Doug McNair, Bettors Dream got away fifth Monday evening, while leg two winner Deadly Action blasted to the front from the outside to post an opening-quarter of :27.3. The lead didn't last long for the round two winner, as McNair made a big second-quarter move to the front with the favourite. Bettors Dream touched down on the lead just before the half and reached that panel in :58. After picking up the tempo around the final turn to reach the three-quarter pole in 1:26.1, the McEneny trainee charged home comfortably in :27.3 for another convincing victory. Deadly Action finished three-lengths back in second, while Beyond Delight was third. Bettors Dream is a graduated of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and was purchased for $45,000 last fall. He is owned by John Fielding, Domenic Chiaravalle and McEneny. The son of Bettor's Delight is eligible to several upcoming Grand Circuit events. McEneny noted following Monday's race that Bettors Dream will get a few weeks off before the Nassagaweya Stakes on Saturday, August 20. Bettors Dream joins an impressive list of past Dream Maker Series champions, including Big Jim, Thinking Out Loud and Control The Moment. A $2 win ticket on Bettors Dream returned $2.60. Bettors Dream No video supplied While the Dream Maker Series wrapped up Monday, the Pure Ivory Series kicked off with a field of eight rookie trotting fillies meeting up for the $14,000 first leg. Muscle Hill filly Dream Together came first up around the final turn and powered by in the lane for the 1:58.2 victory. The Luc Blais trainee was driven by Sylvain Filion, who got away fourth with the rookie trotting filly. The Erm, who was the public's choice, and driver Paul MacDonell cut the mile and led the field through panels of :29, :59.4 and 1:30 to the top of the lane. In the stretch, Dream Together was able to battle by the leader to score the maiden-breaking victory by three-quarters of a length. The Erm finished second, while Southwind Tesla was third. Dream Together was making her second career start Monday after finishing third in her debut a week ago. The Muscle Hill filly was purchased for $240,000 last fall at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and is owned by Determination of Montreal, Quebec. Dream Together paid $5.80 to win. Dream Together The second leg of the Pure Ivory Series will take place next Monday (August 8). Live racing continues Tuesday evening at Mohawk. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, July 18 - Just two nights after Control The Moment captured the Meadowlands Pace, the series that helped launch his harness racing career kicked off its 2016 edition at Mohawk Racetrack. The Dream Maker Series for two-year-old pacers began Monday evening with a field of nine colts and geldings clashing in the $14,000 opening leg. The Dream Maker has had many notable winners of the years and last year Control The Moment swept the series to add his first of many accomplishments to his resume. Scott McEneny trainee Bettors Dream was a good looking 1:53.1 winner in his career debut last week and the public took notice, as they made him the 3/5 favourite for Monday's first leg. Driven by Doug McNair, Bettors Dream left from post eight and was pointed towards the front. After being parked by the quarter in :27.4, the public's choice cleared to the lead, but was quickly confronted by a rival. Officer Blue Chip brushed from fourth to first and led the field by the half in :56.2. The Casie Coleman trainee fronted the field around the final turn with Bettors Dream enjoying a two-hole ride. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.4, Officer Blue Chip drifted out a few lanes at the top of the lane. McNair had open racetrack along the rail for the stretch drive and Bettors Dream quickly retook the lead. The son of Bettor's Delight was never really challenged in the lane and looked cool pacing home in :28.3 for the 1:54.3 victory. Soccer Hanover came first up around the final turn and battled hard in the lane to finish second, two-lengths behind the winner. Beyond Delight came from third over on the final turn to finish third, while Always Rock N Roll was fourth. A Lexington Selected Yearling Sale graduate, Bettors Dream was purchased for $45,000 last fall. The Bettors Delight gelding is now two for two to start his career for owners John Fielding, Domenic Chiaravalle and McEneny. Bettors Dream is the sixth foal out of Dream Away mare Enduring Delight, who has produced two winners of over $400,000. A $2 win ticket on the McEneny trainee returned $3.20. The second leg of the Dream Maker will take place next Monday (July 25).   Mark McKelvie

JULY 5, 2016 - Two-year-old trotting fillies were the stars of the show at Georgian Downs on Tuesday evening, making their Ontario Sires Stakes debuts in a trio of $70,000 Gold Series divisions. Winter Sweet Frost kicked things off in the first race with an effortless front-end tour of the Innisfil oval, clocking fractions of :30.2, :59.3 and 1:29.4 on her way to a 1:59.3 victory. Lady Justice closed to within one-half length of the pacesetter to secure second-place honours and Gravitator was a length back in third. "She raced good tonight," said driver Doug McNair. "The track hasn't been that fast up there, so to go a mile in 1:59.3, I think that's a pretty good mile for a two-year-old trotting filly's first lifetime start." The Guelph, ON resident piloted Winter Sweet Frost to victory for trainer Paul Reid of De Leon Springs, FL and owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. The Kadabra daughter was sent off as the fan favourite after winning a pair of qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack on June 10 and 24, and McNair said he was impressed with the filly long before she made her public debut. "The main thing about her is she's nice gaited and she's smart," said McNair, who first sat behind Winter Sweet Frost in a spring training mile. "You can make a lot of money with one's like that, rather than a high speed one that's half crazy." After finishing third with Gravitator, driver Sylvian Filion found the winner's circle in the second Gold division, piloting On A Sunny Day to a come-from-behind victory in 1:59. The duo reeled in pacesetter Sweet Of My Heart and pocket sitter Im Peekers, reaching the wire one-half length the best. "She really impressed me," said Filion, who crafted the victory for trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and Determination of Montreal, QC. "That was the first time I sat behind her, but Luc always told me he really, really liked her and you know what, he was right. She was real impressive tonight." Blais also bred the daughter of Muscle Mass, who prepped for her Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) debut with qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack on June 16 and 24, finishing fourth and second, respectively. "Her last baby race she came a last quarter in :27.1," noted Milton, ON resident Filion. "She's a handy filly, she's pretty easy to drive, she's pretty mature for her age, and she's got wicked speed, so it's a good combination." Filion, who was the leading reinsman in the OSS in 2015, was also impressed with Gravitator's third-place result. "I really liked the way she raced tonight, we got interfered with, were gapped, and she was still only beat a length and a half or something like that," said the reinsman. "She came a very good last half." Blais trains the Kadabra daughter, a full-sister to former OSS star and $870,153 winner Prestidigitator, for Determination. She was an $80,000 acquisition from the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. The final Gold division was captured by Janderson and driver Paul MacDonell, who swept by duelling leaders Mass Psychology and Majestic Kat in the stretch and pulled away to a three length victory in 1:59.3. "The race set up kind of nice for her, she got away third in a nice spot there, and then the first and second horses went at it kind of hard down the backstretch, which kind of made the race for her," said MacDonell. "In her only qualifier she did have a lot of trot on the end of her mile, so I was a little bit confident," added the reinsman, who tipped the filly out three-wide around the final turn to take clear aim on the finish line. MacDonell pilots the Muscle Mass filly for trainer Mike Keeling of Cambridge and owners Dr. Roly Armitage of Dunrobin and James Armitage of Carp, ON. A $14,000 purchase from the Canadian Open Yearling Sale, Janderson learned her early lessons from the Armitage's before making the move to Keeling's barn. "They trained her down in the Ottawa area and then they sent her to Mike just recently," noted MacDonell. "They did a good job with her, a very nice job. "They were pretty pumped, it was a big win for them," the Guelph, ON resident added. The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Gold Series start on July 19 at Mohawk Racetrack. This Saturday, July 9, Georgian Down will welcome the two-year old trotting colts to Innisfil for their Gold Series debuts. The evening's first race gets under way at 7:15 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Harness racing driver Doug McNair will be making his NA Cup driving debut and trainer Casie Coleman will be looking for her second Cup triumph when they send out Ontario Sired pacers Magnum J and morning line favourite Betting Line, respectively, in the $1 million race. Casie Coleman said she isn't the least surprised there are two Ontario Sired horses in Saturday's (June 18) $1 million Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack, including her trainee Betting Line, the 5-2 morning line favourite, and Magnum J trained by Gregg McNair. "We've got great stallions, we've got great broodmares. We've got a really good program," Coleman said of the Ontario Sires Stakes program. "Here we are with two Ontario Sired horses in the final of the $1 million North America Cup -- two out of 10 with all those Somebeachsomewheres and other American sires that are very, very expensive... Hopefully, they show themselves well and people are wanting to buy Ontario Sired more." Betting Line, a son of Bettor's Delight out of Heather's Western, won the faster of the two NA Cup eliminations on Saturday, June 11 with a 1:49.1 victory that was three-quarters-of-a-length better than Lyons Snyder. Winning the elimination gave Coleman the right to pick her post for the final. She selected the post three on behalf of driver David Miller and her fellow owners Ross Warriner, Christine Calhoun and Mac Nichol, all from Ontario. They purchased Betting Line for $60,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sales Company's 2014 yearling sale in Harrisburg, PA. Coleman, a resident of Cambridge ON, won the 2010 Pepsi North America Cup with Sportswriter, now a leading stallion in Ontario that stands at Tara Hills Stud in Port Perry, ON. "I'm lucky enough that I've been in enough of these big races now that it's just another race," she said when asked about the pressure a trainer feels the week of a big race. "Obviously, it's a million-dollar race, so it's a big one and we want to make sure we don't mess anything up, but it's the same daily routine that we always go through." Coleman said Betting Line, the winner of his Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Super Final a year ago, is primed and ready for Saturday's $1 million final. "He had a really good week," she said Thursday. "I trained him on Tuesday a couple of trips. He trained great and I went into the vet after he trained and everything looked really good. Blood was good and he's sharp, sound and healthy. Everything seems A1 right now." Magnum J will have a tougher assignment for the father-son training and driving team of Gregg and Doug McNair of Guelph, ON. The son of Big Jim out of Jamirotoy will start from post 10 in the 10-horse field. Doug will be making his North America Cup driving debut. "First or last it's going to be a good experience," Doug said. Even though the pressure's off having the outside post, Doug said he would "rather have had the pressure of having the one or two or three hole... than to have to come from the outside. But, I guess, it's only where you're starting from." Magnum J was purchased for $10,000 by Gregg McNair and Hanover, ON residents Tony Lawrence and William Brown at the 2014 Forest City Yearling Sale in London, ON. In 2015, the gelding won one of the premier events for Ontario Sired horses when he captured the $200,000 Battle of Waterloo at Grand River Raceway in Elora, ON. The pacer was saddled with the seven-hole in that race and Doug said Magnum J has been particularly unlucky with post positions. In Magnum J's last two starts, Doug has had to craft money-winning trips from far outside starting spots. Magnum J was fourth in his $75,000 Somebeachsomewhere division at Mohawk on June 4 from the 10-hole. A week ago, he started in the closed from eighth at the top of the stretch to be fourth in his $50,000 NA Cup elimination. "He couldn't race any better than he did the last two starts. He came home in :25.4 one day and he was probably six, seven wide in the stretch. Then last week he came home in:26.2 into a big, strong headwind," Doug said. As for working out a winning strategy in the $1 million final, Doug said he'll have to see how things unfold off the gate. "He can leave as fast as you want him to leave, but going for a million dollars you know they won't leave you alone on the front end. Everything is different behind the gate. It would be nice to get away at the back and have them go big fractions, but sometimes that's not the way it goes either. Play it by ear and hopefully we get lucky," he said. "It's just a bad post. He's as good as any horse in there, I think." Regardless, Doug said he's determined to make his first NA Cup drive a good experience. "I've got a bunch of my buddies coming out to watch. I still have a lot of high school buddies around. They don't understand racing, but they'll have fun being there. The race is on TSN2 and (Magnum J) is in the race. You've got no shot if you're not in it. It's the 10-hole, but it's better than being also eligible." Doug said he's also looking forward to driving Ontario Sired four-year-old pacing mare Solar Sister (Mach Three--Cabrini Hanover) in the $370,000 Roses Are Red final for owners and breeders David Willmot of King City, ON and Clay Horner of Toronto. Solar Sister won her Roses Are Red elimination on Saturday (June 11). "She's been really good, but that's a tough race. There's some good mares in there, but I got lucky and won it last year (with Lady Shadow) so it would be nice two years in a row," Doug said. As for Coleman, she said she is relishing Betting Line's success even more after deciding to downsize her stable. "Right now these smaller numbers are working for me. I'm actually making more money on my bottom line with smaller numbers. It's a lot less stress, less staff, fewer owners and fewer horses. I'm really enjoying how I'm doing it now," she said, adding she will enjoy herself even more if Betting Line wins the big one on Saturday. "Now he just needs the trip to work out and we'll see if we can get out picture taken," she said. by Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Racing

If recent form is any indication, Magnum J will be flying through the stretch in Saturday's C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack. He will try to make harness racing history and land in the winner's circle. Magnum J, last year's Battle of Waterloo champion, will try to become the first horse to win the North America Cup from post 10 since the event moved from Greenwood Raceway to Woodbine in 1994 and then to Mohawk in 2007, a span of 22 races. He enters the Cup off a fourth-place finish in his elimination, where he started from post nine and rallied from last place with a :26.2 final quarter-mile to end up 1-1/4 lengths shy of winner Boston Red Rocks. His final quarter was four-fifths of a second better than any other horse in the field. A week earlier in a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes at Mohawk, Magnum J started from post 10 and rallied from last place in the final quarter-mile, this time in :25.4, to finish fourth. He paced his back half in :53. Magnum J is 15-1 on the North America Cup morning line. Betting Line, who won the first of last week's two Cup eliminations in a career-best 1:49.1, is the 5-2 favorite for trainer Casie Coleman and driver David Miller. Boston Red Rocks, who won his elim in 1:50.3, is the 3-1 second choice, with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Steve Elliott. "It would be good if he could be a little closer to the front end; I think he would still close good," said trainer Gregg McNair, who owns Magnum J with Tony Lawrence and William Brown. "He's not likely going to get that chance Saturday, so we'll probably have to race him the same way as the last two starts. "We'll just hope they go big fractions and something opens up and he maybe gets good money somehow. We'll see how things go." Magnum J won two of four races last year, with his final start coming in the Battle of Waterloo on Aug. 3 at Grand River Raceway. Soreness issues forced McNair to quit with the horse for the season, but the son of Big Jim-Jamirotoy trained back well this year. He finished seventh in his seasonal debut because of a breathing issue, but bounced back to win a division of the Ontario Sire Stakes in 1:53.2 at The Raceway at Western Fair District. That victory was followed by his two starts from the outside posts in the Somebeachsomewhere and North America Cup elimination. McNair selected Magnum J, a $10,000 yearling purchase, at the 2014 Forest City Sale. The gelding has earned $132,476 in his career. "I wanted to try a Big Jim because he was a heck of a speed horse himself," McNair said. "Magnum J, he kind of caught my eye a little bit. He's been a good buy. It's too bad that we had to shut him down last year, and when he's real good this year he's not drawn good. "I really don't know how good he is. But he's a fast horse. Doug McNair, Gregg's son, is the regular driver of Magnum J. The McNairs will try to join the father-son team of driver Jody Jamieson and trainer Carl Jamieson to win the North America Cup. The Jamiesons accomplished the feat in 2011 with Up The Credit. "It's not impossible," Gregg McNair said. "It seems like that right now, but that's why they have the race. "He's got some other stakes this year," the trainer added, "but none for a million dollars." Following is the complete field for the Pepsi North America Cup in post order. Post time for the first of 15 races on the Pepsi North America Cup card is 6:30 p.m.   Here is the field for the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup   1. Big Top Hanover by Western Ideal (Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke) 6-1   2. Lyons Snyder by Well Said  (Yannick Gingras - Mark Silva) 4-1   3. Betting Line by Bettor's Delight (David Miller - Casie Coleman) 5-2   4. Boston Red Rocks by Rocknroll Hanover (Tim Tetrick - Steve Elliott) 3-1   5. Michaels Victory by Rocknroll Hanover (Scott Zeron - Mark Silva) 12-1   6. Racing Hill by Roll With Joe (Brett Miller - Tony Alagna) 10-1   7. Beast Mode by Rock N Roll Heaven (Trevor Henry - Christopher Nicol) 20-1   8. Manhattan Beach by Somebeachsomewhere  (Corey Callahan - Ron Burke) 15-1   9. Control The Moment by Well Said (Randy Waples - Brad Maxwell) 8-1   10. Magnum J  by Big Jim (Doug McNair - Gregg McNair) 15-1   AE: American Passport by American Ideal (Scott Zeron - Tony Alagna)   By Ken Weingartner  

Deo Galileo became Canada's first harness racing two-year-old pari-mutuel race winner of 2016 with a strong maiden-crushing performance at Grand River Raceway on June 13. Leaving from post five, the colt cruised wire-to-wire to finish one-and-three-quarter lengths the best over eight sophomores in 2:00.1 . Driven by Doug McNair for trainer Gregg McNair, the son of If I Can Dream was a $22,000 yearling purchase at Harrisburg for owners Wayne Mac Rae and Bloomingwood Farms Ltd. Kelly Spencer

Hannelore Hanover and Solar Sister notched Grand Circuit victories on closing day of the 2016 Miami Valley Raceway harness racing meet on Sunday (May 8).   The pair of $100,000 races were highlights of the 88th and final program of Miami Valley's third season, its most successful to date with huge increases above 20% in both average handle and total purses.   Hannelore Hanover kept her 2016 season perfect in her fifth start by wiring a classy field of North America's best older trotting mares in 1:52.3, a new track record for 4-year-old female squaregaiters. Despite facing a full field with lifetime earnings north of $4 million in the $100,000 Miami Valley Distaff, the winning daughter of Indiana sire Swan For All was dispatched as a prohibitive favorite, and driver Ricky Macomber Jr. guided her accordingly. Speeding off the wings of the starting gate, Hannelore Hanover and Macomber stopped the first-quarter beam in :27.1 and never looked back through subsequent fractions of :55.4 and 1:23.3. At the head of the lane, it looked briefly as if the taxing fractions might doom the Ron Burke trainees fate, but when Macomber asked for a bit more Hannelore Hanover responded with a :29 flat final panel to seal a 1-3/4 length victory.   Charmed Life (Jody Jamieso) gave futile chase to finish second, while Daylon Miracle (Daniel Dube) raced gamely to finish just a quarter-length further back in third.   Hannelore Hanover increased her career bankroll to $405,324 with her 14th win in 26 lifetime starts. She is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and Frank Baldachino.   Solar Sister had to survive a lengthy judge's inquiry before being named the official upset winner of the $100,000 Chip Noble Memorial for the continent's top pacing mares. Although it appeared that Solar Sister and driver Doug McNair may have forced at least one other horse wider when they vacated the pylons down the backstretch, the judges ultimately decided that the confusion was caused by a tiring frontrunner (Lady Shadow) who was simultaneously drifting into the outer flow.   The winner left with alacrity to drop in behind Lady Shadow (Aaron Merriman) before the :26.2 quarter, then enjoyed a pocket ride through a :55.2 half before pulling going to the three quarter station. Solar Sister was first-over in second when the field sped past that 1:22.3 marker, then emerged victorious following a thrilling stretch drive that resulted in a three-horse photo finish in 1:51.2. Favorite Yagonnakissmeornot (Dube), who won the inaugural Noble Memorial in 2014 and still holds the distaff track record, was parked much of the mile and finished just a head behind, with Purrfect Bags (Victor Kirby) third across the wire, just another head behind in her first seasonal start.   Gregg McNair trains the winning 4-year-old daughter of Mach Three for David Willmot and Clay Homer. She now sports 11 career triumphs and $681,387 in earnings.   A pair of $20,000 Opens were also contested on the getaway matinee card.   Il Mago (Trace Tetrick) topped Penn (Josh Sutton) and Cimeronken (Kyle Ater) in the trotting feature, clocked in 1:55.. It was the sixth win in a dozen 2016 starts for the 7-year-old son of Kadabra, who is owned by CC Racing LLC and trained by Tyler George.   Addys Way (Dan Noble) emerged from a stride-for-stride stretch duel with Igottafeelinfran (Kayne Kauffman) to cop the top local pacing mares event in 1:52.1. OK Hallelujah (Jason Brewer) collected the show dough. Perkins Racing Stable LLC owns Addys Way, an 8-year-old Cambest mare, also trained by Noble. She now has an impressive 47 victories from 189 starts and is nearing $400,000 in bank deposits.   Gregg Keidel    

CAMPBELLVILLE, April 21 - The tag-team of McNair and Reid were unstoppable in Thursday's second round of the Celias Counsel Trotting Series at Mohawk Racetrack. A group of 20 three-year-old trotting fillies were split into two 10-horse $16,000 divisions for the second leg of the three-week series. Driver Doug McNair and trainer Paul Reid teamed up to sweep both divisions with a pair of Bob Key homebreds. Hills Angel was looking for a repeat of her first leg win in the night's first division, but longshot Treasure Gifts K had different plans. Driven by McNair, Treasure Gifts K hustled off the wings of the gate to get away second at odds of 40/1. Miami Magic posted an opening-quarter of :28.4, but surrendered the lead in the second-quarter to Treasure Gifts K. Hills Angel, the 3/2 favourite, trotted along fourth and 10-lengths off the lead at the midway point. Treasure Gifts K posted fractions of :58.1 and 1:27.1 to lead the field turning for home, while Hills Angel was six-lengths back in third. In the stretch, Miami Magic and Hills Angel did their best to track down the leader, but Treasure Gifts K brought her 'A' game and scored a maiden-breaking victory by two-lengths in 1:56.3. A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe, Treasure Gifts K is trained by Reid for owner Key. The sophomore trotting filly finished seventh in last week's first leg and was winless in three starts this year entering Thursday's contest. Treasure Gifts K was making her 20th career start Thursday and pushed her career earnings over $33,000 with the victory. She paid $81.70 to win. First-leg winners Windsong Magic and Wanaka headlined the second division, but just like Hills Angel, their winning momentum came to a stop thanks to McNair and Reid. Flowers N Songs left from post-ten for McNair and found an early seat in seventh, while Wanaka found the front to post an opening-quarter of :28. Windsong Magic came charging up from fourth as the tempo slowed down and took the lead at the half in :59.3. Outside flow developed entering the final-turn and McNair was able to place Flowers N Magic second-over. Windsong Magic posted a three-quarter time of 1:29.3 and led the field into the lane. In the stretch, Wanaka was trapped in behind Windsong Magic and unable to found clear racing room. Flowers N Songs was able to come off cover and surge to the lead in deep stretch for a length and a half victory in 1:57.4. Windsong Magic held on for second, while Wanaka split through late to grab third. Another daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe, Flowers N Songs picked up her fifth win of the season Thursday for owner/breeder Key. The sophomore trotting filly has finished either first or second in eight starts this season. Unraced as a two-year-old, Flowers N Songs has banked $46,050 this season. She paid $12.10 to win. In order to be eligible to the Celias Counsel, the three-year-old trotting fillies had to be non-winners of $30,000 in 2015. The Celias Counsel will wrap up next Thursday with the $33,200 final. The top-ten earners from the preliminary legs to enter will compete in the final. Live racing continues Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications

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