Day At The Track
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Elora, ON, July 31, 2019 -- The highly anticipated Industry Day program is set for this Monday afternoon at Elora's Grand River Raceway and for those who can't make it out to the track, the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) will present the $157,000 Battle Of The Belles and $239,000 Battle Of Waterloo on Facebook Live. The one-hour broadcast produced by CUJO Entertainment will be aired on the Grand River Raceway, Flamboro Downs, Raceway at Western Fair District and Harness Racing Update (HRU) Facebook pages. It will also be shown on the Standardbred Canada website as well as the CUJO Entertainment Twitter page. Greg Blanchard, Mark McKelvie and Jaimi MacDonald will host the action. The show will include a feature on Industry Day which has become one of the most important dates on the Ontario racing calendar. The Facebook Live broadcast is the last in a series of four shows this season sponsored by COSA which also included the Confederation Cup, Camluck Classic and Legends Day programs. Monday's 11-race program boasts a strong undercard featuring Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Fans are reminded of the special first race post time of 12:30 p.m. From the Central Ontario Standardbred Association ​ 

London, June 6, 2019 - The Raceway at Western Fair District recently wrapped up its 2018-19 live racing season and with that some personnel changes have been announced. Director of Racing, Greg Blanchard, will be taking on a new role with the Western Fair Association as Director of Marketing and Communications. Greg Gangle now takes on the role of Raceway Manager under new Director of Racing and Grandstand Operations, Rob Lumsden. Gangle has been with The Raceway for three seasons, serving as Assistant Racing Manager during that time. Prior to that, he had spent seven years at the Woodbine Entertainment Group in both the media communications department and as part of the broadcast team. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity. Working with Greg Blanchard and our team over the past few years has helped grow my skill set and develop into this role. I'm thankful to the entire organization for the opportunity and will embrace the challenge ahead," said Gangle. Lumsden has been with the Western Fair Association for 17 years in various roles including Director of Operations, Director of Shows and Events, and Sports Centre Facility Manager. "I am excited to take on this new challenge and am looking forward to working with Greg and the team as well as our local horse people," said Lumsden. "The Raceway has a long tradition and is a very important part of the provincial racing industry and to our association. We're committed to maintaining that." Blanchard will continue to assist the Raceway team in dealing with industry associations and on strategic initiatives. "I am looking forward to the challenge of a new role with the Association," he said. "This provides a great opportunity for Greg and I know that between himself and Rob the Raceway will be in excellent hands from both an operational and facilities standpoint. We are excited about the future of not only The Raceway but the Western Fair District as a whole." A couple of large projects are already underway at The Raceway including a complete upgrade of the broadcast department to HD as well as a major facelift at the Top Of The Fair restaurant. Fans will notice the changes when racing resumes at the London oval on Friday, October 4th.   Greg Blanchard

London, June 3, 2019 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District ended the season on a high note this past Friday night with a large and boisterous crowd on hand for the second edition of the Camluck Classic Invitational Pace. The Wall and harness racing driver Joe Bongiorno posted an upset win in the $157,000 event on a program which also featured four City of London Series finals and seven OSS Grassroots divisions for three-year-old filly pacers. The program, which had been held on a Saturday night last year, was moved back to its traditional Friday night time slot this season and customers responded in a big way. The total handle for the 12-race card was up 32% over last year while on-track wagering increased a by a healthy 31% over the 2018 edition despite two scratches which reduced the main event to a field of six. "You could feel the buzz on track," said Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. "Switching back to our traditional time slot was certainly the right decision and I got the sense all night that customers were really having a good time. The racing was excellent - very competitive - and having top notch local entertainment really added to the evening as well." A number of valued sponsors helped make the night possible, including title sponsor Seelster Farms - the home of late, great Camluck for more than 20 years. The Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) sponsored the Facebook Live broadcast as well as complimentary pizza in the paddock for all racing participants while long time partner Molson sponsored the Party On The Patio. "We truly value these partnerships and look forward to continuing our relationship in the coming years," said Blanchard. "You simply can't put on a night like this without their support and we really appreciate it." The Raceway is now dark until early October but planning is already well underway for the Fall Season. Fans will notice some exciting changes when racing returns. One of the most significant will be a major upgrade to the broadcast production which will be produced in HD and include a completely revamped graphics package. The return in October will be highlighted by signature events such as the Veteran's Classic and Harness The Hope. Stay up to date on everything happening at The Raceway by visiting www.westernfairdistrict.com.   Greg Blanchard

Friday, May 31, 2019 -- Tonight's Camluck Classic Invitational at The Raceway at Western Fair District has been reduced to a field of six with the scratches this morning of both Sintra and Trump Nation. Sintra, who was the 3-1 third choice in the race from post 5, came up with a foot injury this week. His connections were hopeful he would be good enough to go tonight but ultimately made the difficult decision to withdraw the star pacer. Longshot Trump Nation, who drew post 7, spiked a temperature according to his connections and did not make the trip to Canada. The remaining six horses will compete for a $157,000 purse with Confederation Cup winner Done Well installed as the 7-5 morning line choice from post two. The Camluck Classic program gets underway tonight at 6:55 p.m. and the Camluck Classic goes as the final race on the 12-race program. The race will also be part of the Facebook Live broadcast, sponsored by COSA, which gets underway at 10:30 p.m. (E.T.). Greg Blanchard      

London, May 27, 2019 -- A victory behind pacer Jake Parrish is always special for harness racing driver Nick Steward but was particularly so on Monday night at The Raceway at Western Fair District as it marked the 2000th career trip to the winner's circle for the London reinsman. Jake Parrish is a family favourite who is conditioned by recent Wall Of Fame inductee Larry Fitzsimmons who is also the grandfather of Steward. In Monday's first race, Steward sent his charge straight to command from post one and was able to wire the field in a sharp clocking of 1:56.1 for the milestone win. It was the third win this season and 27th lifetime for the seven-year-old gelded son of Whosurboy who sits with close to $160,000 in career earnings. Fans are reminded that the final card of the season at The Raceway goes this Friday night, featuring the $157,000 Camluck Classic Invitational Pace. The card gets underway at 6:55 p.m. and full details are available at www.camluckclassic.com.   Greg Blanchard

London, May 17, 2019 -- Veteran harness racing horseman Larry Fitzsimmons was inducted into The Raceway at Western Fair District's Wall of Fame on Friday night. With dozens of friends and family on hand, the career winner of more than 1,100 races and $7 million was honoured during a trackside ceremony which was followed by the unveiling of the photo that will go up on The Raceway's prestigious wall. Fitzsimmons is a native of Hanover, Ontario but has called London home since the 1970's and has won numerous training titles at the London oval over his career. Some of his more notable performers include Stonebridge Celest, Angels Uprising and Laurstar. Friday night's $12,700 Wall of Fame Pace went to National Debt in line to Rob Shepherd in 1:54.2. It was the sixth win in just 10 trips postward this season for the Colin Johnson trainee who is quickly approaching the $500,000 mark in career earnings. The Raceway is entering its final two weeks of the 2019 Spring meet which will wrap up with the Camluck Classic program on Friday, May 31st. For details on the entire evening, visit www.camluckclassic.com.   WFD Media

Flamborough, May 17, 2019 - Race fans are reminded that this Sunday night the Confederation Cup from Flamboro Downs will be broadcast live on Facebook beginning at 9:30 p.m. (ET). The one-hour broadcast, part of a three-race series sponsored by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA), will cover the $188,500 Confederation Cup in race 10 along with the 9th race which is a $23,150 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots division for three-year-old filly pacers. Mark McKelvie and Greg Blanchard will be on the desk while Jaimi MacDonald will provide paddock coverage during the show which will be aired via the Flamboro Downs , Grand River Raceway and Raceway at Western Fair District Facebook pages and streamed over the Standardbred Canada website. The next stop in the series will be the $157,000 Camluck Classic on Friday, May 31 at The Raceway with the final show covering the $250,000 (Est) Battle Of Waterloo on Monday, August 5 at Grand River. The Confederation Cup field is a stellar one led by the powerful Ron Burke-trained duo of Dorsoduro Hanover and Done Well, with the latter being installed as the 7-5 morning line choice by virtue of his powerful 1:51.4 elimination victory last Sunday night over an 'off' track. Jimmy Freight, Canada's three-year-old pacing colt of the year in 2018, overcame post 8 in his elimination with a fourth-place finish and has drawn much more favourably in the final, leaving from post position two. Post time for the Confederation Cup program is 6:55 p.m. (ET).   Greg Blanchard

London, May 16, 2019 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District has announced a trio of the confirmed starters for this year's Camluck Classic which takes place on Friday, May 31st. All three horses will be making their debut in the race on what promises to be one of the biggest days in Canadian harness racing this season. Sintra, who captured the 2017 Canadian Pacing Derby and remains undefeated in seven starts this season, will make his first Camluck Classic appearance for the husband-wife team of Stephanie and Jody Jamieson. "He's a special horse and one that we've had our eye on for quite some time," said Greg Gangle, Assistant Racing Manager. "We were unable secure him in the past few years due to scheduling so this year is extra exciting. He's certainly a headliner and needs no introduction to our racing fans. He remains undefeated this season and holds the track record for three-year-olds at The Raceway. " The 25-time winner has career earnings over $1.1 million and currently holds the track record at The Raceway for three-year-old gelding pacers of 1:52.4. Ideal Jimmy has enjoyed a resurgence this season for his connections after just making just one trip postward as a five-year-old in 2018. He has amassed an impressive 7-4-1 summary from 16 starts this year and is one of the highest money winners in North America with $223,000 earned for trainer Erv Miller and owner Don Van Witzenburg of Illinois. Ideal Jimmy                             --Mike Lizzi photo The son of Western Ideal is a career winner of more than $750,000 and is fresh off a gate-to-wire score at the Open level at Yonkers in 1:51.1. Ohio-invader Southwind Amazon will be returning to his home soil as he lines up in the $150,000 dash for trainer Paul Holzman. The son of Camluck began his career in Ontario before racking up 77 career wins and earnings well over $800,000. The iron-tough veteran is fresh off a second-place finish at Northfield Park, timed in 1:49.4. "This guy is an absolute beast on a half-mile track and his record over the past couple of seasons speaks for itself," said Gangle. "It's quite likely that he will be the last son of the late, great Camluck to compete in this race so that is just one of the exciting storylines in this year's event." The nine-year-old boasts an 8-4-1 record from 13 starts this season and is one of the few Standardbreds with multiple sub-1:50 half-mile clockings to his credit. The Camluck Classic will move back to its traditional Friday night time slot on May 31 after switching to a Saturday night last year. The powerful undercard will include the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies, a quartet of City Of London Series finals and several Preferred races. Visitors will once again have a chance to enjoy the action from the confines of the giant Infield Tent, which was a hit with guests last year. It offers a unique vantage point and entertainment experience with fantastic food and beverage offerings for just $55 (taxes and fees included). Tickets to the Infield Event are going fast. The Party on the Patio will be back this year bigger and better than ever. Along with the delicious food and beverage offerings that will be available, popular local entertainers Sarina Haggarty and Connor Morand will be on hand performing their unique mix of new material and cover songs throughout the evening. There will be many other contests and giveaways that night with more details to come. To stay up to date on the Camluck Classic and everything happening at The Raceway, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com.   Greg Blanchard

London, May 9 -- The Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) is pleased to announce sponsorship of an exciting three-race series of Facebook Live broadcasts this season which will include the $200,000 (Est) Confederation Cup, $150,000 Camluck Classic and $250,000 (Est) Battle Of Waterloo. The award-winning Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) broadcast team produced the 1-1/2 hour Camluck Classic show in 2018 which was distributed via the Raceway and Woodbine Entertainment Group's Facebook pages as well as Standardbred Canada's website. CUJO Entertainment will produce this season's shows at the three host tracks which include The Raceway, Flamboro Downs and Grand River Raceway. "The COSA board is pleased to support this new series of shows," said President Bill O'Donnell. "We host some of North America's biggest races and feel it's important to help showcase the best of our product to a world wide audience. It's something we hope we can expand on next season." The Confederation Cup will kick off the Facebook Live series on Sunday, May 19th. The race, which is restricted to four-year-old pacers has attracted one of the most impressive crops including a quartet of the leading money-winning three-year-olds from 2018 - Jimmy Freight, Dorsoduro Hanover, Lather Up and Courtly Choice. The Camluck Classic (formerly the Molson Pace), sponsored by Seelster Farms, is back for its second season on Friday, May 31st. Some of the expected starters for this year's race include this year's runner-up in the Levy Series, Rodeo Rock, along with Southwind Amazon, himself a son of Camluck, and millionaire Sintra who holds the track record for three-year-old pacing colts at The Raceway. The Battle Of Waterloo returns in its traditional time slot on Monday, August 5th, which is the Civic holiday. The race features many of the best Ontario-sired two-year-old pacers and has been a starting point for several future champions including the great Somebeachsomewhere. "It is exciting and tremendously positive to see the expansion of this type of initiative through the partnership of these various organizations," said The Raceway's Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. "This is a relatively cost effective way to reach a new, younger audience while putting the spotlight on our biggest races." The three shows will all be available for viewing at each of the track's Facebook pages as well as Standardbred Canada's website.   Greg Blanchard

London, April 29, 2019 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District is gearing up for a busy final month of the 2018/19 season and has some important schedule reminders for horse people and fans. Once again this year, The Raceway will feature live racing on Mother’s Day, which lands on Sunday, May 12. First post for the afternoon program is 12:55 p.m. and seating is going fast for the Mother’s Day brunch. To make reservations, contact 519-438-7203 (ext. 252) or email topofthefair@westernfairdistrict.com. There will be no live racing the following day on Monday, May 13. The Raceway will also be dark on Wednesday, May 29 in preparation for the Camluck Classic program on Friday, May 31. The Raceway’s Annual Wall of Fame Night will take place on Friday, May 17. This year’s inductee is long-time trainer Larry Fitzsimmons. The London, Ontario resident has been a mainstay at The Raceway for more than four decades. Fitzsimmons will be honoured during a trackside ceremony on a night that also features the Wall of Fame Pace. As always, the season will end on a high note when the track hosts its signature event, The Camluck Classic, on Friday, May 31. Many of North America’s best older pacers will square off in the $150,000 contest and the powerful undercard will feature the Ontario Sires Stakes along with a quartet of City of London Series Finals. The Raceway will also be hosting ‘Horsin’ Around The Market’ on Sunday, May 26 at Western Fair’s Farmers Market. Mini horse rides will be offered in conjunction with the Market along with other special kids’ activities. Customers can also enter a draw for a pair of tickets to the Camluck Classic Infield Experience. The event will be taking place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. May Schedule Reminders: May 13 and 29 – NO LIVE RACING May 12 – Mothers Day Racing May 17 – Wall of Fame Night May 26 – Horsing Around At The Market May 31 – Camluck Classic   WFD Media Greg Blanchard

London, February 27, 2019 -- The Camluck Classic is now less than three months away at The Raceway at Western Fair District and officials at the London oval have released some of the details for the track's Signature harness racing event. The Camluck Classic is a $150,000 Invitational Pace which headlines the Closing Night program. The event will move back to its traditional Friday night time slot on May 31st - after switching to a Saturday night last year. The powerful undercard will include the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old filly pacers, a quartet of City Of London Series finals as well as several Preferred races. Rockin Ron captured the inaugural Camluck Classic in 2018 in a track-record time of 1:50.1 for driver Louis Philippe Roy and trainer Ron Burke. The $1.6 million winner is expected back to defend his title while local stars such as Jimmy Freight and Sintra are also on management's radar. Visitors will once again have a chance to enjoy the action from the confines of the giant Infield Tent which was a hit with guests last year. It offers a unique vantage point and entertainment experience with fantastic food and beverage offerings for just $50 plus tax. Tickets to the Infield Event will go on sale April 1st. The Party on the Patio will be back this year bigger and better than ever. Along with the delicious food and beverage offerings that will be available, popular local entertainers Sarina Haggarty and Connor Morand will be on hand performing their unique mix of new material and cover songs throughout the evening. Fans enjoying the Infield Party at the 2018 Camluck Classic There will be many other contests and giveaways that night with more details to come. To stay up to date on the Camluck Classic and everything happening at The Raceway, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. Greg Blanchard

Please find below a Statement from The Raceway in regards to the CPMA's investigation into an unusually low exactor payout which occurred on January 16th at The Raceway at Western Fair District. STATEMENT An unusually low exactor payout in 7th race on January 16th, 2019, at The Raceway at Western Fair District, prompted management to contact AGCO officials along with the local CPMA (The national regulator responsible for oversight of Pari-Mutuel wagering) rep in order to investigate the wagering patterns for that race and the origin of the winning tickets. Our tote provider immediately provided us with wagering information which showed that the bulk of the winning tickets were sold at a tote hub in Kentucky. The CPMA investigation into the race in question has concluded that the bets were placed in accordance with the regulations. The investigation found no evidence of any wrongdoing and found that all protocols were properly adhered to. In response to this occurrence, The Raceway has instituted a new 'stop betting' protocol whereby wagering will be closed earlier to reduce the chances of a similar situation happening in the future. From Greg Blanchard, for the Raceway  

Woodbine Entertainment has announced that tonight’s card (February 4) of live Standardbred racing at Mohawk Park has been cancelled due to unsafe track conditions caused by mild temperatures. Live ​harness racing is scheduled to resume Thursday evening (February 7) at 7:10 p.m. The Raceway at Western Fair District has been forced to cancel its live harness racing program which was scheduled for this evening due to deteriorating track conditions caused by unseasonably warm temperatures. The thawing conditions are a result sunshine and temperature of plus-10 degrees Celsius while coming on the heels of a deep freeze which gripped Ontario last week. The track will be closed for training on Tuesday morning and live racing is scheduled again for Tuesday night at 6:15 p.m. Track officials will monitor the track overnight and into Tuesday and will update the status of the program at that time.      

An unusually low exactor payout in Wednesday's (January 16) 7th race at The Raceway at Western Fair District prompted us to contact Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) officials along with our Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) rep in order to investigate the wagering patterns for that race and the origin of the winning tickets. Our tote provider provided us the pertinent wagering information which showed that the bulk of the winning tickets were sold at a tote hub in Kentucky. This type of wagering anomaly has occurred before during the past couple of seasons and in each of those instances the bulk of the winning tickets have been traced back to the same Kentucky Hub. A prior investigation included officials from that location and found no evidence of collusion or anyone driving in a questionable manner in that race. We are continuing to look into this instance and we support the regulators in investigating this situation to the fullest extent required. Greg Blanchard The Raceway at Western Fair District    

London, January 3, 2019 -- Veteran trotter Spicey Victor and pacing mare Casino Classic will headline the winners of the Raceway at Western Fair District's 2018 harness racing awards. Spicey Victor captured both Aged Male Trotter and Claiming Trotter of the Year while Casino Classic picks up her second Raceway Award - she will be honoured as top Older Pacing Mare after capturing Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year last year. Officials with The Raceway have announced the majority of the track's 2018 award winners to be honoured during the Western Fair's annual awards night, which will take place this year on Saturday, February 23. The Raceway's top performers for 2018 will be honoured in a variety of categories. Awards for the three-year-olds and older horses are based on the top money earners who made at least six starts at The Raceway during 2018. The top claimer awards are based on total number of claiming wins at The Raceway in the same calendar year. Trainer Patrick Shepherd will take home his first Raceway Trainer of the Year award while Scott Coulter will be honoured with his first Top Driver award. The Owner of the Year award, sponsored by Standardbred Canada, goes to the owner who finished in the top 10 for money winnings and had the highest number of starters during the season. The popular Caretaker of the Year award will be handed out once again. To qualify, caretakers must be nominated by Friday, February 1st. To nominate someone, send an email outlining their contributions to one of the following: gblanchard@westernfairdistrict.com, sdoyle@westernfairdistrict.com, ggangle@westernfairdistrict.com, or aotoole@westernfairdistrict.com. The Raceway will announce its Horse of the Year the night of the event. The Dave Wall Outstanding Service Award, Caretaker of the Year and Ruth Herbert Horsewoman of the Year awards will also be announced at the event. The evening will include dinner and dancing. Tickets go on sale beginning Friday, January 11th with the deadline to purchase on Wednesday, February 20th. Anyone interested in attending should note that tickets for this year's event will not be sold at the door so are urged to purchase before the deadline. They will be available in both the race office and marketing department. For more information, call 519-438-7203 (Ext. 299). A list of the 2018 Raceway Award winners appears below. Older Pacing Horse • Artistic Pick Older Pacing Mare • Casino Classic Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt • Maximus Power Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly • Together We Run Older Trotting Horse • Spicey Victor Older Trotting Mare • Espoir Go Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt • P C Glideline Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly • Miller Time Claiming Pacer • So Long Sugar Claiming Trotter • Spicey Victor Driver • Scott Coulter Trainer • Patrick Shepherd Owner • Rebecca Williamson Greg Blanchard  

London, December 21, 2018 - The great Foiled Again returned to the scene of his two harness racing Molson Pace victories with a stop at The Raceway at Western Fair District on Friday night. The visit was part of the 14-year-old's Farewell Tour and gave Local fans the opportunity to meet the sport's richest ever performer in person. Fans had the chance to meet the legend during the night and were then invited to join him in a winner's circle photo later in the evening where he was presented with a jumbo greeting card that had been signed by fans and horse people. 'We want to thank the connections of this great champion for bringing him to London one last time,' said Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. 'He has had many great moments on this track and I was happy to see so many local fans get a chance to pay tribute to him.' Foiled Again made 7 appearances over the half mile oval during his career, including back to back wins in the Molson Pace in 2011 and 2012. He will race Saturday night at Mohawk Park in his last Canadian appearance before facing the starting gate one last time at his home track The Meadows in New Year’s Eve. Live racing returns to The Raceway tomorrow afternoon at 1:15 pm then again on Boxing Day, December 26th, at the same 1:15 pm start time. Greg Blanchard

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