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London, ON - January 4, 2017 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District has announced its 2016 award winners to be honoured during the annual awards dinner on Saturday, February 11th at the Carousel Room of The Raceway. Irvine James, who captured a City of London Series Final in May, and Nadia Can Go, who compiled an impressive nine-race win streak at London last Spring, are the winners of the Older Pacing Horse and Older Pacing Mare honours respectively. Driver Alfie Carroll and trainer Vic Puddy captured their second consecutive Western Fair titles. Many of their wins came for owner Keith Cassell who is the 2016 top owner at the London oval. The horse awards are based on the highest money winners with a minimum of six starts at The Raceway during the season while the claiming awards are based on the highest number of wins in claiming races at The Raceway during the year. Award winners were announced in 13 categories with another four to be announced the night of the event - they include the Caretaker of the Year, Walltyme 'Outstanding Service' Award, Ruth Herbert 'Horsewoman' of the Year and the overall Horse of the Year. To nominate someone for 'Caretaker' of the year, people are asked to email their nominee along with a written description of or before January 27th. Five finalists will be selected from the nominees and horse people will then have a chance to vote for their choice. The winner will be announced on February 11th. Tickets for the awards night go on sale next week at The Raceway's Race Office and are available for $40 per person or $45 at the door - a table of eight can be purchased for $280. The evening will include a cocktail reception, dinner, awards ceremony and D.J. and dance to follow. For more information, or to nominate someone for Caretaker of the Year, email Amy O'Toole at aotoole@westernfairdistrict.com. Here is a complete list of the 2016 award winners: Older Pacing Horse - Irvine James Older Pacing Mare - Nadia Can Go 3-Year-Old Pacing Colt - Overthinkenit 3-Year-Old Pacing Filly - Uptown Woman Older Trotting Horse - Raising Richard Older Trotting Mare - Daylon Mermaid 3-Year-Old Trotting Colt - On The Ridge 3-Year-Old Trotting Filly - Shes All Muscle Claiming Pacer - Mighty Mouse Claiming Trotter - Jimoris Tigeress Driver - Alfie Carroll Trainer - Vic Puddy Owner - Keith Cassell Caretaker - TBA Walltyme 'Outstanding Service' - TBA Ruth Herbert 'Horsewoman' - TBA Horse of the Year - TBA by Greg Blanchard, for The Raceway

January 3, 2016 -- Now both Monday and Tuesday's (tonight's) live race programs at The Raceway at Western Fair District has been cancelled due to deteriorating track conditions. Unseasonably warm and sunny weather in London, along with a forecast of rain later in the day, took its toll on the oval and prompted officials to make the decision. Live racing is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) at The Raceway at 6:15 p.m. The mild temperatures are forecasted for tomorrow as well and a decision regarding the status of that program will be made Wednesday morning. by Greg Blanchard, for The Raceway                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

London, December 23, 2016 -- Friday night's 16-race Super Card at The Raceway at Western Fair District produced an all-time record handle as harness racing patrons pushed $765,685 through the mutuel windows. That total eclipsed the previous high of $697,000 which was set on December 23, 2014. "A big thank you to the horseplayers who support our product all season and to our horsemen for supporting the entry box the way they did tonight with that number of races," said Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. "Our track crew had the oval in fantastic shape and we couldn't have asked for a better way to wrap things up here before the short Christmas break." The program was bolstered by a trio of $10,000 Guaranteed Pool Pick-4 wagers and an added Super Hi-5. The Raceway will be dark for December 23rd and 24th but will be back in action with the traditional Boxing Day program on Monday, December 26th, beginning at 1:15 p.m. There is limited seating available for the brunch that day and reservations can be made by calling 519-438-7203 (ext. 252). Greg Blanchard

The month of December is traditionally a busy one at The Raceway at Western Fair District and this year is no exception with a total of 15 harness racing programs being offered, including a special matinee program on Sunday, December 18 at 1:05 p.m. That day will also be State Treasurer Day at the races in honour of the three-time Molson Pace champion who has recently retired to stand stud at nearby Seelster Farms in Lucan. The world champion, who is a double millionaire, will be on hand to meet fans that afternoon as part of the festivities. The Raceway has also planned a 16-race Super Card on Friday, December 23rd with an earlier than normal start time of 5:30 p.m. Horseplayers will have more chances to take home some last minute Christmas cash with the addition of a third Super Hi-5 and third Pick-4 wager. The Pick-4 pools that day will all be guaranteed at $10,000, while the early pick-3 will feature a $5,000 guaranteed pool. Fans are also reminded that the traditional Boxing Day program will go postward at 1:15 p.m. on Monday, December 26 as well as the New Year's Eve program on Saturday, December 31 at 8:00 p.m. There is still some limited seating at the Top of the Fair Restaurant for these dates. To make reservations, call 519-438-7203 (ext. 252) or email topofthefair@westernfairdistrict.com. For event details, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. Greg Blanchard                                                                                                                              

London, December 9, 2016 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District has an exciting opportunity for an Assistant Racing Manager to join its harness racing team. The Raceway, located in London, Ontario, is a part of the Western Fair Association - a not-for-profit Agricultural Association that operates a multi-faceted entertainment District which includes music and shopping, gaming and sports along with the annual Western Fair. The Raceway hosts an eight-month live racing season (October - May) highlighted by Molson Pace night, held on the last Friday in May (Closing Night). As part of the management team, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to join a growing organization with a long term commitment to horse racing in the province. Those interested in finding out more about this position can click here. Greg Blanchard Raceway Manager Tel: 519-438-7203,239Toll Free: 1-800-619-4629Fax: 519-438-2388Email: gblanchard@westernfairdistrict.com  

November 21, 2016 – The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has commissioned the services of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) camera company to capture footage of morning harness racing qualifying sessions at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The “drone” will be in operation on the morning of Friday, December 2nd . The intent of this pilot project is to explore innovative ways to build on the officiating capabilities of AGCO Race Officials. Currently, racetracks are required to provide the Race Officials with race patrol video throughout the race course. These live and recorded images are viewed by the officials both during and after the race in order to determine if any violations of the Rules of Racing have occurred. The unique camera angles possible from drones could provide improved fields of view that could ultimately assist AGCO judges in officiating races – focusing on potential infractions such as interference, urging violations, or horses leaving the course (pylon rule). Based on the findings of the pilot, the AGCO may request the cooperation of other tracks in Ontario. Horse people interested in participating in this December 2 pilot should contact the Race Office at Western Fair.  Greg Blanchard                       

London, October 4, 2016 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District reminds harness racing horseman that the first qualifiers of the season will take place this Friday morning, October 7, at 11 a.m. Please note that beginning next week (October 14) the track will be open for training on Fridays only at 9 a.m., prior to the qualifying races. The track will be closed for training on Wednesdays until renovations to the grandstand have been completed later this Fall. The first live program of the season is this Friday night with first post at 7:05 p.m and coincides with the kick off of the second annual Oktoberfest Celebration happing at the Western Fair District. For complete details, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. Greg Blanchard Raceway Manager Tel: 519-438-7203,239T oll Free: 1-800-619-4629 Fax: 519-438-2388E mail: gblanchard@westernfairdistrict.com  

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

ELORA, ON - Greg Blanchard returns as the lead TV commentator for the Industry Day broadcast on August 1 at Grand River Raceway, as the Elora, ON track stages its 26th annual harness racing Industry Day Celebration. Throughout the afternoon, he'll be joined by a rotation of distinguished guests. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame, Grand River Raceway is delighted to include a handful of Hall Of Fame inductees as Guest Commentators on the Industry Day broadcast. Randy Waples - RACE 1 - driver of 2016 Hall Of Fame Inductee San Pail Randy Waples drove San Pail in all but 3 of his 52 career victories, piloting him to a record a mark of 1:50.4 and earnings of $3.1 million in purse money. San Pail won O'Brien Awards and Dan Patch Awards as Canada's Horse of the Year and Older Trotting Horse of the Year in 2011; he was also Dan Patch Award as Trotter of the Year in 2011. The Rod Hughes trainee won the O'Brien Award as Canada's Older Trotting Horse of the Year (2009, 2010), and was inducted into the Scugog Sports Hall of Fame (2012) and was named Equine Canada's Canadian Bred Horse of the Year in 2011. Randy Waples is the winningest driver in Battle of Waterloo history, with victories in 1999, 2001, 2009 and 2010. Linda Rainey - RACE 2 - Managing Director, Horse Racing Hall of Fame Canada's Horse Racing Hall of Fame was founded in 1976 and in 1997 the Ontario Jockey Club provided a permanent site without cost at Woodbine Racetrack. New inductees are added annually to build upon an ever-growing honour roll of Builders, Communicators, Drivers/Trainers, Jockeys, Standardbreds, Thoroughbreds and Trainers. Bill Galvin - RACE 3 - Hall of Fame Inductee, 2014 - Standardbred Communicator Bill Galvin is a Canadian horse racing historian, poet, author, publisher, educator, horseman, humanitarian, publicist, former thoroughbred racing official and executive editor of Trot Magazine. He was the director of special promotions (harness and thoroughbred) for the Ontario Jockey Club and publicity chairman for the Greenwood Centennial Program. He is the engine behind the fundraising initiative, The Stable God Loves, generating donations for the Standardbred Chaplaincy of Canada. Jack McNiven - RACE 4 - Hall of Fame Inductee, 2007 - Builder Jack McNiven and his late brother Don have owned and operated the esteemed breeding farm Killean Acres in Ingersoll, Ontario, for over 40 years. The farm's stallion roster included three of the leading stallions in the province, Frisco Byrd, Dallas Almahurst and 2006 Hall inductee Run The Table, who has sired winners of over $95 million. McNiven, is highly respected as an industry leader for his innovative approach in the art of preparing yearlings for Standardbred sales. He's also a motivational figure in harness racing and has been recognized for all his contributions to the industry. Carl Jamieson - RACE 5 - Hall of Fame Inductee, 2013 - Standardbred Trainer A five-time winner of Grand River Raceway's Battle Of Waterloo, Jamieson has won more than 1000 races and purses of more than $25 million. His biggest stars included Breeders Crown winner and stallion Santanna Blue Chip, North America Cup champion Up The Credit, all-time fastest OSS performer Warrawee Needy. Carl's horses have won multiple O'Brien awards and Jamieson himself was awarded the O'Brien award for Horsemanship in 2006. John Lamers, Standardbred Breeder/Owner - RACE 7 John and his wife Mary have two inductees in the Hall Of Fame: Dreamfair Eternal, Hall of Fame Inductee 2014: Canada's Horse of the Year in 2010, won 56 races and over $2.5 million in her racing career. 2010 marked the second consecutive year she was voted Canada's Older Pacing Mare of the Year following one of the best seasons ever for a Canadian-based pacing mare. J C's Nathalie, Hall of Fame Inductee 2015: She was a solid pacing mare but has excelled as a broodmare. Lamers bought her in 2009. She has produced two millionaires as a broodmare, past Battle Of Waterloo champ Dreamfair Vogel, and pacing mare Dreamfair Eternal. Bill O'Donnell - RACES 9-11 - Hall of Fame Inductee, 1986 - Standardbred Driver Nicknamed "Magic" for his innate ability to get the most from his horses, O'Donnell's talent was in constant demand. To attest to this, U.S. Hall of Fame driving great, Bill Haughton, took himself off world champion Nihilator so that he could have the "Magic Man" drive the precocious freshman pacer. He was named Harness Tracks of America's "Driver of the Year" in 1984 with record setting season's earnings of $9 million. The following year he became the sport's first $10 million man while driving both Nihilator and three-year-old champion colt trotter Prakas to single-season money-winning records. Prakas won The Hambletonian. Nihilator was Horse of the Year. O'Donnell has driven almost 5,700 winners with earnings of more than $99 million. He is also a member of the U.S. Hall of Fame at Goshen, N.Y. He's currently the President of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association. Post time is 1:30 p.m. for the 26th annual Industry Day Celebration on August 1. Festivities and the broadcast kick-off at 1:00 p.m. Complete event details are available on the Grand River Raceway website. The broadcast is available via live streaming video starting at 1:00 p.m. The Industry Day 26 program is available here. Event hashtag: #industryday26 Kelly Spencer

London, June 2, 2016 -- One of the most recognizable names in Ontario harness racing over the past decade, Button Up, has officially hung up his horse shoes at age 13. The connections of the popular pacer have announced his retirement following a distinguished 341-race career in which he amassed more than $824,000. Bred by Bill Andrew and Dr Fred Kruszelnicki of Alberta, the son of Northern Luck - Better Butter sold for $18,000 as a yearling at the 2004 Kentucky Standardbred Yearling Sale. He was campaigned throughout his entire career by Mark Horner and his wife Stephanie of St Marys, Ontario, along with his caretaker Susan McNeight and driver Mike Horner. The entire Button Up team has remained in place since the beginning of his career, a rarity in today's game. The biggest payday of his career came as a rookie in the 2005 edition of the $300,000 Battle Of Waterloo at Grand River Raceway. On that day, the slick-gaited pacer routed his rivals by seven lengths in 1:56.2. Little did the Horners know, but that win would be the beginning of a very special streak that they are particularly proud of. "Button Up is undefeated on Industry Day at Grand River," explains Mark Horner. "He won the Battle there in 2005 and then won the Preferred on the undercard as an older horse in 2007, 2010 and 2012. He loved that track and his home track of London in particular. He was great gaited and durable - two of his best attributes." Health issues have forced Button Up to the sidelines recently prompting his connections to call it a career and allow him to now live out his days kicking up his heels on the family farm. "He has given us quite a ride," says Horner. "It's sad to see it end but he deserves it and will always have a good home here. Horses like Button Up are rare and special and we appreciate all he has given us and the fans who enjoyed watching him compete over the years." Button Up retires with an impressive tally of 49 wins and 170 top three finishes- a 50% on-the-board rate. He averaged $2,400 in purse winnings every time he raced throughout his career and in November of this past year showed his longevity with a sparkling 1:54.1 win at The Raceway in London. Congratulations to Button Up on a wonderful racing career and best wishes for a happy retirement. Greg Blanchard

Evenin Of Pleasure was sent off at odds of 35 to 1 in tonight’s harness racing $150,000 Molson Pace, the signature race of The Raceway at Western Fair District. Luckily the horse didn’t read the tote board. As the race got underway Mark MacDonald and Sunfire Blue Chip and Evenin Of Pleasure with Sylvain Filion up both vied for the early lead. Filion quickly decided to tuck in behind in second which proved the winning move. Sunfire Blue Chip, looking to give MacDonald his first Molson Pace win in 10 tries, rattled off fractions of :26.3, :55.2 and 1:23 but was caught in the stretch by the garden spot sitting Evenin Of Pleasure who hit the wire first in 1:50.3. The time established a new track record, shaving a tick off the previous mark set by MacDonald and Tigerama in 2008. Sunfire Blue Chip held for second after the impressive performance. McWicked claimed the show spot while All Bets Off and P H Supercam took the final two cheques. State Treasurer, vying for his fourth straight Molson title, hit some traffic trouble as the field paced through the backstretch the second time and finished sixth. “When I was able to get the two hole, I was hoping Mark would keep on going, which he did,” explained Filion minutes after the winner’s circle presentation. “My horse felt super good, around the last turn I knew he had a good shot and he gave all he could, he raced really well.  “Last time he raced (a sixth place finish in the Preferred at Mohawk on May 14) he came up real flat, they scoped him after the race and he wasn’t 100 per cent. You have to give credit to Richard (trainer Richard Moreau) he did some work and my God he was good tonight.” When asked if he was worried about race favourites, All Bets Off and State Treasurer, Filion responded: “I was just looking ahead of me and hoping I wouldn’t see them. I really don’t know what happened, all I know is we’re in the winner’s circle right now. It’s nice to see the crowd like this, it’s a great ambiance and I’m looking forward to coming back.” It was the first win in 2016 for Evenin Of Pleasure, a six-year-old son of Dragon Again owned by Gestion JY Blais Inc., of Montreal, Quebec.  Tonight’s effort put his lifetime earnings over the $600,000 mark. He paid $74.30 to win. Molson Pace Undercard Molson Pace night kicked off with four City of London Series finals starting with the $36,200 test for male trotters which saw On The Ridge wear down pacesetter Muscle Bound to win in 2:01.  Muscle Bound held for second while The Big Muscle took third. Trainer Garrett Rooney, who co-owns the three-year-old son of Kadabra with Angela Carroll of Iona, Ontario, also guided the horse to victory. Unraced last year at two, On The Ridge now has six wins in 13 outings this year for $49,000 earned. The $39,000 City Of London final for male pacers saw heavy favourite Irvine James leave hard from post seven for driver Mark Williams and they were in charge well before the opening quarter of :28.4 and never looked back to win in 1:58.1 over Mid Town Mickey and Sly Baran. It was the second straight win for the four-year-old gelding by Mach Three owned, trained and bred by William Kirkpatrick of Amherstburg, Ontario.   The girls were next in the spotlight with the trotting mares’ final worth $37,400 going to Shes All Muscle and The Raceway’s leading driver Alfie Carroll who led at every station and hit the wire first in 2:02.  Angel Assault closed well to take second while Burning Memories was third. Jamie Wilson trains the winner, a three-year-old filly by Muscle Mass for owner Chris Wilson of Dashwood, Ontario. The $40,600 Final for pacing mares saw a great battle between two three-year-old daughters of Mach Three, You Mach Me Crazy and Machioda with the former prevailing in the fastest of the City Of London tests, 1:56.3. Machioda held for second while Stonebridge Medusa took third. Trevor Henry, the leading driver at The Raceway for many years, and now the leading driver on the WEG circuit, orchestrated the win for trainer Andrew McCabe and owner Glenview Livestock of Wallenstein, Ontario. The jam packed race card also featured the two finals of the Alliance Claiming Series. In the first, for pacing horses, Red Leaf Morgan and Jody Jamieson scored in 1:57.1 over Lis Deo and Howdy Partner. James Watt trains the victor, a 12 year-old son of Artist Stena for owner Rebecca Williamson of Blyth, Ontario. The $13,500 Alliance final for mares was taken by Passion Quizrace and James MacDonald who went gate to wire in 1:56.1 to defeat a fast closing Andro Madi. Carsons Cashin was third. It was the fourth win this year for the 10 year-old Blissfull Hall daughter owned by Auciello Stables of Stouffville, Ontario and trained by Carmen Auciello. Tonight also kicked of the 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes season with three $70,000 Gold divisions for three-year-old pacing colts won by Magnum J, Print Media and Sintra. Greg Blanchard

As Molson Pace night fast approaches in London, some horses themselves were out helping to promote the harness racing event on Wednesday afternoon at downtown Victoria Park. The Raceway marketing department held its second annual Miss Molson Pace contest (equine version) during the noon hour while several park goers and nearby office workers got to meet the participants and vote for their favourite. It was Raceway fan favourite Mother Hen, runner-up in last year's contest, who was crowned the winner this time around. The other contestants included Hazy Lady, Shellace and Black Diamond Star. Miniature horse Oreo was the sign bearer for the afternoon. "The horses in the park were a big hit again this year," said The Raceway's Marketing Co-ordinator Sarah Imrie. "Most of the people there don't get a chance to get up that close to a horse and it's great to see their reactions. A big thanks to the City of London for accommodating us and to our wonderful horse people who always jump at the chance to help us out with promotions." The $150,000 Molson Pace will go as the final race on Friday night's 12-race program, considered one of the strongest in the track's history. The first race post time is 7:05 p.m. and for details on everything that is happening, visit www.molsonpace.com. Greg Blanchard Raceway Manager Email: gblanchard@westernfairdistrict.com

Platoon Seelster made harness racing history on Wednesday evening at The Raceway in London when he equaled the fastest trotting mile in the track’s history. The four-year-old gelded son of Federal Flex took full advantage of post one in the $11,000 Preferred 2 Trot and jetted straight to command through a snappy :27.2 opening quarter. Driver Ryan Holliday was able to rate his speed to the tune of :30 seconds in the second quarter and hit the half in :58 seconds. Platoon Seelster faced first-over pressure in the third quarter but easily rebuffed the challenge through  three-quarters in 1:26.4. He then kicked home in :29.1 to stop the clock in 1:56, equaling the previous best clocking of 1:56 which was established by Brawn Seelster back in 2008. It was the sixth lifetime win for the former star of the Ontario Sires Stakes program who increased his career bankroll to more than $275,000 for owners Caroline Holliday of Mount Forest and Dennis Hannah of Harriston, Ontario. Greg Blanchard  

Harness racing driver Mark MacDonald calls his time in London, ON racing at The Raceway at The Western Fair District "maybe the best time of my life." MacDonald, who is now based in New York and is one of the top drivers at Yonkers Raceway, will return to Western Fair Friday to drive Sunfire Blue Chip in the $150,000 Molson Pace invitational for trainer Jimmy Takter. "London was the first place I bought a house. It was a condo, but it was like a house. I lived in apartments before that. I actually lived 10 minutes from Western Fair," said the 37-year-old Prince Edward Island native, who first made his name racing in Ontario from 1999 through 2011. "I had some stoplights then, not bridge traffic. It is definitely a different atmosphere (in New York) as opposed to up there, but Western Fair was great. I had a lot of fun there. I won a lot of races. It was the first time I got to race in all the (Ontario) Sires Stakes and was kind of the go-to guy." What hasn't been as much fun has been the Molson Pace. MacDonald has raced in it nine times and never won. "It's been my Achilles Heel. That race just keeps getting me. I almost won it a few times. Dr No, I thought I was home with him and Our Lucky Killean got me right at the wire (in 2006). I think I still have the track record at London with Tigerama (1:50.4 in 2008). He buzzed around there in the elimination and then drew the seven hole and got stung past the quarter. He was kind of a speed horse. The seven hole and a speed horse don't really mix there in London, unless the inside wing falls off or something. Anyway, he got stung and ended up fifth." MacDonald last raced in the Molson Pace in 2014 and was eighth with Bandolito. "Bandolito, I got a horrendous trip with him. I was out early and he didn't fire. He wasn't right then, either. He didn't race for about five or six months after that race," MacDonald said. "I've had some good horses in that race, but I've raced some horses that turned up sick and I've raced some horses that just got beat. I just never get to the wire first." MacDonald, a winner of nearly 5,700 career races and more than $84 million is a two-time O'Brien Award winner as Canada's Driver of the Year. He set a record for driving wins on Canadian soil with 739 in 2006 - since surpassed by Jody Jamieson. MacDonald will be driving against his younger brother, James MacDonald, in this year's Molson Pace. James will pilot P H Supercam from post seven. "James is a good little driver. He's doing a great job. I talk to him all the time and always try to help him as much as I can. But I won't be helping him out on Friday," Mark said, laughing. "Don't eat yellow snow. That's my tip for him." Mark said he likes his chances with Sunfire Blue Chip, especially drawing the inside post three. "He's a really good horse... A good half-mile horse," Mark said of the six-year-old stallion, a son of American Ideal out of Shot Togo Blue Chip who has earned just over $1 million. "He won the Prix d'Ete as a four-year-old at Three Rivers. He's a really fast horse, good gaited. He doesn't wear a boot. He's a typical Takter horse. He's really well-mannered, a nice horse to drive. Everything about him is nice. He just won in 1:51 a couple of weeks ago in Yonkers on kind of a tiring track. It was a good mile that night." Sunfire Blue Chip has a record of 4-3-2 this year in 16 starts and earnings of just over $80,000. "He was sharp in the Levy (Series at Yonkers). He raced in every leg in the Levy and he just had horrible luck with the draw. He was, literally, outside every week... We couldn't get a break with that horse. They actually took him out of the Levy one week and I took him to the front and he won in like :53.3... The Levy wasn't meant to be for him this year, but he always raced well. He showed up every week." Now Mark MacDonald hope Sunfire Blue Chip shows up with his best game on Friday so he can finally claim the Molson Pace in his 10th attempt. Post positions for the Molson Pace field are as follows: 1. State Treasurer - Chris Christoforou 2. Bettor Rock On N - Jody Jamieson 3. Sunfire Blue Chip - Mark MacDonald 4. Evenin Of Pleasure - Sylvain Filion 5. Machtu N - Trevor Henry 6. Mcwicked - Randy Waples 7. P H Supercam - James MacDonald 8. All Bets Off - Matt Kakaley The Molson Pace program will also feature the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers, a quartet of City of London Series finals, a pair of Alliance Claiming Series finals and an added-purse Junior Invitational Pace as part of the undercard. Total purses for the night will be more than $550,000. There will be a number of promotions on the night, including Scratch and Win program prizes, OSS 'Be A Winner Contest,' Party on the Patio, a Molson VIP infield event and much more. The wagering menu has been bolstered to include a $5,000 guaranteed early Pick-3, $10,000 guaranteed early Pick-4, $15,000 guaranteed late Pick-4 and the addition of a third Super Hi-5 - all low 15 per cent takeout wagers. For more information, visit molsonpace.com. Greg Blanchard

Harness racing trainer Dr. Ian Moore said winning a fourth straight Molson Pace with his pupil State Treasurer would be almost beyond comprehension. “It’s been fun just to win it once. A second was a bonus and the third was just unreal last year,” Moore said. “A fourth time would be unbelievable.” State Treasurer, the 2015 Horse of the Year in Canada owned by Sally and Allan MacDonald of Prince Edward Island and their nephew, Paul MacDonald of Toronto, has drawn the rail for Friday’s $150,000 invitational at The Raceway at The Western Fair District in London, ON. The pacer’s regular driver, Chris Christoforou, will be in the sulky. Moore, a PEI native who is based in Guelph, ON during the summer, acknowledged it won’t be easy for State Treasurer to become the first horse to win four Molson Pace titles in the race’s 44-year history. Race secretary Ian Fleming has assembled a crack field of eight tough older pacers, many coming in from the United States. The field has combined earnings of nearly $9 million. That includes the $1.96 million earned by State Treasurer, who is winless in his three 2016 starts since returning from wintering at Southern Oaks Training Center in Florida. “He hasn’t been quite as good his first few starts, obviously, this year,” Moore said. “It sort of was the same thing last year. It wasn’t until about the third start that he was good at Mohawk and I really think that the first three Saturdays that we’ve been back in Ontario since April 30th the (race nights) have all been very cold. In fact, 37 degrees Fahrenheit and wet snow the last time we raced. I think some of our horses had a little trouble acclimatizing to that.” Moore said State Treasurer had some mild sickness a few weeks ago and was given five days off after his last start — a fifth-place finish in the $34,000 preferred on May 14 at Mohawk Racetrack — but the seven-year-old son of Real Desire—Ideal Treasure seems fine this week and should be raring to go Friday in London. “He seems good in every other way. He’s been sound and everything and he’s steering well this year. We hope he’ll appreciate the return to London and away we go,” Moore said. “He obviously likes that track and has done well there in the past. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to roll for the fourth time.” State Treasurer is currently tied with Jambo Dancer for the most Molson Pace victories. Jambo Dancer also won the race three straight years, taking the title in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Post positions for the Molson Pace field are as follows: 1. State Treasurer – Chris Christoforou 2. Bettor Rock On N – Jody Jamieson 3. Sunfire Blue Chip – Mark MacDonald 4. Evenin Of Pleasure – Sylvain Filion 5. Machtu N – Trevor Henry 6. Mcwicked – Randy Waples 7. P H Supercam – James MacDonald 8. All Bets Off – Matt Kakaley The Molson Pace program will also feature the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers, a quartet of City of London Series finals, a pair of Alliance Claiming Series finals and an added-purse Junior Invitational Pace as part of the undercard. Total purses for the night will be more than $550,000. There will be a number of promotions on the night, including Scratch and Win program prizes, OSS ‘Be A Winner Contest,’ Party on the Patio, a Molson VIP infield event and much more. The wagering menu has been bolstered to include a $5,000 guaranteed early Pick-3, $10,000 guaranteed early Pick-4, $15,000 guaranteed late Pick-4 and the addition of a third Super Hi-5 – all low 15 per cent takeout wagers. For more information, visit molsonpace.com. Greg Blanchard

The post-position draw for this year's $150,000 Molson Pace was conducted during this evening's pre-game show at The Raceway in London and it was three-time defending harness racing champion State Treasurer drawing the coveted rail in his quest for an historic fourth consecutive title. The son of Real Desire may not be the intimidating presence he would have been at this time last year from post one. He has gone winless so far in three starts this season and his connections will be hoping that another trip to London will get his season back on track. Last year's runner-up, All Bets Off, drew the trailing post eight and is coming off a sparkling second-place finish behind Wiggle It Jiggle It in this past weekend's Battle Of Lake Erie at Northfield Park. Here is a look at the entire field, along with their listed drivers, in post-position order: 1 State Treasurer - Chris Christoforou 2 Bettor Rock On N - Jody Jamieson 3 Sunfire Blue Chip - Mark MacDonald 4 Evenin Of Pleasure - Sylvain Filion 5 Machtu N - Trevor Henry 6 McWicked - Randy Waples 7 P H Super Cam - James MacDonald 8 All Bets Off - Matt Kakaley Friday night's program also includes OSS Gold divisions for three-year-old colt pacers, a quartet of City Of London Series Finals and a pair of Alliance Series Finals. First post for the 12-race card is 7:05 p.m. Greg Blanchard

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