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INNISFIL, ON - AUG. 16, 2020 - Trotters were the stars at Georgian Downs on Sunday, Aug. 16 as the Innisfil oval hosted six $23,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old harness racing trotting fillies and the $75,000 Earl Rowe Invitational Trot for older horses. Profound Paragon delivered the quickest mile of the Grassroots divisions, powering around the Georgian Downs oval to a four and three-quarter length in a personal best 1:56. Fan favourite Moana finished second and early pacesetter Eternal Jewel finished third. "With Moana in there we were definitely concerned with the seven-hole," said trainer Julie Walker of the filly's Post 7 starting position. "There's always good horses, so you kind of always have to just hope you don't get any road trouble and it works out, so it did, it worked out." The win was the third in Grassroots action and the sixth straight for Profound Paragon, who sits atop the division standings with a perfect 150 points. Jean Bernard "Bert" Renaud drives the daughter of Muscle Mass for Carlisle, ON resident Walker and her co-owner Steven Titus of Manalapan, NJ. Off Sunday's impressive performance, Profound Paragon may have earned a promotion to the Gold Series for the September event. "The next Gold is on a half. The Gold is tough competition, everyone knows that, but maybe being on a half we might give it a shot. We'll have to discuss," said Walker with a laugh. "We've kind of stayed away from Mohawk, because we've stayed away from the speed train to let her learn speed on her own and not push her. I think tonight was the first night that, you know, the speed keeps coming." Trainer Susanne Kerwood captured two $23,150 Grassroots divisions with fan favourites Brinys A Flight and Susies Lady. In the fourth division Brinys A Flirt and driver Robert Shepherd took command before the half and made it look easy from there, cruising along to a one and one-quarter length win in 1:58.3. Oh Lina finished second and Golden Gavel was third. The win was the Holiday Road filly's first in 12 lifetime starts. She started her sophomore Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) campaign at the Gold Series level, finishing sixth in the July 2 event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and then delivered a runner-up result in the second Grassroots leg at Rideau Carleton Raceway on July 26. "She's not easy, I'm telling you, she's a tough cookie. Rene (Dion), he's worked with her pretty much all winter and just tried to get her to settle down, so every time she behaves it's like, 'Phew'," said Kerwood. "She is getting better and better and better, she's learning how to go faster and she's learning how to behave, so it's all good. I mean she's out of a great mare, so if she just is a quarter as good as her we'll be all right." Brinys A Flirt is owned by breeder Terry Devos and Clarence Devos of Langton and Peter Porter of Port Dover, ON. The filly is out of the Devos' great race mare Snazzy Millie, who earned $1.1 million in her nine-year career. One race later Susies Lady started from Post 7 and spent most of the mile leading the charge up the outer lane. The Muscle Mass daughter had a head in front of pacesetter Highland Foxytrotr at the top of the stretch and managed to fend off Pier Ho Kado in the stretch to secure a neck victory in 1:57.4. Scott Coulter engineered the win for Acton, ON resident Kerwood and her co-owner M And L Of Delaware LLC of Wilmington, DE. The win was the filly's first in OSS action this season. Susies Lady battled the Gold fillies in the first two legs, finishing fifth in the track, OSS and Canadian record mile by P L Notsonice at Rideau Carleton Raceway on July 26. "She's a nice filly, that's for sure, and she's got a great name," said Kerwood with a chuckle. "In Rideau there she had a super tough trip. And I raced her in Georgian here last week and she come up super flat and I drew blood on her and sure enough she had a high white (count). I said to the owner, 'I can't get her good in four days, it's impossible, but I may be able to get her good for Sunday and that's a Grassroots so why don't we just try her in there and we'll go from there'. I took another blood on her yesterday and she was good to go. I think the next Gold is in Flamboro, so we may try her there again. I'll talk to the owners and we'll go from there, but she was very good tonight." The three-year-old trotting fillies make their fourth Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 1 and their fourth Gold Series start at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 27. The other three Grassroots divisions went to Rockadero, Protostar and Letstaketothesky. Muscle Mass daughter Rockadero toured the Innisfil oval in 1:58.1 for driver Jonathan Drury, trainer Carmen Auciello and owner Bedrock Stables of Stouffville, ON. Favourite No Angel Here was second and Ride To Justice finished third. Protostar delivered a 1:59.2 effort for driver Ryan Desroche, trainer Dustin Jones and owner-breeder Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, QC. She Must Be Magic and Chelseas Magic finished second and third behind the fan favourite, making it a Kadabra-sired sweep. Letstaketothesky and driver Anthony Haughan stopped the teletimer at 1:59.2, besting favourite Alexa Blue Chip and Peppas Angel. Trainer David Holliday and Ben Holliday of Mount Forest, ON bred and own the Wheeling N Dealin daughter. In the $75,000 Earl Rowe Invitational Trot, reigning champion P L Jill defended her title with a front-end effort from Post 9. The Kadabra mare held off a charging Free Willy Hanover in the stretch, keeping a head in front for the 1:53.2 victory. Majestic Son gelding Perfetto completed the top three. Mike Saftic guided P L Jill to her second Earl Rowe Invitational title for trainer Ben Baillargeon and owners Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, ON, Jill Coleman of New York, NY and Alan Christensen of Calgary, AB. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

INNISFIL, JULY 19, 2020 - Bet On Becky extended her win streak to three on Sunday with an effortless 1:53.3 harness racing victory in the first $108,000 two-year-old pacing filly Gold Series division at Georgian Downs. The Bettors Delight daughter and regular reinsman Jody Jamieson eased away from Post 2 and settled fifth as stablemate Ring Of Kerry led the field of 10 to a :27.2 quarter. Heading by the grandstand for the first time Bet On Becky buzzed to the front, reaching the half in :56.2, and it was smooth sailing from there for the fan favourite. Off a three-quarters in 1:25, Bet On Becky cruised home a three and one-quarter length winner in 1:53.3 City By The Bay finished second and Ring Of Kerry was third. "I even think we could do okay with (driving) her," joked trainer Tony Beaton. "She did it with relative ease again, by the looks of things. Jody was real happy with her too, so that's good." In the July 7 Gold Series season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Bet On Becky delivered an impressive 1:50.4 victory, still the fastest mile clocked by a two-year-old in North America this season. She also posted a 1:54.4 win in an overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 26. With those two starts and a June 19 qualifier under her belt, Beaton gave his fledgling star a mini-vacation before prepping her for Sunday's test. "We kind of gave her an easier week there last week and then we trained her up pretty good there the other day and tried to make sure we had them ready for tonight," said Beaton. "She showed she was ready anyway and, actually all four of them raced pretty good tonight. I was happy with all of them, but obviously Becky just stands out." In addition to Bet On Becky and Ring Of Kerry, Beaton trainees Turning The Table and Best Keepsake finished third and fourth in the other Gold Series division. All of the fillies save Best Keepsake are eligible for the July 27 Battle Of The Belles eliminations at Grand River Raceway and Beaton said that will be their next start so long as they remain happy and healthy. Bet On Becky is eligible to all of the major two-year-old pacing filly stakes in Ontario and has an action-packed schedule ahead if she continues to find the winner's circle with the ease she has demonstrated in her first three starts. "Becky is going to have a long, long season ahead of her if everything goes good. She's paid into stuff right to the Breeders Crown," said Beaton, adding that filly will not be able to appear in every stake she is eligible for. "We don't want to over race her, we've got to pick our spots. We'll take it week-to-week and go from there. We've got to stay healthy and sound before we do anything else." Waterdown resident Beaton trains Bet On Becky for Larry Menary of Branchton, Kenneth Ewen of Georgetown, Alan Alber of Thornhill and Michael Guerriero of Brampton, ON. The partners offered up $70,000 for the filly at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and have recouped $97,633 through her first three starts. Andra Day also picked up her second Gold Series victory with a front end effort in the other $108,000 division. Starting from Post 5, Andra Day left smartly and was moving forward from third when Turning The Table reached the :27.3 quarter. Comfortably in front at the :57.4 half, Andra Day soon faced pressure from fan favourite Best Keepsake, who challenged her through the 1:26.1 three-quarters. Andra Day remained resolute however, and held off all challengers to score a three-quarter length victory in 1:54.1. Scarlett Hanover closed hard to be second and pocket-sitter Turning The Table was third. "She's small, but very tough and very, very gritty," said trainer Dr. Ian Moore. "She is very fiery, and just all go, so we're very pleased with how she's done." Cambridge resident Moore trains the Shadow Play daughter for Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Bottom Line Racing LLC of Boca Raton, FL. Guelph resident Doug McNair was in the race bike for Sunday's victory and her 1:54.1 win in the Gold Series season opener. Like Bet On Becky, Andra Day is eligible to the Battle Of The Belles, but Moore is not sure if the filly will compete in the eliminations or look ahead to the next Gold Leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 18. "I'll be talking with the owners. She might be the only one, because she's small and probably will handle the half. I won't take the other one because she's a great big filly," said Moore of Andra Day and stablemate Alumni Seelster, who finished fifth to Bet On Becky Sunday after winning her division in the opening leg. "It's a possibility, but right now I'd say 50-50." Complete results from Sunday's program are available at Georgian Downs Results. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Georgian Downs on Sunday, Aug. 16 with the third Grassroots Leg for the three-year-old trotting fillies. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

INNISFIL, ON -  JULY 12, 2020 - Mark Etsell's two-year-old trotting fillies opened their Ontario Sires Stakes harness racing careers on a positive note Sunday night at Georgian Downs with Midnight Miracle scoring a win in her $72,267 Gold Series division and Meadowview Lilly finishing third. Midnight Miracle got a picture-perfect second-over trip from driver Bob McClure in the evening's first Gold Series battle. Starting from Post 2 McClure settled the Muscle Mass daughter in fourth and watched Tealicious ring up a :26 quarter and :58.2 half. Heading for the 1:29.1 three-quarters McClure tipped Midnight Miracle out behind Dashing Muscle, who was soon matching strides with the tiring pacesetter. When McClure asked for another gear in the stretch, Midnight Miracle powered by her peers and on to a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:58.4. "I told Bobby to float her out of there and try to get away, top three I said, but he got four so that's okay. I said, 'Once she sees daylight she can kind of trot, but as soon as she doesn't see them she'll let up on you, so just be aware of that'. You time it kind of right, because she's green and she doesn't know any different. She knows enough to go by and then that's it and then she'll let up," said Rockwood, ON resident Etsell. "First lifetime start so we were pretty happy with her, at least I was anyways, I don't know about anybody else, but I was." Named Midnight Miracle due to a difficult birth, the filly has grown into a good-gaited, sensible filly who might just be a little spoiled by Etsell and his partners Robert Newton of Walkerton and Chuan Tan of Cambridge, ON. "She loves watermelon; she had a watermelon after she raced tonight and got out of the test barn. She loves watermelon and raspberries for some reason, I don't know why," said Etsell. "Bob Newton, when he comes down he brings her raspberries or something, stops at one of the grocery stores along the way." Two races later Meadowview Lilly delivered a third-place finish behind fan favourite Fox Valley Liza and Blackout Riley, a result that delighted Etsell and Charlie Reid, whose Meadowview Farms Inc. of Orono, ON, bred and owns the Archangel daughter. "She was good early, good gaited and everything, but didn't have no attitude to go, but when we hit around 2:20 she started coming to life and we thought, you know maybe we've got a couple," said Etsell, who also drove Meadowview Lilly on Sunday. "We were happy with both them fillies. Both homebreds, I raced both their mothers." Sent off as the heavy favourite in the second $72,267 division, Fox Valley Liza and driver Sylvain Filion wasted no time assuring bettors they had made the correct choice. Starting from Post 6 the pair carved out all the fractions on their way to a three length victory in 1:59.2. "She's just come to me 10 days ago. She's exactly everything that Erv Miller told me - she's very professional, a very nice filly to be around and she won pretty handy," said trainer Ben Baillargeon, who received the Muscle Mass daughter from US-based trainer Ervin Miller after she finished second in a two-year-old filly event at Pocono Downs on June 30. "She knows her business and Erv said she's been professional from Day 1. She's like a four-year-old horse, like a very nice mare." Anthony Lombardi of Morris, IL, Henshaut Stable of Montgomery, IN and George Golemes of Oak Brook, IL share ownership of Fox Valley Liza, who Baillargeon expects will remain in the province for the duration of the Ontario Sires Stakes season. The last division went to Classy Carol who sprinted from sixth to first in the stretch, sneaking up the inside past pacesetting favourite Warrawee Welcome to claim the 2:01.1 victory. Flanagan Destiny and All R Wishes finished just over one length back in second and third. "She's my daughter Robyn's favourite horse. She's spoiled and she's good natured, good to be around, and turns out she wants to win, so that's even better," said trainer John Bax. "She wants to go ahead, and you can't teach that, they've either got it or they don't, so it's nice." The Bax Stable of Campbellville, Robert Van Camp of Port Perry, ON, Dave Hudson of Dallas, TX and Gordon Wright of Charlotte, MI share ownership of Classy Carol, who was a $40,000 purchase from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Bax trained both the Royalty For Life daughter's dam Very Classy and her grand-dam Ruling Class. Like Etsell, Bax had multiple fillies competing on Sunday and was pleased with the results of all three. IN addition to Classy Carol's win, Kadabra daughter Up And Ready finished third to Midnight Miracle and Royalty For Life miss Lifeintheslammer was fifth behind Fox Valley Liza. "We were pretty happy with them," said the Campbellville, ON resident. "They all did it right. Some have got to do it a little faster, but they all took positive steps ahead, that's for sure." The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Gold Series start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 31. Complete results from Sunday's program are available at Georgian Downs Results. Next up on Georgian Downs' Ontario Sires Stakes schedule is the second Gold Series Leg for two-year-old pacing fillies on Sunday, July 19. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

INNISFIL, ON - JULY 11, 2020 - Georgian Downs hosted a trio of $22,450 Grassroots harness racing divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts on Saturday night, and it was local youngster Master Grand who delivered the fastest mile of the Ontario Sires Stakes battles. Master Grand and trainer-driver Aaron Byron left with confidence from Post 5 and had established command by the :31 opening quarter. Byron allowed Randy Waples and Imasharpdealer to circle to the front heading for the 1:01.2 half, but were soon back out and pressing the pacesetter. Imasharpdealer could not handle the pressure and skipped off stride as the colts reached the 1:31.2 three-quarters. From there it was smooth sailing for fan favourite Master Grand, who hit the wire five and one-quarter lengths the best in 2:00.3. Diehard Seelster was second and Insanity was well back in third. "He's been training down great. We're local to Georgian and I wanted to give him a start here, and he really handled this well," said Byron, who trains Master Grand for Paul Kelly of Alliston, ON. "He's a nice horse and he trots very well. He's a nice, big Muscle Mass colt." Byron and Kelly travelled to Harrisburg, PA last November for the annual Black Book Yearling Sale and spent hours looking at a variety of yearlings before acquiring Master Grand for $28,000, time Byron says they could have spent elsewhere as it turned out. "He was the first horse we looked at. We drove, what seven, eight hours from here, and the first horse we saw we could have just bought that one, but instead we looked at about 1,000 more," said the Thornton, ON resident with a chuckle. "He was the very first horse because I went into Winbak (Farms) to get a pen, because I like their pens, and some young lady goes, 'Oh want to see my favourite horse?' And that just happened to be him. "He did everything right, like he's really easy on himself, so the winter in Canada didn't bother him too much. He's just kind of a nice horse to be around, he's a real gentleman." Byron has spent most of the last decade plying his trade south of the border, but with a growing family - he and wife Carylyn welcomed twins three weeks ago - he decided it was time to come home. The reinsman has been making regular appearances at Georgian Downs in addition to trips to Woodbine Mohawk Park and Grand River Raceway. The other two divisions were clocked in an identical 2:00.4. Four Wheelin captured the first Grassroots win of the two-year-old trotting colt season, getting a neck in front of fan favourite Arch Hall and Tymal Chrome at the wire with a big late effort. "I don't drive that much so I was confident of him, but I didn't drive him that confident. He helped me get the job done," said trainer-driver Marcel Barrieau. "It was unbelievable what he did tonight. I really like him all that much more, because he showed a lot of grit, he trotted home real well." After leaving sharply from Post 2 Barrieau and Four Wheelin led the field at the :30.4 opening quarter then yielded to Showme Some Muscle heading for the 1:00 half. As Arch Hall and Tymal Chrome powered up the outside lane on the way to the 1:31 three-quarters Four Wheelin was pinned on the rail in fourth, but when Showme Some Money skipped off stride in the stretch Barrieau was able to squeeze Four Wheelin up the inside for the narrow victory. "He's got a big burst. He showed that in Mohawk qualifying there (June 18), home in :27.4," said Cambridge resident Barrieau, who shares ownership of the Wheeling N Dealin colt with Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longueil, QC. "He did tonight too, to come home like that, so we hope that he's got a good heart so he can keep going." Four Wheelin was a $32,000 acquisition from last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. Top Hall captured the other Grassroots division with a commanding front-end performance from Post 6 that saw him hit the wire two lengths ahead of The Wheel and Moscow Moon. "He said he qualified really good, Gerard did, and he said he trained good. He said he's been pretty solid, so he said just be careful with him off the gate and if he seems good you can let him roll," said Paul Mackenzie, who piloted the gelding to the win for trainer Gerard Demers. "I just let him float out of there and he did everything pretty good. He got a little green around the last turn, but when I asked him he still had some go to him. He's nice and solid, a nice trotter. Gerard did a great job of training him down and bringing him to the races." Demers conditions the Angus Hall son for Les Ecuries GLD Inc. of Dundas, ON, Jean Roch Marois, St-Joachim-de-Shefford and La Ferme Tag Inc. of Papineauville, QC. The partners acquired Top Hall from the London Selected Yearling Sale for $22,000. The two-year-old trotting colts will make their second Grassroots start at Hiawatha Horse Park on July 25. Complete results for Saturday night's program are available at Georgian Downs Results. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Georgian Downs on Sunday night with three $72,267 Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old trotting fillies. The fillies make their Ontario Sires Stakes debut in Races 3, 5, 7 on the program, which gets underway at 6 pm. Fans can download a program and watch the live stream on the Georgian Downs website. Fromm the Ontario Sire Stakes      

Standardbred Canada reports that coming into Sunday (July 5) one win shy of reaching a harness racing milestone, trainer Richard Moreau sent out a 10-1 winner at Georgian Downs to collect his 6,000th training victory. The win came in the evening’s third race, a $6,500 conditioned pacing event. Brett MacDonald drove the three-year-old Sunshine Beach colt Rock And Twist to a 1:55.1 victory, besting 6-5 favourite Zebs Sunshine and returning $23.30 to win. Rock And Twist competes for owners Michel and Frederic Baril along with Gabriel Moreau. Moreau—a seven-time O’Brien Award winner for top trainer—became only the third trainer in the recorded history of harness racing to surpass the 6,000-win plateau. The only other trainers to achieve over 6,000 wins are Virgil Morgan Jr. and Ron Burke—the latter nearing 11,000 victories. Since beginning his career in 1988, the horseman now based in Puslinch, ON leads all trainers in the history of Canadian harness racing in wins. Though Moreau just hit a milestone, the nation’s leading trainer is already nearing another. Collecting well over $59-million in career earnings, Moreau sits just under $150,000 shy of surpassing the $60-million plateau. In earnings, Moreau currently ranks 12th all-time among trainers in North America. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Georgian Downs. From Standardbred Canada

INNISFIL, JUNE 28, 2020 - They arrived at Georgian Downs off impressive wins, harness racing fans made them the heavy favourites, and three-year-old trotting geldings Hayek and HP Royal Theo delivered the goods, cruising to victory in their respective Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series divisions on Sunday evening. Hayek led off for the Ben Baillargeon stable, starting from Post 3 in the first $105,600 Gold division, and the E L Titan son made it look easy from the moment the wings closed on the starting gate. Driver Sylvain Filion sent the gelding to the lead and Hayek rolled unchallenged through fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:27.1 before opening up a five and three-quarter length margin on his peers heading for the 1:55.2 finish. Your Still Up was promoted from third to second and Northern Sultan moved up from fourth to third after Port Perry made a late break in the stretch, crossing the wire second but being placed back to fourth. "He was a lot smarter tonight than he was Monday when I won with him," said Baillargeon. "I was a little bit anxious to see how he was going to behave himself, you know. He looks like he's fast enough, but he's still racing against better horses like Port Perry and company, but he was well behaved and Sylvain said, 'Geez, he was well-behaved and he was very good, very nice'. He asked him to go a little bit and he just went." The Guelph-based trainer shares ownership of Hayek with Teresa Davidson of Milton, Santo Vena of Brampton and Nunzio Vena of Bolton, ON. The partners acquired the trotter on June 8 and Hayek has now delivered two wins and $60,300 in earnings to his delighted new owners. In the second $106,400 Gold Series division, HP Royal Theo and driver Louis-Philippe Roy lined up behind Post 5. Roy eased the fan favourite away from the starting gate, allowing Horse Trader and Hot Wheelz to battle to the :28 opening quarter, and then sent HP Royal Theo to the front. Like his stablemate, HP Royal Theo was unchallenged through a :57 half and 1:26.1 three-quarters, and sailed home to a three and one-quarter length win in 1:54.1. "He's a fast horse and he's a lot more mature this year and everything," said Baillargeon. "He's pretty smart, like he could have ducked in in the four-hole, but I told Louis, 'Take your time, but don't duck. You're the best, drive him like you're the best, but take your time at the gate.' And he's getting to be very smart and very good. "I couldn't ask for anything better right now. If I can keep them both like that, with their head on their shoulders, we're going to have a good summer." Breeder Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, QC share ownership of HP Royal Theo. The Royalty For Life son won a Gold Leg at two and also captured the William Wellwood Memorial Final, earning $286,040. Sunday's victory boosted the gelding's lifetime earnings to $350,240. "You need some of them to pay for the ones we don't see. I have some in the field, so it's nice to get some to pay for them. It's a wheel you know, it's a big wheel. These two will keep the wheel turning for a while anyway, let's put it this way," said Baillargeon with a chuckle. "I have broodmares and I have all kinds of stuff too. Monsieur Hamel is the same thing, and Santo (Vena), he's the same thing. We dabble in about everything there is about the sport, so you need to get a few like that sometimes." The next Gold Series event for the three-year-old trotting colts and geldings takes place July 21 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, so Baillargeon said Hayek and HP Royal Theo will make one overnight start before continuing their Ontario Sires Stakes campaign. Complete results for Sunday's races are available at Georgian Downs Results. Georgian Downs will host its second Ontario Sires Stakes event on Saturday, July 11 when the two-year-old trotting colts will make their Grassroots debut. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

INNISFIL, JUNE 26, 2020 - Since harness racing resumed at the beginning of June Ben Baillargeon has been on a tear, sending out 20 winners from 54 starters, and the trainer will be looking to add to that tally when the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series season gets underway this Sunday, June 28 at Georgian Downs. Baillargeon goes into the event with the early favourites in both Gold Series divisions after his three-year-old trotting geldings Hayek and HP Royal Theo delivered a pair of impressive victories at Woodbine Mohawk Park last weekend. "They're similar, they're both fast, I can tell you that," said Baillargeon. "We all knew about HP Royal Theo, we knew that he's very good, he showed all kinds of ability last year," said Baillargeon of the Royalty For Life son who captured the 2019 William Wellwood Memorial Trot. "We cut him loose a little bit last week - not that we didn't cut him loose his first start, he trotted in 1:54.3, last quarter in :27.1, in against older horses - but last week he was ready and I needed to see what we had in the tank. So I said he (Louis-Philippe Roy) might want to let him trot a little. He didn't really let him trot, this is what's amazing about it, he didn't really let him trot and he went in 1:52.3, last quarter in :27.3. "And the other horse, Hayek, a friend of my dad said, 'This horse is for sale Ben, you should look into it, this one's for you'. So I looked into it. I called Marcus Melander and he told me what I wanted to know and that was it, we made the deal," said Baillargeon, who acquired Hayek on June 8. "And the horse looked awful good his first start. He was a little bit of a handful last week, I think he will settle down with time, but he sure has lots of speed, serious speed." Hayek and driver Sylvain Filion will be looking to replicate that June 22 effort - a seven-length gate-to-wire score in 1:53.3 - from Post 3 in the first division on Sunday, facing off against six rivals for the $105,600 purse. Baillargeon shares ownership of the E L Titan gelding with Teresa Davidson of Milton, Santo Vena of Brampton and Nunzio Vena of Bolton, ON and the trainer said Hayek enjoyed a day off after Monday's victory and will just jog and continue to settle into his new home leading up to his Ontario Sires Stakes debut on Sunday. "He came to the barn I think 10 days before I raced him last Monday and he was a little bit, not a handful, but he was a little aggressive, let's put it this way," said the Guelph resident. "Today (Thursday) he was very nice on the track. I think he's starting to like his new surroundings." HP Royal Theo will make his sophomore Gold Series debut from Post 5 in the second $106,400 division, coming into the season opener off the impressive June 20 effort that saw him cruise home three lengths the best in 1:52.3. Regular reinsman Louis-Philippe Roy will be in the race bike for owner-breeder Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, QC. The gelding was a Gold Series winner at two, but he also made breaks in three provincial starts, so Baillargeon is hoping the trotter can kick off a more consistent provincial campaign on Sunday. "These two horses, they're sure nice," said the trainer. "That Hayek horse, he looked very good his first start and well Theo, like I said, we always knew that he was good, but he showed that he's matured a lot since last year." Georgian Downs will send the first race behind the starting gate at 6 pm on Sunday and feature the Gold Series three-year-old trotting colts and geldings in Races 5 and 8. Downloadable programs and a live stream of all the races are available on the Georgian Downs website. In addition to Sunday's Gold Series, Georgian Downs will also host two $7,100 divisions of the Prospect Series for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Saturday evening. Horses that were sustained to the 2020 Ontario Sires Stakes program are eligible for the Prospect Series, which consists of five legs contested at racetracks across Ontario leading up to a $15,000 final. Saturday's divisions will go postward as Races 1 and 7, with a 7:15 pm post time. Downloadable programs and a live stream of all the races are available on the Georgian Downs website. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit www.ontariosiresstakes.com For feature stories, photographs, background information and/or contact details for local Ontario Sires Stakes participants contact Sandra Snyder at 519-572-0167 or ossnews@ontarioracing.com. Ontario Racing

INNISFIL, AUG. 18, 2019 - Ontario's top three-year-old pacing colts co-headlined Sunday's harness racing Family Day event at Georgian Downs - sharing top billing with the older trotters competing in the Honourable Earl Rowe Invitational Trot - and they delivered a blockbuster performance in the $156,400 Gold Series event. Meadowlands Pace champion Best In Show was sent off the slight favourite over division point leader Century Farroh, and driver Bob McClure sent the fan's choice straight to the front from Post 3. Century Farroh dropped in behind Best In Show and was quickly hemmed in by Bronx Seelster powering up the outer lane. Through the :26.4 opening quarter and :55 half, not much changed; Best In Show led the field, Century Farroh was breathing down McClure's neck in the pocket and Bronx Seelster was menacing from the outer lane. As Best In Show paced toward the 1:23.1 three-quarters Bronx Seelster seemed to stall and the colts behind him ranged out three and four-wide, but Bronx Seelster battled back and kept Century Farroh pinned to the rail as the colts turned for home. In the stretch Best In Show drifted ever so slightly off the rail and driver Sylvain Filion did not waste a moment, sending Century Farroh surging toward the wire. Best In Show and Century Farroh finished in lock step and it took a magnifying glass to determine that Century Farroh's nose was in front. Stag Party closed hard to take third in the 1:51.1 mile. "I thought, oh we're in trouble here, because Bronx Seelster just hung on enough that he couldn't get out. I thought, oh boy, but he just got out very late," said Century Farroh's trainer Dr. Ian Moore. "Sylvain was coming in the gate, he didn't think he won, that's how close it was. Two noses on the line together. "I saw the photo there, they both had their nose on the line; I guess we had a little bit more of it." Century Farroh has been flawless through the first four Gold Series Legs this season and his Ontario Sires Stakes win streak extends back to last August. As a two-year-old the son of Mach Three and Beachy Girl finished up his Grassroots campaign with two regular season wins and a victory in the Grassroots Championship. Through all 10 of his sophomore starts, Century Farroh has only been bested twice. He finished seventh in his North America Cup elimination on June 8 and last Saturday (Aug. 10) he finished third in the Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park in Ohio. "We were pleased, he got $44,000 American so it was worth the trip down," said Moore. "It's the only time he's going to be away from home really, he's not staked to anything else." Ratchford Stable NS of North Sydney, NS owns Century Farroh, who boosted his career earnings to $510,633 with Sunday's victory. The colt will make his next start in the Aug. 31 Simcoe Stake and then finish up the Gold Series regular season on Sept. 13, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The top 10 point earners will then compete in the season ending Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 12. "He can use a week off again, that's three in a row for him," said Moore. "With that level of horse you've got to give them time off, you can't keep racing their guts out all the time, very few of them will survive at the same level. "I'd like to have him still good for the Super Final, he must have made the Super Final by now," added the Cambridge, ON resident with a chuckle. Following Century Farroh's thrilling victory, eight of the top aged trotters stepped onto the track for the $75,000 Honourable Earl Rowe Invitational Trot and the two mares in the field gave fans another thrilling battle. P L Jill and Dream Together both left smartly from Posts 1 and 4 and the pair started their battle heading by the :56.4 half, Dream Together on the inside, P L Jill pressing her from the outer lane. Through the 1:24.1 three-quarters the mares went head-to-head and down the stretch they continued to battle tooth and nail with P L Jill getting by late for a three-quarter length score in 1:53.1. P L Jill Mario Baillargeon drove Kadabra daughter P L Jill to the win for trainer Ben Baillargeon of Guelph and owners Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, ON, Jill Coleman of New York, NY and Alan Christensen of Calgary, AB. Prince Lee Acres also bred the mare, who now has seven wins and $177,620 in earnings in her six-year-old season. Complete results for Sunday's program are available by clicking on this link.    OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

INNISFIL, ON - AUG. 13, 2019 - Three-year-old trotting filly Teddys Littleangel made the second trip of her career to Georgian Downs on Tuesday evening and delivered the same result as she did in last summer's harness racing debut, an open length victory in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold action. "She likes this track. She's always raced good up here," said trainer Ted MacDonnell. "She won her first lifetime start up here." Driver Doug McNair fired Teddys Littleangel away from Post 6 and led the field of seven Gold Series hopefuls to a :27.4 opening quarter. Carrying on to a :57.2 half and a 1:26.1 three-quarters, Teddys Littleangel was never seriously threatened and she opened up a three and one-half length margin on her peers in the stretch before stopping the clock at 1:55. Royal Esteem closed well for second, just ahead of third-place finisher Royal Rhythm and fan favourite Bright Eyes M, who settled for fourth. "Dougie (McNair) said that's the best she's been. She was exceptional tonight," said MacDonnell, who trains the filly for owner-breeder Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, ON. "That was a good trip. She had to work pretty hard to get front and then she had enough left. We're really happy with her." The win was the Archangel daughter's third straight in Gold Series action. She was also victorious at Grand River Raceway on July 3 and Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 18. Unlike most of her peers, Teddys Littleangel did not race in between Tuesday's start and the July 18 Gold Series event. MacDonnell gave the filly some time off and then qualified her at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Aug. 6. "I didn't want to race her in with old horses and that's the only place that she could race. We tried to get her in at Mohawk and the class, three-year-old fillies, didn't fill," explained Allenford, ON resident MacDonnell. "It worked out fine. I really wasn't too concerned with the lay off because she keeps herself pretty fit." MacDonnell also opted for the lay off because, if she stays happy and healthy, Teddys Littleangel is looking at an action-packed schedule at Woodbine Mohawk Park over the coming weeks. The Simcoe Stakes goes postward on Sept. 6, followed by the Elegantimage on Sept. 14. The last Gold Series event is slated for Sept. 26 and the top 10 point earners from the five regular season events will compete in the Super Final on Oct. 12. With Tuesday's win Teddys Littleangel has 158 points and currently shares top spot in the Gold Series division standings with Bright Eyes M. Last year's Gold Series champion HP Titania Runner scored her second win of the season in the other $106,400 division on Tuesday. Starting from Post 6, driver Louis-Philippe Roy eased HP Titania Runner away from the starting gate and settled in sixth as Mattys Smilin reached the opening quarter in :28. Mattys Smilin handed off to Champagne Jane before the :56.3 half and Roy sent HP Titania Runner up the outer lane, beginning their advance on the leaders. Fan favourite Haveoneforme circled from third to first heading by the 1:26 three-quarters and Roy hit the accelerator on HP Titania Runner. Coming off the final turn Haveoneforme and HP Titania Runner were bridle-to-bridle, but HP Titania Runner pulled away in the stretch to a one-half length victory in 1:55.3. Haveoneforme settled for second and Angies Luckeylady closed well to be third. "I think she's coming back to what she was last year. Her last few starts were good and tonight she raced large," said Guelph, ON resident Roy. "Credit to her and the team that's working with her every day." Roy drove the E L Titan filly to the win for trainer Raphael Bourassa of Fergus, ON and owner-breeders Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, QC. Georgian Downs wraps up its 2019 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule this Sunday, Aug. 18 with the fourth Gold Series Leg for the three-year-old pacing colts. The colts will be part of the Family Day program, which is highlighted by the annual Hon. Earl Rowe Trot. Post time for Sunday's card is 6 pm. Complete results from Tuesday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0813geodfn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

INNISFIL, JULY 23, 2019 - Ontario's top two-year-old trotting colts made their second Gold Series start at Georgian Downs on Tuesday evening and the top two colts from the first leg swapped places in both harness racing divisions. In the first $105,600 division Hetalkstoangels hustled away from the starting gate and led the field of seven trotters to a :28 opening quarter. Favourite Port Perry led the parade up the outer lane heading for the :58.2 half, followed closely by second choice Blue Cupertino. By the 1:27.4 three-quarters the favourites had advanced to within a length of Hetalkstoangels and as the colts turned for home it was clear the pacesetter would not hold off the challengers. Port Perry turned for home with an advantage, but Blue Cupertino trotted hard down the stretch and caught the favourite at the wire, getting a head in front for the 1:57.1 victory. The result was the reverse of the July 4 opening leg, where Port Perry hit the wire first and Blue Cupertino was second. Scamp, who was fifth in the season opener, improved to third. "He's a nice little trotter. He's been a nice horse all winter," said trainer Gregg McNair of Blue Cupertino. "We had the sister (Pink Dandelions) to him last year. I probably wouldn't have bought this one without knowing a little bit about the family, that's why we took a shot at this one." Doug McNair of Guelph drove Blue Cupertino to the win for his father and the elder McNair's partners, McKinlay & Fielding of Toronto, ON and breeder Crawford Farms Racing of Syracuse, NY. The trip was ideal for the son of Kadabra and Rise N Shine, who needs a cautious hand on the lines. "You've got to watch him. He wears trotting hopples, they're on him for a reason," said the trainer. "He can go though, he just, he's a little lazy and then he's got to know you're wanting to ask him to go before you ask. If you just tap him or something he's apt to fly out of gear on you." A $20,000 purchase out of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Tuesday's win pushed Blue Cupertino's early season earnings to $79,800. "I've had a few horses with Jim (Fielding) before and not much luck, so I'm kind of glad we got a little luck with this guy - a little luck, lots of luck," added Guelph, ON resident McNair. "They're hard to get, the Gold wins, they're real hard to get. It's a good feeling when it happens." The second $106,400 division saw driver Scott Young hustle Crossfit Mouse away from Post 2 and carve out fractions of :29.4, :59.3 and 1:29 on the way to a 1:57.2 victory. Fan favourite Threefiftytwo mounted a late charge, but could not reel in the pacesetter, finishing one length back in second. Horse Trader was two more lengths behind in third. In the season opener both Crossfit Mouse and Threefiftytwo laid down impressive last quarters, with Threefiftytwo prevailing by a head. Horse Trader started his Ontario Sires Stakes career with a win in the Grassroots opener at Georgian Downs on July 7. Guelph resident Young drove Crossfit Mouse for trainer Luc Blais of Campbellville, ON and owner Determination of Montreal, QC, who acquired the Muscle Mass colt after the first Gold event. Blais and Determination also acquired Threefiftytwo following the Gold Series season opener, and purchased Port Perry for $85,000 out of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale last fall, giving them a powerful entry in the freshman trotting colt division this summer. "A little bit nervous you know, with a new horse, but they raced super good," said Blais of Crossfit Mouse and Threefiftytwo. "I think they're going to be two nice horses too. They showed the first start at Mohawk that they were nice horses, but that was the first time they race for us and everything turned out good. "They're all different, three horses, all different," Blais added. "Port Perry is a big horse, strong, tall. Crossfit is more stocky and low gait, and the other one looks like an athlete, Threefiftytwo. They're all different." Crossfit Mouse's victory was Young's first in Gold Series action and the 27-year-old driver was grateful to Blais and Determination principal Serge Godin for giving him the opportunity. "He's a complete professional and a beautiful colt. I was very fortunate to drive a colt like this, I'm grateful to Luc and the owner for the opportunity," said Young. "I grew up wanting to win stake races some day and to win a Gold is fantastic and completely rewarding, a dream come true." The Blais trio and their freshman trotting colt peers will make their third Gold Series start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 8. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Georgian Downs on Tuesday, August 13 with the fourth Gold Series Leg for the three-year-old trotting fillies. Complete results for Tuesday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0723geodfn.dat.   OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com   OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing Woodbine Mohawk Park www.ontarioracing.com

INNISFIL, JULY 16, 2019 - Thirty-nine of Ontario's talented three-year-old trotting fillies took a star turn at Georgian Downs on Tuesday evening, highlighting a harness racing card that was dedicated to fillies and mares. In the first $23,500 Grassroots division fans sent Halo Its Me off as their top choice and the Archangel daughter did not disappoint. In rein to Robert Shepherd the filly got away fifth from Post 2, watching as Blue Magic and Checkmate Titan battled through the :27.4 quarter and :56.4 half. Heading for the 1:25.4 three-quarters Shepherd sent Halo Its Me after embattled pacesetter Blue Magic and the favourite cruised down the stretch to a two length victory in 1:56.3. Blue Magic stayed game for second and Petro Hall was third. It was the third win of the season, and the first in Ontario Sires Stakes action, for Halo Its Me, who is trained by Connie Chisholm. Brighton residents Connie and David Chisholm also bred and own the filly, who lowered her personal best by three seconds and boosted her lifetime earnings to $28,045 with the win. The second split saw Splurge On Me capture her sixth straight win with a front-end effort for local reinsman Stephen Byron of Thornton. The fan favourites took command just after the :27.4 quarter and cruised through fractions of :58.1 and 1:27.2 on their way to the 1:56.3 victory. Champagne Jane trotted into second and P L Molly rounded out the top three. Splurge On Me has not been defeated since a third-place result in the June 4 Grassroots season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Kadabra daughter won her second Grassroots start at Dresden Raceway on July 1 and has captured four overnight events at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the last five weeks. Hall of Fame horseman Bob McIntosh trains the winner of $90,612 and the Windsor, ON resident also bred and owns the filly in partnership with C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. Scott Young drove both Blue Magic and Champagne Jane to their runner-up results in the first two divisions, but the reinsman found the winner's circle in the third. Starting from Post 1 with Absynthe Hanover, Young settled the fan favourite in third early as Magically Hip rang up fractions of :28 and :57.3 then went after the pacesetter heading for the 1:26.3 three-quarters. Absynthe Hanover easily gained control and sailed down the stretch to a three length victory in 1:56.4. Mattys Smilin finished second and Byron and Royal Rhythm closed well to claim third. "She raced great. She's been very good to me, winning the City of London and now a Grassroots," said Young of Absynthe Hanover. "I was very happy with her tonight." Young steers the Kadabra daughter for trainer Luc Blais of Campbellville, ON and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. In addition to the May 31 City of London Final at The Raceway at Western Fair District and Tuesday's Grassroots division, the pair also has a trio of overnight wins to their credit. Young doubled his on-the-board finishes in Ontario Sires Stakes action with Tuesday's results and was grateful to trainers Blais, Susanne Kerwood and Shane Weber for the opportunity to add to his provincial point tally. "It was an excellent night for sure," said the reinsman. "Very thankful for the opportunity from the trainers to be able to drive some nice fillies." The last Grassroots division saw Order Mattie go gate-to-wire from Post 6, holding off a hard-closing Madam Shazam for a one-half length victory in 1:59.1. Victoriahasasecret completed the top three. Bowmanville resident Doug Brown drives and trains Order Mattie for Todd Coleman of Paris, ON and Jackson Wittup of Calgary, AB. Tuesday's win was the Angus Hall daughter's third of the season and her first of the sophomore Grassroots campaign. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their fourth Grassroots start at Clinton Raceway on August 11. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Georgian Downs next Tuesday, July 23 with the second Gold event for the two-year-old trotting colts. Complete results for Tuesday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0716geodfn.dat.   OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com   OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing Woodbine Mohawk Park www.ontarioracing.com

INNISFIL, JULY 7, 2019 - Twenty-eight freshman harness racing trotting colts invaded Georgian Downs on Sunday night as the Innisfil oval played host to the first Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots event of their season. Coming into the event off a June 28 win in qualifying action, fans sent Horse Trader off as one of the favourites and the young trotter did not let them down. After starting from Post 6, Horse Trader sat second last through much of the mile as Enduring Strength rang up fractions of :29.2, :59.3 and 1:29.1. Coming off the final turn trainer-driver Paul Walker sent Horse Trader out three-wide, and when the colt squared up in the stretch he shifted into high gear and sprinted by the field to a one and one-quarter length victory in 2:00.1. Lifeisgood Hanover also closed well to be second, leaving pacesetter Enduring Strength to settle for third. "We were wondering at the three-quarter pole if he was going to be able to do a lot, but he trotted home like a champion," said Dr. David Grant, whose Oaklea Farm Inc. bred and owns the son of Wheeling N Dealin and Oaklea Wand. "He was down in Georgia and Paul did tell me that he had a big motor right away, but I've learned not to get too excited," said Grant. "And he's a late May colt so I thought that if we could race him a bit at two that would be great." Horse Trader also used a late kick to win his qualifier at Woodbine Mohawk Park by three-quarters of a length in 2:01.4. With that effort and Sunday's Grassroots win under his belt, the colt looks poised to exceed Grant's modest expectations. "He just loves to be on the track. I've never actually had a horse that was so much like that," said the Simcoe, ON resident. "His barn manners aren't maybe the best, he's a bit of a twerp, but as soon as he gets on the track he's perfect. We're very lucky to have a colt like that." The second $23,150 division went to local colt Aussie Lover, who left smartly from Post 7, took command heading for the half and went on to a one length victory in 2:01.4. Remember Titan closed well to be second and pocket-sitter Lexus Markus completed the top three. Thornton, ON resident Stephen Byron drove Aussie Lover to the win for owner-trainer Gino Cicero of Melancthon, ON. Byron also piloted the Angus Hall colt in his first lifetime start, a fifth-place finish in a June 30 two-year-old race at Georgian Downs, and said that outing helped Cicero prep Aussie Lover for his Grassroots debut. "I thought last week there he raced good, but I didn't think he was getting a hold of the track, so they changed a few things on him and it turned out to work, so that was good," said Byron. "He raced well. He's going to be a steady horse, he might not be the fastest, but I think he'll be a steady horse," the driver added. JCs Royal Tease rounded out the Grassroots winners with a 2:02.3 effort in the last $23,500 division. Like Aussie Lover, the Royalty For Life colt left sharply from Post 6 and led the field to a :30.1 quarter. Driver Trevor Henry and JCs Royal Tease then watched from the pocket as Fit Bit and Tuscan Titan battled for control through the 1:01.2 half and 1:32.1 three-quarters. In the stretch Henry sent JCs Royal Tease after the leaders and the colt powered home to a one and one-half length win in 2:02.3. Fit Bit and Tuscan Titan settled for second and third. "He should make a nice horse," said Arthur, ON resident Henry, who leases the colt in partnership with his wife, trainer Shannon Henry. "He has a few driving issues, but can go fast for a piece." JCs Royal Tease also qualified at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 28, finishing third, 12 lengths behind Horse Trader. The pair may meet up again when the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings head to Kawartha Downs for the second Grassroots event of their season on July 20. The Ontario Sires Stakes will be back at Georgian Downs next Sunday, July 14 with the first Grassroots event for the two-year-old trotting fillies. Post time for Sunday's program is 6 pm. Complete results from Sunday's Grassroots event are available here. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

INNISFIL, JULY 5, 2019 - Georgian Downs kicks off its 2019 Ontario Sires Stakes this Sunday, July 7, hosting the Grassroots debut of the harness racing two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. The trotters will battle in three Grassroots divisions, worth a total of $69,800, and local reinsman Stephen Byron will steer a colt in each split. The Thornton resident will guide Awsomedabra from Post 4 in the first division, Aussie Lover from Post 7 in the second and Dimante Vic from Post 2 in the third. "Everybody is just learning and green, but they qualified well by their lines so that's kind of good," said Byron of his novice mounts. Awsomedabra, a Kadabra colt owned by trainer Gary Lance of Port Perry, heads into Sunday's test off a pair of steady qualifiers at Woodbine Mohawk Park and while Sunday will be Byron's first opportunity to drive the colt he has seen him in action on several occasions. "He's had him over Georgian training and I've seen him go. He's not a bad looking horse," said Byron of Awsomedabra, who was a $45,000 purchase at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. "I kind of think they're quite high on him, they like him. "The other horse I am driving of Gino Cicero's, that Aussie Lover, he's been over here and I've schooled him a few times and then he raced here last week which will sure help his chances I think, just because he's used to the place," Byron added. Melancthon resident Cicero owns and trains Angus Hall colt Aussie Lover, who was a $20,000 acquisition from the London Selected Yearling Sale. The colt finished fifth in his June 30 racing debut at Georgian Downs, trotting his own mile in 2:04.3. Aussie Lover also has a third-place finish in a June 22 qualifier at Woodbine Mohawk Park under his belt. Like Byron's other two mounts, Dimante Vic has been behind the starting gate twice, qualifying at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 28 and July 2 for trainer John Bax of Campbellville and breeder Dave Hudson of Dallas, Texas. "They say he's good and steady too. I think he's hoping that he progresses in the speed department, but they say he just trots all the time," said Byron of the Muscle Mass colt. Byron, who currently sits eleventh in the Ontario Sires Stakes driver's standings, will appear in six of the 10 races on Sunday's program, steering five trotters and two pacers. "I've always enjoyed the trotters for some reason," said the horseman. "A good pacer is a nice thing to have too, but a good trotter is a nice animal, that's for sure." Sunday's program gets under way at 6 pm and the freshman trotting colts will make their provincial debuts in Races 5, 7 and 9. Complete entries for the event can be found here. In addition to Sunday's season opener, Georgian Downs will host two additional Grassroots events this summer, along with three Gold Series legs. A complete schedule is below and can also be found here. Ontario Racing Georgian Downs Race Date Post Time Age/Sex/Gait Race Type           Sunday, July 7 6:00 pm 2-year-old Colt Trot Grassroots Series           Sunday, July 14 6:00 pm 2-year-old Filly Trot Grassroots Series           Tuesday, July 16 7:15 pm 3-year-old Filly Trot Grassroots Series           Tuesday, July 23 7:15 pm 2-year-old Colt Trot Gold Leg           Tuesday, August 13 7:15 pm 3-year-old Filly Trot Gold Leg           Sunday, August 18 6:00 pm 3-year-old Colt Pace Gold Leg                                

January 29, 2019 - A group of Ontario's signature race tracks - Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, Grand River Raceway and The Raceway at Western Fair District - have jointly announced a new ownership integrity stakes condition which will take effect on February 15, 2019 and will apply to some of the province's most high profile races. Those races include the Confederation Cup, Earl Rowe Memorial, Battle of Waterloo, Battle of the Belles and Camluck Classic, all administered by the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) which implemented a similar stakes condition on January 1st of this year. The new stakes condition, which has received the approval of both the AGCO and COSA, is listed below in its entirety: The Tracks Any owner who participates in an added money or invitational event with a purse greater than $50,000 and administered by Woodbine Entertainment Group on behalf of Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, The Raceway at Western Fair District, and/or Grand River Raceway with a trainer who has an outstanding Class 1, Class 2 or TC02 positive test under appeal in any jurisdiction, shall be ineligible to participate as an owner in any of the below added money or invitational events for 12 months following the trainer's conviction, if such trainer is later found guilty relating to the Class 1, Class 2 or TC02 positive test. (The above condition is only applicable to a positive test occurring on or after February 15, 2019.) The Races Confederation Cup conducted at Flamboro Downs Earl Rowe conducted at Georgian Downs Camluck Classic conducted at the Raceway at Western Fair District Battle of Waterloo conducted at Grand River Raceway Battle of the Belles conducted at Grand River Raceway by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment          

AUGUST 19, 2018 - Write Me A Song took control of the three-year-old pacing filly Gold division with a track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record performance at Georgian Downs on Sunday evening. In rein to Paul MacDonell, Write Me A Song sprinted away from Post 2 to a :26.3 opening quarter and never relinquished control. Through a :55.1 half and 1:22.2 and three-quarters the Sportswriter daughter was completely in command and she had enough in reserve to hold off a late sprint from Quints Dream and secure the neck victory in 1:51. Stablemate Neon Moon shadowed Write Me A Song from start to finish and took the third-place share of the $125,000 purse. "Everything went pretty well," said Jack Darling, who owns and trains both Write Me A Song and Neon Moon. "It was just one of those races that was, you know the big field, and you had to take advantage of the post position and just give her a chance. She was very sharp going in, both her and Neon Moon, they were just as sharp as they can be going in. "And she's got to be, because there are just some tremendous fillies in there, very tough," the Cambridge resident added. The 1:51 clocking took one-fifth of a second off the track and Ontario Sires Stakes record set by Village Janus in a July 2011 Gold Elimination. The Canadian record had been shared by Village Janus and Michelles Power, who logged her 1:51.1 effort over Rideau Carleton Raceway's five-eighths mile oval in an August 2007 Gold Final. "I didn't know what the track record was, but it doesn't surprise me that she went in 1:51," said Darling. "Like I said, it's a tremendous group of fillies, I knew they'd go fast and I knew she was sharp, I was just hoping she could get the job done." The only three-year-old pacing filly with two Gold Series wins to her credit, Write Me A Song finished second in the May 26 season opener at The Raceway at Western Fair District, third at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 23 and was victorious at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 20, giving her a total of 137 points. Shower Play, who finished fourth in Sunday's test, is 54 points back in second. Sunday's victory was Write Me A Song's fourth straight. Between the June 23 and July 20 Gold Legs she swept her elimination and the final of the Kin Pace, lowering the track record to 1:54.3 in the July 8 final. Darling opted not to race Write Me A Song between her July 20 win and Sunday's Gold Leg, instead sending her out in an August 10 qualifier at Woodbine Mohawk Park which she won in 1:51.3. The horseman may follow a similar strategy heading into the fifth and final Gold Leg, scheduled for September 25 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "I'm going to be really easy on her. I didn't race her between her last start and this one, I just wanted to kind of keep her fresh and happy and hoping for a big effort. She's got to race so tough. Whatever class she races in at WEG it's so tough, you've just got to be a little bit careful and just kind of pick your spots and manage her a little bit," noted the horseman. "I'll have to give her at least one more start before the next one (Gold). She's not eligible to the Simcoe, so I've got no other stakes for her." Sunday was Neon Moon's first Gold Series start of the season. Competing at the Grassroots level the filly, also a daughter of Sportswriter, had finished third in the first two events of the season and then delivered a track record 1:52.4 effort at Grand River Raceway in the August 6 event. With 74 points she currently sits seventh in the Grassroots standings, while the 12 points she earned in Sunday's Gold Leg put her in a tie for eleventh in the Gold standings. The top 20 point earners advance to the Grassroots Semi-Final, while the top 10 move on to the Gold Series Super Final. "I'll take a look at the situation later on. I guess I've got options, just the fact that I've got Write Me A Song in there makes me think I should probably go Grassroots with Neon Moon, but I don't know," said Darling. "I'll play it by ear, week-by-week." The three-year-old pacing fillies wrap up their Grassroots campaign at Flamboro Downs on September 4, with the Semi-Final on September 21 and the Championship on September 29, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The fillies served as the warm-up act to Georgian Downs signature race, the $75,000 Earl Rowe Invitation Trot, and Dancer Hall got a confident front-end steer from Sylvain Filion to capture the 2018 title. The Deweycheatumnhowe four-year-old trotted under the wire in 1:52.2, four and three-quarter lengths ahead of B Yoyo and Catch The Dream. Paul Reid trains Dancer Hall for 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

AUGUST 14, 2018 - Ontario's talented two-year-old pacing colts and geldings put on a show for Georgian Downs fans on Tuesday night, competing in six Grassroots divisions. Classified Material and driver Chris Christoforou, Jr. led off with a sharp 1:52.3 score from Post 9 in the first $19,500 division, missing the track record by one-fifth of a second. Controlling the tempo from start to finish, the Bettors Delight son hit the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Century Farroh. Fan favourite Machdavid was well back in third. Windsor resident Bob McIntosh trains Classified Material and the Hall of Fame horseman also bred and shares ownership of the gelding with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ontario and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio. The win was Classified Material's third of the season, but his first in Grassroots action. The second division also saw Maintenance Man and driver Brett MacDonald employ front-end tactics from Post 5. The fan favourites battled down the stretch to a 1:54.2 victory, three-quarters of a length ahead of Face The Challenge and Taragon. Harry Poulton trains the son of Bettors Delight for fractional ownership group Thestable Maintenance Man of Guelph, Ontario. The win was the colt's second straight at Georgian Downs. He also posted a 1:53.1 personal best in an August 5 overnight event. Tuesday's test was the pacer's first appearance in the Grassroots program after starting his season with a win and a ninth in the Gold Series. "He had a decent start to the year in the Gold Series, but came up sick in his July 23 outing," said Anthony MacDonald, who operates TheStable.ca with his wife Amy. "We opted to skip the Battle of Waterloo (Aug. 6) and stay off the half-mile tracks as he's a big colt, so tonight's race was the most logical. He raced well in Georgian last week and we couldn't be happier with how he looked tonight. "With over 20 owners, he was one of our most popular colts training down," added MacDonald, who purchased the colt for $35,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Through five starts Maintenance Man has now earned $22,280. The third division saw Bob McClure steer The First Step to his second straight victory in a personal best 1:55. The Betterthancheddar son hit the wire one length ahead of DA Delightful and favourite Thisishowwedoit. McClure engineered the victory for trainer Timothy Gillespie of Grafton and his partner Jason Churchill of Colborne, Ontario. The partners acquired The First Step from the London Selected Sale and have already recouped his $18,000 purchase price after four starts. Like Maintenance Man, Heisman Player dropped down from the Gold Series for Tuesday night's test and found his way to the winner's circle for the second straight week. The Sportswriter son and trainer-driver Rick Zeron employed a come-from-behind strategy from Post 9, pacing under the wire in 1:53.4. Deception Seelster was one-half length back in second and Silas Seelster was two more lengths back in third. "He was a little bit rammy when I first started out with him this year and we got into some trouble in the first race so we took a few steps back with him, figured everything all out, and then we raced him and he raced really good," said Zeron. "He come back and win last week (Aug. 7) in 1:53.1, and he got home in :26.4, and I was really happy with him. "Instead of taking him over to Grand River, because he's a big, long-gaited colt, I said I think I'll skip the Gold (Aug. 15) and I'll go to the Grassroots with him up in Georgian at a five-eighths and race him in there, keep him brave and get him a little bit more education," the Oakville resident continued. "Of course we drew the nine-hole, which was out nine-wide, so I floated out of there with him, got him spotted and I come third-over with him. At the head of the lane I had some room and I moved him over. He did the rest on his own." Zeron shares ownership of the $30,000 Lexington yearling purchase with Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, James Walker of Port Perry and Noblock Racing Stable of Collingwood, Ontario. The colt has banked $16,750 in his first four starts. The last two divisions were captured by colts making their first-ever appearance in the winner's circle. In the fifth split Scott Young guided Ahi to a 1:55 victory for trainer Mark Steacy and owner-breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Quebec. Passionate Prince also closed well to be second and fan favourite Village Champ rounded out the top three. "He's a nice little horse that is improving with every start," noted Steacy. "Like his half-brothers Makasi ($181,276) and Hudson Phil ($210,332), he always gives his best." In his first two Grassroots starts the Sportswriter son finished sixth (July 13) and fifth (July 23). The final Grassroots blanket was awarded to Wager On Me, who sprinted home in :27.2 to catch pacesetter and fan favourite B Stoney. B Stoney and driver Jason Ryan hit the wire one-half length ahead of the favourite in 1:54.1, with Millenium Seelster grabbing the third-place share. Rockwood resident Carl Jamieson owns and trains Wager On Me, who was a $23,000 purchase out of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The Bettors Delight son made one start in the Gold Series before moving to the Grassroots in time for the July 23 event, where he was a narrowly beaten third. The two-year-old pacing colts and geldings will make their fourth Grassroots start at Hanover Raceway on August 25. Georgian Downs wraps up its 2018 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule this Sunday, August 19 when the three-year-old pacing fillies will compete in their fourth Gold Leg as part of the Earl Rowe Trot program. In addition to the on-track excitement, which gets under way at 6 pm, the evening will also feature a fun-filled lineup of activities for the whole family. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

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