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ELORA, ON — Grand River Raceway’s 30th annual Industry Day event on August 3 sustained bouts of heavy rain during the 10-race anniversary card which boasted purses of $669,663 with nine harness racing stake events, featuring the track’s two marquee dashes. But it was a sunny finish for the Guelph, ON father-son duo of Gregg and Doug McNair who clinched their fourth Battle Of Waterloo victory.  At 8-5, Bettor Sun was the co-favourite heading into post time for the $200,964 contest for rookie Ontario-sired pacing colts.  Trained by Gregg McNair for breeder/owner Willow Oak Ranch, the Sunshine Beach colt was piloted by Doug McNair, who left from post two and took control of the field by the half-mile marker. The pair finished a length ahead of Avion Seelster (Jody Jamieson) and Cantstoplying (Jonathan Drury). A 35-1 champ in last week’s maiden-breaking effort in his elimination division, Bettor Sun’s 1:54.1 finish in that dash set a Canadian season record for two-year-old pacing colts over a half-mile oval.  He bested his own record with today’s clocking of 1:53.4. “Last week he surprised a lot of people, including myself,” Doug McNair following the final. “He’s the colt I liked the most of dad’s two-year-olds this year.”  “He’s good gaited; he gets around like a hoop around a barrel.” The McNairs previously won the Battle Of Waterloo with Magnum J in 2017, Three Of Clubs in 2013, and Trail Boss in 2008. Bettor Sun’s triumph boosts his bankroll to $116,558 in three career starts. 12th annual Battle Of The Belles Scarlett Hanover and Ed Hensley left from the second tier and carved out a solid pocket trip to take the $128,149 Battle Of The Belles final in a new stakes record of 1:54.3. The mile also set a Canadian season record for rookie pacing fillies over a half-mile track and just missed the divisional track record by one-fifth of a second.  “I followed a good horse and got a great trip,” said Hensley of eventual runner-up, Ring Of Kerry, who led the field to the three-quarter marker. “My mare was getting a little rammy; she wanted out of the there and I was able to get out at the right time.” In last week’s elimination division, Scarlett Hanover wired the field to capture her maiden in 1:55.3. Ashleigh Hensley trains the Bettors Delight daughter, a $45,000 yearling purchase and winner of $101,855 in four career starts for owners Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, Jandt Silva Purnel & Libb, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Ring Of Kerry was the runner-up with Sylvain Filion and Cyclone Seelster was close behind in third with Bob McClure. OSS undercard Three-year-old pacing fillies in the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) underpinned the card with two Gold Series divisions and five fields of Grassroots contenders. Last year’s Battle Of The Belles champ, Karma Seelster was an impressive winner in the first Gold Series division which kicked off the matinee program. Piloted by Doug McNair, the Sportswriter filly was 7-1 as she took to the front of the field early in the mile en route to clocking her 1:53 victory (just one-fifth of a second off the track record). Owned by Eileen and Keith Waples and Karen Hauver, the Gregg McNair trainee is a career winner of five races and $354,005. Sound Idea with Bob McClure and Betalady with Jody Jamieson rounded out the top three. Lauras Love took the second Gold Series division in 1:54.2 with a half-length advantage over Rose Run Vantage (Sylvain Filion) who cut out the mile. All Day Sunshine (Louis Philippe Roy) was third.  It was the second consecutive win for Lauras Love, and seventh of the season from 11 starts. John Pentland trains and co-owns the Betterthancheddar filly with Gracie Mae Barr. Her lion’s share of the $105,600 purse brings her career tally to $141,584.  Race favourite Kat captured her first season win in the first of five OSS Grassroots divisions (Race 2) for trainer James Dean. With Jody Jamieson in the bike, the pair took control of the field at the first quarter and staved off outside attackers at the final quarter, with a half-length score in 1:56. The daughter of Hes Watching is owned by Wilma and James MacKenzie. Count To Three with Trevor Henry and Docs Harmony (Travis Cullen) were close behind at the wire. Free Flyin Ticket scored her second consecutive OSS Grassroots victory in Race 3. Paul MacDonell steered the Betterthancheddar filly to a three-length win in 1:54.1, elevating her to the top of the OSS division standings. Trainer Anthony Beaton co-owns with David Mercer, Gary Volpe and George Quarterone. The runner-up was High Roller Duke (Colin Kelly), while Tuggingoncredit finished third (Louis Philippe Roy). Bettorthanbobbie added another win to her burgeoning collection, with a half-length score in Race 5. Sylvain Filion steered the bettors’ top choice to her sixth season win in 1:54.4 for trainer Marcel Barrieau and owner Ian Smith. Bettorthanbobbie is a career winner of 11 races and $53,828. Doug McNair managed a wire-to-wire trip with Landry Seelster in Race 6. The race favourite posted her second consecutive OSS victory in 1:55 for trainer Michael Ellis and owner Kim Lezanchuk. Jonathan Drury and Mary Kat finished second, followed by Coqui Coqui with Travis Cullen.   The final Grassroots division was the quickest, claimed by Preeminence, winning by open lengths with Bob McClure in the bike in a new career best of 1:54. Sent off at 9-5, The Sportswriter filly is trained by Marcel Barrieau for Claude Baril, Gilles Caouette and Michael Daneault.  Keystone Kalimba (Jody Jamieson) was second and race favourite Trafalgar (Sylvain Filion) rounded out the top three. The card’s only overnight race was a $15,000 Preferred in Race 4 which was contested under heavy rain. The sloppy track didn’t deter Pretty Handsome from claiming his 27th career win in 1:55. Sent off at 3-1 with Colin Kelly aboard, the five-year-old pacer began his first-over attack in the final quarter and finished a length ahead of Exit Smiling with J. R. Plante and Toot Toot N with Ed Hensley.  Pretty Handsome is trained by Lacey McCabe for owner Glenview Livestock Ltd and is a career winner of $270,975. Total handle for this year’s 10-race Industry Day was $392,062 which was down slightly from the 11-race card handle of $488,696 in 2019. From Grand River Raceway

DRESDEN, ON - AUG. 3, 2020 - One week after making their debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle, two-year-old trotting colts Stonebridge Armour, Tymal Chrome and Arch Hall collected their second provincial victories on Monday, Aug. 3 as Dresden Raceway hosted a trio of $22,000 Grassroots divisions. Fan favourite Stonebridge Armour opened the Grassroots action with a gate-to-wire effort from Post 5, cruising home a three and one-half length winner in 2:04.1. Lovin Life Hanover finished second and Showme Some Muscle was third in the $22,800 test. "The gate was a little bit tricky with him in Sarnia, but I kind of knew him a little more today and he seemed to be a little more mature about it today too. He handled the gate really well and after that it was pretty much just a cake walk from there. I never pulled the plugs or nothing, I just sat on him the whole way," said driver Tyler Moore, who piloted the colt to his first Grassroots victory at Hiawatha Horse Park on July 25. "It was my 500th win too, so that was nice." Campbellville, ON resident Moore drives the Muscle Mass colt for trainer Jacques Dupont's Les Ecuries D'Orleans Inc. of Repentigny, Gestion C. Levesque 2005 Inc. of St-Hyacinthe, Mario Bourgea of Stanbridge East and Marc Camirand of Montreal, QC. A half-brother to $1.2 million winner Manofmanymissions, Stonebridge Armour was a $45,000 acquisition from last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. With wins in both of his Grassroots starts Stonebridge Armour currently sits third in the freshman trotting colt standings with 100 points. Tymal Chrome earned his second Grassroots win with a gritty first-over trip, reeling in pacesetter Daylon Midnight and advancing down the stretch to a one length victory in 2:04.4. Doro Sogno tracked fan favourite Tymal Chrome from start to finish to secure the runner-up's share of the $22,450 purse and Diehard Seelster rounded out the top three. "He's been a nice horse all along. He just goes out, he just trots, it's like he refuses to make a mistake. He just wants to be a nice horse," said trainer Anthony Beaton. "He did the same thing in Sarnia, he went a big mile there first-up. He just seems like he wants to make you happy and not make mistakes, and that's great." Waterdown resident Beaton trains Tymal Chrome for Larry Menary of Branchton, Michael Guerriero of Brampton, ON and George Harrison of Wanes Walton, England. The partners purchased the Muscle Mass son for $22,000 from last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale. With two wins and one third in Grassroots action, Tymal Chrome currently sits second in the division standings with 112 points. Division leader Arch Hall delivered his second Grassroots win off a pocket trip behind early pacesetter Insanity, who rang up fractions of :30 and 1:01.2 before being collared by Arch Hall heading by the 1:33 three-quarters. Once he was in command, fan favourite Arch Hall sailed home to a two and three-quarter length win in 2:03.1. Insanity settled for second with Willywin well back in third. "He just left out and that horse (Insanity) wanted to be on front so he just sat there. Down the backstretch he pulled him and just made sure he got through the turn fine, and then he asked him the top of the lane and he just took off again," said trainer Blake MacIntosh. "He's a nice colt and anybody can drive him, he's pretty childproof right now. For a two-year-old trotting colt he's really smart." St. George, ON resident MacIntosh shares ownership of Arch Hall with Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA. The Archangel colt has been no worse than fourth in four lifetime starts, with his two wins and one second putting him at the top of the Grassroots standings with 125 points. All three of Monday's winners are eligible to the Aug. 15 Balanced Image Eliminations at Hanover Raceway. The colts that make the Balanced Image Final on Aug. 22 will miss the fourth Grassroots event, which is slated for Aug. 25 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Dresden Raceway also hosted a pair of $7,000 Prospect Series divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts on Monday. Los Ballykeelamigo scored his second Prospect Series win with a gate-to-wire effort from Post 5 in the first division. The Amigo Hall son and driver Tyler Borth bested fan favourites The Reins Of Titan and driver Brett MacDonald and local colt Magnitude Ten and driver John Sullivan with the 2:02.4 effort. Cam McKnight trains Los Ballykeelamigo for his Ballykeel Racing Inc. of Tillsonburg, ON. The second Prospect Series division saw pacesetting Northern Flame hang on for a neck victory over fan favourite Royal Jewels in 2:05.3. Goaltender rounded out the top three. Phil Hudon piloted the Muscle Mass colt to his first Prospect Series win for trainer Jodie Cullen and owner Gestion J Y Blais of Montreal, QC. The three-year-old trotting colts will make their fourth Prospect Series start at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 6. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

DRESDEN, ON - JULY 31, 2020 - Dresden Raceway wraps up its 2020 season on Monday, Aug. 3 with a trio of $22,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts and a pair of $7,000 Prospect Series divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts. Local colt Magnitude Ten will make his Prospect Series debut in the first division, starting from the advantageous Post 1. Owner-trainer John Sullivan of Dresden will be in the race bike for the Kadabra colt's stakes debut, looking to add a win to the trotter's resume of two seconds and one third in three lifetime starts. "He was so big as a two-year-old that I thought maybe I might hinder him by trying to race him, and I'm pretty patient, so what I did was I trained him down pretty good and then I stopped with him and gave him a rest and let him develop," said Sullivan, who sent the colt behind the gate for the first time on June 20 at Hiawatha Horse Park. "I am pretty happy with everything he has done. He's a nice horse." Magnitude Ten faces a field of four, including former Grassroots competitor The Reins Of Titan from Post 2 and July 11 Prospect Series winner Los Ballykeelamigo from Post 5. Sullivan hopes the colt can hold his own, but win or lose there will be a bag of carrots waiting for Magnitude Ten in the barn when he comes off the track. "He just loves his carrots. He costs me a lot by the amount of carrots that he eats. He doesn't like apples, but he loves carrots," said Sullivan with a chuckle. "He has to have something in his mouth all the time, whether it's a sleeve, a hat, part of the bridle or anything. He just has to have something in his mouth. He's quite a character." Magnitude Ten and his peers will kick off the Civic Holiday Monday program at 1 pm in the first race, with the second Prospect Series division going postward in Race 5. The Grassroots colts square off in Races 3, 7 and 8 and two-year-old trotting colt point leader Arch Hall will be looking for a second Grassroots win from Post 5 in the last division. Trainer Blake MacIntosh is expecting another strong performance from the son of Archangel and driver Paul Mackenzie. "He's just done everything we've asked him to do so far," said St. George, ON resident MacIntosh, who shares ownership of Arch Hall with Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA. "He's a very handy horse. He's very easy to drive, he doesn't do nothing wrong, and there's no real tricks to him. He's a pretty nice horse, for a two-year-old trotting colt he's pretty smart." Arch Hall will face off against six Grassroots foes in the eighth race, most of them veterans of the first two legs. In the July 11 season opener at Georgian Downs Arch Hall just got nipped at the wire and had to settle for second and in the July 25 contest at Hiawatha Horse Park he was a one and one-quarter length winner on the front end from Post 9, stopping the teletimer at 2:00.4. With a win and a second under his belt, Arch Hall sits atop the division standings with 75 points, 13 points ahead of Tymal Chrome who will start from Post 6 in the second Grassroots division. Fans can download a program and watch the live stream of Monday's races on the Dresden Raceway website. All the action gets underway at 1 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

DRESDEN, JUNE 19, 2020 - The Prospect Series arrives at Dresden Raceway on Sunday, June 21 with two $7,100 divisions for Ontario Sired harness racing  three-year-old pacing colts. Among the hopefuls is Last Three, who heads into the first division off an effortless June 13 victory at Hiawatha Horse Park for trainer Dan Kenney and driver Marc St. Louis. The 1:58.2 clocking was the first start back for the gelding, who was on an impressive run when racing shut down in March. On March 9 Last Three posted a sharp 1:57 victory at The Raceway at Western Fair District and on March 19 he sprinted home in :26.4 to be fifth at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "He's just been getting better as he's come along. He raced really big at London right at the end of the meet and then I took him up to Toronto and we raced him off the back end and he came a big back half, a big last quarter, and the driver felt that he's a Toronto horse," said Kenney. "Last week I raced him at Sarnia, it was his first start back in three months, and he just raced him easy, went to the front and kind of backed the half off and then just let him pace a little the back half, and he won it quite handily. "And so hopefully this week, I hope he's a lot better. He'll be a little tighter and he gets around a half really well," added the LaSalle resident. "He's a big horse and he can pace the turns better than the straightaways." Kenney conditions Last Three for Windsor resident Mark Peel, who purchased the son of Mach Three in February. In five starts for his new connections Last Three has only missed one cheque, logging two wins, one fourth, one fifth and one seventh. "I think the big fella is going to be a nice horse this year. I'm not a driver, and they're different when they're in a horse race, but from the drivers, what they say, they all like him," said Kenney. "I know the night he win in 1:57 at London, Marc St. Louis said he could have went more." St. Louis will steer Last Three from Post 3 in the first Prospect Series division Sunday, slated as Race 4 on the 1 pm program. The other Prospect Series division goes postward as Race 9. Horses competing in the Prospect Series this summer will accumulate points toward the Sept. 25 final, but Kenney is hoping that Last Three can make the leap to the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series for the second leg. "I am thinking of that and the owner is thinking that way too," said Kenney. "He's starting the year off good." Although fans cannot be trackside to watch Last Three and his peers compete on Sunday, they can catch the live stream on Dresden Raceway's website, which also offers a downloadable program. Complete entries for Sunday's 1 pm program are available here. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

MILTON, ON - May 13, 2020 - Woodbine Entertainment would like to inform harness racing people that the Mark Austin Memorial held at Dresden Raceway has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nominations for the Mark Austin Memorial were scheduled to close Friday, May 15. Originally scheduled for June 14, 2020, the Mark Austin Memorial, along with dates for the two preliminary legs, will be rescheduled for later this year. As such, a new closing date for nominations will be announced in the coming weeks. The Mohawk Race Office will continue to administer all payments for this series. Jamie Dykstra Woodbine Entertainment

DRESDEN, JULY 1, 2019 - Dresden Raceway fans were treated to a beautiful afternoon of harness racing on Canada Day, highlighted by four divisions of three-year-old trotting fillies battling for a total of $89,100 in Grassroots purse money. Kicking off the event in the first Grassroots division was fan favourite Splurge On Me, who powered straight to the front from Post 2 and never looked back. In rein to Trevor Henry, the filly rang up fractions of :30.4, 1:03.2 and 1:35.2 on her way to a three and three-quarter length victory in 2:03.2. Angel Status finished second, just ahead of Royaltys Pearl. The win was Splurge On Me's first of the season in Grassroots action, but it extended her win streak to four races. After a third-place result in the June 4 Grassroots season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park, trainer Bob McIntosh made an equipment change that returned the filly to the winning form she had demonstrated at two. "I was disappointed with her at first, because she trained good all winter and spring," explained McIntosh. "I'd been racing her in an open bridle, but I just said to her groom Gabby one day, let's throw a big pair of cheek rolls on her, and that's what just changed her around, was something so simple - so far, so good." Windsor, ON resident McIntosh bred and owns Splurge On Me in partnership with C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. A daughter of Kadabra and broodmare Urge To Splurge, Splurge On Me started her sophomore season competing against the province's top fillies in the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association Stake, but McIntosh said the partners are content to keep her at the Grassroots level for the remainder of the summer. "She's not quite good enough (for the Gold Series), I don't think. I'd rather be a big fish in a small pond," said the Hall of Fame horseman. "She's brave right now, and that's good. I wouldn't say it would never happen, but for right now I plan on keeping her on her schedule." Paul Walker won the second Grassroots division, using a front-end trip to guide Magically Hip to her first lifetime win in 2:01.3. Victoriahasasecret closed hard in the stretch, but finished a head back in second and Latte Datte was three lengths behind the leaders in third. Walker trains and drives Angus Hall filly Magically Hip for owner-breeders Oaklea Farm Inc. of Simcoe, ON. In the third $22,450 Grassroots division trainer-driver Per Henriksen also sent Checkmate Titan to the front and although they faced a sustained mid-race challenge from Kashe, Checkmate Titan found an extra gear in the stretch and opened up a seven length margin on her rival, hitting the wire in 2:00.3. Kashe settled for second and Warrawee UItra completed the top three. "Two minutes here at this track is pretty good," noted Henriksen. "I changed equipment on her a little bit last time (June 21) because she had a tendency to get a little bit hot and she didn't take to that so she made a break leaving, but today everything worked perfect, she won fairly handy." Henriksen trains the E L Titan daughter for Harbor Racing Stable LLC of Aurora and Asa Farm of Norwood, ON. Monday marked the filly's debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes program and Henriksen expects her to continue to improve as she gains more racing experience. "She'll be okay as she goes on," said the Norwood resident. "She'll keep on racing in the Grassroots. I don't think she's Gold filly, not yet. She might never be, but she'll be all right in the Grassroots, especially on the half-mile tracks because she can leave like a hobbled pacer." The last Grassroots division went to P L Molly who, in spite of spending the last quarter three-wide, reeled in pacesetter Giving It All and pocket-sitter Witches N Angels in the stretch. The Royalty For Life daughter and trainer-driver Matt Dupuis stopped the teletimer at 2:01.4, a head in front of Witches N Angels. Giving It All settled for third, two lengths behind the duelling leaders. It was the first win of the season for P L Molly, who is owned by breeders Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, ON. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their third Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on July 16. In addition to the Ontario Sires Stakes, Dresden Raceway also played host to two splits of the second leg of the Mark Austin Pacing Series. The first division saw Premier Rockstar and driver Ryan Holliday get a neck in front of fan favourite Toxic Hanover at the 1:58 finish. Racebytheseaside was seven lengths back in third. Bob Young trains Premier Rockstar for Premier And Associates FA of Howell, MI. The second Mark Austin division saw Dali colt Nagle cruise to a seven length victory in 1:58.2 for trainer-driver Keith Jones. Township Willy finished second and Mach Art In Motion was third. Jones conditions Nagle for Jody Simmons of London, ON. Complete results for Monday's program are available at OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit:   OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing c/o Woodbine Mohawk Park

JUNE 28, 2019 – For the past five years the Ontario Sires Stakes program has been featured on Dresden Raceway’s popular Canada Day harness racing program and this Monday the half-mile oval will play host to four Grassroots divisions of three-year-old trotting fillies. Tyler Borth will steer Luckyjohanna in the second Grassroots division and Dresden Raceway’s leading driver expects the Eli Wagler trainee to be in the hunt for a share of the $22,100 purse. “He took her there last week, which was a good idea, just to get her used to it,” noted Borth. “She raced good, she closed up well. As long as it’s not too tough she should be all right.” Luckyjohanna finished second in the overnight event last weekend, one-half length behind five-year-old mare Massivepajamaparty. Ingersoll resident Wagler bred, owns and trains the daughter of Archangel and Shine Again, who has two wins and $10,532 to her credit through 12 sophomore starts. “She’s really come around her last four or five starts. I think she’s getting a little bit better with age and more experience,” said Borth, who also hails from Ingersoll and will line up at Post 5 with the filly in Monday’s six-horse field. “You’ve kind of got to watch her on the first turn so I’ll likely just settle her away. I think the game plan is just get around the first turn and then go from there, but the short field definitely helps, that way she’s not too far out of it. As long as you keep her on the bit she seems to be able to kick home pretty good.” Borth will also steer two of the favourites in the second leg of the Mark Austin Pacing Series, Toxic Hanover from Post 1 in the first split and Township Willy from Post 2 in the second division. “They both raced good last week. They’re pretty simple, they can both leave,” said the reinsman. “Toxic Hanover is maybe a little bit better than the other one, that’s probably the one I’ll drive in the final, he’s a nice big horse.” In addition to the exciting program of racing, fans will be treated to Canada Day giveaways and cupcakes along with the usual range of community-sponsored prize draws. “The first 150 people get Canada Day pins and Canada Day flags and we’ve got 500 cupcakes we’re giving away to celebrate Canada Day,” said Dresden Raceway’s Gary Patterson. “And we have a slew of giveaways every week from Tim Horton’s, Harvey’s/Swiss Chalet, Shoppers Drug Mart, McDonald’s, Mario’s Pizza Plus, The Track Kitchen, Lisa Fox essential oils, Subway, and there will also be some surprise draws. The Chase The Ace draw we have going along, we’re expecting it to be almost $800 on the weekend “So a great day of racing and Canada Day festivities.” Borth adds that fans will be in for a treat as some of the top drivers in the country travel to Dresden for the Ontario Sires Stakes divisions, including Sylvain Filion, Trevor Henry and James MacDonald who currently sit first, fifth and sixth among all drivers in Canada. “They always do a good job there, they’ve always got giveaways and stuff going on in the grandstand,” Borth noted. “Canada Day, with the Sires Stakes there’s some other drivers coming so they’re always nice to watch.” Dresden Raceway’s Canada Day program gets under way at 1:30 pm, with the three-year-old trotting fillies featured in Races 1, 3, 5, and 7 and the Mark Austin Pacing Series divisions slated as Races 8 and 9. Complete entries for Monday’s program are available at Ontario Sires Stakes

The horses will be back on the track at Dresden Raceway this weekend. Track announcer Gary Patterson said they’re excited to get things started again Sunday afternoon. “Obviously it’s a welcome back — everybody come on in and enjoy,” said Patterson, adding they will be kicking things off with some special promotions. “The first 100 people who come in will get free Dresden Raceway t-shirts, Mayor Darrin Canniff and MPP [Monte] McNaughton will be there… it’s just a great day of racing.” Patterson said Canniff and McNaughton will both be bringing gifts along that will serve as prizes for a draw at the event. Track officials also have a lot of big plans for the 11 race dates they have booked for the summer including themed races that will honour employees, Unifor members, emergency services personnel, minor hockey players and staff, and Mark Austin — one of Ontario’s most popular and successful trainers. “We’ve got a great way to spend an afternoon, watch the horses,” said Patterson. “A lot of people don’t get a chance to see horses up close, so they get to see them and these horses are so well taken care of.” Post time for the races is 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free and there is no charge for parking. By Matt Weverink Reprinted with permission of Blackburnnews    

JULY 1, 2018 - A steamy afternoon at Dresden Raceway's annual Canada Day celebration resulted in a track record equaling performance from three-year-old trotter Sicario in the first of two $18,800 Grassroots divisions. Starting from Post 1, Sicario and driver Stephen Byron never saw another horse as they rocketed along on the front end. Posting fractions of :29.1, :59.1 and 1:30, the fan favourites cruised home eight length winners in 1:59.3, equaling the record set by Starsel in a 2006 Grassroots event. Daylon Phantom overcame an early mistake to finish second and Road Tripper was third. "I didn't know (about the record) until they announced that after, but he did it very easy," said Byron. "He is good on a half, that's for sure, he trots a turn very well. Where some of them might have to be a little more careful, he can zip around them." Byron piloted Sicario to his second-straight Grassroots victory for trainer John Bax, whose Bax Stable of Campbellville shares ownership of the gelding with breeder Dave Hudson of Dallas, Texas. The son of Holiday Road and $1.04 million winner Gypsy Balance now has a record of six wins and two seconds in 15 sophomore starts for earnings of $53,400. The thermometer read 33 degrees Celsius when Sicario and his peers went to post in the fourth race and Byron said keeping the horses cool was a full-time job. "It was pretty hot on them. Matt (Bax) was just throwing cold water on them to keep them cool," said the reinsman. "Now we'll get them home where they can relax." Byron also drove Bax trainee Delcrest Holiday in the second Grassroots division, finishing a hard-closing third after a little bobble heading toward the quarter-mile marker. "(We were) going to be three-wide in the first turn so I waited, and then when I was in a spot where I had to drive on a bit he kind of ran in on me, so I had to check him, and then he just got a little bent on me," explained the Thornton, Ontario resident. "After that he was fine. He still raced well, we were happy with him." Delcrest Holiday finished behind Leaderofthepack and Edstone in the second Grassroots division, which saw Ryan Holliday emulate Byron's front-end tactics with Leaderofthepack. Powering away from Post 5, Holliday and Leaderofthepack rang up fractions of :29.1, :59.1 and 1:30.2 on their way to a five length victory in 2:00.2. "He's handy off the wings so he'd benefit on a racetrack like this where a few others wouldn't," said Holliday of the fan favourite. "He's pretty sure footed, knock on wood." A two-time Grassroots winner last season, Sunday's victory was Leaderofthepack's first on the sophomore Ontario Sires Stakes circuit. David and Ben Holliday of Mount Forest, Ontario own and train the Angus Hall son, who boosted his three-year-old record to two wins, three seconds and one third in seven starts for earnings of $22,070. The Holliday's helped Leaderofthepack cope with the heat by adding a fan to the list of equipment that usually accompanies the gelding to each race. "We brought a fan down and hooked it up and had that blowing on him all day," said Holliday, who also makes his home in Mount Forest. "I said to my brother Ben, who is with me here, that he actually didn't feel that good today in the race, he just felt a little dull, but he said he was like that warming up. He can sometimes be a bit of a handful, but today I think he was feeling the heat, just like the other seven or eight were. He'll get a couple days rest now to get over it." With two victories Sicario sits atop the three-year-old trotting colt and gelding standings with a total of 100 Grassroots points. With one win and one third-place result Leaderofthepack and Delcrest Holiday are tied for second with 62 points. All three colts will be looking to pad their totals when they meet up in the third Grassroots leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 19. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Dresden, ON - June 7, 2018 -- Fans at Dresden Raceway will notice a new face, along with a veteran voice, when they visit the half-mile oval this summer. Nathan Bain has joined the Dresden team as on-track host and handicapper along with his role as social media co-ordinator. The 16-year-old grade 10 student comes by his love of the game honestly with his family being actively involved in harness racing in the province for some 50 years. Bain caught the racing bug early on and became even more involved when racing returned to his area in 2013 at Leamington Raceway. He was helping out in the backstretch at the time when he got the opportunity to announce his first race at the tender age of 12, making him one of the youngest ever to call a harness racing in North America. That stint in the announcer's booth sparked his interest in getting more involved on the front side. "After my first call I was motivated to get more experience and find some mentors," said Bain. "Luckily, I have met some amazing professionals like Shannon Doyle, Gary Guy, Gabe Prewitt and Ayers Ratliff who have given me opportunities behind the mic over the past four years." Bain will be providing his selections in the Dresden program each Sunday and offering his analysis, interviews and other promotions throughout the card. He will also oversee the raceway's Twitter and Facebook pages. He will join veteran track announcer Gary Patterson each week. The Thamesville native attended high school in Dresden and has been the long time voice of the Southwestern Ontario oval, beginning back in 1988. Patterson can relate to Bain, having made his first foray into racing at the age of 12 when he rode is bike 24 km from Thamesville to Dresden to check out the races. He has not looked back since. "It's just an amazing industry," he explained. "So many people work so hard to put on a great card of racing each week at so many different tracks. Harness racing is just as much a family as it is an industry. Everyone looks out for one another and they treat their horses better than they treat themselves." Patterson's career highlights include working several Provincial Cup programs with Marty Adler, getting to call A Worthy Lad's 28th straight victory at Dresden Raceway and the opportunity to call a race at Pompano Park in Florida alongside Frank Salive and Roger Huston. In addition to his announcing duties, Patterson handles much of Dresden Raceway's advertising and promotional work including his popular 'bombs from the booth' each Sunday where he tosses raceway t-shirts to the crowd from high atop in the announcer's booth. Fans are reminded that live racing returns to Dresden this Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Featured will be the Little Saratoga Dresden Cup along with the opening leg of the second annual Mark Austin Memorial Pacing Series. Dresden races are now available for online wagering through HPI bet. Free programs and free live streaming video are available at From the Dresden Agricultural Society

Dresden Raceway will be kicking off the 2018 harness racing season this Sunday with a 10-race card. Ontario’s Little Saratoga has been racing for over 140 years and has 11 race dates for the 2018 season starting this weekend and ending on Civic Holiday Monday. “We are looking forward to another great year,” track announcer Gary Patterson said in a media release. “Our handles have increased consistently over the last three seasons and we are looking for more of the same this year.” Harness fans from all over can watch and wager on Dresden Raceway through HPI. The driver’s colony at Dresden hasn’t changed from last year with Tyler Borth, Garrett Rooney, Lorne House, Nick Steward and Donnie Rankin as the base drivers. Rooney was the leading dash driver last year at Dresden. The feature race is the fifth race which will offer up N/W $15,000 Lifetime for a purse of $4,600. Opening Day will feature many giveaways as prizes will be up for grabs including a $25 gift package from McDonalds, a $25 gift package from Shopper’s Drug Mart in Wallaceburg, $25 Tim Horton’s Package, a voucher from the track kitchen as well as a pizza from Mario’s Pizza in Dresden. Thamesville Home Hardware has donated a BBQ that will be given away on the last race date to one luck patron through a ballot draw that will be open all season long. Post Time is slated for 1:30pm Sunday. Reprinted with permission from the

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is investigating an allegation of harness racing fixing at the racetracks in Leamington and Dresden. The ACGO regulates horse racing in Ontario under the authority of the Horse Racing Licence Act. AGCO spokesperson Ray Kahnert says “investigators in London did receive a call from a member of the public with concerns about racing at Leamington and Dresden.” “The AGCO review of this allegation is not complete,” says Kahnert. “AGCO Racing Investigators continue to gather information.” He adds the fairness and integrity of horse racing is of paramount concern to the AGCO. Wayne Martinuik, the general manager and treasurer of the Leamington horse racing group says “the allegations are false.” “The individual who made the allegation did this out of malice,” says Martinuik. The chair of the Lakeshore Racing Group, Tom Bain, says he only just learned of the investigation today and believes they will find no wrongdoing Bain believes the complaint has been filed by an owner of a thoroughbred, not a standardbred, which are raced in Leamington and Dresden. “It’s very frustrating, I'm really disappointed,” says Bain. “We had our best year in recent history in that we broke our attendance record and we broke our betting record with over $41,000 bet in one day.” Gary Patterson at Dresden Raceway says he is also disappointed by the allegation. Patterson tells CTV Windsor he is confident they will be cleared of any wrongdoing, and he hopes it doesn’t hurt their plans for the 2018 racing season. CTV Windsor received information that an investigation into race fixing during the 2017 seasons at Leamington Raceway and Dresden Raceway began in November. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the ACGO at 519-668-7558 or 1-800-522-2876. CTV Windsor

JULY 1, 2017 - When Mark Steacy loaded the horse trailer bound for Dresden Raceway's Canada Day harness racing program he was hoping the five three-year-old trotting fillies on board would have a successful afternoon, but his imagination never stretched to the level of success the quintet actually delivered. "Obviously, when they left the barn this morning I never would have dreamed they would have had three wins, a second and a third," said the trainer. "Shawn did a good really job with them." Steacy's son Shawn orchestrated the afternoon's efforts, which saw Delcrest Magicstar nose out stablemate Stritch in the first $18,450 division, Magic Maddy sprint down the stretch to a head victory in the second division, Ticket To Seattle go gate-to-wire in the third and Late Shift lead through every station before settling for third in the final Grassroots contest. Driver James MacDonald crafted all three wins and Late Shift's third-place effort, while Jonathan Drury piloted Stritch to her runner-up finish. Both reinsmen reside in Guelph, ON. Delcrest Magicstar moved to the top of the sophomore trotting filly Grassroots point standings with her second straight win in the series. The daughter of Majestic Son and Stars Balance hit the wire in 2:01.3, rolling out from behind fan favourite P C Pipe Dream to nab pacesetter Stritch by a nose. Stritch and P C Pipe Dream finished second and third. Steacy conditions Delcrest Magicstar for driver MacDonald and his partners Peter Porter of Port Dover and Johnathan MacKinnon of Guelph, ON. "They're both nice fillies. Delcrest, she's been getting better and better every start, and she's actually pretty good in the turns too so we figured she'd go around Dresden nicely," said the trainer, who calls Lansdowne, ON home. "But they're both nice fillies." MacDonald also employed come-from-behind tactics to land Magic Maddy in the winner's circle in the second division. Starting from Post 7 the pair sat fourth as Parkhill Nocredit led the field through fractions of :30.2, 1:01.4 and 1:32.4, then stepped out in the final quarter and trotted home to a 2:03.1 victory, keeping a head in front of Twin B Venus. Local filly Style Spotlight, trained by Mike Carther of Dresden for Malcolm and Robert MacPhail of Dover Centre, finished third. The win was the first in 14 career starts for Magic Maddy, another daughter of Steacy's former superstar Majestic Son. The trainer's father, Clarke Steacy of Lansdowne, shares ownership of the filly with David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie and A K Malik Stable of Ottawa. ON. "She's been a little disappointing this year," said the horseman of Magic Maddy. "Last year she showed speed - she raced in the Gold most of the time - she showed speed, but she made breaks. And this year we got her so she's not breaking, but she seemed to lack the same kind of go that she did last year until the last race at Mohawk, she finished third and raced much better. I think she's finally starting to find herself." With Post 4 in the third division, MacDonald opted to send Ticket To Seattle to the front right off the gate and the fan favourite rang up fractions of :30.1, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1 on her way to a two length victory in 2:01.1. Lady Justice and Jilona rounded out the top three. Landmark 9 Racing Stable of Kingston, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC and David Reid of Glenburnie, ON share ownership of Ticket To Seattle, who now has three wins and one second in five sophomore starts. Saturday's victory was the daughter of Majestic Son and Travelin Supergirl's first in Ontario Sires Stakes competition. "She's been a really nice surprise this year, she's been the most consistent of them all," said Steacy, adding that the filly had been hampered by quarter cracks in her hooves as a two-year-old. "When we bought all them fillies I thought she was going to be the best, on her breeding and her looks, but I think just think the quarter cracks hindered her last year. "Her mother was a nice horse. We raced her mother and she won the Grassroots Championships (at two in 2007) and this mare kind of reminded me a lot of her," Steacy continued. As the field for the final division trotted away from the starting gate it looked like Steacy and MacDonald had a shot at scooping all four trophies. Late Shift steamed away from her peers, reaching the quarter eight lengths on top in :29.1. The filly, another daughter of Majestic Son, continued to lead at the :59.1 half, but she was under pressure by the 1:30.2 three-quarters and eventually gave way to winner Angora Seelster and runner-up Da Miracle. "She can get off the gate really fast," said Steacy. "She's got lots of speed for a piece, and you know we've been trying to do it both ways, race her in the two-hole or sit her at the back, but either way she's just not firing home like we want her to. Hopefully she'll get stronger as she goes." Angora Seelster earned her first Grassroots trophy with the 2:00.3 effort, which was engineered by Bob McClure of Elora, ON. Chris Matthews conditions the daughter of Holiday Road and Amazing Adventure for his partners in the Alot Of Sense Stable of Guelph, Lyons Brothers Stable of Georgetown and Jessica Breese Karn of Guelph, ON. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their third Grassroots start at Grand River Raceway on July 19. In addition to the exciting on-track action, Dresden Raceway fans also enjoyed the traditional eight-foot long Canada Day cake and a variety of prizes and giveaways, including Ontario Sires Stakes ball caps and Ontario Racing flip-flops. Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton was also on hand to present the Grassroots trophies to the winners and celebrate Canada Day with Dresden Raceway fans. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing  

JUNE 30, 2017 - Fans heading to Dresden Raceway, Hiawatha Horse Park and Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday will be treated to a variety of Canada Day festivities, including Ontario Sires Stakes harness racing action. Dresden Raceway opens the Ontario Sires Stakes Canada Day celebration at 1:30 pm on Saturday with four Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. Trainer Mike Carther will send out Style Spotlight in the second $18,450 Grassroots division and the Dresden resident is hoping the filly delivers a solid effort in front of the hometown crowd. "She's, knock on wood, never made a break in her life," noted Carther. "And with these tight turns, some of the other ones might be bigger, it might pay off." St. Marys resident Mike Horner will steer Style Spotlight for owners Malcolm and Robert McPhail of Dover Centre, ON, lining up at Post 3 with the daughter of Windsong Espoir. "It's costing nothing for gas," said Carther with a chuckle. "We're not hoping for a whole lot, just having fun on Canada Day and hoping for the best." The Grassroots winners will receive their hardware from Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton, who will join Dresden Raceway fans for the Canada Day celebrations, which include the traditional eight-foot long Canada Day cake and a variety of prizes and giveaways, among them Ontario Sires Stakes ball caps and Ontario Racing flip-flops. Dresden Raceway's program gets under way at 1:30 pm and the three-year-old trotting fillies will show off their skills in Races 2, 5, 8 and 9. At 6:30 pm Hiawatha Horse Park will continue the Canada Day fun, showcasing the three-year-old trotting colts in a trio of $19,150 Grassroots divisions, slated as Races 2, 4 and 8. Among the hopefuls in the first division is Rose Run Speedster, who competes for trainer Rene Allard of Matamoras, PA and the Rose Run Speedster Stable of Guelph, ON. Rose Run Speedster was a two-time Gold Series winner at two and comes into Saturday's test off a win in the Grassroots season opener at Mohawk Racetrack on June 6. "I think we all just assumed he'd be a Gold horse forever and the fact that he has to go in the Grassroots isn't a bad thing. Hopefully he uses it as a stepping stone to get back to where we thought he belonged, but again, that will be up to him. And, having said that, he certainly doesn't owe us anything," said Anthony MacDonald, who purchased the colt as a yearling and set up the Rose Run Speedster Stable through his fractional ownership endeavour, "Rose Run Speedster put on the map last year, at least helped to, and for that we'll be forever grateful," MacDonald continued. "He's played a huge role in the start of what we've built." Dundas, ON resident Michael Whelan will steer Rose Run Speedster from Post 7 in the first division, and the Windsong Espoir colt's connections will be hoping to receive their second Grassroots trophy from Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey, who be on hand for the Canada Day celebrations. Hiawatha Horse Park fans will also be treated to Canada Day cupcakes and giveaways including Ontario Sires Stakes ball caps and Ontario Racing flip-flips, along with $1 programs and pop and $2 jumbo hot dogs. Mohawk Racetrack's Canada Day celebrations start at 7:10 pm with the singing of 'O Canada' by Danielle Falls, followed by a commemorative mile by Mohawk's parade marshal Joanne Colville and Wroxeter, ON resident Jim McKague and his 13-year-old Ontario Sired Standardbred mare, A Promise Made. A Promise Made will be hitched to a circa 1885 high wheeled sulky and during the mile fans will enjoy a video commemorating 250 years of horse racing in Canada. The long tradition of horse racing across the country will also be commemorated by the Preferred class horses in the third race, which has been designated the 250th Anniversary of Horse Racing Pace. Harness racing's future will be celebrated in Races 2, 6 and 8 when Ontario's top three-year-old pacing colts square off for the second Gold Series battle of their season. In addition to the on-track action fans will enjoy a Canada Day cake upon arrival, and following Race 2, the first Ontario Sires Stakes division, special red velvet Canada Day cupcakes will be available by the bottom of the main escalators. First race post time for Mohawk Racetrack's Canada Day card is 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

JULY 1, 2016 - Driver Steve Byron provided the fireworks on Dresden Raceway's Canada Day harness racing program Friday, winning four of five Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions. The Thornton, ON resident opened the afternoon with an effortless score aboard Magical Steph, cruising along on the front end to a 1:58.1 victory, just one-fifth of a second off the all-age track record for trotters. The fan favourites hit the wire two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Devils Advocate and Traviata. "I drove her some last year and she always had lots of go. Today Gary had her good and she win that race pretty handy," said Byron, who piloted the three-year-old trotting filly for trainer Gary Lance and GL Racing Inc. of Port Perry. "She's a very talented mare." Byron piloted Magical Steph to four Grassroots wins last season in a freshman campaign that saw the Kadabra daughter post a record of five wins, two seconds and earnings of $72,400. Friday's victory was the filly's first in three sophomore starts. In the second $18,000 Grassroots division Byron teamed up with P C Cantore for the first time and the duo popped out of the pocket in the stretch to reel in local favourite True Muscle, who had carved out fractions of :29.3, :1:01.2 and 1:33.1. P C Cantore hit the wire in 2:01.4, one-half length ahead of True Muscle, to claim her second straight Grassroots trophy. The Power Of Many completed the top three. "I didn't know what to expect, I'd never driven her before, but she raced great," said Byron of P C Cantore. "We got a good trip and she finished up strong. She's definitely one of the better ones too, I believe." Byron crafted the win for trainer, owner and breeder Peter Clements of Dobbinton, ON. The daughter of Cornaro Dasolo and former Grassroots winner Balladeer now boasts a record of five wins in eight starts and has sole ownership of top spot in the Grassroots point standings. Byron sat out the third Grassroots division and Jody Jamieson guided Myretirementticket to a 1:58.3 score, going gate-to-wire from Post 3. Haileysgonedancing finished one and one-quarter lengths back in second and fan favourite Moonlight Cocktail was four more lengths back in third. Moffat, ON resident Jamieson engineered the win for trainer, owner and breeder Eli Wagler of Ingersoll, ON. It was the first in six sophomore starts for the Cornaro Dasolo daughter, who won three Grassroots events at two, including her Semifinal. Back out on the Dresden half-mile for the fourth division, Byron guided Windsongmusclelady to an 11 and one-half length win over Malia and Its All About Sam in 2:01. The race was marred by an accident that saw driver Per Henriksen unseated, but fortunately resulted in no significant injuries to either Henriksen or his mount Smash Hit. It was the second win of the season for Byron and Windsongmusclelady, who is trained by John Bax of Campbellville, ON for his partners The Brabant Stable of London, ON. "She was real good today and she's just a great mare, she tries all the time," said Byron of the Muscle Mass daughter. Another Bax trainee carried Byron to his fourth win of the afternoon. Starting from Post 4 Byron put Miami Magic on cruise control and the Kadabra filly sailed through fractions of :30, 1:01.4 and 1:32.2 on her way to a 2:02.2 score, five and one-quarter lengths ahead of Onatopp and P L Jade. "I really like her, she's just a handy mare and when the favourite (Magical Valentine) made a break, she win pretty easy after that," said Byron of Miami Magic. "She's as good as any of them as far as I'm concerned." Bax, Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Gaelic Stable of Sharon and Don Allensen of Wyoming, ON share ownership of the filly, who bumped her sophomore record to four wins, two seconds, two thirds and earnings of $41,540 through 14 starts. "They all raced great," summed up Byron. "I liked their chances going in to tell you the truth. I wasn't surprised in any of them winning. "It was just a great day." Byron's next opportunity to sit behind his talented three-year-old trotting filly mounts will come on July 14 when the fillies make their third Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack. Ontario Racing

For the second straight year Dresden Raceway's annual Canada Day celebrations will feature some of Ontario's most talented three-year-old trotting fillies as the half-mile oval hosts five $18,000 Grassroots divisions. "People really look forward to the OSS," said Dresden Agricultural Society President Lucille Laprise. "And for them to come on Canada Day makes it that much more special." The trotting fillies will kick things off at 1:30 pm on Friday, July 1 and will also be featured in Races 2, 3, 5, and 7. In addition to the on-track excitement Dresden fans will enjoy a variety of give-aways, the Ontario Sires Stakes "Be A Winner" contest and the raceway's traditional eight foot long Canada Day cake. "We're encouraging people to wear their red of course, and we'll have our cake and our great give-aways - we've got red and white t-shirts that we're giving away," added Laprise. "And the drivers are going to be doing some tossing of the OSS t-shirts." Fans have an opportunity to win even more OSS apparel by entering the "Be A Winner" contest. Each finalist receives an Ontario Sires Stakes shirt, ball cap and lanyard badge, along with a $15 win-place-show wager on their selected horse, while the grand prize winner will take home a trophy, an official OSS jacket and golf shirt, a winner's circle photo with their chosen horse, and a $50 wagering voucher. Among the trotting fillies hoping to take home an OSS trophy is locally-owned True Muscle. The Muscle Mass daughter is owned by Randy Zhok of Dover Centre, ON and will benefit from Post 1 in the second Grassroots division. True Muscle scored her first lifetime win in the Grassroots season opener at Mohawk Racetrack on June 14, circling the seven-eighths mile oval in 1:57.1. She heads into Friday's test off a third-place finish in the Alliance Series Final at Georgian Downs on June 19. Keith Jones of Barrie, ON conditions True Muscle and the winner of $19,040 will be driven by the Ontario Sires Stakes program's leading reinsman, Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON. "We're quite grateful for the community support, and for all the great horses that come to race here in Dresden, and the drivers and the trainers and everybody," said Laprise. Dresden Raceway's Canada Day program gets under way at 1:30 pm, with the three-year-old trotting fillies featured in Races 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7. In addition to the Grassroots battles, contests, give-aways and cake, the final race of the afternoon will introduce fans to Racing Under Saddle (RUS), capping off another memorable Canada Day celebration at the Dresden oval. "We're hoping to have great weather and great horses and great fans and a great Canada Day," summed up Larprise. "You can't ask for any better." ched: True Muscle, pictured in her June 14 Grassroots win, will be hoping to earn a second trophy for owner Randy Zhok of Dover Centre when the Ontario Sires Stakes program stops at Dresden Raceway on Canada Day. (New Image Media photo) From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

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