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TORONTO -  April 12, 2021 - Ontario Racing is pleased to announce that Standardbred horsepeople now have the opportunity to access certain purse funds that remain available under the Funding Agreement with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) as a result of the suspension of live harness racing in the province as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aforementioned funds were already committed to the industry through the Funding Agreement for Live Horse Racing between Ontario Racing and OLG. "We are pleased to be able to provide these equine benefit payments," said John Hayes, Chair, Ontario Racing. "Horse racing, like so many other industries, continues to be severely impacted by the pandemic. The Ontario Racing team, OLG, and industry representatives, remain dedicated to assisting horsepeople and horses across the province. We are grateful for your ongoing support throughout these challenging times." In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario Racing created a task force, as it did during the spring lockdown in 2020, to address the financial impacts to Standardbred horse racing in Ontario. Eligibility Requirements: For horsepeople to be eligible for financial payments for the month of April pursuant to this program, the Standardbred COVID-19 Task Force has determined that horses must meet the criteria outlined below to be eligible to receive an equine benefit payment. Horses Drawn into Race Cancellation Payment - $300 per horse: Horses entered to race Saturday April 3, 2021 and Sunday April 4, 2021 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Western Fair, and Rideau Carleton will be awarded the standard $300 cancellation fee. These races were previously drawn. April Training Benefit Payment - $1,000 per horse: 1. Any horse stabled in Ontario with a charted line in Ontario in 2021 and is not currently racing or training/stabled outside of Ontario without returning to Ontario prior to April 5 shall receive $1,000 in relief funding. No application required. 2. The following horses that are preparing to race and are currently stabled in Ontario for the month of April may be eligible to apply for $1,000 in relief funding: Unraced in 2021 3- & 4-year-olds Any horse who started in Ontario between September 1 - December 23, 2020 that was stabled in Ontario at the time of the start and remained in Ontario until December 23, 2020 All horses under both criteria must remain in Ontario for the month of April to receive funding and make their first start in Ontario once live racing resumes in Ontario. If a horse qualifies under both criteria, the horse is eligible for only a single $1,000 payment. Application form: The Standardbred Equine Benefit application for this payment can be found here (Application Form Link). The deadline to submit your application to Ontario Racing is Friday, April 23, 2021. All mailed applications must be postmarked by Friday, April 23, 2021 in order to be eligible. Please email or mail completed applications to: Attn: Sarrah Young - syoung@ontarioracing.com Ontario Racing Management 555 Rexdale Boulevard Toronto, ON M9W 5L2 Important Notes: All payments received must be used for the care and maintenance of Standardbred horses Once racing resumes in Ontario, horses who have received benefits under this program MUST make their first start at an Ontario Standardbred racetrack Ontario Racing reserves the right to request additional information to ensure all criteria has been met. Those receiving benefit payments under the program could be subject to an audit by Ontario Racing. Failure to meet the criteria will result in all amounts being repaid to Ontario Racing. All decisions are at the discretion of Ontario Racing and are ABSOLUTE and FINAL Horses are currently under the care of an AGCO licensed trainer at the time the application is submitted From Ontario Racing  

Officials at harness racing circuit Flamboro Downs today (Apr. 12) announced the cancellation of the 2021 Confederation Cup due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The race for four-year-old pacers was scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 23. This will mark the second consecutive year the Confederation Cup has been cancelled due to COVID-19.    All nomination fees and sustaining payments submitted for this year’s Confederation Cup will be refunded.    Live harness racing is currently suspended at Flamboro Downs and all tracks across Ontario due to the provincewide stay-at-home order.  Officials with Flamboro indicated that they are currently in discussions to add an invitational for four-year-olds at Georgian Downs during its summer meet. From Standardbred Canada

Ontario Racing announced today (March 30) that previously scheduled Sunday cards of racing for Flamboro Downs will move to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sunday evenings during the month of April, starting April 4. Additionally, The Raceway at Western Fair District will host the April 3, 10, 17 and 24 Saturday race cards, as well as the April 8, 15, 22 and 29 Thursday race cards, previously scheduled for Flamboro Downs on those dates (both are pending final approval). With the Hamilton Region having entered the Grey-Lockdown category as of Sunday, March 28 at 11:59 p.m., Flamboro Downs is not permitted to host live racing. Following discussions with all appropriate parties and pending final regulatory approval, the cards slated for Sundays at Flamboro Downs in April will now take place on the same day at Woodbine Mohawk Park with a post time of 7:00 p.m. The draw for transferred races at Woodbine Mohawk Park, to be conducted by its Race Office, will take place on Thursdays. The entry box closes at 10:30 a.m. Also, following discussions with all appropriate parties and pending final regulatory approval, the cards slated for Thursdays and Saturdays at Flamboro Downs in April will now take place on the same days at The Raceway at Western Fair District, each with a post time of 5:50 p.m. The draw for the transferred races will take place on Mondays and Tuesdays, respectively. The entry box closes at 10:00 a.m. The process for entries and draws for the moved Flamboro race cards will remain consistent. All horsepeople competing on Sunday Woodbine Mohawk Park race cards in Milton, Ontario, and Thursday and Saturday race cards in London, Ontario, are required to complete the racetrack’s COVID-19 screening test prior to arriving at the racetrack. Full live racing schedules and race handicapping resources, including free programs, are available at the Woodbine Mohawk Park and Western Fair websites. Horseplayers can watch and wager on the live racing cards through HPIbet. Ontario Racing would like to acknowledge all the parties involved, including the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA), for their immediate action and support. From Ontario Racing

Freddy Bear blasted by harness racing foes in the final quarter to win at 11-1 in the Flamboro Downs Preferred 3 Pace on Friday, Mar. 28.   Jason Ryan steered the stallion into sixth position early behind a plethora of leavers in a 26.2 opening quarter. Ryan sent his charge first-up passing the half in 56.2 and made up significant ground on the backside going to three-quarters in 1:25.2.   Freddy Bear tipped three wide turning for home, stepping around first-over horse Shades of Bay (Jody Jamieson) and leader Big Mach N (Travis Cullen) to win going away in 1:56. Capitano Italiano (Scott Young) and Silver Beast (Austin Sorrie) also closed well, finishing second and third, respectively.   FREDDY BEAR REPLAY     Freddy Bear has won 16 races from 128 lifetime starts and earned $219,000 for 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa. Ryan also trains the seven-year-old son of Western Terror.   Two drivers tripled on the evening: Colin Kelly drove Dubai Seelster (1:57.4), Favaro Seelster (1:59.4), and On The Sly (2:00.4) to victory in the second, fifth, and 10th, respectively. Jean Rene Plante won aboard Slate N (1:57) in the sixth, No Time At All (1:57.2) in the seventh, and Holy Chip (2:00.1) in the 11th.   This will be the last card at Flamboro Downs for the foreseeable future as the provincial government has moved its region into the lockdown zone. The card previously scheduled for Thursday, Apr. 1 has been moved to The Raceway at Western Fair and is slated for the same day.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

The Fixer won Flamboro Downs' harness racing Preferred 3 Trot by open lengths on Saturday, Mar. 27 after being parked for more than half the mile.   Driver Nick Steward authoritatively sent the gelding forward from post five and attempted to drive on past fellow leaver Moana (Tyler Moore). Moana had no intention of conceding the front and hung The Fixer out through the quarter in 28. Steward urged his charge along and the two leaders locked in battle throughout the second panel.   The Fixer eventually got by, striking the front past the half in 56.4 and continued his rush. He padded a five-length cushion going by three-quarters in 1:26.3, after which his strides began to shorten. He was too good though, finding a second wind down the lane and getting to the line three and a half lengths the best in 1:57.4.   THE FIXER REPLAY       Katch Kanna (Jean Rene Plante) mounted a late rally for second, and Herbs Journey (Brett Macdonald) was third. The winner was the odds-on choice, paying $2.90 to win.   The Fixer is trained by David Frey for 1653381 Ontario Limited of Maple. The horse is a five-year-old Trixton gelding that has made more than $190,000 lifetime on 61 starts, 15 of which ended in a trip to the winner's circle.   Also on the card, trainer Paul Belanger won on his 2021 debut with Aim High Hanover in the second contest. Magnitude Ten (Paul Mackenzie), a four-year-old Kadabra gelding broke his maiden in start number 15 for owner Calvin Keupfer of Millbank and trainer Terry Gallant, who took over duties this week.   Flamboro Downs will return on Sunday, Mar. 28 for 11 races starting at 6:55 p.m. EDT. It will be the last card at the Dundas, Ontario oval for the foreseeable future as the Ontario government has moved Flamboro's region into the lockdown zone. The card previously scheduled for Thursday, Apr. 1 has been moved to The Raceway at Western Fair and is slated for the same day.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

On Saturday (March 27), Ontario Racing announced that the card of harness racing previously scheduled card for Flamboro Downs on Thursday, April 1, will now move to The Raceway at the Western Fair District, to be run on the same date (pending final approval). With the Hamilton Region entering the Grey-Lockdown category as of Sunday, March 28 at 11:59 p.m., Flamboro Downs will not be permitted to host live racing. Following discussions with all appropriate parties and pending final regulatory approval, the card slated for Thursday at Flamboro Downs will now take place on Thursday at The Raceway at the Western Fair District with a post time of 5:50 p.m. The draw for the transferred races is set for Monday, March 29. All horsepeople competing on Thursday’s card at The Raceway in London, Ontario, are required to complete the racetrack’s COVID-19 screening test prior to arriving at the racetrack. Full live racing schedules and race handicapping resources, including free programs, are available on the Western Fair website. Horseplayers can watch and wager on the live racing card through HPIbet.com. Ontario Racing would like to acknowledge all the parties involved, including the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA), for their immediate action and support. From Ontario Racing

Further to the Ontario government’s announcement today (March 26) that certain businesses, including racetracks, in the Hamilton Region will be moving to the “Grey”, or “Lockdown” level as part of the effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Great Canadian Gaming is in the process of temporarily suspending racing operations at Flamboro Downs. Great Canadian and Flamboro Downs are committed to providing a safe environment for both horse people and our team members and introduced significant health and safety protocols as part of Flamboro Downs’ first reopening on September 3, 2020. As of 11:59 p.m EDT. Sunday, March 28, 2021, Flamboro Downs will suspend racing operations. We are hopeful that the move to the “Grey”, or “Lockdown” phase of the Province’s COVID-19 Framework will be for a short duration; however, taking into account direction from public health authorities, the decision to reopen Flamboro Downs will be dependent on the state of the pandemic in the province and its respective regions. Great Canadian and Flamboro Downs will continue to support the efforts of the Ontario provincial government and Public Health Ontario in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Details regarding the reopening of Flamboro Downs will be announced at a future date. We look forward to welcoming horse people and our team members back as soon as it is safe to do so at Flamboro Downs. From Great Canadian Gaming

Manhattan Night's blinding backside move was enough to secure her the harness racing victory in the Flamboro Downs Preferred 3 Handicap Pace on Thursday, Mar. 25.   Travis Henry placed the five-year-old mare in the four-hole through the early stages as the two leaders created a large gap between them and the field. The Bandit Queen N (Austin Sorrie) took the field to the quarter in 27.2 and half in 57.3.   Manhattan Night started her rally first-up as the group entered the third turn and stepped around the three in front of her by the three-quarters in 1:24.2. She added a two-length cushion coming down the lane and maintained it to win in 1:53.2.   Custard Light (Paul Davies) was second, and Significance (Colin Kelly) took show. The winner paid $12.60.   MANHATTAN NIGHT REPLAY     Manhattan Night is now 16-for-54 lifetime and just shy of $150,000 in earnings after the Mar. 25 win. Anita Oullette trains the Dali mare for Luc Outlette Incorporated of Campbellville.   Henry had a triple on the night; he also won with Cloud Nine Hanover in the sixth dash and Kataparka in the seventh. Travis Cullen did one better and scored four: Destiny Hanover in the opener, Cal Hanover in the third, Im Diabolical in the eighth, and Raise You Twenty in the ninth.   Also on the card, Brenda Duncan won with Im Diabolical to record her first training win of 2021 and the horse's first lifetime. Bochneezba, a three-year-old pacing filly by Sunshine Beach, also broke her maiden in the fifth race with a 1:57.3 mark.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink  

Cyclone Joe switched tactics from previous weeks and sprinted to the lead in the Mar. 21 Flamboro Downs Preferred 3 pace, which he converted into his first harness racing win of the season.   Robert Shepherd used the Roll With Joe gelding's inside positioning to make the front into the first turn, putting several other leavers behind him. Shepherd cut out fractions of 28, 57.3, and 1:25.3 for the seven-year-old and denied all challengers for a 1:54 victory by a length and a quarter.   Cyclone Joe paid $9.80. Night Watchman (Nick Boyd) emerged from a blanket finish for second, and Shades of Bay (Jody Jamieson) got third.   CYCLONE JOE REPLAY     Cyclone Joe is owned and was bred by Sylvain Lacaille of St-Paul-De-Joliette. The horse has won 6 of his 97 lifetime outings and earned $72,569. Kelly Duval-Lacaille trains.   Duval-Lacaille clinched her first two training wins of 2021 on the night, also winning the fourth with Perfect Rolo. Jessicas Beach Boy gave Mark Edward McKinnon his first of the year in the fifth race.   Also on the card, Travis Cullen procured a driving grand slam with wins aboard Bankroll in the second, Perfect Rolo, Paparazzi Hanover in the eighth, and Big Mach N in the finale.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Esquire tipped three-wide entering the lane and stepped around the top two to capture the Flamboro Downs harness racing Preferred 3 trot on Saturday, Mar. 20.   Austin Sorrie dropped the gelding in fifth and held position through the quarter in 28.3. Esquire left the rail approaching the half in 58.3 and utilized first-over cover through the third quarter timed in 1:28.   Sorrie swung him three-wide turning for home, and the horse accelerated late to pass leader Katch Kanna (Jean Rene Plante) and Moana (Tyler Moore) for a 1:58.3 half-length win. Katch Kanna was second, and Moana was third-best in the stretch battle. A win ticket returned $6.50 for the $2 base.   ESQUIRE REPLAY     Esquire is an eight-year-old trotting gelding by Kadabra that has made $179,536 and won 18 times through 83 starts. Mark Goddard trains for owner Brandon Guerra of Brantford.   Flamboro Downs will be back on Sunday, July 21 at 6:55 p.m. EST to host 11 races.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Twelve days after his last, harness racing driver Jean Rene Plante hit another grand slam on Thursday, Mar. 18 to extend his lead in the Flamboro Downs reinsman standings.   He capped off the night with a win in the feature Preferred 3 pace at 11-1, emerging best from a final-quarter showdown.   Plante urged Bettor Trix N out with the car from post six, but he was forced to tuck the horse into third due to the outside start. Longshot Lyons Girlhanover controlled the front end through 28.3 and 58.4 fractions. Bettor Trix N made her move as the field turned towards its final backstretch drive, going first up to pressure the leader.   Lyons Girlhanover battled on and retained the lead going to three-quarters in 1:27. Bettor Trix N was too good though, dispatching her to conclude a prolonged duel and surviving a deep-stretch charge from Manhattan Night to win by a neck in 1:56.1. Manhattan Night's move earned her the place spot, and Lyons Girlhanover hung on for third. The winner paid $25.50.   BETTOR TRIX N REPLAY     Bettor Trix N is now 22-for-87 with $243,597 earned lifetime. Curtin Anz Stables of Bordentown owns the seven-year-old Bettors Delight mare. Plante does the training in addition to the sulky duties.   Plante also won with Mister J R in the opener, Smoke N Reactor N in the second, and Holy Chip in the ninth. His four wins on the night improved his seasonal record to 20-for-66. Plante is the top driver at Flamboro as of Mar. 18, and his win percentage is hovering at 30 per cent.   Flamboro Downs will return on Saturday, Mar. 20 with 10 races kicking off at 6:35 p.m.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Freddy Bear went all the way after inheriting the lead in the Flamboro Downs Preferred 3 pace on Sunday, Mar. 14.   He left out second-quickest in rein to Jason Ryan as Beachin Lindy (Travis Henry) forged ahead into the first turn, only to promptly break stride. Ryan drove his seven-year-old stallion through splits of 29, 58.3, and 1:27, and he looked to get away from the field.   Shades Of Bay (Austin Sorrie) was the only horse that turned for home with a chance, but that quickly fell flat as Freddy Bear finished the job for a one-and-three-quarter-length victory in 1:55. Shades Of Bay took second, and About A Boy (Scott Coulter) came from midpack to land the show spot.       Freddy Bear earned his 14th lifetime win from 125 outings and has now raked in $209,000. 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa owns the son of Western Terror; Ryan also trains.   Also on the card, Emma Christoforou recorded her first lifetime win as a trainer with Millennium Seelster in the sixth race. Millenium Seelster (J Bradley Harris) was seven-and-three-quarter-lengths the best in a start-to-finish 1:55.4 romp.       Charlambos Christoforou owns the five-year-old Sunshine Beach gelding that is now four-for-27 all-time with more than $35,000 in earnings.   Amanda Fine took her first training victory of 2021 with P L Ozzy in the seventh, as did Stephen Doyle in the fourth with Frontier Cruise and Ron Waples Jr. with You Can't Habit in the third.   Flamboro will be back in action on Thursday, Mar. 18.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Sicario took advantage of a leader's late miscue to secure his first harness racing victory of the season in Flamboro Downs' Saturday, Mar. 13 Preferred 3 trot.   Brett Macdonald pushed the gelding out fastest, acquiring the front before the turn. Rival Ole Jack Magic (Colin Kelly) refused a seat on the rail and drove on to take the lead before the quarter in 28.2. Sicario chased him through fractions of 58.4 and 1:29.2 and was likely waiting for the passing lane, but Ole Jack Magic jumped it off turning for home.   First-over horse Moana (Tyler Moore) drifted to the inside, but he couldn't shut off Sicario, who slid up a narrow gap at the pylons. With newfound room, Sicario cruised home to a two-length 1:59.4 victory. Tymal Houdini (Paul Mackenzie) circled from last for place, and Moana held third.   Sicario earned his 23rd lifetime victory on his 97th attempt. The Holiday Road gelding is owned by Pamela and John Hehn of Walkerton and is trained by Richard Moreau.       Also on the card, Paul Mackenzie took his first training win of 2021 with a Taydertotzzz, whom he also drove, in the second. Jason Mitchell also got his seasonal first with Tragically Hep in the fourth, as did Stephen Charlton with Saulsbrook Flashy in the fifth, and Gary Anderson with Asbraveasmymomma in the finale.   Flamboro Downs returns on Sunday, Mar. 14 with 11 dashes starting at 6:55 p.m. EST.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Ubettimagoodone bottomed out the Flamboro Downs top condition field on Thursday, Mar. 11 for a third consecutive win in style.   The four-year-old mare rocketed off the gate for Jean Rene Plante, opening up a three-and-a-half length gap going to the quarter in 27.2. Plante kept his foot on the gas, widening his mare's gap to five lengths by the half in 55.4 and six lengths by three-quarters in 1:24.3.   The pair sailed home to win by three lengths in 1:56.1. Greystone Natali O (Brent Belore) narrowed the difference late and finished second. Bella For Now (Mario Baillargeon) was third.       Ubettimagoodone now sports a three race winning streak. Overall, the daughter of Image Of Dawn has compiled a 7-for-37 record and more than $35,000 in earnings lifetime. Richard Moreau trains the mare owned by Patricia McLean, Jeff Lilley, and D Blair Maclauchlin.   Also on the card, Todd Ratchford collected his first win as a trainer with a seventh race victory by Trizzle Trazzle. The horse got away fourth and then exploded off second-over cover approaching three quarters, drawing away to win by two-and-three-quarters.       E C S Racing owns the four-year-old Mach Three mare who took her second win from 31 lifetime starts and bolstered her bankroll to more than $65,000 with that Mar. 11 win.   Kirk Thomas recorded his first win since April 2018 with Rose Island Aggie in the first race. Cory Fuller also scored his first of the season, courtesy of Tell Us More in the sixth.   Flamboro Downs is scheduled to resume racing on Saturday, Mar. 13 with a 10-race card starting at 6:35 p.m. EST.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Silver Beast went wire-to-wire in the Sunday, Mar. 7 Flamboro Downs Preferred 3 pace, giving harness racing trainer Mitchell Tierney his second win of the year.   Driver Austin Sorrie sent the horse to the lead from post four, and they opened a two-length gap going to the quarter in 27.2. Sorrie gave the son of Betterthancheddar a breather going to the half in 57.1 before looking to pace away from first-over attacker Cyclone Joe.   He hit the three-quarters in 1:26 and battled with Cyclone Joe down the lane. Silver Beast emerged one length the best in 1:55.4, having too much left for the challenger. Cyclone Joe was second, and Beachin Lindy moved up late for third.       Silver Beast, a five-year-old gelding, took his 11th win from 50 lifetime starts and has now earned just shy of $100,000 lifetime. Tierney won his second race in 38 starts this season, with owner Jemaxpo Racing Stable LLC receiving the lion's share of the purse.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Harness racing driver Jean Rene Plante had a huge night at Flamboro Downs on Saturday, Mar. 6, winning four of the card's 10 races, including the feature.   Plante made it as easy as possible for Katch Kanna in the Preferred 3 trot, and the gelding converted.   He positioned the five-year-old in the pocket through the first turn, following leader Sicario (Brett Macdonald) to the quarter in 28. Ole Jack Magic (Colin Kelly) made a move going past the half in 58.4, but his first-over bid quickly stalled. Sicario continued leading to three-quarters in 1:27.3 with Katch Kanna still in the pocket.   Plante waited patiently for the passing lane and Katch Kanna exploded up the rail in the stretch to win by a length in 1:58.2. Ole Jack Magic sustained his outside move and was rewarded with the place spot. Sicario dropped to third.       That was Katch Kanna's first win of the season and 26th from 138 starts lifetime. The eight-year-old journeyman by Lucky Chucky has now earned more than $205,000 lifetime. He's owned by Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc and Sylvain Descheneaux of Sorel. The horse paid $9.70 to win.   Also on the card, Kiwi Focus N raced for the second time in less than 24 hours. Even more remarkably, Plante drove the 11-year-old mare by Jeremes Jet to a convincing victory. Owner and trainer Mark Goddard sent the mare out again after a lackluster showing in The Raceway at Western Fair's $7,000 claiming class on Mar. 5. Kiwi Focus won by a length and three quarters in 1:59.3. Bettors were undeterred by the short rest, as the horse went off at 1/5, paying $2.60 to win.       In the News in the first and Her Own Land in the seventh were Plante's other two winners.   Flamboro Downs will return on Sunday, Mar. 7 with an 11-race card.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

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