JUNE 13, 2015 - Last season's harness racing Grassroots champion Stonebridge Quest took a direct route back to the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle in the three-year-old pacing filly season opener at Georgian Downs on Saturday evening. Starting from Post 1 in the second $18,000 Grassroots division, Stonebridge Quest and driver Nick Steward took immediate command and reached the first quarter in :26.4. From there the Camluck daughter rolled to a :57 half, and a 1:25 three-quarters before cruising home to a two and three-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:53. Windsun Chanel and fan favourite Cottonwood Creek rounded out the top three. "She started off the season relatively slow, but she seems to have resumed her form," said trainer Andrew McCabe after the race. "It maybe just took a few starts to get her condition back." McCabe conditions Stonebridge Quest for Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Guelph-Eramosa, ON and breeder Angie Stiller of Arva, ON. Out of Stiller's prolific mare Glacier Express, Stonebridge Quest is a full-sister to $801,785 winner Stonebridge Tonic, $530,665 winner Stonebridge On Ice, and $122,923 winner Stonebridge Breeze. "She's following in the footsteps of a great family," noted McCabe. "If she can be half as successful as they were/are, we'll be ecstatic." The Rockwood, ON resident added that Stonebridge Quest's victory is a team effort that includes Glenview Livestock manager Shaun McDonald and the filly's caretaker Lacey Lamoureux. Through four starts this season Stonebridge Quest has now tallied one win, one second and one third for earnings of $16,650. Last year's Super Final winner also made her sophomore Ontario Sires Stakes debut at Georgian Downs on Saturday. Code One Hanover and driver Mike Saftic led from start to finish in the third division, holding off Warrawee Qually in the stretch to secure the 1:52.3 victory. Machmeter finished third. Cambridge, ON resident Jack Darling owns and trains Code One Hanover, who had also failed to find the winner's circle in her first four starts this season. The Sportswriter daughter captured one Gold Leg and the Super Final at two, banking $182,325. Saturday's Grassroots victory bumped Code One Hanover's lifetime earnings to $199,975. Promesse Duharas wove through traffic in the stretch to grab the evening's first Grassroots trophy for driver-trainer Stuart Sowerby of Guelph, ON. The Art Colony daughter reeled in Black Queen and Wicked Speed to claim the one length victory in a personal best 1:55.1. Saturday's appearance was Promesse Duharas' first in Ontario Sires Stakes action and her eighth lifetime start. Since her March debut the filly boasts a record of four wins and two seconds, banking $21,175 for owner-breeder Haras De L'Estrie Inc. of Dunham, QC. Twin B Honour captured the fourth division, holding off Amazing Control and OK Heavenly for a neck victory in 1:53.3. Alfie Carroll guided the Sportswriter daughter to her first sophomore victory for trainer Victor Puddy and owner Percy Elkins of Milton, ON. Elkins now has three Grassroots trophies on his mantel courtesy of Twin B Honour, who was a two-time winner last season. OK Heartbeat got a neck in front of pacesetter Southwind Luna to earn her first lifetime victory in the fifth Grassroots division. Clarke Steacy drove the Mach Three daughter to the 1:54 victory for his father, trainer Mark Steacy, and owners Oak Knoll Stables of Campbellcroft, ON, Higgs Boys Stable of Gananoque, ON, Conrad Leber of Montreal, QC and Wheelhouse Racing Stable of Mississauga, ON. Southwind Geisha rounded out the top three. The final Grassroots trophy went home with Southwind Mischief, who stalked pacesetter Franney Love Dat for much of the mile, pulling away in the stretch to a three length victory in 1:54.2. Sassafras Girl closed well to be third. A Gold Leg winner at two, Southwind Mischief was piloted to her first win of 2015 by Robert Shepherd. The Sportswriter daughter is trained by Casie Coleman for her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, ON, breeder Southwind Farms LLC of Pennington, NJ and Adriano Sorella of Milton, ON. The three-year-old pacing fillies make their second Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack on July 24. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Georgian Downs on Saturday, July 4 with the third Grassroots event of the season for the three-year-old pacing colts. Ontario Horse Racing 90 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M2N 0A4 416-213-1800 www.ontariohorseracing.ca
TORONTO, June 1 - The Standardbred Alliance today announced a rotating Jackpot Hi-5 wager to be held between the harness racing tracks Grand River Raceway and Georgian Downs. Beginning with Grand River's opening card this evening (June 1), a Jackpot Hi-5 wager will be offered on the final race of the night. If there are multiple winning tickets, half of the pool will be carried over to the Jackpot Hi-5 wager on the final race Tuesday night at Georgian Downs. The Jackpot Hi-5 carryover will then alternate between both tracks until a single-winning ticket correctly hits the Jackpot Hi-5 or a mandatory payout evening is announced. The Jackpot Hi-5 wager has rapidly grown in popularity throughout the Ontario racing scene since being added to the Woodbine Entertainment Group wagering menu in October of 2013. The Jackpot Hi-5 wager requires a horseplayer to correctly select the top-five finishers in order. If there are multiple winning tickets, 50% of that evening's pool is split among the winning tickets, while the other half is carried over to the following card. In order to take home the entire Jackpot, there must be only a single-winning ticket to correctly select the top-five finishers in order. A special mandatory payout night can be announced, in which the entire carryover is split among the evening's winning tickets. The mandatory Jackpot Hi-5 payout night has been responsible for several of the largest handles in the history of Standardbred racing at the Woodbine Entertainment Group. Most recently, a mandatory payout on a Jackpot Hi-5 carryover of $847,000 led to a record $2.5 million in new money being wagered into the pool on Saturday, April 4 at Woodbine. Following takeout, more than $3 million was paid out to horseplayers. The new rotating Jackpot Hi-5 at Grand River Raceway and Georgian Downs will offer a $0.20 minimum wager and a takeout of 15 per cent. The wager will be offered on each night of live racing at both tracks. Grand River Raceway will offer live racing every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until the end of September. Live racing will be conducted at Georgian Downs every Sunday, Tuesday and Saturday until the end of August. Post time for each card of live racing at Grand River Raceway is 6:30 p.m., while post time at Georgian Downs is 6 p.m. on Sundays and 7:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications/Standardbred Alliance
The Innisfil, ON track will offer 39 live harness racing cards this summer through Aug. 30, including the Honourable Earl Rowe Memorial Trot on Aug. 29. Georgian Downs in Innisfil, ON will open its 15th season on Tuesday and will feature 39 cards of live harness racing through Aug. 30. Racing will be conducted every Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday with 6 p.m. first-race post times on Sundays and a 7:15 p.m. starting post the other two nights. Tuesday’s opening night card is a bit of a soft opening, with the five-eighths mile track offering its Welcome Back Day promotion on Saturday (June 6). Patrons that purchase a program will receive ballots for draws for both a mini beer fridge or for a chance to take a turn in the track’s money machine. There will also be HPI giveaways and $1 hot dogs and $1 pop. July 18 will be Georgian Downs’ Horse Festival & BBQ. The First Bet is On Us team will be on hand, as will a live country band on the patio. The track will feature a mini horse race, a carded Racing Under Saddle event and a kids’ zone offering ice cream for a minimal donation to Habitat for Humanity. The charity will also receive the proceeds of a 50/50 draw conducted that night. Georgian’s signature event, The Honourable Earl Rowe Memorial Trot will be held on Aug. 29 as part of the track’s Customer Appreciation Night. Apart from free cupcakes (while supplies last), $1 hot dogs and $1 pop, the track will draw for patrons to take a turn in the money machine. For more information, check out Georgian Downs’ OHR page or the track’s website: www.georgiandowns.com For more information please contact: Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Horse Racing
Three-year-old pacers Lyons Likethewind and filly Kyles Secret took new lifetime marks with a pair of victories in their respective Innisfil Summer Claiming Series finals on Saturday night at Georgian Downs. With Tyler Moore catch-driving for trainer Richard Moreau, 13-1 longshot Lyons Likethewind advanced first over from the third to take over the lead approaching the third quarter mark and held off the rallying Lucky Shot (Scott Coulter) to win the $22,400 final for horses and geldings in 1:56.1 by three-quarters of a length. Roan Bruiser (Bob McClure) finished four lengths behind in third. The Camluck-Windwatch gelding is owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Brantford, Ont. He earned just his second win in 10 starts this season and fourth lifetime, boosting his bankroll to $28,350. Lyons Likethewind returned $29.60 to his backers at the betting windows. To view the rest of this story click here.
If jogging a racehorse is one of the items left on your bucket list, then here's your chance to cross it off your list. The Hands On Horses Program will be making stops at four racetracks across the province this weekend offering free rides to harness racing fans. Grand River Raceway will offer its fans the chance to climb aboard the double-seated jogger Friday, August 29, and then the Wanna Drive crew will ship to Georgian Downs to offer fans the same opportunity on Saturday, August 30. The next stopp will be Clinton Raceway, which will wrap up its 2014 season Sunday, August 31 with a fun-filled matinee card of racing. Dresden Raceway will also finish its 2014 season in style, as the Wanna Drive event will be among the events offered on the matinee program on Monday, September 1. Be sure to arrive early, as the Wanna Drive events are offered on a first come first served basis. Here are the post times for each of the events: Friday, August 29 - Grand River Raceway - 6:30 p.m. Saturday, August 30 - Georgian Downs - 7:15 p.m. Sunday, August 31 - Clinton Raceway - 1:30 p.m. Monday, September 1 - Dresden Raceway - 1:00 p.m. For more information, visit HandsOnHorsesProgram.com. Follow us on Twitter @HandsOnHorses by Stacey Reinsma, for Hands On Horses Program
The roar of a neighing horse is probably the last thing you'd expect to hear in the parking lot of a retirement community, but it didn't apply to The Village of Riverside Glen this past Monday morning. The retirement community in Guelph was paid a special visit by the Hands On Horses Program, which included the retired racehorse, 'Harry'. 'Harry', as always, loved the attention just as much as the residents loved the chance to meet the accomplished racehorse. 'Harry', whose real name is Killean Sweep, was a 23-time winner during a career that saw him rack up purse earnings in excess of $210,000. Local radio station CFRU 93.3 (cfru.ca) interviewed residents and collected their 'horse stories' from years gone by. 'Harry', who didn't want to miss his chance to be on air, put in his two cents worth with a neigh here and there, as well. The broadcast is scheduled to air Monday, September 1, 2014. Be sure to come visit us at any of our upcoming events this weekend Friday, August 29 - Grand River Raceway (Elora) Saturday, August 30 -Georgian Downs (Barrie) Sunday, August 31 - Clinton Raceway (Clinton) Monday, September 1 - Dresden Raceway (Dresden) For more information visit our website (http://handsonhorsesprogram.com/wp/) and for photos from the event visit our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.759776420750406.1073741854.127947220599999&type=1) by Stacey Reinsma for Hands On Horses Program
Eight $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots contests for two-year-old colt and gelding pacers were staged on Sunday night (August 24) at Georgian Downs, and the last of those eight splits saw a new track record of 1:52.2 turned in by Seaforth. Driven by Mike Saftic, Seaforth was up to grab the lead away from Pan Street USA (Randy Waples) after the :27.2 opening quarter. From there, Seaforth hit the half in :56 and the three-quarters in 1:23.4 before he paced a final quarter in :28.3 to seal the win and the record. Pan Street USA held second, beaten just over a length by the winner, and Rightinthekisser (Doug McNair) finished third. The clocking lowered the previous rookie gelding pace record of 1:53.1 set earlier this year by Southwind Indy, and also is better than Sportskeeper’s colt record of 1:52.3 by a fifth of a second. Eric Adams trains Seaforth, a No Pan Intended gelding, for owner/breeder Millar Farms of Newmarket, Ont. This was Seaforth’s second win from six starts and he has now earned $38,260. He’s the first foal out of the Western Hanover mare Chocolate Truffle, a half-sister to five six-figure earners, including multi-time Grassroots winner Rare Copy (Grinfromeartoear, $158,213). Driver Paul MacDonell also enjoyed a fine trip to Georgian Downs as he racked up three Grassroots wins, including a pair for trainer Jack Darling. Darling and MacDonell connected for the first time in the sixth flight withMoonwards Hanover (1:54) and then came right back in the next dash with York Seelster (1:54). MacDonell also prevailed in the fifth division with Pair Of Deuces (1:54.1). Darling’s stable of Cambridge, Ont. owns both Moonwards Hanover, a son of Sportswriter, and York Seelster, a Mach Three gelding. Darling purchased Moonwards Hanover, who broke his maiden in his fourth try and pushed his bankroll to $21,500, for $35,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. The Hanover Shoe Farms Inc.-bred is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Mouse Hanover, a half-sister to the likes of Mt Vernon Hanover (Rustler Hanover, $623,067), a two-time OSS winner. York Seelster, bred by Seelster Farms Inc. and sold for $55,000 at the 2013 Forest City Yearling Sale, is now one-for-five in the win column to go with earnings of $24,900. The fourth foal out of the Artsplace mare Yankee Athena, York Seelster is a half-brother to Yoselin Seelster (Shadow Play, $109,432), an OSS Gold winner last season for two-year-old pacing fillies. Richard “Nifty” Norman trains Pair Of Deuces, MacDonell’s other winner, for owner/breeder Pinske Stables of Plato, Minnesota. The Badlands Hanover colt is now a two-time winner from five trips behind the gate and he has stashed away $19,500. He’s the first foal out of the Pinske’s Dragon Again mare Pacific Dragonette, a sister to horses like Doubleshotascotch ($683,773). In other action Jeb (Phil Hudon, 1:54.3) and Thinkofagameplan (Randy Waples, 1:54.2) both posted their second victories in Grassroots competition this season. Jeb, a colt by Camluck, is trained by James “Friday” Dean for owners Wilma and James MacKenzie of Ennismore, Ont. Jeb, who has banked $26,160 to go with his pair of wins, was bred by Seawind Amg Stbs 2005 Inc. and was taken out of the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale for $22,000. He’s the second foal out of the Western Hanover mare Keystone Treasure, a half-sister to a pair of former OSS standouts in Invitro (Camluck, $2,383,597) and Bigtime Ball (Camluck, $1,625,073). Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his second win from five attempts and pushed his bankroll to $27,660, is a homebred for trainer Bob McIntosh and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ont. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. The other Grassroots winners on Sunday night were: --Midnight Play (Shadow Play), a 1:54.2 maiden-breaking winner for driver Jonathan Drury, trainer Bill Cass, and owner John Craig of North York, Ont. Bred by Winbak Farm, he was sold for $72,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Midnight Play’s dam Midnight Art (Artsplace) is a half-sister to the likes of Manchine ($257,361). --Fightmaster (Art Colony, 1:55). He also won for the first time in his career with James MacDonald at the controls for trainer Ben Baillargeon and owners Jack Quinn and Michael McGuigan of Charlottetown, P.E.I. Fightmaster was bred by Charlotte Ranch and Caneast Standards Inc. and fetched $24,000 at the 2013 Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale. His dam is the Bo Knows Jate mare Ardor Chymes ($497,707), a multiple-time OSS winner in her racing career. The two-year-old male pacers of the OSS Grassroots will be back in action next Sunday afternoon (August 31) at Clinton Raceway. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
The feature race of the evening Saturday at Georgian Downs saw Swan In A Million and trainer/driver Dustin Jones get great cover and come home strong to win the $100,000 Honourable Earl Rowe Memorial Trot in 1:52.4. The time of the race set a Canadian season's record for trotters over a five-eighth-mile track. Swan In A Million got away fourth at the pylons through a :27.4 opening quarter and flushed out cover in the form of pocket-sitting Natural Herbie (Verlin Yoder) approaching the half, which was clocked in :57.1. In the stretch, he rallied by race favorite Natural Herbie and tempo-setter R Raised Emotions (Mario Baillargeon), who fronted the field past three-quarters in 1:24.2, and held off the quick-closing Intimidate (Rick Zeron) for the half-length victory. Charmed Life (Robert Shepherd) finished three-quarters of a length behind off a three-hole trip. There were five $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots events for two-year-old pacing fillies on Saturday night and the last split was the quickest as Southwind Luna toured the five-eighths mile oval in 1:54. With driver Billy Davis Jr. calling the shots, Southwind Luna was in the lead through panels of :27.2, :56.3, and 1:24.3. Faithful Friend (Rick Zeron) took a shot out of the pocket in the final quarter, but Southwind Luna held sway to prevail by half a length. Wicked Speed (Scott Young) finished third. Otis Hall trains Southwind Luna, a Sportswriter filly, for owner Nasussito Racing Inc. of Ayr, Ontario. Southwind Farms bred Southwind Luna, who has won twice from five starts and has earned $23,540. Southwind Luna, the first foal out of Lil Presto Hanover, a The Panderosa half-sister to $2.6 million earner McArdle, sold for $20,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. Drivers Rick Zeron and Trevor Henry split up the other four Grassroots sections, with each of them winning two. Zeron scored with Mister Big filly Show Some Leg in 1:54.4 for trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman and Shadow Play daughter Chase The Shadows in 1:54.2 for trainer Dave Menary. Henry’s victories came courtesy of Vic Puddy trainee Twin B Honour (1:55) and Richard Moreau pupil Ms Mac N Cheese (1:54.2). The feature race of the evening saw Swan In A Million and trainer/driver Dustin Jones get great cover and come home strong to win the $100,000 Honourable Earl Rowe Memorial Trot in 1:52.4. The time of the race set a Canadian season's record for trotters over a five-eighth-mile track. The next Grassroots test for rookie pacing fillies comes on September 2 at Flamboro Downs. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Harness racing driver Scott Young aka 'The Answer' was kind enough to take a few moments to chat between races at Georgian Downs, (Innisfil, ON). Driving horses at Grand River Raceway and Georgian Downs, Scott acknowledges that a lot of strategy comes in to play when racing at the two tracks. Georgian Downs is a 5/8 mile track while Grand River Raceway is a Â½ mile track. "This track, Georgian Downs, is known as a speed track" says Scott. "If you lead with your horse from the start off the gate, you're better for it. It's really hard to make up ground on this track if they don't go any fractions up front. You really try to get yourself well positioned here." Scott confirms the same type of strategy works well at Grand River Raceway. One thing Scott enjoys about driving at Georgian Downs is getting the opportunity to drive better horses. "I find there are better horses and the trainers you drive for are a lot of Mohawk Raceway trainers and they're bringing young horses here.... You get a chance to drive for some class stables and some decent horses." Scott has driven some horses for his dad, Bob Young. Scott admits his dad's horses make him look good! "He gives me a shot to win every time." Scott says. "My dad has a really nice filly named Wicked Speed and she's 3 for 3 this year with 2 Grass Roots (Ontario Sire Stakes)." Scott continues, "I drive a horse for my dad named Mitt Jagger and he's a pretty nice horse." When he isn't racing, Scott works for trainer Tony O'Sullivan. Well, why not his dad 'Bob Knowledge'? "We are the same person" Scott confirms, "I can work for him for about three weeks. We are too much alike. We always want to change stuff all the time... so I drive for him at night and this way when I see him, I am just driving." With that being said, Scott knows his dad is his biggest fan and Bob always does his best to watch all of Scott's drives. So what does Scott and his fellow horsemen do when they are in between races and have a few minutes? Play practical jokes of course. Scott speaks about times where he has found his gloves stuffed with candy wrappers or even stones. It seems to always take place when he's trying to rush onto the track. "There I am looking for my gloves with one minute before the post parade" says Scott. "And I am trying to empty them out. Or I will find my gloves pulled inside out." "Sometimes someone will switch whips with you. They'll leave you with a broken whip and they go and take your good one." Scott says with a laugh. "There's always something going on." Pranksters being called out are J Harris, Bob McClure and James MacDonald! It's safe to say Scott doesn't play any pranks as he admits the favor will be returned twice as harsh. "I try and stay clear of that" Scott says. Coming to the track is a delight for Scott, "I am friends with everybody and there's nothing like doing what you love with your friends." As mentioned before, 'The Answer' is a big Bruins fans and he's ready for the NHL season to kick off. In the mean time, Scotty is enjoying cheering on the Blue Jays as they fight for a wild card ticket to the post season. "The last five games I've been to the Blue Jays won each time" says Scott. If that's the case, I say we make sure Scott goes to every remaining home game! Third baseman Brett Lawrie of the Blue Jays is Scott's favorite player. "My dad says we are a lot alike. When something goes bad for Brett, he has a little freak out." Scott explains. "When I was younger and I got beat with a favorite, I would throw a fit and my dad would say 'Easy Brett, easy'..." by Roderick Balgobin, www.supernovasportsclub.com
With her closest competition, Shadows Wonder, opting to race in the Gold Series, Her Own Land boosted her advantage in the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots point standings with a 1:52.3 tally in one of five $18,000 divisions for three-year-old pacing fillies on Sunday evening at Georgian Downs. Driver James MacDonald had Her Own Land up to grab the front at the :27.3 opening quarter in the fourth Grassroots split. Her Own Land then went on to hit the half in :55.2 and the three-quarters in 1:24 on her way to the victory. She defeated runner-up Bet Ya (Jack Moiseyev) by two and a half lengths with Badlyinclined (Chris Christoforou) back in third. Dave Menary trains Her Own Land, a filly by Blissfull Hall, for owner Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania. Her Own Land has three wins in Grassroots company and four wins from 11 starts overall this year. Now a five-time winner in her career, Her Own Land has earned $53,990 in 2014 and $63,550 lifetime. Menary also sent out Stellllllla, the winner of the Grassroots opener in 1:54 with Chris Christoforou in the bike. She took the lead from first-over before the 1:25 three-quarters and then drew away from the competition from there, eventually winning by seven lengths. Exhilarated (Sylvain Filion) finished second and Shes A Hotmama (Scott Coulter) grabbed third. The victorious daughter of Mister Big is a homebred for Daryl Sherman of Elmore, Ohio. She won for the first time from nine efforts this season and she now has four career triumphs. Stellllllla has put away $15,640 on the campaign and $52,486 in her life. Christoforou picked up another victory in the next Grassroots event as Dana Dearest turned a second-over trip into a 1:54.3 tally. Missevil (James MacDonald) came in second and Double Joy (Sylvain Filion), the leader through splits of :27.3, :56.2, and 1:25.1, held third. Dana Dearest, a daughter of Jeremes Jet, is trained by Casie Coleman for owner/breeder Charalambos Christoforou of Campbellville, Ont. Dana Dearest was winless in four starts last year, but she’s turned it around in her sophomore campaign, going six-for-12. She has season’s earnings of $53,820 and a career bankroll of $58,048. The remaining two Grassroots flights went to the father/son team of driver Doug McNair and trainer Gregg McNair. Their first victory came courtesy of Regally Ready (1:53.4) in the third section and then Momara (1:55) took the nightcap. Regally Ready is a Royal Mattjesty filly owned by Hutt Racing Stable. She has four victories from 12 attempts this year and she now has six career wins. The filly has pocketed $41,060 in 2014 and $82,398 in her life. Gregg McNair, who hails from Guelph, Ont., also bred and co-owns Momara, a daughter of Lis Mara, with partners Len Gamble of Etobicoke, Ont., Don MacDonald of Amherstburg, Ont. and David Kryway of Amherstburg, Ont. Momara scored her initial 2014 win in her eighth try and she now has seven career triumphs. She has put $22,639 in the bank for her connections this year and she has earned $94,273 lifetime. The three-year-old pacing fillies of the Grassroots Series will be back in action on August 25 at Mohawk Racetrack. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
After a week’s hiatus for the grand prix auto races in the town of Trois Rivieres, the Hippodrome 3R returns to harness racing action Sunday afternoon with the opening round of the $300,000 Quebec-Bred Series for two-year-old trotters and pacers. There are six $7,500 preliminary divisions on Sunday. The elimination rounds will take place for two more weeks and then on Sunday, September 7 the top eight point earners in each division will return for their respective $55,000 finals. On that same day will be the $65,000 final for the three-year-olds, making for eight championship final on the program. The very first race on the card Sunday in the series is for two-year-old trotting fillies. There are seven starters and featured is Intouchable, who starts from the far outside in post eight. The young daughter of Angus Hall is the only winner in the field, capturing a qualifying race at Rideau Carlton in her last start with a 2:03.2 victory by six and one-half lengths. She will be driven by Mario Charron. Other contenders in the race are C L Magic Road (post 5) and the entry of Surprise P V (post 5) and Destin P V (post 7). The second trotting filly division is the fifth race and it is headed by D Espoir from post four for driver Stephane Brosseau. This filly by Windsong Espoir could well break the 21-year-old track record of only 2:04.3 as she won on July 22 at Georgian Downs five-eighths mile oval in 2:00.3 in the Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots. She may face some competition from Sunrise Linda (post 5) and Promesses Imperial (post seven). Freshman pacing fillies are next with two divisions starting with the second race. Featured is Kinnder Elegance from post five for driver Jocelyn Gendron. This daughter of Allamerican Native won two starts back in a qualifier at Rideau Carlton in 1:58.4 by 26 and one-quarter lengths. She faces competition from Godiva Bella Oya (post four) and First Girl (post three), who already has one win, two seconds and three third place finishes in six starts. The second pacing filly division is race four and it is headlined by the Santana Blue Chip filly, Anna Santanna. She starts from the rail for driver Marie Auger and despite not having won a race yet in three starts she has shown some game second and third place finishes at the Hippodrome 3R, race timed in 2:01.1. Her main competition will come from Miss Bro (post 2) and Allover Sport (post 6). The pacing colts are in the limelight in races three and six. The third race first preliminary round has HP Bushido Dragjet as the 5/2 morning line favorite. He will be driven by Stephane Brosseau and two starts back won at Mohawk Raceway in 1:56.2. He takes on Western Bayama (post 2) and Y S Joe (post six) The sixth race colt division features Sugarsam from post two for driver Mario Charron. This son of Sportswriter has a win already at the Hippodrome 3R in 2:00.4 and was second at Rideau Carlton in his last start in 1:59.4. Other contenders include Rocky Beach (post six) and Clinton Panic (post 3). There were not enough entries in the two-year-old trotting colt division to hold a preliminary round on Sunday. First race post time on Sunday is 1:00 pm. From the Quebec Jockey Club
TORONTO, August 14 - It's been over four months since the launch of the Standardbred Alliance in Ontario on April 1 and wagering on Standardbred horse races at these tracks is already seeing a sharp increase compared to the same period last year. From April 1 through August 9, "all-sources" wagering on Standardbred Alliance racing is $148,227,950, an encouraging 8.92 per cent rise over the $136,083,298 bet through the equivalent period in 2013. The numbers are promising on a per race basis as well. Last year, an average of $57,347 was bet per race (2373 races). After April 1, in 2014, an average of $60,280 per race (2459 races) was recorded, also a strong 5.11 per cent increase. Number of races is up 3.6 per cent over last year. "There's plenty of work to do, but so far the alliance concept is proving to accomplish what it had intended," said Jamie Martin, Executive Vice-President of Racing at Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) and Chair of the Standardbred Alliance board. "It's helped to create some positive momentum for the industry, plus a platform for the core standardbred tracks to be partners in this new era. Racing fans are responding well at Mohawk and the other Alliance tracks under the new model with wagering up strongly both per race and overall." Grand River Raceway, in Elora, is seeing double-digit wagering increases both per race and overall. "We have experienced an increase in wagering of 16.56 per cent per race, leading to a 10.58 per cent rise overall on our live racing product," said Dr. Ted Clarke, General Manager of Grand River Raceway. "Total wagering on our Industry Day on August 4 was the highest since 2005. The positive wagering results and attendance indicate the fan base and interest are solid." The Standardbred Alliance, led by Woodbine Entertainment Group, is a consortium of eight Ontario racetracks. Launched April 1, the members represent a three-tier racing hierarchy, 'Grass Roots' (Clinton, Hanover), 'Signature' (Flamboro, Georgian, Grand River and Western Fair) and 'Premier' (Mohawk and Woodbine). The tracks have worked together to implement operational efficiencies, co-ordinate a year-round racing calendar, develop a program of racing that is attractive to foreign and domestic customers, and establish consistent purses. The Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA) is buoyed by the wagering rise through the early months of the Standardbred Alliance concept. "We're glad to see wagering is up," said Sue Leslie, President of OHRIA. "Fans are continuing to embrace this wonderful sport and it's gaining new ones. The next step is to have racing fully integrated into the province's gaming strategy to ensure the long-term sustainability of the model." Highlights of the season so far include State Treasurer's win at the Molson Pace at Western Fair, JK Endofanera's win in the Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk, Shadows Wonder's victory in Clinton's Kin Pace, Go Daddy Go's score in the Battle of Waterloo at Grand River and Warrawee Promesse's tally in the Dream of Glory at Hanover. The Georgian Downs meet is in full swing, with the Earl Rowe Memorial Cup Trot set for August 23, while the start of the final part of the 2014 Flamboro Downs meet is scheduled for September 2. Several major stakes are set for the latter half of season on the WEG circuit, including the Metro Pace at Mohawk on August 30, the Canadian Trotting Classic on September 13, while the 'Fall Four' (Goldsmith Maid, Three Diamonds, Governor's Cup and Valley Victory) is set for Woodbine on October 25. by John Siscos, for WEG
Win The Gold will try to do just that when she competes in one of three $70,0000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for two-year-old pacing fillies on Sunday at Georgian Downs. The Sportsmaster daughter comes into the contest fresh from her victory in the $138,000 Battle of the Belles final this past Monday at Grand River Raceway. James MacDonald, who guided the filly to that 1:55.2 effort, will be back in the bike behind the Tony O’Sullivan trained lass who has earned $85,000 in her young career. Owned by breeder Emerald Highlands Farm of Ohio, the filly is the third foal from a half-sister to Ball And Chain, a very popular free for all pacer on the Ontario circuit for many years and a winner of more than $1.4 million during his career. Win The Gold will depart from post six in the third of three Gold tests for the fillies on Sunday, race eight. While the top five finishers in the Battle of the Belles have all been entered for Sunday, none drew in with the winner. However, she does face Code One Hanover, another daughter of Sportswriter, who captured her last Gold event on July 18 at Grand River. Sports Chic, who finished a neck behind Win The Gold in the Belles finale, drew into the second division, race five. The Sportswriter rookie, who has an impressive summary of 3-2-0 in five lifetime starts to date, will leave from the rail for Jody Jamieson. Trainer Blake MacIntosh co-owns the two time Gold winner with Hutt Racing Stable, Pa. Capela, who finished less than a length away from the winner in the Belles, will also start in that test. She has Randy Waples at the lines for trainer Linda Toscano. The fourth and fifth place finishers in the Belles, Southwind Mischief and Betty And The Jets, will meet in the first division, race one. The Battle Of The Belles is the filly companion to the Battle of Waterloo for two-year-old pacing colts and that group will also be competing at Georgian on Sunday in three $70,000 Gold divisions. While the Battle winner, Go Daddy Go is sitting this one out, the remaining cheque earners in the $217,140 Battle final have been entered. Sporting The Look, the second place finisher, will leave from post two in the final colt test, race 10. Jody Jamieson will be at the controls for dad Carl who trains and co-owns with breeder 30 Plus Stable of Trenton and Tom Kyron of Toronto. The Sportswriter colt was a winner in the first Gold test for this group in early July at Mohawk. His competition Sunday includes Mikes Powerhouse, a son of Camluck who finished fourth in the Battle final as well as his elimination. A winner in an OSS Grassroots event in his first lifetime start, the colt is owned by breeder Jeffrey Synder of New York and is a full or half-brother to a bevy of champions including Michaels Power ($1.6 million), Michelles Power ($1.3 million), Michaels Marvel ($835,000), etc. That colt is from the Casie Coleman stable which will also send out the Bob Ben And John, who finished third in the Battle final, in race two and Southwind Indy, the final cheque earner in the Battle, in race three. Coleman has a total of seven starters among the two Gold divisions, all but one (Mikes Powerhouse) is sired by her former champion Sportswriter. Georgian’s card gets underway at 6 p.m. on Sunday. The filly pacers are featured in races one, five and eight while the colts will appear in races two, three and 10. The full program may be viewed through this link Georgian Entries - August 10. Ontario Sire Stakes
For the next seven days Peterborough, Ontario harness racing horseman John Bax will be spending a lot of time in his second office, behind the wheel of his truck. Starting Friday he has colts and fillies racing in Ontario Sires Stakes events for seven straight days, then there’s a break of one day and then right back at it. “I used to complain that the OSS season was too long when it went into November, so I guess I shouldn’t be complaining now that it’s too short. There’s an upside and downside to the way its structured now (going from late May to mid October),” noted Bax. “If your horse is ready there’s a lot of opportunity but if you have one that’s injured or sick, you can miss a lot just being off a month. Ideally I think it could be spread out just a bit more.” Bax currently sits in third in the trainers’ standings in the OSS program. He’s had 18 starters to date, 11 of which will be going postward over the next four days. Tonight he starts three colts among the six $18,000 Grassroots divisions for two-year-old trotting colts at Mohawk, a two hour trek from his farm south of Peterborough. Among those is Parkhill Lancelot, a homebred son of Muscle Mass he owns along with son Marshall. Bax trained his dam, a daughter of Duke Of York (another of his former top trotters) named Harlequin Seelster. “She had a :55 hind end and a 2:10 front end,” the trainer laughed. “But she had the pedigree so we bred her. I try to have a couple of broodmares around.” Parkhill Lancelot will be making his fourth lifetime start on Friday night where he’s drawn post one in the eighth race. The colt has finished a close second in his previous two efforts, both Grassroots events. The following day Bax’s team will be making another two hour truck, this time to Georgian Downs, for six $18,000 OSS events for rookie trotting fillies where he has a pair of starters. Fiery Eyes, who has a first and second in her last two Grassroots races, has post eight in race four. Flexceptional, who has one Grassroots victory in as many lifetime starts under her harness, leaves from post four in race six. Both will be driven by Steve Byron. On Sunday Bax’s rig will be headed east for a change for the first OSS event of the season at Rideau Carleton Raceway near Ottawa, an approximate six hour round trip from their base. There he starts a pair of fillies in both $105,000 Gold divisions for three-year-old trotting misses. In the fourth race he has Juanitas Fury (post two) and Railee Priti (post four). In the second division it will be Desis Dream (post three) and Stubborn Belle (post five) carrying the Bax colours. Monday finds the Bax brigade in Elora, Ontario, for Grassroots for three-year-old trotting colts where he has a pair of entrants, Illseeuincourt in race two and Kiwi Pres in the sixth and final of the six $18,000 divisions, race nine. “When you see a week like this one coming up you don’t feel so bad about spending a few months of the winter in Florida during the off season,” joked Bax whose barn consists solely of young horses. “I certainly wouldn’t mind another Goodtimes or Define The World,” he said of former stable stars raced well beyond their OSS seasons and earned $2.2 million and $1.7 million respectively. “But for the most part it just makes sense to stay with the young horses. “The Ontario Sires Stakes program is still better than most others, and I think you get the best bang for your buck in Ontario,” he added. Which is a good thing as he’ll be seeing a lot of the province and the OSS Program over the next few days. The entries for the upcoming OSS events at Mohawk, Georgian Downs, Rideau Carleton Raceway and Grand River are available through the links below. Mohawk Entries - August 8. Georgian Downs Entries - August 9. Rideau Carleton Entries - August 10. Grand River Entries - August 11. Ontario Sire Stakes
Driver Phil Hudon completed a sweep of the final three races on Sunday night's card at Georgian Downs aboard 10-1 shot Viper Select in the featured $11,000 Preferred 2 Pace. Viper Select fought off Clic K (Anthony Haughan) through opening fractions of :26.4 and :54.3 before opening up three lengths en route to the third quarter station in 1:22.1. The Dauntless Bunny gelding then sauntered home to win by more than four lengths in 1:51.1. Mach Of Ballykeel (Jonathan Drury) rallied wide around the fading Clic K and came on for second, darting towards the pylons down the stretch to avoid the breaking pocket-sitter, Czar Seelster (Tyler Moore). Pouvoir Duharas (Paul MacKenzie) also had to change paths and inherited third-place as Czar Seelster was set back for causing interference while off-stride. To view the rest of this story click here.
Georgian Downs rolled out the red carpet on Saturday night for the three-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series with five $18,000 dashes going behind the gate. When the dust had cleared, it was Shadios who shined brightest, turning in a career-best 1:50.3 clocking in the fourth Grassroots flight. With Billy Davis Jr. in the bike, Shadios sat in second while Warrawee Phoenix (Scott Coulter) rattled off fast fractions of :26.4, :53.4, and 1:22.2. Davis Jr. already had his charge out of the pocket at three-quarters and he took control entering the far turn. From there, Shadios set sail for the wire, which he reached five lengths to the good over runner-up Regal Babe (Mike Saftic). Twin B Spy (Robert Shepherd) finished in third. Tony Alagna trains Shadios, a Shadow Play gelding, for Great Britain-based owner Tom Hill. Shadios has won three times from six starts this year and he has four career victories. He has earned $26,860 in 2014 and $41,150 in his life. Davis Jr. also won the Grassroots opener with Some Major Beach, the Major In Art half-brother to the great Somebeachsomewhere. Making his first start for trainer Dave Menary, Some Major Beach worked out a second-over trip and then converted it into a 1:52.4 victory. He defeated Major Homer (Travis Henry) by two and three-quarters lengths with Allstar Seelster (Mike Saftic) back in third. Muscara Racing Trust of Ivyland, Pennsylvania, Robert Watson of Ashfield, Australia and Martinez Equine of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania own Some Major Beach. This was his second career win from 17 tries and he has banked $154,226. The other three divisions were all won by driver Scott Coulter. He guided Andreios Kardia to a 1:53.1 decision in the second split; Regal Son to a 1:54.1 tally in the third division; and Lucky King to a 1:53.1 triumph in the Grassroots nightcap. Andreios Kardia, a gelding by Badlands Hanover, is trained by Jeff Madill for owner/breeder Ina Madill of Innisfil, Ont. Unraced as a freshman, Andreios Kardia is four-for-16 this year with $55,350 in the bank. Regal Son, a Stonebridge Regal colt, is trained by Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ont, who also bred Regal Son with long-time partner C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio. Gordon Wright of Charlotte, Michigan is also part of the ownership contingent. Regal Son is a four-time winner in his racing career and he has earned over $55,550. Andrew McCabe sent out Camluck colt Lucky King for owner Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Guelph-Eramosa, Ont. This was the first Ontario Sires Stakes win this year for Lucky King, who won last year’s Grassroots Championship for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. He has six career victories and he has stashed away $91,053 for his connections. The next event for the three-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series is slated for August 3 at Hanover Raceway. From the Ontario Sire Stakes