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ELORA, ON — The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) is pleased to announce that Katie Giddy is joining their leadership team as Director of Hospitality, Sales and Marketing. Effective April, Katie will be leading the charge in the recently announced $6 million events and banquet space. The expansion is in addition to the improvements made to the raceway building, which is home to Elements Casino Grand River. “This is an amazing opportunity to provide these very much needed facilities in Centre Wellington, the community I also call home” says Giddy, former Chief Growth Officer at RLB Chartered Professional Accountants. As owners of the Grand River Raceway, GRAS is a not-for-profit entity whose vision is to be recognized as a leading destination for unique agricultural, environmental, and entertainment experiences. “Katie’s connection to the agriculture industry and local community, coupled with her background in finance and leading organizations through growth, make her an incredible asset to the GRAS team,” said Paul Walker, President. In addition to overseeing the launch of the new space, Katie will be working closely with the Board to execute their revised strategic plan, increasing access to grants and seed funding for innovative ideas in the agriculture and food space, and building stronger, more collaborative community relations. Katie grew up on a dairy farm in the United Kingdom and moved to Centre Wellington 17 years ago. A graduate of the University of Guelph Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture Business program Katie was one of the first recipients of a Grand River Agricultural Society Scholarship. This is certainly a bittersweet move for Giddy as she leaves behind her colleagues at RLB. As auditors of GRAS for many years, both organizations have taken a collaborative approach to her transition.  “Katie’s passion and enthusiasm for our people, our business and our community have resulted in incredible success over the past five years,” said Bill Koornstra, Managing Partner at RLB. “Although we are very sad to see her go, we look forward to maintaining a strong working relationship as the vision for GRAS grows.”  The new events space will be open to the community in June 2020, offering event and banquet space accommodating up to 300 people for weddings and community and corporate functions. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway

ELORA, ON -- Grand River Raceway is proud to announce that the harness racing organization has been named on the 2020 list of Best Workplaces in Retail and Hospitality. Grand River Raceway received this honour after a thorough and independent analysis conducted by Great Place to Work Institute Canada. The list is based on direct feedback from employees of the hundreds of organizations that were surveyed by Great Place to Work. Grand River Raceway was eligible for this list as our organization was recently certified as a Great Place to Work® in 2019. The Elora, ON track offers seasonal horse racing and year-round gaming, dining, entertainment and Meetings & Events Services. Its award-winning Retail & Hospitality service offers versatile facilities, unique amenities and a gorgeous location for any event. The Meetings & Events staff have coordinated and hosted thousands of bookings and gatherings of all shapes and sizes for hundreds of different occasions and industries. "This recognition comes on the heels of the ground-breaking of our $4 million renovation to expand our award-winning hospitality services," said Jamie Martin, Director of Operations. "We're very much looking forward to offering our guests grand meeting and event spaces and a larger raceway restaurant when renovations are completed this summer." Grand River Raceway is owned and operated by the Grand River Agricultural Society. The organization has received several awards since its inception in 2003, including the 2016 Business Excellence Award in the Hospitality/Tourism Award category, presented by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Of Commerce (GKWCC). About Great Place to Work: Great Place to Work ( is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programs, Great Place to Work recognizes the Best Workplaces across the world in a series of national lists including those published by Fortune magazine (USA) and The Globe & Mail (Canada). Great Place to Work provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway

ELORA, ON - The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) recently awarded three donations totaling $13,000. All presentations took place at Grand River Raceway, which is operated by GRAS. The recipients and projects are summarized below: Everdale Farm - David Alexander: $1,500 for the purchase of seeds and small equipment for the Good Food Project. Everdale is a farm-based organization located in Hillsburgh, ON that provides hands-on, solution-based food and farming education to build and engage healthy local communities. Equine Guelph - Gayle Ecker: $10,000 for the redevelopment of Equine Guelph's JobTrack service. JobTrack is a service used to link employers with people dedicated to working in the equine industry. Ontario Farmland Trust - Krista Long: $1,500 in support of the Farmland Forum. The annual Farmland Forum brings together planners, politicians, farmers, farmland owners, researchers and conservationists to discuss the most current issues related to farmland protection in Ontario. The GRAS is a not-for-profit society, incorporated under the Agricultural and Horticultural Societies Act of Ontario and operated by a volunteer board of directors. It is part of the GRAS mandate to encourage an awareness of agriculture and to promote improvements in the quality of life of persons living in an agricultural community. As a proud community partner, GRAS provides funding and gift-in-kind support for initiatives which align with its mandate. Since the inception of Grand River Raceway in 2004, GRAS has provided funding and Gift-In-Kind support for initiatives totaling more than $1.75 million. For more information about volunteering with GRAS, becoming a member or applying for funding for an initiative which is in alignment with their mandate visit or call (519) 846-8879. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

Please be advised that the final day of training for 2019 will be October 10. The track is currently open for training every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway closed the book on its 2019 harness racing season on September 27, celebrating a 10 per cent bump in handle. All source wagering on Grand River Raceway's live racing for the 2019 meet was $10,382,493 for a daily average of $216,302, an increase of 10.8 per cent over last season. In 2018, 47 race dates were conducted and $9,366,979 was wagered. A total of 490 races were conducted this year, eight more than last year. The track's 29th annual Industry Day event on August 5 posted a record handle of $488,696 - the highest single day handle ever recorded since the track's first race meet in 2004. Total purses paid for all races at Grand River Raceway were $4,895,857 - an increase of 4.5 per cent over the 2018 season. Top Performer presentations were made on September 25 and 27 (respectively) to Jodie Cullen and Robert Shepherd. Robert Shepherd recorded 38 driving wins from 250 starts at Grand River Raceway in 2019. The Flamborough, ON resident recently surpassed 3,600 career wins and $25 million in purse earnings. He's on target to record his sixth straight $1 million season and his 13th consecutive season with at least 100 wins. He's currently third in the national driving standings with 231 wins. He's also the current leading dash-winner at Flamboro Downs. Trainer Jodie Cullen recorded 24 wins and trained horses to purse earnings of $127,759 at Grand River Raceway in 2019. Nearly half of her 95 starters at the Elora, ON oval finished in the top three, and more than one in four found the winners circle. The Dundas, ON resident is in the top ten for wins and UTR in the season's national trainer standings and is currently tied for the top spot in Flamboro Downs' 2019 trainer standings. Dates for Grand River Raceway's 2020 race season will be released in the new year. The facility is open year-round with gaming, dining and entertainment offerings. For complete details: Renovations are slated to begin in October on a $4 million project which includes an expanded Lighthouse Restaurant and Ship In barn that will house a new simulcast lounge, expanded kitchen and event space, administration offices, and a maintenance shop. Renovations are expected to be completed by June 2020. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway

Philanthropic support awarded by Grand River Agricultural Society ELORA, ON - The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) recently awarded seven donations and one fundraising cheque totaling $65,500. All presentations took place at Grand River Raceway, which is operated by GRAS. DONATIONS On September 24, GRAS presented seven organizations with cheques totaling $60,500. Fergus Agricultural Society - $2,000 sponsorship of the Ag Awareness Tent at the Fergus Fall Fair. Equine Industry Symposium - $1,000 sponsorship for the November 17 event at the University of Guelph. CW Skatepark Association - $10,000 for enhancement of greenspace at the newly built skatepark in Elora. Ontario Agri-Food Technologies - $20,000 to support the first Agri-Food Commercial Deal Accelerator, designed to bring together industry experts, corporate partners, and AgTech startups to collaborate on innovative food value solutions. Rural Ontario Institute - $7,500 to support The Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP) an 18-month experiential leadership program for executives in the agriculture and food industries. AgScape - $5,000 for food literacy programs and resources for Ontario's educators, students and Agricultural Societies. 4-H Ontario - $15,000 to provide resources for the Innovation & Entrepreneurship project. FUNDRAISING On September 19, GRAS presented the Kidney Foundation of Canada with a cheque for $5,000. The funds were derived from raffle tickets sold by the Grand River Pull & Truck Show Committee. The prize was a 1973 John Deere 112 Garden Tractor which was awarded to Henry and Abe Dyck from Millbank, ON. The GRAS is a not-for-profit society, incorporated under the Agricultural and Horticultural Societies Act of Ontario and operated by a volunteer board of directors. It is part of the GRAS mandate to encourage an awareness of agriculture and to promote improvements in the quality of life of persons living in an agricultural community. As a proud community partner, GRAS provides funding and gift-in-kind support for initiatives which align with its mandate. Since the inception of Grand River Raceway in 2004, GRAS has provided funding and Gift-In-Kind support for initiatives totaling more than $1.75 million. For more information about the GRAS: by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway    

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway is proud to announce its certification as a Great Place to Work after a thorough and independent analysis conducted by Great Place to Work Institute Canada. This certification is based on direct feedback from harness racing employees, provided as part of an extensive and anonymous survey about the workplace experience. The Elora track offers seasonal horse racing and year-round gaming, dining, entertainment and Meetings & Events Services. Its human resources program is designed to create a culture of belonging, purpose, achievement, joy and passion for its 80 employees. "Grand River Raceway is committed to investing in a positive, guest-focused workplace which encourages a high level of staff engagement," said Jamie Martin, Director of Operations. "We are fortunate to have such a dedicated, passionate team at Grand River Raceway." About Great Place to Work: Great Place to Work ( is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programs, Great Place to Work recognizes the Best Workplaces across the world in a series of national lists including those published by Fortune magazine (USA) and The Globe & Mail (Canada). Great Place to Work provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

ELORA, SEPT. 23, 2019 - Neither of the harness racing favourites in Monday night's two-year-old trotting colt Gold Series divisions enjoyed their trip around Grand River Raceway, but Major Bay and Threefiftytwo thoroughly enjoyed all of the Elora oval's amenities, including the winner's circle. In the first $105,600 division fans sent Horse Trader off as their top choice and the colt made an early break that left him 15 lengths behind the field as Major Bay led them to the quarter in :28. Hetalkstoangels took over command heading by the :59.2 half and continued to set the pace by the 1:28.1 three-quarters, but driver Louis-Philippe Roy was biding his time in the pocket and once he gave Major Bay an open lane the colt reeled in the leader to claim the 1:59.2 victory. Hetalkstoangels was one and one-quarter lengths back in second and Babidibou was three lengths back in third. Horse Trader settled for fourth. "I thought he had shot, especially with the way he raced last week (Sept. 16). He knows the half-mile so he has no problem with the half-mile, and the trip worked and everything worked out good," said trainer Ben Baillargeon of Guelph, ON, who sent the colt out from Post 7. "The one horse, he was the big favourite, he made a break too, that Horse Trader, and we ended up getting the job done." Major Bay earned his place on the gate in Monday's Gold event with a 1:56.3 fourth-place effort in the Sept. 16 overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park. That outing was the colt's first for Baillargeon and his first in Ontario. Major Bay's first six starts, including three wins, came at Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres for owner-trainer Francis Richard. "He won in 2:04 in Three Rivers, but the big track stepped him up last week," said Baillargeon. "He's a little bit left and right, he's got a little bit of a rubber-neck to him, he's in and he's out, but he's got some go. He's a very gutsy horse and he has a perfect gait, so you can't ask for anything more with him because he trots, and that's all he does, he trots." With Monday's win Major Bay earned 50 points, but he needs a second Gold Series start to be eligible for the Oct. 12 Super Final, and Baillargeon is looking forward to racing the Amigo Hall son in the last regular season event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 1. "He trotted 1:56.3 his first start at Woodbine and he was kind of boxed in there. He wasn't done in 1:56.4, he was running out of room a little bit, let's put it this way," said the trainer. "I'm anxious to race him next week and see what happens." In his first seven starts Major Bay had banked $12,525 for owners Ferme Auclair of St. Antoine De Tilly, Ecurie Francis Richard Inc. of Becancour and Jean-Christophe Auclair of Saint-Apollinaire, QC. Monday's win boosted that total to $65,325. Major Bay After the pleasant surprise of Major Bay's victory, Baillargeon and Roy were looking for the sweep with second division favourite HP Royal Theo, but the reigning William Wellwood Memorial champion skipped off-stride heading into the first turn and was 24 lengths behind pacesetter Threefiftytwo when he reached the :29.1 quarter. After his successful start from Post 6, Threefiftytwo carried on through a :59.2 half and 1:29.2 three-quarters and held off Your Still Up in the stretch for a three-quarter length victory in 1:59.2. Tuckers Out was well back in third and HP Royal Theo further behind in fifth. "I was a little worried that Louis (Roy) would try and re-take the lead, and I was worried about it because I knew full well I wouldn't be able to let him go, because mine, once he gets the front it's there's not much letting people go. He's not quite that manageable yet," said driver Bob McClure, who was quite happy Roy and HP Royal Theo never reached his wheel. "He's a really fast horse, but we're just trying to keep him well-mannered because he's pretty high strung." Rockwood resident McClure steers Threefiftytwo for trainer Luc Blais of Campbellville, ON and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. Monday's win was the Royalty For Life son's second in Gold Series action and his 130 points vaulted him over stablemate Port Perry to the top of the division standings heading into the regular season finale. The long-legged Port Perry skipped Monday's event. The win was also Threefiftytwo's second straight - following a 1:55.4 personal best effort in the Sept. 16 race where Major Bay finished third - and McClure is hoping the speedy youngster can maintain his positive momentum through the last regular season Gold event and the Super Final. "When he's on his game he can go some real wicked fast miles, it's just keeping his head on straight," said McClure. "His problem is not his gait, when he runs he gets throwing his head around, but once he's off and trotting, he's perfect, he's one of the best gaited horses. You couldn't ask him to be any better gaited, like he's almost flawless." Threefiftytwo Monday's event wrapped up Grand River Raceway's 2019 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule, which saw the Elora oval host four Gold and four Grassroots events. Complete results for Monday's program are available at Grand River Raceway Results. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

ELORA, ON - SEPT. 9, 2019 - Driver Trevor Henry and trainer Bob McIntosh teamed up to win two of five Grassroots harness racing divisions at Grand River Raceway on Monday evening. Henry and McIntosh captured the first $23,150 two-year-old pacing filly division with Miss L A, who powered up the outer lane to take on early leader Tuggingoncredit and then dug in down the stretch to hold off fan favourite Queso Relleno and Trizzle Trazzle. Miss L A won her Grassroots debut by half a length in 1:56.4. "She's a great big filly. She's kind of like a six foot six kid in Grade 8, and I look for her to be much better next year, but she's improving every start, so who knows what might happen this fall," said McIntosh of the daughter of Bettors Delight and West Of L A. "She's a big filly - she's going to be over 16 hands - and kind of rangy. Once she gets muscle on that frame, then she's going to be serious. I hope so anyway." "She definitely will be better next year, but if she can get some points in the next one (Grassroots), she will definitely be tough in the Semis," added Arthur, On resident Henry, who padded his lead in the Lampman Cup race for the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program with Monday's driving double. McIntosh shares ownership of Miss L A with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, ON and Deo Volente Farms LLC and Cool Cat Racing Inc. of Flemington, NJ. The Hall of Fame horseman also bred Miss L A and her illustrious siblings; Somewhere in L A and L A Delight, who have both amassed $1.7 million in their racing careers, and current three-year-old Ontario Sires Stakes star Sunny Dee. "She's different than the rest of her siblings," noted the Windsor, ON resident. "It's hard to think of what she's going to do, because she's got a big motor, I just think she'll be a better three-year-old." After settling for second with So Delightful in the second division, won by Coco Beach De Vie and driver Jody Jamieson in 1:57, Henry and McIntosh were back in the winner's circle with Even Louder. Starting from Post 1 Henry sent Even Louder straight to the front and controlled the tempo through fractions of :27.1, :56 and 1:26 on their way to a 1:57 personal best. Fan favourite Ms Brampton Beast was one length back in second and Chasethecloudsaway rounded out the top three. "The thing with that filly, she's maybe not the fastest filly in Canada, but she's the most honest filly. And Trevor gave her a hell of a drive, because he had them all kind of where he wanted them at the three-quarter pole. That was a great drive," said McIntosh, who bred and owns the daughter of Thinking Out Loud. "When he hit the half in :56 I went 'Whoa', but he got the next quarter in 30 seconds and he had them all stacked up and where he wanted them," the trainer continued. "She's the most honest filly you'd ever draw a line over, she's really good that way and super gaited, good mannered, but great drive too." Mach My Kiss and driver Doug McNair delivered the quickest mile of the five Grassroots divisions, tracking Mystic Shadow through fractions of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:25.1 before zipping up the passing lane to a one-half length victory in 1:55. Mystic Shadow settled for second and Wiggle Delight was six lengths behind the leaders in third. Monday's outing was Mach My Kiss's debut at the Grassroots level after three starts with the Gold Series fillies and trainer Robert Fellows is hoping the Mach Three daughter can deliver another strong effort in the last regular season Grassroots event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 20 to finish among the top 20 point earners and advance to the post season. "She did nothing wrong all the way down, trained good, and then I started her in the Gold and that teased me, because she finished third in the first one and I left her there for a couple," said Fellows. "Now I've got to hope I can get some points in the last two here, just to try and salvage her year. She's a nice little filly." The Rockwood, ON resident trains Mach My Kiss for his wife Yolanda Fellows and Erna Corbeil of Beaumont, AB. Jody Jamieson piloted Coco Beach De Vie to her 1:57 win in the second division for trainer Daryl Roberts and owners Walter and Ruth Ann Parkinson of Lucan and Rachel Roberts of Dorchester, ON. The win was the Sunshine Beach daughter's first and Jamieson said she is finally delivering on the promise she showed when he drove her in qualifying action in June. "Daryl has been really patient with her," said Jamieson. "She was real quick in June and needed most of July to learn to handle the speed. Tonight she raced tough and rewarded Daryl for his patience." The other Grassroots division went to Siochan, who captured her first lifetime victory with a 1:55.2 effort for driver Paul MacKenzie and owner-trainer Deb O'Brian Moran of Carlisle, ON. Lady Natasha finished one and three-quarter lengths back in second and Century Gianna was well back in third. Grand River Raceway will wrap up its 2019 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule on Monday, Sept. 23 with the fourth Gold Series event for the two-year-old trotting colts. Complete results from Monday's program are available at From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

ELORA, ON - SEPT. 4, 2019 - Scorched Romance kicked off the Ontario Sires Stakes harness racing action at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening, cruising to a three and three-quarter length victory in the first of five $22,800 Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old trotting fillies. "She's been coming up to a good mile like that," said driver Paul MacDonell. "She's been knocking at the door pretty much every week, so I expected a good race out of her tonight." Starting from Post 4 MacDonell and Scorched Romance landed in third as Validation led the field of eight to a :29 quarter. Heading for the :59.4 half the reinsman moved Scorched Romance to the outside and the fan favourites started to advance on the leaders. Scorched Romance had taken command by the 1:30.2 three-quarters and from there she simply pulled away from her peers, reaching the wire in 2:01. Peppas Angel finished second and Validation was third. "I had lots left there, she was trotting really strong at the wire even though she went kind of a tough trip," noted Guelph, ON resident MacDonell. "There's not much to her really, she's pretty automatic. Makes my job easy, that's for sure." MacDonell piloted the Kadabra daughter to her first lifetime win for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL. Driver James MacDonald won the next two divisions, piloting both Th Present and Moana to victory from Post 4. Making his first appearance in Th Present's race bike, MacDonald eased the Royalty For Life daughter away from the starting gate and watched from fifth as Queen M and fan favourite Aphrodite Duke battled to a :29.14 opening quarter. Still fifth as Aphrodite Duke trotted by the :59.1 half, MacDonald tipped Th Present out three-wide around a stalled Expelliarmus heading by the 1:30.1 three-quarters and the filly kept on rolling, catching Aphrodite Duke and then holding off Chelseas Magic to claim a head victory in 2:00.4. Chelseas Magic was second and Aphrodite Duke finished two lengths back in third.   Cambridge, ON resident Marcel Barrieau trains Th Present for his partner Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longeuil, QC. The filly was also a narrow winner in the July 14 Grassroots opener at Georgian Downs. With Moana, MacDonald went straight to the front and stole fractions of :30.1, 1:02.3 and 1:32.1 before kicking home to a 2:01.3 victory. Zakarina was one and one-half lengths back in second and Jayport Echo was for more lengths behind in third. MacDonald drives the Muscle Mass daughter for trainer Shawn Steacy of Guelph and fractional ownership group Landmark 12 of Lansdowne, numbered company 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The win was Moana's first in four lifetime starts. "Th Present raced great. I just wanted to be careful with her leaving the gate, because I saw she had made some breaks, but she was all business tonight and when I showed her some racetrack, she knew what to do with it," said Guelph resident MacDonald. "Moana just crushed tonight. I was able to get her to the front easy, get easy fractions, and she was full of trot when I needed her." Zebs Flur also got her first lifetime win in the fourth $23,150 division. Starting from the advantageous Post 1, driver Stephen Byron went straight to the front and never looked back, cruising through fractions of :29.1, :59.3 and 1:30 on the way to a 2:00.1 victory. Fan favourite Canadian Titan was two lengths back in second and Emily Antoinette was seven more lengths back in third. "I was pretty happy with her. I was hoping for those results actually. I thought she was due," said trainer John Bax. "She's game, she really wants to, I love her attitude." Bax trains the Muscle Mass daughter for his Bax Stable of Campbellville, Don Allensen of Wyoming and Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough, ON. The last division went to Yen and driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON, who got away third from Post 3 and watched Muscles Aplenty ring up a :29.1 quarter before swinging to the outside heading for the 1:00 half and taking control. One and one-half lengths ahead of her peers by the 1:29.3 three-quarters, fan favourite Yen hit the wire two and one-half lengths the best in 2:00. Enjoyin My Life was second and Kads Kiss was third. "It's always been there, she just, she's figuring it out," said trainer Julie Walker. "She's always had the head for it. All the drivers say her big quality is how smart she is." Walker trains the E L Titan filly for owner-breeder Overseas Farms Ltd. of Cambridge and the Carlisle, ON resident said there was never any pressure on Yen, who has not been worse than third in her four Grassroots appearances and was also victorious at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 30. "She is a late foal (early June) and we always had that in our head, that she didn't have to race at two, or we didn't have to race her early, but every time we trained her she did her job and just kept going," explained Walker. "That's kind of why we're still in the Grassroots." The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their last regular season Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 19. From there the top 20 point earners will advance to the Sept. 27 Semi-Finals, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final moving on to the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 5. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Grand River Raceway on Monday, Sept. 9 with the fourth Grassroots Leg for the two-year-old pacing fillies. Complete results for Wednesday's program are available at From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

ELORA, ON - The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) has awarded 16 scholarships and bursaries to local students totaling $40,000. The presentations were made on August 26 at Grand River Raceway in Elora, ON, where recipients and their families were treated to dinner and an evening of horse racing alongside GRAS board members. The scholarship/bursary program is designed to provide financial assistance for students residing in Wellington and Perth Counties, and the Region of Waterloo, who are entering, or currently enrolled in college or university agriculture-related programs. This year's awards were $2,500 per recipient. Since its inception in 2006, the GRAS program has awarded $176,500 to 102 students. The 2019 recipients are: Anuja Shrestha of Guelph, attending University of Guelph Michelle Thompson of Kitchener, attending University of Guelph Jade Muileboom of Guelph, attending University of Guelph Mercedes Ready-Campbell of Guelph, attending University of Guelph Bethany Harwood of Cambridge, attending University of Guelph Meghan Martin of Elmira, attending University of Guelph Brianna Lirette of Guelph, attending University of Guelph (Ontario Agricultural College) Emily Smart of Moorefield, attending Lakehead University Cristin McCarty-Van Straaten, attending University of Guelph (Ontario Agricultural College) Kate Martin of Wallenstein, attending University of Guelph Katie McCurdy of St. Mary's, attending University of Guelph Derrick Knill of Bornholm, attending University of Guelph Emma Starratt of Fergus, attending University of Guelph Quinn Wilson of Harriston, attending University of Guelph Hayleigh Royce of Listowel, attending Lakehead College Madison Armstrong of Clifford, attending University of Guelph (Ridgetown) "This is my first time being selected to be rewarded with the GRAS scholarship," said Madison Armstrong a first-year student at the University Of Guelph's Ridgetown campus. "I am truly grateful for this opportunity. The awarded money will go towards furthering my education through theory and practices on campus such as Spring Expo, 4-H clubs, and international trips to view all types of agriculture and horticulture." "I'm heading into my first year at the University of Guelph for the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, planning to major in Animal Science," said recipient Kate Martin. "This is my first year winning the GRAS scholarship, and I am so honoured. Receiving this scholarship gives me the chance to keep volunteering in the agriculture community while I am going to school. It allows me to stay involved and learn more about the industry." Michelle Thompson is a three-time recipient of a GRAS scholarship and working towards a PhD in Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph. "The GRAS Scholarships are incredibly valuable for encouraging students in agricultural and environmental fields. The scholarship makes a huge difference in reducing financial stresses while in school, and really helps me to focus fully on my research. I am immensely thankful for the support." Brie Lirette is enrolled in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at the Ontario Veterinary College (Class of 2023). "I have dedicated much of my life to getting into vet school. Once I got in, I thought that all stress would be lifted - was I ever wrong," said Lirette. "Now I am experiencing many new stressors, one of which is money! The financial contributions of the scholarship will lighten my debts and will allow me to excel in school and focus on my passion for animal health and welfare." The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) is the operator of Grand River Raceway in Elora. The GRAS is a not-for-profit society, incorporated under the Agricultural Societies Act of Ontario and operated by a volunteer board of directors. It is part of the GRAS mandate to encourage an awareness of agriculture and to promote improvements in the quality of life of persons living in an agricultural community. For more information about the GRAS Scholarship/Bursary program: by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway has added fireworks to its harness racing Community Night celebration on Friday, August 30. The family-friendly festivities are free of charge and kick off with the first of 10 horse races at 6:30 p.m. The fireworks display will begin at approximately 10:30 p.m. (30 minutes following the last horse race). BBQ specials ($2 hamburgers and hotdogs, $1 pop) will be available at two locations on the tarmac. Cash draws totaling $1,000 will be conducted for guests from the local community whose postal code begins with NOB or N1M. Proof of residency is required and draw participants must be 18 or older and present to win. Community Night also boasts the track's usual array of Friday race night offerings, including free kids' activities in The NEIGHbourhood (located in the First Turn Tent) and the chance for guests of all ages to drive a racehorse in a double-seated jog cart, accompanied by a pro. This opportunity is limited to seven spots and guests must sign-up at the tarmac booth beside the racetrack. Community Nights are presented by the track's parent organization, the Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS). During the event, GRAS will honour local resident Paul Kelly who has dedicated his life to preserving the bee population. Kelly will be onsite and available for questions and discussion about his work from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. The fireworks display on Community Night will be coordinated by The Weinstein Group Inc. of Fergus, ON in partnership with Pyro World. The show will feature a massive display of fireworks choreographed to a collection of feel-good summertime songs. For complete event details: by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway    

The only truly American international amateur driving program, the CKG Billings harness driving series, moved north of the border to Canada on Friday night, August 16 for a harness racing pacing event at Grand River Raceway and it turned into a laugher when Dabunka romped to an incredible 15-length triumph with Chris Long at the controls. Sent off as the odds-on favorite in the odds-on favorite in the eight-horse field Dabunka navigated the mile distance in a stunning 1:55.3. When the starter said "go" Long hustled his charge to the lead from the two-hole and played catch me if you can. And nobody could. The veteran pacer zipped through the first two stanzas in 28 and :57 with only a one length lead over Eas Ideal (F. Bourgault). But when Dabunka headed up the backside he was in high gear and opened up seven lengths on the field as he passed the three quarters in 1:26.1. But as the 8-year old Mattnamaras Band gelding rounded the final turn he had 10 lengths on his competition which was opened to 15 lengths at the wire. Lautner Seelster rallied to finish second for Julie Walker while Issac Waxman took home the show dough with Remus Blue Chip. Dabunka notched his fifth seasonal victory and paid $3.80 for win. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series  

ELORA,ON -  Battle Of The Belles champion Karma Seelster returned to Grand River Raceway for Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series action on Wednesday, Aug. 14 and picked up her third straight win at the Elora oval. With Post 4 in the second $72,267 Gold division, driver Doug McNair fired Karma Seelster off the starting gate and led the field of two-year-old pacing fillies to a :28.3 opening quarter. From there the fan favourites rolled along to a :58.1 half and 1:27.2 three-quarters before cruising down the stretch to a one and three-quarter length win in 1:56.3. Temagami Seelster got up for second, edging pocket-sitter Got Power into third. "She was good again. She got a lot easier trip than last week (Aug. 5 Belles Final)," said Guelph resident Doug McNair, who piloted the filly to all three wins. "She's great gaited and she's handy off the wings, so that really helps for this track. She got to pick up some pretty good money the last couple weeks here." The driver's father Gregg McNair, who also calls rural Guelph home, trains Karma Seelster for Hall of Fame horseman Keith Waples, his wife Eileen Waples and their daughter Karen Hauver of Durham, ON. The Waples family purchased the half-sister to $824,150 winner Kendall Seelster for $127,000 from last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale and in her first five starts she has banked $155,251. "A bunch of the owners were out there. I'm not sure if it was grandkids, but they were cheering for her and stuff before, so that was a lot of fun," added the driver, who stopped by the rail before the race so Karma Seelster could acknowledge her fans. "They had a fan club there." The fans cheered Karma Seelster on to her first win in Gold Series action which, added to the second and third she recorded in her first two provincial starts, puts her in second spot in the two-year-old pacing filly standings with 87 points. Driver Bob McClure won the other two Gold Series divisions, the first boosting Off The Press into top spot in the standings and the second earning P L Notorious her first Ontario Sires Stakes victory. Starting from the advantageous Post 1 in the first division, McClure allowed fan favourite Sound Idea to take early control and settled Off The Press in second. Sound Idea carried on through fractions of :28, :57.4 and 1:26.1 while Off The Press watched comfortably from the pocket. In the stretch McClure sent Off The Press up the inside and the filly powered home to a one and one-half length victory in 1:55.3. Sound Idea settled for second and Keystone Kalimba was third. "Bobby gave her a great trip," said Paul Reid, who trains Off The Press for owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. "He's a good young driver. It's always good when you can get somebody that's hot, it definitely helps the game. And it's always nice to see one that we had all winter do well. We've had luck in the past couple of years with picking up horses when we got up here that did well for us, but it's nice to have one that's good for Bob Key." Off The Press finished a disappointing seventh in the Battle Of The Belles elimination won by Karma Seelster, but Reid said the Sportswriter daughter came up sick after the race. After a bit of rest and a round of antibiotics the filly rebounded and a training mile over the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval assured Reid that she would be ready for Wednesday's test. "She trained back good there last weekend, I took her into Mohawk and trained her and she trained real well so I was pretty confident coming in that she was back to herself, but you still never know what everybody else is going to be up to," said the horseman, who is based in Florida through the winter. "There's plenty of racing, there's no doubt, so to miss one here and there is not the end of the world," he added. In addition to the remaining regular season Gold events on Aug. 30 and Sept. 30, and the Oct. 12 Super Final, Off The Press is eligible to all of the open stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the coming weeks - the Eternal Camnation on August 24, Champlain Stakes on Sept. 7 and Shes A Great Lady eliminations and final on Sept. 14 and 21. In the last division McClure once again lined up at Post 1 with P L Notorious and the Rockwood resident sent the fan favourite straight to the front. P L Notorious sailed through fractions of :28.3, :58.3 and 1:27 and then held off Rose Run Vantage for a three-quarter length win in 1:55.4. Lady Natasha rounded out the top three. "She is a big, fast filly with a really nice gait," said McClure of the Sunshine Beach daughter. "And she continues to get smarter." Rod Hughes of Dunsford trains P L Notorious for owner-breeder Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, ON. Wednesday's win was the filly's first in Gold Series action after a fifth and a sixth-place result in the first two legs. She was also a winner in overnight action at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Aug. 5. Complete results for Wednesday's program are available at Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Grand River Raceway on Monday, Sept. 4 with the fourth Grassroots Leg for the two-year-old trotting fillies. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

ELORA, ON -- Grand River Raceway marked its 29th annual Industry Day celebration on August 5. The afternoon featured 11 races totaling $540,850 in purses, including the track's feature dashes, the Battle Of Waterloo and Battle Of The Belles. It was a homecoming of sorts for two families who have previously dominated these jewel races in the Elora, ON track's marquee event. 22nd annual Battle Of Waterloo Nine rookie two-year-old pacing colts vied for glory in the 22nd edition of the $239,000 Battle Of Waterloo. Trainer Carl Jamieson and his son, driver Jody Jamieson, teamed up to win with Sports Obsession, their 7-1 starter from post five. Jamieson maneuvered traffic trouble past the halfway marker when Bettorbuckleup and Beach Blanket Book hooked wheels and were taken out of contention. Soon after, the winning pair cleared to the lead and remained on top to clinch the win. The 1:54 score was the Sportswriter son's second career win in five starts. Betting favourite Wind Blown with J Harris was second for trainer Teesha Symes. Aneto with Bob McClure rounded out the top three. Carl Jamieson co-owns Sports Obsession with George Harrison. "I told everyone that the horse had a good shot. We just needed a little luck," said Jamieson. Carl Jamieson trained and drove the first-ever Battle Of Waterloo winner Distinctiv Skeeter in 1998. He also piloted and trained CT Rocket in 2000 and went on to win three more editions with son Jody in the bike in 2002, 2004 and 2006. Neither has won the race since. "Dad and I did it again," Jody Jamieson beamed. "I think it was a special omen today, us teaming up again in the Battle of Waterloo after those victories in the past." 11th annual Battle Of The Belles A field of talented two-year-old pacing fillies contested the 11th edition of the $157,500 Battle Of The Belles. Doug McNair and Karma Seelster capitalized on early action to capture the win at 27-1 in 1:54.4, which matches the stake record set by Play The Bell in 2017. Karma Seelster scored her maiden win in her elimination division last week but drew the outside starting post (#8) in the final. She took to the top as heavy-favourite Alicorn (post four) and Louis Philippe Roy made a break at the first quarter. Alicorn matched the divisional track record in her elimination win last week in 1:54.2. She also holds an OSS speed record earned earlier this year. After her miscue, Roy quickly regrouped Alicorn and she came on strong to finish second for trainer Chantal Mitchell. Temagami Seelster and J Harris were third. This was the second Battle Of The Belles title for the father-son duo of driver Doug McNair and trainer Gregg McNair, both of Guelph, ON. The pair won the 2013 edition with Lady Shadow. They also paired up to win the Batlle Of Waterloo in 2008, 2013 and 2015. "I haven't been in the winner's circle for a while for one of these races," said Doug McNair. "I remember when I was 18 standing here. Time flies. It feels pretty good to be here today. And nice to get one for Keith (Waples)." Hall Of Fame horseman Keith Waples co-owns the Sportswriter filly with his wife Eileen and their daughter Karen Hauver. Karma Seelster was a $127,000 yearling purchase in 2018 at the London Select Sale. "We had a little trouble with her gait this winter (in Florida) but she has really come along since we've been back in Ontario," said Gregg McNair. "It's great to win at Grand River Raceway. It's our home track and we're here quite a bit in the spring training these horses down and I really like it here," he said. Undercard The Industry Day undercard included five divisions of Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) for three-year-old colt pacers. Division leader Sugartown sweetened his hold on the year-end Grassroots title. The Sportswriter son held off Fast N First (James MacDonald) to win his third sophomore OSS race (and sixth season win) by a neck in 1:53.1 with Louis Philippe Roy for trainer Richard Moreau. That 1:53.1 clocking was the quickest of OSS action on Industry Day and matched the first division of the day when Travis Cullen steered Dreamfair Moxy to his sixth career win for owner John Lamers and trainer Jodie Cullen. The final division featured HP Napoleon in his fourth consecutive win from nine starts this season. Mario Baillargeon drove the Big Jim gelding for brother Ben Baillargeon to a three-quarter-length finish in 1:54.3. The quickest mile of the afternoon went to Ghost Dance in the Preferred pace (Race 9). Bob McClure piloted the Nick Gallucci student to a front-end win by 13 lengths in 1:51.1 for owner Millar Farms. It was the first win of the season for the four-year-old gelding. He has banked $166,000 in career earnings. Record Handle Today's handle of $488,696 is a new Industry Day record, besting the previous record of $481,239 set in 2016. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway   • Video: Battle of Waterloo       • Video: Battle Of Belles           Attached Photos: • Doug McNair winning with Karma Seelster in the $157,500 Battle Of The Belles (Emma Ongman/AG Photography)     • Sports Obsession captures the $239,00 Battle Of Waterloo with Jody Jamieson (Emma Ongman/AG Photography)         FFI: Contact Jenna Knox at (519) 846-5455 ext. 247 or               --   Kelly Spencer Co-Owner, True Nature Communications Inc.   Cell: 519-465-7908   >>> Explorers tell the best stories and the best stories win hearts.      

ELORA, ON - A race card worth $500K and a forecast of sunny skies will deliver one of the hottest afternoons in Canadian harness racing during Grand River Raceway's 29th Industry Day celebration on Monday, August 5. Industry Day kicks off its festivities and broadcast at 12:00 p.m. EST with first race going to post at 12:30 p.m. EST. Fans and families planning to attend the event should note that parking and admission are free. Activities will include a free kids' zone from 12:00 - 4:00 featuring a petting zoo, bouncy castles and face painting. A summer prize pack (valued at $2,000) and a $250 dollar betting voucher will also be up for grabs. The Central Ontario Standardbred Association will sponsor a Caretakers That Care Competition in which $1,500 in prize money will be won by Industry Day caretakers, recognizing their commitment and dedication to the sport's equine stars. A 50/50 draw will be offered by the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society, and the Drive A Racehorse crew will provide free guided trips around the racetrack in double-seated jog carts, between the races, for a limited number of lucky guests. The much-loved Drivers' Edition of the Bouncy Pony Stakes will headline the half-time show after race 5. Eleven races will be featured on the Industry Day card with purses amounting to $540,850. The 11-race card includes five divisions of Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) for three-year-old colt pacers. The $157,500 Battle Of The Belles and the $239,000 Battle Of Waterloo each showcase nine of the province's best Ontario-sired rookie pacing fillies and colts. The finalists earned their berths in elimination races contested on July 29 at the Elora, ON half-miller. Featured in this year's Battle Of Waterloo is elimination winner Beach Blanket Book who leaves from post 4. Trainer Blake MacIntosh will look to score his second Battle Of Waterloo victory since winning with another son of Sportswriter, Sports Column, in 2016. Beach Blanket Book won his elimination with a sweep of the field in a maiden breaking score in 1:56.4. The colt is owned by Mac and Heim Stables as well as Hutt Racing Stable who also teamed up with Blake MacIntosh in 2016 as partners on Sports Column. Second Battle Of Waterloo elimination winner Aneto will leave from the trailing position 9 for trainer Tim Gillespie and owner Synerco Ventures Inc. The Bettors Delight colt (one of three offspring of Bettors Delight in this field) also broke his maiden with his elimination win and was a coast-to-coast winner in 1:55.4 with driver Bob McClure. The 22nd Battle of Waterloo also features trainers of past Battle champions such as Carl Jamieson who endeavours to score his sixth Battle Of Waterloo title with Sports Obsession leaving from post 5. Local trainers Scott McEneny and Ian Moore are seeking their second Battle title with Better B Swift (post 7) who was second in his elimination for McEneny and Denali Seelster (post 3) who finished fourth in his elimination. Young teamster Teesha Symes will send out Mach Three colt Wind Blown from the coveted rail position (post 1). He was second by a head to Aneto after a gritty first-up journey in his elimination race. If Wind Blown finds the winners circle for Symes, she would be the first female trainer, and the youngest (at 30) to win the Battle Of Waterloo. The victory would also give J Harris his first Battle Of Waterloo driving title. Wind Blown would also add his name to the list of Mach Three offspring that have won this race, joining Machapelo, Three Of Clubs and the immortal Somebeachsomewhere. The 11th annual Battle Of The Belles will feature Alicorn, a daughter of Bettors Delight, from post 4. Alicorn, matched the track record for two-year-old fillies with her elimination win in 1:54.2 and also holds the record for the fastest divisional mile in OSS history with her recent Gold Series win in 1:51 over Woodbine-Mohawk Park. With Louis Philippe Roy in the bike, Alicorn was missionized early with a bold first-up move before the half mile marker against Sound Idea (with Sylvain Filion). Alicorn then drew off from the field to a margin of three-and-a-quarter lengths for owners Windermere Stable LLC and Robert Muscara. Trainer Chantal Mitchell will also seek Battle redemption after finishing second to Bronx Seelster with Bettors Wish in last year's Battle Of Waterloo. The Battle Of The Belles will also feature elimination winner Queso Relleno with driver Jody Jamieson and trainer Blake MacIntosh from post 3. Jamieson shoots for his fourth Battle Of The Belles title with Queso Relleno who broke her maiden in an elimination race victory where she breezed by the field in 1:55.4. MacIntosh co-owns the daughter of Betterthancheddar with Hutt Racing Stable, Sue Vernon Smith, and The Flanagan Sisters. MacIntosh will also send out Betterbeasecret from post 7 in the final. The local father-and-son duo of Gregg McNair and Doug McNair (both of Guelph, ON) will send out Karma Seelster from post 8 in the Battle Of The Belles final. She won the third of three elimination races on Monday night. Karma Seelster, who holds the highest yearling price of any horse in the Battle Of Waterloo or Battle Of The Belles ($127,000) is a sister to Kokanee Seelster, Kendall Seelster and Kylie Seelster and is one of three daughters of Sportswriter in the field. Karma Seelster would give sire Sportswriter his fourth Battle Of The Belles winner. For Team McNair, it would be their second Battle Of The Belles title. Also featured in the field for the Battle Of The Belles is Temagami Seelster, who leaves from post 2 and was second in her elimination to Queso Relleno. Temagami Seelster, driven by J Harris is trained by 2018 Battle Of Waterloo winning trainer, Wayne McGean. Trainer Amanda Fine, who celebrated her first training win in early July will send out elimination runner-up Highland Salsa from post 5, who impressively fought a closing Karma Seelster down the stretch. The five OSS divisions will feature Silas Seelster and Missile Seelster - the winner and runner-up (respectively) in the City Of London Series raced earlier this year at The Raceway at Western Fair District. Both are campaigned by trainer Ian Moore. 2018 Battle Of Waterloo finalists Prestige Seelster, Better Moonon Over, Fast N First and Sports Teen will also return to Industry Day for sophomore OSS Grassroots action. Leading OSS Grassroots starter Sugartown will also race on Industry Day, hunting for his third OSS Grassroots win of the season for trainer Richard Moreau and driver Louis Philippe Roy. Post time for Industry Day on August 5 is 12:30 p.m. EST. The broadcast and festivities kick off at 12:00 p.m. EST. Complete event details are available here. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

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