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JULY 9, 2017 - Percy Bluechip was the top selling yearling at last fall's Forest City Yearling Sale and on Sunday evening the daughter of Shadow Play and Advantest set a Canadian record for harness racing two-year-old pacing fillies at Georgian Downs. Starting from Post 2 in the first of two $96,400 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series divisions, Percy Bluechip got away from the starting gate in second, allowing Kendall Seelster to take the field of eight fillies to a :27.2 opening quarter. Kendall Seelster's tenure on the front end was brief however, as driver Trevor Henry quickly had Percy Bluechip on the move. In control before the :56 half, Percy Bluechip sailed through a 1:23.2 three-quarters and then powered home to a four and three-quarter length victory in 1:51.2. Kendall Seelster finished second and Sudden Passing completed the top three. The 1:51.2 clocking established a Georgian Downs track record and a Canadian record for a two-year-old pacing filly on a five-eighths mile oval. The former Canadian record of 1:51.3 had been set by Ontario Sired Voelz Hanover at Hiawatha Horse Park in 2007 while the 1:53.2 Georgian Downs track record had been shared by Idyllic (2010), Thisorthat Hanover and L A Delight (2015). "It's kind of fast for this time of year, but she did it all on her own according to Trevor," said the filly's trainer, Dr. Ian Moore. "Trevor calls her a natural, says she just sprung the gate on her own and he didn't have to ask her very much, if any really." Moore, who shares ownership of Percy Bluechip with his partners in the Shadow Two Stable of Puslinch, ON, James and Wilma Mackenzie of Ennismore, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC, said the filly was a pleasure to work with all season, and that she had really come into her own in recent weeks. Prior to Sunday's Gold Series opener the filly had qualified twice at Mohawk Racetrack, winning in 1:57.2 on June 15 and 1:54.3 on June 26. Moore also noted that filly reminds him a great deal of her full-brother Arthur Blue Chip, who he trained to earnings of $552,759 between 2013 and 2016. "So many things she does remind me of him, and the most particular is the gait. She's got a kind of a real, long lope-y, very light-footed gait to her and he did too. He was a big horse, but he didn't hit the ground very hard," explained the Puslinch, ON resident. "It just seemed like while I was training him, and she was the same, that they cover so much ground you don't think you're going as fast as you go, you look at your watch at the quarter and say, oh did I go that fast." While Percy Bluechip is well staked, befitting her $110,000 purchase price, Moore said he and his partners will take each start one at a time. "With all two-year-olds it's week-to-week, so we'll see what tomorrow brings and what the week after brings, but we're planning on the Gold at Mohawk (July 24) and then we'll go from there I guess." Big Thong captured the other two-year-old pacing filly Gold division with a sharp late sprint that saw her reach the wire two lengths on top in 1:54.2. Fan favourite and pacesetter Lady Ella finished second and Machnhope was third. Guelph resident James MacDonald crafted the win for trainer Scott McEneny and his wife Michelle McEneny of Waterdown and their partners Teresa Davidson of Milton, Martwest Racing Stable of Mississauga and Cora Marshall of Jarvis, ON. In contrast to Percy Bluechip, Big Thong was a modest $20,000 purchase from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale. "She wasn't a flashy filly, she kind of had a little bit of her winter hair on her already at the sale and, you know, she was just a plain Jane," recalled McEneny. "But she was put together well, and I liked her." McEneny says the filly showed a tendency to be aggressive, so he asked MacDonald to handle her carefully through the June 10 qualifier where she finished fifth and her June 22 debut where she finished second. MacDonald eased her off the gate again Sunday, sitting mid-pack through the early going. "We're just kind of making sure we don't get her close to the front right off the bat, we don't want to get her too hot," noted the trainer. "She was a little bit warm there when we got her trained down, so I just made sure James was being a little careful with her." Fordham Road won the sole two-year-old trotting colt Gold division, sailing to his second lifetime victory in 1:57.1. Winning American finished one and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite with pacesetter Levitation three more lengths back in third. Trainer Richard Beinhauer piloted the Holiday Road colt to the win for his wife Regina Beinhauer of Venetia, PA and the colt's breeder T L P Stable of Kearny, NJ. Prior to Sunday's $124,200 Gold Series test Fordham Road had posted a pair of qualifying wins, in 2:01.3 on June 2 and 1:58.3 on June 8, at The Meadows in Pennsylvania and a 1:59.1 overnight victory at Mohawk Racetrack on June 29. The wo-year-old trotting colts will make their second Gold Series start on August 1 at Mohawk Racetrack. Next up on Georgian Downs Ontario Sires Stakes calendar is the Grassroots opener for the two-year-old pacing fillies on Tuesday, July 11. The fillies will compete in Races 3, 5, 7, 8, and 9. Post time for Tuesday's program is 7:15 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

The Forest City Sale took one to the gut when the Ontario Liberal Government leaked its intention to terminate SARP by March, 2013. The 2012 sale saw 257 yearlings average $10,519. The previous year 263 averaged more than $18,000. As contingency plans for the industry were assembled and assurances of continuity dished out from above, things began to settle down: in 2013 32 fewer head were sold but the average increased to $13,524. And in 2014 it kicked up to $15,294. Last year the average stepped up again to $23,207, although the number sold dropped by almost half since 2011. On Sunday 133 yearlings sold for an average of $26,308. That’s an increase of almost 12% from last year and 60% from the deep, dark days of 2012. And the gross was up $302,000 on three fewer yearlings sold. Let’s look inside. Shadow Play, who outdid Sportswriter at the Canadian Yearling Sale, managed to do so again—on a grander scale. The 11-year-old is selling his fifth crop, and up until Sunday his only $100,000 plus yearling was Arthur Blue Chip, from crop number one. He was a big time outlier at $135,000. On Sunday that one’s full sister brought $110,000 while a colt sold for $100,000. And another colt brought $82,000. The sire of world champion Lady Shadow saw 28 average $33,786, up 19% from last year and up 54% since 2013. Five, or 18%, topped $50,000; 14, or 48% beat $25,000 and 19, or 65.5% exceeded $20,000. So, while the son of The Panderosa, who has seen his fee hold steady at $4,000 (cdn) the last three years, made a splash at the top, almost half of his offering failed to beat $25,000. Sportswriter, the two-year-old division champ in the US and Canada, had more of a presence at Forest City than he has had in the past; he sold eleven for an average of $29,091. This after only selling a pair each in 2014 and 2015. This year’s sale crop is very large at 141 yearlings. Contrast that with last year when there were only 57. He had a good year in the OSS, finishing second on the leader board with the likes of Yaris Bayama, Yogi Bayama and Sports Column. Sportswriter stands for $6,500 (cdn). Nineteen by the son of Artsplace averaged $22,500 at the Canadian Yearling Sale. Seventeen-year-old Mach Three, who was selling his twelfth crop, has seen younger stallions come and go in Ontario but he still rules the roost—until next year when Bettor’s Delight starts selling Canadian breds again, anyway. Fourteen averaged $40,286. That’s up 14% from 2015 and up 22% since 2013. There were no $100,000 sales; the highest was a roan colt that went for $74,000. However, his prices were good across the board. More than 28% topped $50,000; 86% broke $25,000; and none of them dropped below $20,000. There are 103 in this crop. He shows no sign of slowing down. Camluck, who retired in the fall of 2014 and passed in August of 2015, had been a key figure in Ontario racing for decades. And the sire of Michael’s Power, Dreamfair Eternal, Burning Point and Giddy Up Lucky, finished strong with his final crop. Eight averaged $31,375, down only 6% from the 15 he sold last year. Badlands Hanover stood for eight years in Delaware before relocating to Ontario. He’s selling his sixth Canadian crop. Seven sold for a $16,000 average, up almost 4% from last year when he sold 14 at Forest City. Only two cracked $20,000 and four of them sold for less than $15,000. This offering is from a crop of 61 registered foals. There were 44 last year. Twnty-year-old Badlands bred more than 150 mares in each of his first four years in Ontario. Royal Mattjesty is another wheel-spinner. Eleven averaged $15,545. And that’s up more than 16% from last year. Beyond that, his average is up almost 53% since 2014, when four averaged $7,375. There are only 16 registered foals in the crop selling this year. There were 10 in the crop that sold last year and 12 in 2013. He’s not exactly a high volume stallion. Royal Mattjesty stands for $3,500 (cdn). The Western Ideal stallion, Big Jim, sold six for a $25,167 average—up 27% over last year when 11 sold. His average is up 29% since his first crop sold in 2014. Seven averaged $25,885 at the Canadian Yearling Sale, where Brad Grant paid $45,000 for a colt and Tony O’Sullivan paid $44,000 for another. Three at Forest City topped $25,000 while three failed to break $15,000. He’s number four in the OSS thanks to Streakavana and Magnum J. Big Jim stands for $4,000 (cdn). Vintage Master sold seven for a $10, 857 average. That’s down 25% from his $14,667 average for six sold last year. Eight averaged under $10,000 in 2014. Six sold for less than $15,000 at Forest City. Freshman filly Thatsoveryverynice won a split of the Eternal Camnation and a couple of Golds last year, but she’s been no factor at three. Trotters only represented 24% of the yearlings sold at Forest City. Muscle Mass is selling for the NYSS market this year and Kadabra is not a big Forest City guy: he only sold two Sunday, none last year and three in 2014. The sire of Caprice Hill, Emoticon Hanover, Winter Sweet Frost and Will Take Charge sold a filly for $80,000 and another for $29,000. Twenty-year-old Angus Hall, who saw his fee drop from $10,000 to $6,000 in the face of the SARP crisis in 2013, sold nine for a $23,333 average, up 28% from 2015 and up 45% from 2014. One topped $50,000; four of the nine broke $25,000; and 5, or 55%, fell short of $20,000. Triple Crown winner Glidemaster was shipped to Canada a couple of years ago after standing for seven years in Pennsylvania. Maven is his crown jewel, and the drop-off is precipitous after that. Blue Porsche closed his freshman season in promising fashion but wasn’t healthy enough to go on and the ill-fated Punxsutawney was killed in an accident. Glidemaster’s last two crops in Pennsylvania consisted of 17 and 14 foals. He sold a dozen for a $17,167 average at Forest City. Only one topped $25,000. Eight brought less than $20,000. Holiday Road sold five for a $23,600 average from a crop of 31 registered foals. Last hear he only sold one from a crop of 18. Majestic Son sold a pair of fillies for $36,000 and $26,000. Again, there are only 29 in the crop they came from. Let’s hope Muscle Mass, E L Titan and Archangel are going to turn out large numbers, because these small crops that sell at reduced prices are a problem. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for  Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

LONDON, Ontario . . .Noted Canadian trainer Dr. Ian Moore is looking to replace his recently retired champion harness racing pacer State Treasurer and he took the first steps this afternoon at the Forest City Yearling Sale as he purchased the two sale toppers, both sired by another one of his outstanding performers, Shadow Play. Dr. Moore shelled out $110,000 for Percy Bluechip who was consigned by Preferred Equine as agent for breeder Blue Chip Farms of New York. Percy is a full brother to Arthur Blue Chip who earned more than $550,000 for Moore and his partners a few years back. The colt is also a half-brother to $1.5 million winner Kenneth J. The second highest price at the sale was the $100,000 Moore paid for Atomic Seelster. Consigned by breeder Seelster Farms of Lucan, Ontario, the colt is a half-brother to two $100,000+ winners including Aniston Seelster ($193,000). It was announced last week that State Treasurer, last year’s Horse of the Year in Canada, would begin stud duties at Seelster starting in 2017. A great crowd was on hand to watch a total of 133 colts and fillies go through the sales ring today at Western Fair’s Metroland Media Agriplex in London for an average of $26,308 which is up approximately 11 per cent from last year’s $23,507 average for 136 sold. “I think the sale reflected a show of optimism for the industry and confidence in the product.  The industry seems to be turning a corner especially with the incentives now being offered,” noted sale manager Ann Straatman. “It appears that breeders are looking at offering quality over quantity. “I’d like to thank auctioneers Ryan Dorran Marketing, now in their fourth year with FCYS, all of the staff of the sale and Randy Manges and Bruce Brinkerhoff for assisting with inspections,” she added. In addition to the sale of many of Ontario’s best bred yearlings, the weekend also included The Forest City Preview at The Raceway which were four divisional races open to three-year-old trotters and pacers who raced in the Ontario Sires Stakes this season. Thanks to the sponsorship from Ontario Lottery and Gaming and Ontario Racing, Forest City Yearling Sale and Western Fair District put together an innovative Info Zone for fans and owners. A number of organizations presented information on fractional ownership, horse registration and licensing, pedigree interpretation, Ontario's new owners' bonus and life after racing for our equine athletes. Complete sales results are available here.

Seelster Farms announced today that their 2016 harness racing yearling videos are now available online.   This year’s consignment features a great group of over 40 individuals that will be selling at the Forest City Yearling Sale on October 23 and in Harrisburg, beginning on November 7, Seelster Farms will sell 7 yearlings.    The Forest City Sale consignment consists of 4 by Artistic Fella, 5 by Big Jim, 6 by Camluck, 3 by Holiday Road, 1 by Justice Hall, 1 by Kadabra, 5 by Mach Three, 9 by Shadow Play, 6 by Sportswriter, and 1 by Shanghai Phil.   Our Harrisburg consignment consists of 1 by Andover Hall, 2 by Bettors Delight, 1 by Muscle Mass, 1 by Rock N Roll Heaven, and 2 by Well Said.   Inspections are always welcomed.  Contact the farm today at (519) 227 4294 to schedule a viewing of this year's impressive line-up.   To view the videos, please visit (    

London, September 15, 2016 - Live harness racing is set to return next month at The Raceway at Western Fair District and it is going to be a busy October at the London oval. The opening night of live racing is Friday, October 7th which coincides with the second annual Oktoberfest celebration at The Western Fair District. The wiener dogs will be back that night competing in the second annual Dachshund Dash. In addition, the Raceway will offer 'roll back' prices on programs and food specials along with Scratch N Win program prizes and the Oktoberfest Pace. On Friday, October 14th, The Raceway will play host to the 2016 National Driving Championship (NDC) which is being held for the first time at London's half-mile oval. Eight of the top drivers from across Canada have qualified to compete in the championship which will determine Canada's representative to the World Driving Championship (WDC) also being held in Canada next Spring. This year's field boasts more than 16,000 wins and combined earnings of well over $100 million. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's horse racing division will be sponsoring the program on Friday, October 21st, the same weekend as the annual Forest City Yearling Sale which takes place that Sunday, October 23rd. As part of the live race program that night, the second annual Forest City Preview will be contested for three-year-old trotters and pacers who raced in the OSS Grassroots Series but did not qualify for the Grassroots Finals. The Racing Under Saddle (RUS) series will conclude its 2016 season with their finale as part of that night's program. This will mark the culmination of the organization's third season since having pari-mutuel wagering sanctioned in 2014. The busy month of October will wrap up on Friday, October 28th with the 11th Annual Harness The Hope Night. The event has grown in stature each year with the facility decked out in pink and a number of promotions offered, all in support of the Breast Cancer Society of Canada. "We have something happening each weekend in October and it's a great way to kick off the meet," said Racing Manager Greg Blanchard. "We know horse people are anxious to get going and so are we. "Horseplayers will have the same wagering menu as last season. It has been working well and the feedback has been positive. In particular, the 'Guaranteed Pool' Pick-4s and Super Hi-5 wagers, with their 15% takeout rate, have been quite popular here." Customers will also notice some significant changes to the facility when they return this season. The front section of the facility, closest to the racetrack, was removed in the off season and construction crews are now working on the cosmetic portion of the project. The construction work will continue into the live racing season and, while certain sections of the seating area will be closed to the public during this time, there will be no disruption to live racing. Work has also begun on a renovation of the judge's stand which will be completed prior to the start of racing. "It's been a busy off season and a time of continued change," explained Blanchard. "The Western Fair Association remains committed to the racing side of the business and its vision of The Raceway as an industry leader and continues to make investments in the facility. "There will be some minor inconvenience initially for horse people and customers but we believe it will be worth it in the long run. We have a loyal base of customers and horse people and wish to thank them for their continued patience and support as we make these enhancements." The Raceway will start the season on a three-day-a-week schedule through December 31st. Racing will be offered each Monday and Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. and Fridays at 7:05 p.m. The dining room is open each Monday night for Pub Night and every Friday for the fabulous buffet. To book your table at the Top of the Fair Restaurant, call (519)-438-7203 (ext. 252) or email Greg Blanchard      

Canada’s harness racing Forest City Selected Yearling Sale will be held at the Western Fair Agriplex in London Ontario on Sunday October 23.   The online roster is now available with pedigrees at   The sale roster can be sorted by Sire, Dam, Hip, or Consignor. Videos will be added as soon as they are available.   The sale catalogue can be ordered online and will be mailed out during the week of August 31.   The Yearlings will be available for inspection on Saturday October 22 from 10 am at the Agriplex. The Yearling Video Theatre will be available in the Agriplex lobby beginning Saturday and will be available during the sale. As well, a live webcast of the sale will be broadcast on the web site.   "I'm very pleased with the collective caliber of yearlings we have to offer again this year." said Ann Straatman, sale manager. "Not only are they a good looking bunch, but many have current families racing in the Ontario Gold divisions; there are first and second foals from prominent race mares and well-known pedigrees. With the new 2 million dollar Owner Bonus program for buyers of Ontario sired and Ontario bred yearlings, there couldn't be a better time to attend the sale."   Please visit or contact the Forest City Sale office at (519) 319 0650 for more information.  

The Forest City Sale at the Western Fair District in London, Ontario has mimicked the ups and downs of the harness racing game in that province for the last several years. In 2011, when the Ontario Sire Stakes program was humming along, 263 yearlings averaged more than $18,000. The following year, when the wheels started to fall off the cart, the average dropped more than 40% to $10,500. The fillies averaged only $8,000. As the doomsday scenario engineered by the politicians was reversed, things improved. In 2013 the average increased to $13,524, and last year it rose once more to $15,294. And this year it jumped again, to $23,207. The number of yearlings offered has fallen off by close to half since 2011; that is what’s troubling. The fact that the top sale was a colt by Camluck, who passed in August at age 28, goes to the heart of the matter. His eight colts, a gelding and six fillies averaged $33,400. Eleven by new kid on the block, Big Jim, averaged just a thousand dollars more. There’s a dearth of new blood. The landscape will change dramatically in 2017, which is when first Ontario crops by Royalty For Life, Archangel, E L Titan, Betterthancheddar, Sunfire Blue Chip and Sunshine Beach hit the sales ring. There will also be another Bettor’s Delight crop available. With Muscle Mass, Dewey, Holiday Road and Manofmanymissions having left the province, there’s a gap to fill. It’s going to take time to regenerate production. The Canadian dollar is weak and many breeders, horsemen and owners folded their tents during the equine recession. The paucity of high end product is also an issue at this sale. Thirteen Kadabras sold at Lexington and twenty will be available in Harrisburg. Seven averaged $40,000 at the Canadian Yearling Sale, with fillies going for $70,000 and $72,000.   There weren’t any at Forest City. Eleven by Sportswriter sold at Lexington and ten will be for sale in Harrisburg. Four averaged $30,000 at the CYS. A pair sold for $8,000 each at Western Fair. Sixteen-tear-old Mach Three has been very consistent over the years. Sixteen averaged $32,000 in 2011; seven averaged $28,000 the following year when the bottom caved and the gross was off by $2.1 million; 13 averaged $18,577 in 2013; another 13 averaged more than $31,000 last year; and ten averaged $34,600 this year. A dozen averaged more than $38,000 at the CYS. With the exception of 2013 he’s kept his average up in the $30,000 range. Mach Three has never come close to duplicating SBSW, a member of his second crop, and he keeps a low profile on the Grand Circuit, but the likes of Solar Sister, Wrangler Magic, Physicallyinclined and Mr Carrots keep sweeping up that OSS dough. Shadow Play, who had a successful first crop featuring Arthur Blue Chip, Lady Shadow, Skippin By and Play It Again Sam, regressed somewhat his sophomore season, thanks in no small part to Sportswriter. But two-year-old Nvestment Bluechip and three-year-olds Tessa Seelster and Cast No Shadow had good years in the OSS. He averaged $27,406 for 7 colts and 9 fillies sold at Forest City. A filly sold for 60 and another for 58. Eight averaged $30,000 at the CYS. His first crop averaged less than $12,000 in 2012; he made a big jump to $23,393 the following year; last year, as a result of his domination by Sportswriter in the OSS, he fell back 33% to $15,556.  Bettor’s Delight, Sportswriter and Mach Three are a problem for him. Badlands Hanover keeps plugging away. The nineteen-year-old son of Western Hanover finished the year third overall in the OSS, with successful years from Ms Mac N Cheese, Semi Automatic and Free Show. His average dropped from $22,000 in 2011 to $12,000 in 2012 and $8,400 the following year. In 2014 he inched up to $9,200 for 14 sold, with a high of $25,000. This year he jumped 40% to $15,429 for 14 sold, again with a high of $25,000. His fee was reduced $1,500 to $3,500 in 2015. Daylon Magician, who failed his fertility test in 2011 and has been back and forth, sold a colt for $65,000 and another for $50,000. Another colt brought $9,000 at the CYS. He bred 31 mares two years ago with limited success. None sold at the Canadian Yearling Sale or Lexington Selected. And none will sell in Harrisburg. He’s the best son of Kadabra, who has produced no siring sons. Tara Hills Stud, which stands Daylon, when his off and on breeding career is on, as well as Kadabra, Sportswriter and Mach Three, said their breeding numbers were off by half in 2013. That is showing up at this year’s sales. Big Jim’s first crop was ok; his fillies finished fourth in the OSS and his colts eighth. Four of the eleven he sold at Forest City topped $50,000. His $34,355 average was almost double what it was last year for that first crop. At that time 78% of his Forest City offering failed to top $15,000, and only one topped $25,000. This time nine of the eleven beat $15,000 and a half dozen topped $25,000. Only two sold at the Canadian Yearling Sale, a filly for $29,000 and a gelding for $3,500. The trotting sires represented at the sale didn’t stand out. The lone exception was Manofmanymissions, the sire of Bluegrass and ISS winner, Celebrity Eventsy. He stood in Ontario for two years, before relocating to Ohio. This is his last Ontario crop. A half dozen averaged $30,750, with a high of $63,000 and all but one topping $20,000. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

Mississauga, ON --- Stonebridge Bullet was the 2015 Forest City Yearling Sale topper, bringing the highest bid among the 136 harness racing yearlings that passed through the ring on Sunday (Oct. 25) at the Agriplex at the Western Fair District in London, Ont. Stonebridge Bullet (Hip 24) was purchased for C$85,000, with Guelph, Ont. horseman Gregg McNair, acting as agent, posting the winning bid. Consigned by Stonebridge Farm, the brown Camluck colt is the second foal out of the Western Hanover mare Stonebride Muse, who is a half-sister to world champion Pet Rock ($1,984,204-1:47). Among the top priced yearlings were filly Lotus Seelster (Hip 7) and colt London Seelster (Hip 66) from the Seelster Farms consignment. Both yearlings are also sired by Camluck and sold for C$80,000. Lotus Seelster is the first living foal out of the Bettor's Delight mare Ladycino, who is a career winner of $472,173. The bay filly was purchased by agent Scott McEneny of Picton, Ont. London Seelster was purchased by Gaston Bibeau of Sorel Tracy, Que. The bay colt is the first living foal out of the Art Major mare Legacy, who is a half-sibling to In The Arsenal ($930,211-1:49.1) and Exquisite Art ($578,544-1:50.4). The 136 yearlings sold at the Forest City Sale grossed C$3,197,000, producing an average price of C$23,507. Last year, 144 yearlings were sold for C$2,202,400, for an average price of C$15,294. For a complete listing of results from the sale, click here. Standardbred Canada  

Canada's Forest City Selected Yearling Sale will be held at the Western Fair Agriplex in London Ontario on Sunday October 25.   The online roster is now available with pedigrees at   The sale roster can be sorted by Sire, Dam, Hip, or Consignor.   Videos will be added as soon as they are available.   The sale catalogue can be ordered online and will be mailed out on September 9.   The Yearlings will be available for inspection on Saturday October 24 from 10 am at the Agriplex.   The Yearling Video Theatre will be available in the Agriplex lobby beginning Saturday and will be available during the sale.   As well, a live webcast of the sale will be broadcast on the web site.   Yearlings include offerings from first crop sire Daylon Magician.   Please visit or contact the Forest City Sale office at (519) 319 0650 for more information.   Jim Gillies    

Three months after moving to Campbellville after nearly 40 years in Peterborough, the veteran Ontario trainer’s Ontario-sired trotter Hemi Seelster pulled off a stunning 76-1 upset in the Goodtimes Stakes on the Pepsi North America Cup harness racing undercard.   Pepsi North America Cup Night was surreal for John Bax of Campbellville on a number of fronts. Not only did his Ontario-sired pupil Hemi Seelster pull off a stunning 76-1 upset in the $233,000 final of the Goodtimes Stakes against top Grand Circuit horses, the veteran Ontario trainer then presented the trophy to himself. The Goodtimes, for sophomore trotting males, is named for Bax’s former trotting great, a longtime warrior in the open trot at Mohawk and Woodbine Racetracks who was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2004 after earning more than $2 million on the track. Bax, 60, said he was numb as he headed for the winner’s circle on June 20 after the Goodtimes. “I just handed (the trophy) to my wife, Vicky. I was there to give it, so I certainly had no trouble standing on the other side and taking it,” Bax said, laughing. Adding to the surreal nature of the night, it took just five minutes for Bax to make the trip home after the races, rather than the usual two- or three-hour trek. In April, Bax moved to the site of the famed standardbred breeding outfit Glengate Farms in Campbellville that ceased breeding operations in 2005. Until April, Bax had been based in Peterborough for his entire 38-year training career — a stint in which he trained the winners of well more than $17 million (trainer records weren’t kept for the first 16 years of his career) and earned a berth in the Peterborough and District Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. “I drove a lot down the road, wore out a lot of trucks,” Bax said. “There were nights when I was heading home at midnight and they’ve got the 401 shut down in the middle of Toronto and you’re sitting there until 1:30 or 2 in the morning trying to get through and back home.” Needing to be up at the crack of dawn to train his stable compounded the wear and tear on the trainer. “I figured it out that if I was coming (to Mohawk) five days a week in the summer, that’s 20 hours plus (on the road),” Bax said. Bax said the move to the west side of Toronto, and closer to Ontario’s most lucrative tracks, only made sense because his 25-year-old son, Matt, is also a trainer. John also credits Matt for Hemi Seelster being in the Goodtimes in the first place. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t even realize at first that (Hemi Seelster) was in the Goodtimes. Matt slipped one by me. He was always high on him,” John said. “It’s his baby and he sometimes, in his youth, gets a little over-stimulated or high on a horse, whereas I’ve been down that road before.” Hemi Seelster, a son of Holiday Road out of Hollywood Beauty bred by Seelster Farms in Lucan, ON, was a $19,000 yearling purchase from the Forest City Yearling Sale in London — the exact same price John paid for Goodtimes as a yearling in 1992. Hemi Seelster is owned by John, Matt, John Houston of Cobourg, ON and the Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough. John Bax pegged the gelding as more of an Ontario Sires Stakes horse than a top stakes horses. In against 1-5 favourite Canepa Hanover and 3-1 second choice French Laundry — both from the powerful Jimmy Takter stable — John said he was hoping for a fifth-place cheque with Hemi Seelster in the Goodtimes. But when Canepa Hanover and later French Laundry broke stride, John said he began counting horses in front of Hemi Seelster. “I really wasn’t paying so much attention to who was in front of us so much as the number there were… I don’t know if I breathed down the stretch,” John said. It was the first victory for Hemi Seelster in seven starts this year. All of this comes on the heels of one of John’s best years in the business. In 2014, John trained the winners of some $1.6 million. Two of John’s trainees — two-year-old trotting filly Stubborn Belle and three-year-old trotting filly Riveting Rosie — earned O’Brien Awards as the top horses in their division in Canada. Only 2001, when John earned some $1.85 million, won a Breeders Crown with Duke Of York at Woodbine and earned the O’Brien Award as Canada’s Trainer of the Year, was better, statistically, than last year. Beyond Goodtimes and Duke Of York ($900,000 lifetime), John has trained a long string of Ontario-sired trotting stars over his career, including: Define The World ($1.65 million), Charmed Life ($830,000), Northern Bailey ($775,000), Pepi Lavec ($650,000), Summer Indian ($435,000), Oaklea Odessa ($410,000), Oaklea Omega ($400,000), Elegant Supreme ($380,000) and Aimees Image ($230,000) Though Hemi Seelster is bound mostly for the Ontario Sires Stakes program this summer — of which John Bax is both a huge proponent and, historically, one of its most successful trainers — he said he might take a shot at the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks with Ontario-sired Stubborn Belle (Taurus Dream—Musetta Hanover) in August at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. He said he hopes Ontario-sired Riveting Rosie (Muscle Mass—Rose De Vie Stena) can overcome allergy issues in time to race in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine in October. For now, the trainer is happy to enjoy an easier commute, easy access to Mohawk Racetrack to train horses and Hemi Seelster’s surprising Goodtimes victory. “I suppose at the end of the day it makes that $1,000 or $2,000 entry fee a little more bearable. It gives you a little hope,” he said. Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Horse Racing (519) 782-7178   Please visit:

Seelster Farms announced today that their 2014 yearling videos are now available online at Click here for the full draft of yearlings.  The farm’s entire 2014 yearling consignment will sell at the Forest City Yearling Sale on October 12 at the Western Fair Agriplex in London, Ontario.  Yearlings will be available for viewing at the Agriplex on Saturday, October 11.  This year’s consignment features the much-anticipated first crops of World Champion & Breeders Crown winner Big Jim p, 2, 1:49.1s ($1,544,580) and North America Cup winner Up The Credit p, 2, 1:51.4s; 3, 1:49s; 1:48.3s’ 13 ($1,331,623). An impressive group of first foals are featured in this season’s consignment, including: Absolut Seelster, an Angus Hall filly from Amazing Adventure 3, 1:56.2 ($50,432), the half sister to Peach Martini 3, 1:55f ($587,319). Bourbon Seelster, a Camluck filly from the full sister to Mr Apples p, 1:49 ($668,808). Evangelin Seelster, a Camluck filly from Eagle Kelly p, 2, 1:56.4h ($118,765). Ganacus Seelster, a Big Jim colt from the half sister to Goddesss Justin p, 3, 1:49.4f ($450,438). Kokanee Seelster, a Camluck colt from Kiddie Cocktail p, 3, 1:54.2 ($47,598), the half sister to Bikini Bottom p, 3, 1:51.1 ($531,229). Las Vegas Seelster, a Kadabra filly from the full sister to Miss Wisconsin 3, 1:55 ($525,551). Mayhem Seelster, a Mach Three filly from Macapelo Rose p, 3, 1:53.3f ($50,806), the half sister to Machapelo p, 1:51.2 ($593,973), Resistance Futile p, 4, 1:49.1s’ 14 ($277,078) & 2014 OSS Gold winner Capela p, 2, 1:53.1s’ 14 ($91,690). Mayhem Seelster Standout siblings to leading 2014 performers include: Nila Seelster, the Mach Three half sister to Nitro Seelster p, 4, 1:49.4f’ 14 ($103,973) & Nirvana Seelster p, 3, 1:52.3s’ 14 ($58,296). Toureg Seelster, the Shadow Play half brother to Titus Seelster p, 3, 1:51s’ 14 ($82,912). Tala Seelster, the Muscle Mass half sister to Traverse Seelster 1:51.2f’ 13 ($594,761).  

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